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My Observation of Coronavirus Quarantine

Updated on April 18, 2020
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Before retiring, Jack worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


It has been a month since the quarantine order for the New York area and most of America. It now has been extended another month to May 15. This past month, besides the health safety concerns, has been an experiment in human behavior. What happens to people when they are forced to stay home and away from social face to face contact. Technology has filled the gap. We have FaceTime, smart phones, zoom conference, and emails and texting and the internet. However, all those social interactions are no replacement for people to people contact.

- April 2020

Some Reactions...

In my dealings with friends, families and colleagues, I found there are generally four groups of people.

  • normal as if nothing changed
  • pessimistic and scared
  • optimistic and productive
  • extreme irrational

These seems to be overly simplified but it is my observation. If there are others, I would like to hear about it in the comment section at the end of this article.


This group tends to be loners to begin with. They go about their life not interacting with others very much. They have few friends. They find ways to entertain themselves even before the quarantine. They try to continue their activities as best they can and have very little impact by this social distancing.

This group are just waiting it out and looking forward to the end of quarantine so they can return to their normal activities prior to the quarantine.

Pessimistic and Scared

This group of people are scared of this unknown. They are reacting based on their emotions. It is perfectly understandable. They are scared because they fear the worst. A pessimistic view of things to come. These group tends to be socially connected. They have lots of friends. They socialize with their friends and family members. They are concerned about their own safety and the safety of everyone around them. They feel a little helpless and do not know what they can do during this crisis.

They will watch the news and follow every new details and revelations looking for answers. In a time where real answers are hard to come by, it is a reasonable reaction.

Optimistic and Productive

This group are optimists. They know these events will pass regardless of the dire nature. They have confidence in our society to work this out. Even though we may not have a solution at this moment, they believe we will come out of this just fine.

They rather channel their energy to accomplish something. They will use this time to do things that they did not have the time in the past. They will read a book, start a hobby, or volunteer their time and energy...

Even stuck at home, there are many things we can do online or via zoom meetings. They can fund raise and help other people in need during this crisis.

It is like the old saying, making lemonade out of lemons.

One of my former fencing teammate has used this time to create a video tribute to one of our top fencing colleagues who is turning 75 this May. We intend to hold a surprise zoom meeting to celebrate. He was the World Champion in the Vet 70 Men epee division 2 years ago.

Someone sent me a link to the following piece of animation accompanying Beethoven 5th creative!!!

Someone Created This Piece of Graphic Animation

Extreme Irrational

This last group is the most disturbing. The above three groups are understandable given the personality differences of people in general. Each is a result of their personal outlook on life.

This last group is bordering on paranoid. I will give a few examples on what I mean. I am a member the Fencers Club of NY. Prior to this quarantine, many of our members meet once or twice a week at the club to practice and compete and get our exercise. Some use it to get out their frustrations at their job or their personal life. Fencing is one of the best sports for mind and body coordination.

It is also one on one combat without body to body contact. We were a mask and jacket and pant and glove and protective gear. It is one of the safest sport. The weapons are made of flexible steel and without a sharp point or a cutting edge.

Because of the quarantine, our club is closed. Our members are stuck at home, many are living in small apartments without access to outdoor fresh air or room to exercise.

Some are conducting zoom meetings with the coaches to get lessons from their garage.

Some are sending email blasts to a group of our members to the tune of 5 or more a day.

Some are using their time and energy to go after President Trump with jokes and cartoons...


Here is what I've been doing during the quarantine. I started a daily diary summarizing what I did...

A Simple Poll

Which group do you belong to?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Jack Lee


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