Quarantine and Isolation
By Priyangwada Perera Ceylon Today Features
“Amma, why do you look so gloomy?” Shannon peeped into her mother’s room and asked.
“Well, I can see somebody is pretty excited in spite of me being gloomy,” Shanon’s mother replied. She was right. Shannon looked as bright as the day! She did not care about school being closed. This was quite a new experience.
“The second phase of the pandemic is going to be worse, isn’t that so, Amma?” she asked.
“Wow, how did you get to know that?” her mother asked in surprise.
“I heard a panel discussion on TV” Shannon replied.
“Oh, really? I am glad you were paying some attention to the situation. How wonderful that you could actually be interested in something other than the Cartoon Network, Shannon,” her mother said.
“Come on, Amma. I love watching cartoons but you do know that I take an interest in many other things too. Now you are being unreasonable,” Shannon complained.
“I was half-joking. But I was truly surprised that you listened to a panel discussion on the health crisis. So, I am quite proud of you,” mother looked at Shannon with admiration.
“Well, Amma that is because I really wanted to know more about this. With certain districts and places being ‘locked down’, there are so many things I need to know. But to be honest, the panel discussion said some of the things which I could never understand.”
Shannon’s words made her mother smile. “Wow, I thought you have become our pandemic expert at home. Remember how you even made a booklet after the first phase of COVID-19?” she asked quite seriously.
“I did learn a lot during that time. Just the same, there are some things that I need to freshen my memory,” Shannon said.
“Oh, yeah. Just like it happened to almost all us. We thought we knew a lot of things but we did not quite follow what had to be done. So, knowledge alone serves no purpose, right? Maybe people did not fully understand these things anyway,” mother said. “So, now you can tell me what you are not quite sure about.”
“This is something about Quarantine and Isolation. I had a major argument with Tiyashi today, regarding the same. When she called me to check up on me,” he said.
“Oh, that is not the right thing to do. Especially when someone calls you to see whether you are fine. You have done two bad things. Anyway, what was it that you did not agree on?” mother was inquisitive.
“Tiyashi said that quarantine and isolation are the same. I told her it is not. But she refused to agree,” he said.
“So, did you explain to her how the two are different?” questioned his mother. “
No, Amma. That is the most annoying part of it. I could not remember the definition properly. So, I kept telling her that the two are not the same. But she kept disagreeing.” An annoyed Shannon said.
“Oh dear, how sad that you too have forgotten the difference,” she laughed. “That is alright. At least you knew the two are not the same. Isolation means when someone or something is separated from other people or things. When it is a medical condition, isolation of a person means complete separation of a person suffering from a contagious or infectious disease. In short, the sick person is completely separated from those who are not sick,” she explained.
“Oh, okay. That makes sense. Then how would you describe quarantine? Or being quarantined?” Shannon asked.
“Quarantine separates and restricts the movements of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they too will become sick. These people may have been exposed to the disease but they may not know it. Or they may have the disease but they may not show symptoms.” Mother’s explanation was good enough.
“Alright. Yes, I got it now. It sort of brushed the dust off my brain and refreshed my memory. That is the way to explain it the right way,” a very happy Shannon replied. Then she immediately got up to leave the room. “Now, where are you running off to in a haste?” came the question from mother.
“Where else Amma, to call Tiyashi and give her the proper explanation,” Shannon said and disappeared.