Health officials and elected politicians have asked us all to hunker down in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

While coronavirus has had devastating effects in countries such as China and Italy, it’s just getting started in the United States. By all accounts, it will get significantly worse.

By social distancing, limiting travel and taking other precautions, we can help the health care industry keep up with new cases and give proper attention to those that are more serious.

In an effort to help us all do our part, there is a litany of suggestions online. A USA TODAY story — “100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic” — provides an exhaustive list of such recommendations. One suggestion we favor in the piece is, “Make lists of all the museums, sporting events and concerts you want to visit when they finally reopen.”

It may be a frustrating exercise at first, given the temporary closures of many entertainment outlets, but it would be interesting to track how many boxes we could check off when this madness recedes.

• • •

We certainly don’t have the space, or the patience, to address each story item. But a few caught our eye and each has been placed in one of three categories: ill-advised or nonsensical, constructive and self-improvement.

Ill-advised or nonsensical

• No. 4: “Text all your exes just in case you have one more thing you wanted to get off your chest.”

We’re not sure this would end well and it certainly may not be agreeable to your current partner.

• No. 11: “Look at pictures of puppies.”

Don’t we get more than enough of that currently on social media?

• No. 72: “Memorize the periodic table. You never know when that will come in handy.”

Yes we do. Never.

• No. 89: “Try to speak in pig Latin. Or, ‘ig-pay, atin-Lay.’”

Onay ankthay ouyay (No thank you).


The following three items all have merit if one has the time and the inclination:

• No. 50: “Work on your financial planning, such as exploring whether to refinance your loan or ways to save more money.”

• No. 75: “Apply for a new job. You have remote work experience now.”

• No. 77: “Update or write your will and organize your affairs. Yes, it sounds melodramatic and morbid but let’s face it: This is a task many of us avoid because we never have the time. Now we do.”

We’re also especially fond of No. 35: “Take time to reflect: What have you accomplished in the last year? What goals are you setting for yourself in the next year?”

• • •

In the category of self-improvement, listed recommendations include learning a different language, new style of dance, beatboxing, calligraphy, knitting or origami.

These are certainly worthwhile pursuits, depending on your individual tastes, and could enliven future dinner parties. Time spent even more wisely could be used to complete your taxes and/or the census. And hopefully many of us will take on two other suggestions in the story:

• No. 53: “Buy gift cards from your favorite local businesses to help keep them in business while we quarantine.”

Local big-box businesses will be adversely affected as well. It’s hard to imagine many industries that won’t take a hit during the pandemic.

• No. 92: “Consider donating money to food banks to help families struggling to get meals.”

To limit the damage done by coronavirus, and shorten it’s uninvited appearance in the U.S., it’s going to take a team effort in every community. Those who cannot work from home, particularly those on the front lines such as medical workers and emergency personnel, have our deep gratitude.

We, in turn, need to wash our hands, stay informed and listen to the experts. We also have to help our neighbors, even if it is at a distance of at least six feet.

Liam Marlaire, assistant editor