- A quaranteam is a small group of people who choose to live together during the pandemic. For
- Self-isolation is safer than quaranteaming
- Having more than one person also means that cooking and cleaning chores can be shared.
First, it was social distancing, then social bubbles; now, we have the word “quaranteam.” This newest term has arisen out of the need for people to find ways to be physically connected to others during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Staying separated from family members, friends, and co-workers can make people feel angry, stressed, depressed, anxious, and of course, lonely. Getting outside for some exercise, video conferencing, reading, watching television, and home projects make the time pass, but for many, it is just not enough.
The Rise of Quaranteaming
A quaranteam is a small group of people who choose to live together during the pandemic. For many, it is better than living alone. The idea of quaranteaming came into the mainstream in March, when “The Bachelorette” stars Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron started cohabitating. Since then, the circle has expanded, and the “Quarantine Crew” is living together in Florida. Brown has moved out, but Cameron is still there, living with a handful of friends.
Another example of quaranteaming came to light in April, with two 30-year old friends sharing a West Hollywood, California apartment. Lo Noulinthavong and Charles Lichaa decided to make the best of things and threw a virtual “homecoachella” party (the Coachella concert has been postponed until October). Noulinthavong said that “So far, it’s been a really good time.”
An Added Risk…
Self-isolation is safer than quaranteaming since in isolation, there is none or minimal contact with other people. According to Northwell Health emergency medicine physician Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, there are “gradations of safety,” and introducing a new person into a home does pose some risk. Yale School of Medicine associate professor of infectious diseases Dr. Richard Martinello agreed, stating that the “more exposures you have is counterproductive.”
…and the Benefits
Quaranteaming can improve people’s mental health, especially those who have been living alone for weeks and months. It can help fight loneliness, depression, and the other ill effects of self-isolation. Families can help each other out in this way. For example, a single cousin living alone can team up with another only cousin, and the two can support each other. Just waking up and knowing that you are not alone in the house can be more reassuring than realizing that you must face another day by yourself.
Having more than one person also means that cooking and cleaning chores can be shared. The need to run errands can also be divided up; one person can go grocery shopping one week, and the other can handle it the next time.
Vaile Wright is a psychologist and is also the American Psychological Association’s Director of Clinical Research and Quality. She feels that when people team up, good things can happen. For her, it shows how resilient people can be. Teaming up with a few friends and/or family members and showing support could be one positive thing that comes out of the pandemic.
Following the Rules
If the benefits do seem to outweigh the risks, it is crucial to choose the quaranteam member(s) carefully. Trust is vital; all parties must ensure that they have been following quarantine regulations. Experts also advise against having mid- and large-size groups. With each additional person, the element of risk increases. Other experts stress that all team members be properly vetted before moving in together, to ensure that they have been practicing proper social distancing, hygiene, and have no signs of the illness.
Social distancing protocols should also still be in effect during quaranteaming. Wright stated that anyone who decides to live together in a quaranteam must remember to adhere to certain boundaries. This means wearing masks when necessary, washing hands properly, and following other CDC guidelines.