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Living Alone In Lockdown: How To Keep Yourself Healthy And Occupied At Home 

In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics released findings that showed levels of loneliness had climbed to record levels within the past year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings showed that 8% of adults were feeling “always or often lonely,” and 16-29-year-olds were twice as likely to experience those same feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. 

Even individuals who were previously living by themselves have claimed that this pandemic has forced them to rethink their entire way of life. Some experts claim that long-term social isolation is as bad for your health as 15 cigarettes a day; obviously this is in reference to complete and total isolation, however, being trapped in your home with nothing but a smartphone to show you the outside world is anything but healthy.

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Many individuals living alone have also found themselves in the unlucky position of being unemployed due to the decline in economies throughout the world as well. The combination of complete solitude and lack of employment is leaving individuals to get trapped in their own heads, and being in the middle of a deadly global pandemic is causing those inner voices to become much louder. 

Brenda is a 71-year-old UK resident who lives by herself. She recently spoke with the media about how the pandemic and its isolation has given a lot of people the opportunity to self-reflect, which doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. 

“I’m not the sort of person who thinks about dying, but I suddenly found myself wanting to clear my papers and get rid of clutter, as it wouldn’t be fair on my daughters if I passed. All the things I’d ignored by surrounding myself with others came to the front of my mind,” she explained as she broke down how a lot of us have also lost the ability to interact with each other because of this pandemic.

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“What I found odd, having been very sociable before, was that you almost lose the art of it. A friend turned 70 last summer and her daughter threw a party; 15 people were allowed. I really looked forward to it but on the day I felt strange. I always liked living by myself, but total isolation from society is a different thing altogether. As the year wore on I missed people terribly and fell into some real slumps.”

Lonely people are much more likely to turn to negative vices, like drinking and smoking, when left in complete isolation. The addition of a deadly virus spreading around the world has many individuals caring less about their health when it should have the opposite effect. Experts claim the best way to combat this is creating a daily schedule for yourself that allows you time to explore your creative side and pick up some new hobbies. 

Many individuals have turned to things like baking bread, painting, knitting, puzzles, running, etc. to pass the time and better their lives while stuck inside. Doing activities that stimulate your body, mind, and spirit and keep you engaged are the best for combatting these negative feelings. 

One of the most important things to remember, however, is to really listen to yourself and your feelings. No one should ever feel alone, even if they’re living on the top of a hill thousands of miles away from everyone. Take care of your body and mind, and look into online therapy options if you think talking out your thoughts will help you move past them. Many of us have been focusing on keeping our bodies healthy throughout this pandemic due to the virus, but don’t forget that mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more important. Treat yourself kindly, and never be afraid to ask for help.

China Covid-19

China Is Building Massive Covid-19 Quarantine Camps For 4,000 Infected Residents

China is in the middle of building a massive quarantine camp that can house more than 4,000 individuals after a Covid-19 outbreak this month left tens of millions of residents under strict lockdown. 

The quarantine camp itself is located on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang, the capital of the Hebei province which surrounds the country’s capital of Beijing. China for the most part has been successful in containing the spread of the virus, and has even been able to return to some sense of normalcy within the past few months. However, a sudden rise in cases that appeared before the Lunar New Year had officials worried for the future of the pandemic. 

The Lunar New Year in China is the country’s most important festival that occurs every year. During it, hundreds of millions of individuals from all over the world typically travel to China to visit their family and celebrate. The country went on strict lockdown following the week-long festivities. 

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Officials in Shijiazhuang, where the outbreak is centered, have begun mass testing citizens and enforcing strict lockdowns as they’ve done in the past to contain the spread. Entire villages were forced to move to centralized quarantine facilities as an extreme attempt to curb the spread of the virus. 

The new quarantine camps are meant to house close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients. Authorities will locate these individuals through contact tracing and then inform them that they have been in close contact with someone infected and need to quarantine at the camp to ensure that they aren’t spreading the virus any further. 

Originally the camps were only meant to house 3,000 people but has since been expanded to a capacity of 4,160 to deal with any new cases that appear. Authorities began initial construction on January 13th and the first section of the camp is now available for use. 

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Each room in the camp measures around 194 square feet and comes with an en suite bathroom, shower, desk, chair, bed, WiFi, and television set as well. The quarantine camps actually initially appeared as an idea in the beginning of the pandemic as a means of easing the pressure on hospitals who were becoming overwhelmed with patients.

China was able to set up temporary hospital’s that could house 1,000 individuals, which is what gave officials the confidence to set up this quarantine camp in a timely manner. The opening of the camp couldn’t have come at a better time for China either, as the nation reported 103 new cases and 58 asymptomatic infections across four different provinces. 

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the official death toll is 4,635, according to health officials. All 11 million residents of Shijiazhuang are now barred from leaving the city in accordance with the lockdown procedures the government is enforcing. More than 20,000 citizens have since been relocated to other quarantine sites as well as a preventive measure.

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Some Of The Most Popular Pets Being Adopted During The Pandemic 

Dogs and cats have always dominated in terms of popular pets for the whole family, and while the Covid-19 pandemic has given numerous households the opportunity to commit to raising a puppy or kitten full time, many are opting for some more unique additions to their family while enduring the rest of the pandemic. 

According to Pets4Homes, an online resource used by many Americans for finding or putting up adoption listings for any and all pets, nearly 20,000 parrots were rehomed in 2020; a 79% increase when compared to 2019. The company claims this is likely because many individuals got tired of the silence in their homes and wanted an animal that could talk back to them. 

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That’s not all either, according to Pets4Homes stats on the past year a wide variety of extremely unique pets have risen in popularity amid the numerous lockdowns the US has endured within the past ten months. Chickens, salamanders, ferrets, quails, tarantulas, and stick insects are among some of the coolest species on the list. 

Lily Wakefield is an average citizen who recently spoke with the media about this unique pet phenomenon and discussed why her and her housemates became obsessed with the idea of owning and raising baby quails after watching numerous TikTok videos about it. TikTok and social media in general has been a major player in getting all of these diverse species onto people’s feeds and thus getting them interested in what it would be like to be an owner of that species. 

“The quails are very funny and have individual personalities. They’re also a great conversation starter as nobody is doing anything in lockdown, and we get so many eggs to give to our neighbors.”

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Daniella Dos Santos is the senior vice president of the British Veterinary Association who also spoke with the press about how while it’s awesome to see so many animals finding loving homes, many of these owners don’t actually take the time to learn about all the specific care that goes into taking care of these species. 

She also went on to discuss how in a year from now when the world is likely back to normal, many of these owners may begin to neglect their pets once they’re able to go out into the real world again. Remember, for these pets, you’re their whole life, and your home is also the only space they will occupy for their entire life. We all now know what it’s like to be stuck in our homes indefinitely, so make sure you’re giving your pet the best care and most loving and entertaining life possible, and make sure you do the research!

Many of these animals have indeed found those loving spaces and owners that actually need their new friends as much as they need them. Romy Miller is a barista who said she found comfort in adopting her axolotl Pluto. Axolotl’s are nicknamed “little water dragons,” to give you an idea of what they look like. 

Miller explained how lockdown gave us all the opportunity to appreciate those we love the most, and that includes our animals. People are finally able to really commit to their pets like they should’ve been all along, and give them the same level of love and emotional companionship that all pets give to their owners.

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Using Technology To Keep In Touch Over The Holidays 

The holidays are obviously going to be much different this year. As most of us have already experienced with Thanksgiving, taking advantage of the multitude of digital tools out there that keep us connected with our loved ones has been the best way to keep the holidays alive this year. Since we won’t be able to celebrate Christmas and all the other holidays normally this year, it’s time to start planning some digital festivities to keep the positive spirit up!

First, choose a good medium to use to connect you with your loved ones. As most of us know at this point, Zoom is one of the best platforms for video-chatting with multiple individuals at once, however, for most users they’re limited to a 40-minute time-stamp for video calls which then prompts users to create a new room and send out the link again. On Thanksgiving, Zoom removed the 40-minute limit so that families could talk for an unlimited amount of time, and while they will likely do this again at some point for Christmas, there are other platforms one could easily use too. 

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Google Meet doesn’t require any additional software to be downloaded onto your device, you just need a Google account. FaceTime also allows for over 30 individuals to be in a call at once, so if you and your loved ones all own Apple devices this is another great option for you to connect. 

Next, make a nice set up for your device. Chances are you don’t want to spend the whole night sitting at a table or desk and talking with your family, so set it up in a comfortable spot in your home that makes it feel as though your entire family is in the room with you. If you have a smart TV or streaming box of any kind, you likely will be able to stream your device’s screen onto the television. By setting up your computer where the TV is as well, it will seem as though your entire family is at the center of your space.  

If you’re alone for the call, or can manage it with multiple people, wear headphones for the call. This way you’re able to move throughout your space and still hear everyone clearly, assuming you own wireless headphones. Additionally, most video-chatting platforms work better when the users wear headphones in terms of audio feedback. 

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For most platforms, when one individual is speaking, everyone else’s mics are typically muted, so sometimes the audio can sound really choppy when multiple people are trying to speak at once. If everyone’s wearing headphones, this problem is much less persistent. 

Make it a full on event and sync up a cocktail hour, appetizer, and dinner time with your family. By having and sticking to a schedule, it will really feel like you’re all together and celebrating at once. If you want to take it a step further, try to sync up the entire menu so that everyone is eating and enjoying the same meal. This is a great way to keep any holiday traditions alive in terms of the meal and what you and your family tend to create together. 

Finally, have fun with it. Maybe set up some digital holiday games that everyone can enjoy within their living rooms, or set up a secret Santa drop off so that everyone can open their gifts to one another on screen in front of the individuals who got them the gifts. Just because our holidays are looking different this year doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice any of the joy and spirit that makes this time of year so magical.

Open-Bed-Online-Dating-Site

How The Covid-19 Pandemic Has Changed The Way We Date | Open Bed

Using online platforms to find potential relationship matches is nothing new, however, now that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic that forces everyone to stay home and remain distant from the rest of the world, using the internet to find love has shifted into something completely different than simply swiping and messaging people you find attractive.

Covid-19 on Swedish Flag

Sweden Quickly Moves To Enforce New Lockdown Measures As Covid-19 Cases Rise 

If we think back to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden was one of the countries that the rest of the world was looking at for guidance in terms of combatting this deadly virus. The country was one of the only in the world that never imposed a lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic, however, now Sweden is implementing stricter measures as a second wave of infections is taking a toll on its citizens and hospitals. 

On Monday, the Swedish government announced that public gatherings of more than eight people are not allowed. This is a major shift for a country that has previously been relying on voluntary measures and guidance throughout this pandemic. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced the new gathering limits this week; previously the limit stated that gatherings had to be 50 people or less. 

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“This is the new norm for the entire society. Don’t go to gyms, don’t go to libraries, don’t host dinners. Cancel it all.”

The ban will begin being enforced on November 24th and is set to last for at least four weeks. Previously, Sweden was viewed as a vision of aspiration for other European countries that began seeing major new spikes in cases starting this summer. Many European countries of smaller sizes were able to recover from the first wave of infections more easily due to the smaller population densities, however, as those restrictions began to loosen, cases began to rise everywhere again, and now Sweden is no different. 

Most schools, businesses, bars, restaurants, and cafes, however, will be remaining open, despite some major international criticism from neighboring European countries who claim that those businesses and establishments are what led to the rise in cases in the first place. Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnall defended the new strategy by claiming it was striking a “balance between public safety and protecting the economy.” 

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However, as we’ve seen in America, when you put protecting the economy within the plan to prevent Covid-19 from spreading, you’re likely to keep a multitude of establishments open that will lead to an increase in foot traffic and new cases. Schools, bars, and restaurants have proven to be amazing breeding grounds for this virus, as they all promote close contact and cross contamination. 

Government data has shown that the number of daily new confirmed cases started to rise again in Sweden in early October, and thus hospitalizations began increasing two to three weeks later.  Daily deaths also hit double digits in early November, which is fairly shocking for the country. 

Sweden recorded almost 6,000 new daily Covid-19 cases last week alone, bringing its total number of confirmed infections up to 177,355 and counting; for context Sweden has around 10 million residents. The death rate per capita in Sweden is also several times higher than any of its neighbors, however, countries like Denmark, Finland, and Norway have roughly half the population of Sweden each.

Business Closed due to Covid-19

Adviser For Joe Biden Suggests 6-Week Lockdown To Slow Spread Of Covid-19

A top-adviser for president-elect Joe Biden recently discussed the possibility of a national 6-week lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Apple Picking

Fun Fall Activities You Can Still Do During The Pandemic 

Covid-19 has uprooted all of our lives. Now that autumn has officially started and the three-month holiday season has begun, it’s time to start planning some fun themed activities to keep you and your loved ones busy as we take on the upcoming months of quarantining in colder weather. 

Apple Picking: This is a great activity that the whole family will enjoy. Luckily, apple orchards naturally are socially distanced, so you and your loved ones can walk around the open space of apple trees while picking some fresh fruit. Most orchards also offer outdoor dining and shopping excursions that are available as well. 

Hiking: Before the weather gets really cold (depending on where you live in the world) take advantage of the cool and cozy fall weather by taking a hike at your local nature preserve. Want even more of an adventure? Look up places to hike near you that require a little bit of a drive to get to. This way you can go out and experience a new environment while enjoying all the fall foliage. 

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Make Some Fun Fall Recipes/Cocktails: There are numerous resources online for easy and fun fall recipes that you can make at home! Thanksgiving isn’t the only day of the year to really embrace pumpkin and apple flavors, so use all your freshly picked apples to make a homemade pie or spike cider. 

Take A Nature Drive: One of the simplest pleasures I’ve found myself appreciating during this pandemic is going out for drives. After spending the first few months locked in my room, I decided to get in my car, roll down my windows, put on my driving playlist and just start driving. Now that all the leaves are starting to change colors, there’s never been a better time to get in your car and drive around to see some of the beautiful sights nature has to offer.  

Decorating Pumpkins: This classic Halloween tradition has always been an at-home activity, so why should a pandemic stop that from happening? Going to your local pumpkin patch and picking out a pumpkin to carve is the perfect way to feel like you’re having a typical fall experience. 

Clean Out Your Closet: Home organization always falls under the category of “spring cleaning” however, fall is the perfect time to clean out your wardrobe and prepare it for the potential influx of new clothing items you’ll be getting from Santa in a few months.

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DIY Halloween Costumes: Since Halloween will likely be cancelled this year in terms of going out and celebrating, why not celebrate in your own way by creating something amazing to wear. You and everyone you’re quarantined with could even coordinate a group outfit to make together and then have a spooky photo-shoot to share with friends and keep the Halloween spirit alive. 

Learn To Knit: What better way to prepare for a cozy season than making something cozy for yourself to wear? Knitting is known as one of the easier forms of creation when it comes to clothing, so pick up some needles and yarn and start slow with a beginner YouTube video. I was able to teach myself in one day how to knit a basic stitch and pattern, so why not give it a try?

Create A Book Club: Cold weather is always ideal for reading by the fire, but why not take it one step further and create a book club with all of your friends to help keep you motivated? Platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts make it easy to hold virtual weekly meetings with whoever you want so that you don’t have to worry about potential Covid-19 concerns. However, since the weather is still relatively nice out, consider holding the meetings in an outdoor setting, socially distanced, until it really gets too cold out. 

Decorate With Holiday Decor: October is for Halloween, November is for Thanksgiving, and December is for Christmas, that’s three months of holidays that one could decorate for. You don’t have to break your bank either to create a cool themed ambiance that you’ll enjoy all season. By switching up the decor monthly to match up with the respected holiday, you’ll keep your mind and body engaged while having a fun time decorating your space to feel the most cheerful.

Woman Reading a Book

Cozy Reads To Enjoy While On Lockdown This Fall 

Now that October has officially begun, the weather is finally starting to cool and people are gearing up for fall and all of its cozy glory. Reading is always a popular indoor activity to do by the fire on a cool autumn day, and now that we’re all enduring a global health crisis that forces everyone to stay indoors, it’s the perfect time to stock up on some new reads to welcome in the cooler season. Here’s a few options of good reads to get cozy with:

“Whale Day” By Billy Collins: Collins’ has a very distinguished style of writing that is often regarded as funny and light, which makes it easy to get into and keep reading. This book is his most recent collection of poems that is meant to take readers on a journey that will force them to use their imagination. The themes of life and mortality are threaded throughout the novel, and Collins hopes readers can enjoy the whimsical nature of the poems. 

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“The Book of Two Ways” By Jodi Picoult: Picoult is a New York Times bestselling author, and her most recent novel has been reviewed as the perfect read to enjoy while sipping on your morning coffee. The story follows Dawn Edelstein who’s in the middle of a flight when she has to prepare for a crash landing. She ends up surviving the crash only to realize that when her life flashed before her eyes she wasn’t nearly as satisfied with what she’s done so far, so she makes some major changes and aims to find the man she fell in love with 15 years prior. 

“The Thursday Murder Club” By Richard Osman: Now that it’s October and spooky season is officially here, it’s time to break out some scary stories. This novel is the first by author Richard Osmand and tells the story of four friends in a retirement village that meet up weekly to talk about unsolved crimes. As the story develops the group of friends notice more local murders are taking place, and it’s up to the Thursday Murder Club to solve the cases. 

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“The End of Her” By Shari Lapena: Keeping up with the Halloween theme, this novel is a great new suspense story that centers around an average couple, Stephanie and Patrick, as they raise their twin daughters. They’re family is relatively nuclear, until a woman from Patrick’s past appears one day and accuses him of murder. The accusation is just the beginning of a whole slew of lies that Stephanie finds out about her husband, leaving her confused and in need of the truth. 

“No Time Like The Future” By Michael J. Fox: This is a memoir collection of stories from Fox, as he discusses illness, health, family, friends, and life in general. The book won’t be available to purchase until November 17th, however, the timing makes it the perfect gift for any memoir lover in your family. Fox openly discusses his ongoing experience with Parkinson’s disease while threading in his classic humor throughout. 

“The Little Ghost Who Was A Quilt” By Riel Nason: This book is perfect for younger children who love Halloween, but want to keep the holiday light and innocent. This novel follows a little ghost who stands out when compared to his ghost friends. All of his other friends have classic white sheets to disguise themselves while the little ghost is left with a quilt, making it hard to fly as fast as the others. However, on Halloween he learns a very valuable lesson about what it is to be an individual, and that it’s okay to be special or different from what everyone else considers “normal.”

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How To Protect Yourself From Covid-19 

The coronavirus pandemic has been truly unpredictable to say the least. The way it travels, spreads, and reacts inside of our bodies has proven to be unexpected, however, if one thing has remained common throughout the past six months it’s been the universal desire to find a vaccine, and curve the overall spread of the virus. So what are some of the most effective proven ways to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus?

First we need to best understand how this virus moves, which is difficult considering even the world’s smartest scientists are still trying to work that out. The World Health Organization was recently confronted by over 200 scientists from over 30 countries who were urging the organization to acknowledge the possible role of airborne transmission, to which they complied. 

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“Under certain conditions short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a long period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently acknowledged the possibility of airborne transmission on their website, claiming that Covid-19 can spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Both the CDC and WHO have acknowledged, however, that these repertory droplets are more likely to cause infection from landing on certain shared surfaces that are then touched by other individuals. The haziness surrounding the airborne quality of this virus has also been focused on less due to the fact that mask-wearing is the most effective way to combat that. If you go out in public, wear a facial covering and then get clean immediately upon returning home, you’re likely to be safe. 

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When in an indoor setting, it’s best if you remain as distanced as possible from others who aren’t a part of your quarantine bubbles. Go even further than 6 feet apart when possible, and wear a face mask if you’re hanging around individuals who you haven’t seen. Improve ventilation by keeping all windows open and use devices like air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and fans to keep the air circulating between the indoor and outdoor spaces. 

Group activities in general should always be outside, and every individual should be wearing a mask unless a proper physical distance between everyone is possible. Facial coverings are the biggest and most effective solution to curbing the spread of this virus as we’ve seen evidence of all around the world. 

It’s also important to ensure you’re wearing the right type of facial covering and wearing it correctly. Fabric masks should be thick enough that when you hold it up to the sun you can’t see the light shine through it. Most disposable masks available at your local drug store or gas station are effective as long as you’re getting rid of them after each use. Finally, make sure your mask is completely covering your nose, and if you’re going out with your kids, make sure they also have a mask. Many individuals have become more relaxed when it comes to their children wearing masks because it’s less likely that a young child/toddler will contract the virus, however, that doesn’t mean they can’t still bring it into your home and infect others, so keep everyone in your house safe and mask up.

Regardless of the proven science, we all know that the Covid-19 virus spreads easily and quickly when given the opportunity. Wearing a mask at all times when in a public space, maintaining a distance of at LEAST six feet from individuals not in your quarantine bubble, and remaining outdoors for any and all group activities will help keep this virus at bay, and your loved ones healthy.