Around the world, people are quarantining themselves, wary of contracting or unknowingly spreading the novel coronavirus. TRT World talks to three people about their experiences.
“I had a call with a life coach on Sunday and that was really uplifting,” says Cara Goldstein, from the town of Berkeley in California.
Since Friday night, the 40-year-old has been in self-quarantine inside her apartment like millions of others around the world.
The life coach told Goldstein to think of a pleasant feeling and try to create that no matter what the circumstances.
“I thought about my students and what I’m happy teaching, and that’s cartooning,” Goldstein says to TRT World.
“So I’m trying to find ways to mentor kids who are making comics and I’m encouraging friends to post creative projects on my Facebook page and for parents to post the artwork made from my lessons.”
Goldstein, a tenured art teacher and curriculum developer for San Francisco Unified, the school district in San Francisco, has stocked up her home with frozen and canned foods, and she says she has been keeping busy with creative projects.
She says she has been working on lesson plans for an online school she’s starting, and has created a platform on Facebook where parents can download art lessons and printables.
Goldstein says what she misses the most is the daily interaction with her students. “I need to see art being made,” she says. “Because that’s my day job to motivate people, to be creative and guide them towards a project.”
Goldstein teaches mostly seven to 11 year olds, about 120 students a day, but she also teaches adult courses as well, privately or in groups.
“My self quarantine is mostly about connecting online, reconnecting with old friends, checking up on people important to me, trying to figure out how to get my content in a digital format, and remembering to eat,” Goldstein says.
She says she may have to step out to get more groceries once her supply is low, and that she doesn’t have a laundromat in her building so she will have to drive for five minutes to wash her clothes.
Kaveh Nematipour, an Iranian citizen who lives and works in Istanbul, is out grocery shopping when TRT World talks to him. “I’m wearing a mask waiting in line in Migros,” he laughs bitterly.
Nematipour, 39, works for a software company called Pax Turkiye and says he is privileged because he can work from home during the coronavirus self-quarantine and still get paid.
“Others may not be so lucky,” he says. “I know someone with a toddler who can stay home without pay for maybe a month, but after that you need to start earning again.”
He says he has been holed up at home since he got back from work on Friday evening and that he has some canned food and rice that he buys at the beginning of the month every month.
He realises the situation is dire, and has no plans to see friends anytime soon, but says he is happy he will get to practice the violin he bought himself three-four months ago.
Being a developer, Nematipour can make his own schedule and says he has one and half extra hours a day on his hands, now that his commute is no longer necessary.
“I had been worried about annoying the neighbours,” he says, “but now I can go online for music classes and practice during the day.”
“No one from my immediate family is in Iran,” he adds.
Nematipour is worried because his mother is still going to work in the US, and his father is in lockdown in France. His brothers in Germany are in self-quarantine. As for his few friends back home in Tehran, none of them are sick, but “morale is very low.”
Dispatch from Milan
Erica Dawson, in Milan, Italy, says that the number of deaths have been “too high.” She and her family live in an apartment building with a courtyard, so she is able to take her one year old twins Carlo and Leonardo Merella out to play.
“We take turns with the neighbours,” Dawson tells TRT World. “So me and the kids, we go to the courtyard every day at 11 am. They are too young to understand anything that’s going on, that I can’t just take them to the park without being stopped to explain myself to the police,” she says.
In Milan, residents are only allowed to go to the grocery shops, pharmacies or newsagents. If they have any special circumstances, they are supposed to walk around with a certificate that explains their situation.
Dawson says most people are pretty good with complying with the requirements as they know how serious the situation is. “We are all waiting,” she says, “to see whether our numbers will go down like China’s did, and if all this [work to curb the spread of the coronavirus] will work.”