Important Things We've Learned During Cincinnati Quarantine (and Hope to Remember Moving Forward)

Chances are, if you are a human on the planet Earth, you’ve recently spent the last four to six weeks (or more) in some type of quarantine — self-imposed, government-mandated or a combination of both. Unless, of course, you’re a health care worker, essential employee or have other extenuating circumstances that meant you couldn’t safely lock yourself away at home while figuring out what household textile to use as makeshift toilet paper or whether to binge Tiger King or Love Is Blind first. So why has the entire world come to a collective halt? Because we have no immunity to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, a highly contagious and what seems to be highly deadly (to certain people) respiratory illness that has overwhelmed hospitals across the world, infecting more than 3.5 million people and killing more than 248,000 globally from January to May, according to Johns Hopkins University. There’s no real treatment (no, you cannot inject yourself with disinfectant or beams of light) and no vaccine, although scientists, medical professionals, researchers and Bill Gates are scrambling to find both. In the meantime, social distancing has been a stop-gap measure to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve,” everyone’s favorite phrase for using isolation to decrease the amount of humans infected with the virus to avoid inundating the health care system and killing everyone. So, yes, we did acquire a new viral vocabulary during quarantine, but what else have we learned in the midst of this global pause? And what meaningful lessons about empathy, resilience and our shared humanity will we take with us as we move forward — masked and hand-sanitized — into the future? Other than to be a better person and never take restaurants for granted again...
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John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
Between Covington and downtown Cincinnati
Originally conceived as the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, the Roebling Bridge officially opened to traffic, connecting the two riverfronts, on January 1, 1867. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. For over 150 years — after much upkeep and refortification — the castle-like columns have stood tall on the Ohio River and have since become a trademark of the city’s skyline. Pedestrians are free to cross the bridge and admire the craftsmanship along the way to their destination.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge

Between Covington and downtown Cincinnati
Originally conceived as the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, the Roebling Bridge officially opened to traffic, connecting the two riverfronts, on January 1, 1867. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. For over 150 years — after much upkeep and refortification — the castle-like columns have stood tall on the Ohio River and have since become a trademark of the city’s skyline. Pedestrians are free to cross the bridge and admire the craftsmanship along the way to their destination.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
1. What six feet apart actually looks like.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people practice social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which basically means standing six feet apart from each other so you can’t spew infected goo droplets onto other people. But “six feet” is a difficult concept to understand for those with no spatial awareness. So here are things that take up six feet: two averaged-sized dogs standing nose to tail, two grocery carts, a dude in a top hat laying on the ground, a dining room table, a bathtub, three arm spans and about one and 1/5ths Danny DeVitos. 
Photo: Markus Spiske/Pexels

1. What six feet apart actually looks like.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people practice social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which basically means standing six feet apart from each other so you can’t spew infected goo droplets onto other people. But “six feet” is a difficult concept to understand for those with no spatial awareness. So here are things that take up six feet: two averaged-sized dogs standing nose to tail, two grocery carts, a dude in a top hat laying on the ground, a dining room table, a bathtub, three arm spans and about one and 1/5ths Danny DeVitos.
Photo: Markus Spiske/Pexels
2. There are multiple names for the same disease.
The novel coronavirus, in the same family as SARS and MERS, goes by COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2. And it went by a third name — the “Chinese virus” — but President Trump decided to stop using the term, which he coined, in late March after many pointed out it was pretty racist. Although, to be fair, the 1918 flu pandemic is still called the “Spanish Flu” and one can imagine several Spanish people took issue with that.
Photo via NIAID / CC BY

2. There are multiple names for the same disease.

The novel coronavirus, in the same family as SARS and MERS, goes by COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2. And it went by a third name — the “Chinese virus” — but President Trump decided to stop using the term, which he coined, in late March after many pointed out it was pretty racist. Although, to be fair, the 1918 flu pandemic is still called the “Spanish Flu” and one can imagine several Spanish people took issue with that.
Photo via NIAID / CC BY
3. The literal shape of COVID-19.
Looks like a Koosh ball or the iPhone germ emoji.
Photo via Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

3. The literal shape of COVID-19.

Looks like a Koosh ball or the iPhone germ emoji.
Photo via Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
4. What a pangolin is.
These cute-ass scaly anteaters are thought to have been an intermediate host for COVID-19, which may have jumped from bat to pangolin to human in a wet market in Wuhan, China — where the virus originated. In light of the pandemic, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture recently released a list of approved terrestrial animals that can be used for food; pangolins did not make an appearance. So it seems best to avoid eating them. Or bats. Or humans.
Photo via MichalPL / CC BY-SA

4. What a pangolin is.

These cute-ass scaly anteaters are thought to have been an intermediate host for COVID-19, which may have jumped from bat to pangolin to human in a wet market in Wuhan, China — where the virus originated. In light of the pandemic, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture recently released a list of approved terrestrial animals that can be used for food; pangolins did not make an appearance. So it seems best to avoid eating them. Or bats. Or humans.
Photo via MichalPL / CC BY-SA
5. How to not touch our faces.
Don’t. That’s how germs get into your body.
Photo: Josue Ladoo Pelegrin/Pexels

5. How to not touch our faces.

Don’t. That’s how germs get into your body.
Photo: Josue Ladoo Pelegrin/Pexels
6. To always have at least two weeks’ worth of toilet paper.
Do. That’s how you clean your butt.
Photo: Jasmin Sessler/Unsplash

6. To always have at least two weeks’ worth of toilet paper.

Do. That’s how you clean your butt.
Photo: Jasmin Sessler/Unsplash
7. Every song with a 20-second chorus.
“Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others,” says the CDC. And the best way to keep your digits disease-free is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds — or the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice — over and over and over again throughout the day. So while the public was discovering the importance of timed hygiene, and the mind-numbing repetition of singing happy birthday to themselves, they also uncovered every other song with a 20-second chorus to break up the monotony of bathroom karaoke. The next time you wash your hands, trying singing the chorus to: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene;” “Queen’s “We Will Rock You;” Beyoncé’s “Love on Top;” Prince’s “Raspberry Beret;” Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide;” Toto’s “Africa;” Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts;” or The Knack’s “My Sharona (Corona).”
Photo: Pexels

7. Every song with a 20-second chorus.

“Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others,” says the CDC. And the best way to keep your digits disease-free is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds — or the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice — over and over and over again throughout the day. So while the public was discovering the importance of timed hygiene, and the mind-numbing repetition of singing happy birthday to themselves, they also uncovered every other song with a 20-second chorus to break up the monotony of bathroom karaoke. The next time you wash your hands, trying singing the chorus to: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene;” “Queen’s “We Will Rock You;” Beyoncé’s “Love on Top;” Prince’s “Raspberry Beret;” Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide;” Toto’s “Africa;” Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts;” or The Knack’s “My Sharona (Corona).”
Photo: Pexels
8. The virus has exposed racial disparities in the U.S.
The coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact on the African-American community. In Michigan, for example, the group makes up 13.6 percent of the population but one-third of the state’s coronavirus cases and 41 percent of its deaths. Generations of discriminatory housing and economic practices have trapped many black people in economically depressed neighborhoods, where residents are far more likely to have pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. A disproportionate number of lower-income residents also work in the service industry, where employees are in close contact with the public.
Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng/Unsplash

8. The virus has exposed racial disparities in the U.S.

The coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact on the African-American community. In Michigan, for example, the group makes up 13.6 percent of the population but one-third of the state’s coronavirus cases and 41 percent of its deaths. Generations of discriminatory housing and economic practices have trapped many black people in economically depressed neighborhoods, where residents are far more likely to have pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. A disproportionate number of lower-income residents also work in the service industry, where employees are in close contact with the public.
Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng/Unsplash
9. The names of so many governors.
And the surprising amount of power they wield.
Photo: The State of Ohio

9. The names of so many governors.

And the surprising amount of power they wield.
Photo: The State of Ohio