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Personal Strategies During Quarantine

Contributor Bio

Alex Tarnava is the CEO of Drink HRW, and the primary inventor of the open-cup hydrogen tablets. Alex runs the clinical outreach program for our company, working with over a dozen universities coordinating research. Alex has also published research of his own. You can find it on his ResearchGate. Additionally, he has been interviewed for many prominent publications, such as Entrepreneur and Forbes, and on many popular Podcasts. You can find all of his interviews and articles on his media page.

Personal Strategies During Quarantine

Personal Strategies During Quarantine

The sweeping actions various governments have taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 has created a surreal situation with significant impacts on most people’s daily lives. These regulations are not just an inconvenience, but will lead to disastrous, long-term devastation to the world and local economies. It truly is a situation where the fear of the virus is likely more damaging than the virus itself. The reality is that there are no “adults in charge”, or rather, no one is making logical decisions based on evidence, but simply reacting to the situation as it unfolds. 

It’s easy to fixate on the errors the various levels of government in many countries have made, and are still making, which will undoubtedly lead to dramatically worse outcomes than could have been expected. For instance, neglect over easy precautions, delayed responses, and a lack of data. We are shutting down the world to keep social distancing, yet swarming into grocery stores in crowds. Some European countries have put limits on the amount of people allowed in stores at a time, and in North America, some are starting to put “x”s in the lines to show how much distance to keep. Further actions are likely coming but it is too little, too late.

On top of this, until recently, said grocery stores were doing nothing to aid in sanitation. Why were there not hand sanitizers at the entrance to the store, and at the end of every aisle? The ones that have it now, at least locally in Greater Vancouver, are still largely ineffective. They are hidden away, and often empty. Most countries failed to act and are now acting with very poor data. We aren’t testing enough, and we aren’t randomly testing the population. We cannot predict the trajectory of this pandemic without proper, statistical data. When considering the unknown amount of asymptomatic cases, and mild cases that are not warranting testing, it is impossible to know the true mortality rate. It is also impossible to know the real current rate of infection, meaning any estimates on peak infections and burden to the healthcare system and as such, appropriate regulatory actions aimed to flatten the curve are at best a shot in the dark. Without data, we have no way of knowing if these actions are causing more harm than good, or if the actions are even sufficient. Fixating on these errors will not help us with key issues: our mental sanity, and what we can do to quell the destruction of the economy. 

It’s very tempting to let this unprecedented situation disrupt focus on self-growth and distract us from our typical responsibilities. Memes aplenty suggest we treat this period as “another Christmas”. Based on the sharp decline in communications for business purposes, even from contacts that work remotely and should be unaffected (in their duties) from this situation, suggests many have taken this to heart, consciously or subconsciously. This is the absolute worst thing we can collectively be doing. The world is rocked by this pandemic, and the economy will take a long time to recover, possibly years. By further contributing to the decline we are individually adding to the devastation. Additionally, the longer we skirt our usual responsibilities, the harder it will be to get back into the groove once the dust settles.

Fuel Your Self Growth

Use this time to pursue projects and passions that you have put off, or neglected, to keep a sense of progress and accomplishment. Personally, every day I have tackled one item in my home that has long been neglected, i.e. organizing storage, etc. I’ve increased my weekly nature walk for self-care to a daily walk, and some days am going on two long walks. I’ve started a writing project that I was neglecting, due to the undertaking it will be. Think to yourself, what do you want to achieve that isn’t affected by social distancing? Is there a subject you want to learn? Buy some books. Find something to keep yourself busy, and to keep yourself growing as a person. 

As an addendum, do not use this extended social distancing to disregard your health. COVID-19 seems to be much harsher for those with elevated blood glucose, and elevated blood pressure. Do not treat this as a “second Christmas.” Eat as healthy as you can and stay active. If you can, get out into nature and go on walks, hikes, runs or bike rides, just make sure to keep appropriate space between yourself and others. Work out at home with whatever you have, your own bodyweight included. For those that need work out friends, utilize video calling to motivate yourself and your friends. Do not let your health fall apart.

Work & Contribute to Consumerism

I cannot state this firmly enough: If you have a job that is largely unaffected by the social distancing measures and you are able to, stay on top of it. Do not slack off, and do not use the pandemic as an excuse to lose focus. A large portion of the world economy is in disarray, we need those who are still able to fulfill their part to be doing so to the best of their abilities. The economic crash may come with far greater consequences than the virus. Everything we can be doing to keep our economy functioning; we need to be doing.

This includes consumerism. When we are afraid, we tend to buy less. If you have the financial means, and you haven’t lost your job, continue to purchase goods. Others depend on this. If we all shell up and stop buying, more and more companies will go bankrupt, and more and more will lose their jobs. This sort of economic collapse will come with far greater impact than losing a few weeks, or a month’s income. Governments are already recommending you pay gift cards to your favourite restaurant to keep local economies alive. This is great, but we no longer exist in a local economy. We cannot only be thinking about the small local restaurant, but also the planet. Most of us will be saving money on travel; contribute it elsewhere, at least in part. 

What We Need to Stop

People need to stop panic-buying necessities. Stop hoarding food, toilet paper and cleaning supplies. No one needs a year’s supply of toilet paper or a deep freezer full of meat. It’s selfish, contributes to food waste, and means others won’t have access to food or necessities.

We are standing at the precipice. The decisions and actions we take in the coming weeks and months will determine the outcomes and trajectory of our entire way of life. It’s important that we don’t just stay safe from the virus, but protect ourselves from the economic collapse the virus will cause. Hoarding and selfishness in this instance will ultimately lead to worse outcomes for all of us. Keeping the world functioning is in all of our best interests.


  • Alex Tarnava

    Hi John, of course this situation is very different than typical recessions. Many business’s are simply unable to function due to Govt. mandates for the good of society, which will lead to many of them, as well as other functioning business’s going under. This could be disastrous. Unemployment is already reaching record numbers, and restarting business’s takes a lot of effort and capital after they’ve wound down.

    Support business’s you want to continue existing after this, as well. Buy gift cards or delivery from local restaurants. Don’t cancel your local gym, sporting team dues, or martial arts membership even though you can’t use them.

    This is a terrible situation with no perfect solutions, made worse with increasing consequences of poor decisions by how much time has gone by without acquiring adequate information, i.e. large scale testing of a random population, and now no expedition of large scale antibody testing that is recently available.

  • john r gray

    Come for hydrogen. Find keynesian economics being preached. sigh

  • Garry Manning

    Apart from your first four paragraphs I couldn’t agree more. Those being the thrust of my comments to you. I worked in Emergency Management for quite a few years. My experience is it takes an enormous effort via factual information to get the general population to even begin to see the light and understand the ramifications of their actions or inactions. In today’s world social media undermines the facts so dramatically that no matter how many times organizations like the BCCDC or Gov Can state the facts the majority of social media comments shared to nauseum spread the opposite or at least invalid information and speculation. The majority of Canadian broadcasters, aka talk show hosts including some on the CBC, seem to be feeding on the hysteria and for what purpose? To broaden their listener groups? They have a moral and public responsibility to report and discuss factually especially in times like this. Now there’s a topic for a future blog if I ever heard of one. Until there is a method to manage social distancing that will work the onus is on us as individuals. Or if the COVID numbers increase dramatically, which is a very real possibility, ‘managing’ the general public’s interactions is an impossibility. Blame any or every level of government you like but Canada having been through SARS is better equipped to engage this new virus than most. That being said I couldn’t agree with you more re. random testing and more testing, but understand this, supplies are limited. To identify all cases of infection is an impossibility. Stats Can annually reports the numbers of influenza but how accurate are those numbers? How many times in your life have you had a flu bug and not seen a doctor? I know myself a doctor’s visit for the flu is a rarity. So in fact those stats give us a generalized approximation of any out break for future planning, flu shots and the like. In the first two weeks known of this virus reaching our border BC alone tested almost 2000 times more than the entire United States and those stats keep growing. Could more be done – obviously but logistically how. Could they have closed a few borders sooner – you bet and I was wishing for it from the start. I only hope the strategy was to manage general hysteria and not increase panic buying but that doesn’t help us much now. At this stage of the game anyone who travels outside of our country my friend should be on notice that they are on their own and not to expect the government to rescue them from their self risk chances. We need to focus on control, containment and then recovery. Anyone who thinks this isn’t definitely going to result in some form of recession throughout the world is delusional. The funds being spent on the pandemic come from every source at the government’s disposal instead of infrastructure, economic growth programs and the like with incoming revenues diminished caused by the economic down turn that has been created by COVID. Not an easy subject to address.

    But if each and every one of us does our part in maintaining social separation or even better self isolation when possible, not hording essentials, good hygiene practises and as you stated exploring other avenues for personal growth and health maintenance we can all look forward to a quicker end to the current situation. Like yourself I’ve been knocking a few things off the to-do list and continuing a healthy diet with some self control and kicking myself in the butt to exercise more. The side benefit is better mental health, not a bad side effect.

    Cheers and stay healthy,
    Garry Manning.

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