The novel coronavirus: My quarantine diary

The novel coronavirus: My quarantine diary

Josh Stiefel, at home in Teaneck.
Josh Stiefel, at home in Teaneck.

On February 23, I attended a family celebration in New Rochelle. On March 3, my family and I received a message that someone at the party had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

The New York State Department of Health mandated that everyone who attended the party go into a 5-day quarantine (a total of 14 days since the possible exposure). This included my parents, my sister, and me. We needed to ensure that we did not have the virus and that we did not spread it to others.

We stocked up on food and prepared to stay indoors at our home. It was painful not to be in school at Yeshivat Noam with my friends, but I accepted the situation. Quarantine is the best measure to ensure public safety.

Yes, I was bored for long periods of time. Yes, I was rather sick of my family after the whole ordeal. And yes, I watched a different movie on Netflix every day. But taking part in quarantine helped keep our community safe.

Online classes

On March 9, I went back to school. As the virus spread, many schools in my area, Teaneck, started to close. I have several friends who are taking part in virtual classes. The teacher conducts class through a website called Zoom, and students participate from home.

I wondered if my school would be next. Would we have measures like this? Would I need to go into quarantine again?

Sure enough, on March 12, my school closed. It is working hard to train teachers to conduct classes online. I will be home for an indefinite amount of time. At least this time, my friends from school are at home, too, and I can call them.

“Flattening the curve”

My father, Larry Stiefel, is a pediatrician. I asked him why social distancing and quarantine policies have been put in place.

“This is all part of a measure from public health officials called ‘flattening the curve,’” he said. “Given that the disease has progressed this far, this makes it easier to slow down the spread of it, so that our healthcare systems can deal with those infected safely, and we do not overwhelm our doctors and hospitals.” As the outbreak grows, essential medical equipment could be in short supply.

Reprinted with permission from Scholastic Kids Press

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