Is quarantine necessary?

Millions of people across many countries have been cooped up in their homes for months bored out of their minds and slowly descending into madness. Everyone hates the situation we’re in. But, as more information is gathered about coronavirus, we may realize that quarantine may not even be necessary, or at least not doing as much good as we hoped.

The whole point of quarantine was to make sure that people don’t spend time in large groups. At the beginning stages of the virus, the world felt that the best way to prevent spreading was to shut everything down that required mass gatherings of people. But as the virus progressed, information revealed that the only people that are really at risk of dying from the virus are people with pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable or the elderly whose immune systems are weakened. In fact, only 3 in the entire world aged 0 to 17 have died from coronavirus, and all of them had pre-existing conditions. If the coronavirus is hardly affecting the youth (in terms of deaths), why do we all need to be sheltered indoors? Many suggest that the goal of quarantine is to prevent the spread of coronavirus to the people who have a realistic chance of not surviving.

A recent USC study conducted found that 221,000 to 442,000 adults in the county have been infected. That estimate is 28 to 55 times higher than the 7,994 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. at the time of the study in early April. This means that an incredibly high amount of adults have already gotten the virus, despite the country’s best attempts to keep it at bay. As a result, the mortality rate is much, much smaller than previously thought. The study’s data also implies that people who may think they don’t have the virus may have it, and they are, unknowingly, spreading the virus. It is possible that everyone in your family has had the coronavirus and beaten it without even noticing. It may have seemed like a regular cold. However, these facts could argue for either side. Because the virus is much more infectious, we should be even more careful with quarantine, right? But, because COVID-19 is also much more harmless than we thought, quarantine can be considered unnecessary because the virus still continues to spread as a result of most of the population being carriers. 

The truth of the matter is that we still don’t have enough information about the virus to make a relevant argument either way. We could find in a few weeks that actually the USC study was wrong and the virus is actually twice as infectious as previously thought. The virus also may mutate and become twice as deadly as before. More studies by USC and other sources are currently being worked on, which will reveal more information. But as it stands now, it seems that the quarantine has largely been unsuccessful in making a difference in terms of the rate of infection. Additionally, it is reasonable to begin considering if the quarantine is really a reasonable solution, or if we are simply boring ourselves to death for nothing. For now, though, stay indoors, stay healthy and keep yourself and others well-informed.