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Video Chats and Ordering In: Coronavirus Quarantine With a Smartphone


Yardley Wong, captive on the Japanese cruise ship grappling with the coronavirus, captured in a single image the essence of life under Quarantine. From inside her tiny cabin, Ms. Wong took a picture of the closed doorway. She posted it to Twitter last week.“So much wondering through this door,” she wrote.From the Black Plague to the flu pandemic of 1918 to more recent outbreaks, the history of quarantine and medical isolation shows common emotional threads of those on both sides of such doors — uncertainty, terror, loneliness, separation. But this time, the raw physical barrier is showing cracks, thanks to the smartphone.“After some emotional breakdown, I find my peace from you all,” Ms. Wong tweeted several days after her post brought messages of support from people around the world. “Thank you for the kindness. Your tweets give me strength.”
While newspapers, radio and television have softened the ordeal of past sequestrations, the coronavirus quarantines of 2020 are unlike any other in human history owing to almost universal digital connection.
Laptops, tablets and smartphones are allowing people in quarantine to work at their jobs remotely, order food, shop on Amazon, chat face-to-face with friends and loved ones, keep up with social media feeds, download movies and music — in short, to stay engaged in the world and fulfill many activities of their regular lives.Karey Maniscalco, an American real estate agent who was quarantined with her husband, Roger,…

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