With more than 1.1 lakh people infected and over 3,800 dead across the world, coronavirus has forced many countries to issue health advisories for people to stay indoors and avoid crowds. For one section of society, this is music to their ears.
The coronavirus scare has given introverts, homebodies and agoraphobics the perfect opportunity to cancel plans without shame and no longer face the pressure to attend social events.
Although coronavirus is a serious epidemic, it’s no surprise that paranoia benefits a few. In a first, the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo did not fall into this category because the prime minister and the home minister have publicly announced that they will be avoiding Holi gatherings in light of the outbreak.
One thing’s for certain during these dangerous times — it’s better to be solo than sorry.
Self-isolation is now an obligation
Reportedly, being within six-feet of an infected person for 10 minutes or longer, or having face-to-face contact with them, can pose significant risks to non-infected people. So, authorities in many countries, including India, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, have encouraged air travellers to self-isolate themselves for at least 14 days.
As avoiding contact with people became the number one preventive measure next to face masks and hand sanitisers, the introvert memes on Twitter came flooding in.
Reaction after reading things to avoid doing to protect yourself from corona virus.
Extroverts Introverts pic.twitter.com/sP000BRwat
— डी.के. (@itsdhruvism) March 6, 2020
Even when the US’ national public health institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insisted that sick people and the elderly stay home, introverts interpreted this as “so just be myself?”.
CDC: To prevent coronavirus stay home, avoid physical contact and don't go into large crowds.
Introverts: I've been preparing for this moment my entire life.
— Matthew (@CrowsFault) February 28, 2020
Bans on handshakes and shift to fist bumps have also allowed germaphobes to cut down on all the fun, and those step-by-step explanations on how to wash your hands are just a cherry on top.
Cancelling plans has never been so easy
If you’re someone who loathes social interactions and small talk, you would agree that the coronavirus scare is the best thing since headphones. Or, if you haven’t already used the epidemic as an excuse to get out of a social event, chances are that the event will be cancelled or postponed before you do.
Across the world, weddings, funerals, religious and cultural events are being cancelled. In a 6 March article titled ‘Coronavirus Puts a Wrinkle in Wedding Industry’, The New York Times’ Rebecca Halleck explains how weddings across the US are falling like dominoes, with destination weddings becoming a big no-no.
In some countries, such as Italy, restaurants and cafes in quarantine zones are on close watch and can be opened at only certain hours of the day, which means all the more reason to stay home.
Even as working from home becomes a temporary reality, introverts no longer have to dread water cooler conversations or exchanging awkward looks with their bosses in the bathroom.
An introvert’s dream
If there are two people who embody the introvert’s perspective, they are Cheryl and Paul Molesky — an old American couple who in February was aboard a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan.
In a series of vlogs, the Moleskys documented their time in quarantine, daily chores like making the bed, cleaning the toilet and disinfecting their room all while lounging in bathrobes.
On Day 4 of their quarantine, Cheryl can be heard saying: “Really it’s kind of an introvert’s dream here. I don’t have to get dressed in the morning, I can sit out on the balcony and read all day”.