My self isolation ended a week ago but little has changed as the whole country is now more or less in quarantine in an attempt to flatten the curve. Those who can work from home have been directed to do so. Schools and universities are closed as well as all non-essential services including restaurants, bars and cafes. Physical distance between people has been set at 2 metres and supermarkets and grocery stores limit the number of people who can enter resulting in long line-ups outside. Socializing takes place by phone or by virtual meetings online. Everybody is worrying about getting infected especially now that we know that people who are asymptomatic can also be harbouring virus.
My excitement about being able to go and buy my own groceries when my own quarantine was finished was tempered by concerns about handling the produce in the supermarket and how to disinfect things I brought home. The type of Coronavirus we have is called SARSCov2 and it is destroyed by soap, by 60 -70% alcohol and 0.1% bleach. You may wonder why I’m telling you this but I actually had to search for this information and finally found it in a scientific paper. Since the virus is novel, knowledge about it is limited and even the paper gave this as a prediction based on other similar viruses. It can survive on skin for a few hours, on cardboard for 24 hours and on plastic or hard surfaces for 3 days. I washed my loose mandarin oranges and apples in soapy water as well as an aubergine and a red pepper. I left things in cardboard in a plastic bag for a day and didn’t touch anything in hard containers or bottles for 3 days. Today, I read that itès not a good idea to wash produce in soapy water so maybe just plain water together with not eating the produce immediately is a better idea. I’m not sure that there would be enough virus on most products to cause an infection unless someone had sneezed or coughed on something just before you picked it up but better to be safe than sorry.
Obviously, being at home with no possibility of eating out, means that we all have to cook more whether we like it or not. Many are really enjoying it and I’m surprised at the number of people who have taken to baking. Yeast was sold out in a supermarket my sister goes to. My niece who I don’t believe has ever baked bread in her life, followed an online demonstration and together with her husband and two small children, made a very professional loaf of Challah bread which I unfortunately didn’t have the pleasure of tasting as we all have to stay in our own homes. So while we try to flatten the curve, we are all fattening our curves. Jimmy Fallon on Twitter asked people to describe their quarantine in six words and one of my favourites was “Flattening the curve, fattening my curves”.
There are plenty of online activities to pass the time. Just in case my curves turn into rolls, I’ve been doing Pilates classes through YouTube, in addition to my daily stretching and yoga. Many museums, galleries and concert halls are offering free opportunities for seeing their collections or performances. I’ve attached a list below that someone in Italy sent me if anyone is interested. I am now trying to make cloth masks which I can wash and re-use. Masks are compulsory in some countries like China and the Czech Republic and the US is considering following suit. Other countries like Canada don’t particularly advocate them for the general public believing that they should be left for healthcare and front line workers. Although the most important thing is to keep your hands clean and not touch your face, I figure that covering your nose and mouth offers a degree of protection. Making a mask forced me me to haul out my sewing machine, which I hadn’t used in over 10 years, from my storage locker. Who knows, I might even start sewing other things if the curve takes long to flatten and we have to spend many more days at home.
Take care everyone and stay well.
1. Pinacoteca di Brera – Milan https://pinacotecabrera.org/
2. Uffizi Gallery – Florence https://www.uffizi.it/mostre-virtuali
3. Vatican Museums -Rome http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/it/collezioni/catalogo-online.html
4. Archeology Museum – Athens https://www.namuseum.gr/en/collections/
5. Prado – Madrid https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-works
6. Louvre – Paris https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
7. British Museum – London https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection
8. Metropolitan Museum – New York https://artsandculture.google.com/explore
9. Hermitage – St Petersberg https://bit.ly/3cJHdnj
10. National Gallery of Art – Washington https://www.nga.gov/index.html