Your guide to the viral trends in quarantine
Although it often felt as though the days of quarantine were repeating themselves, there were popular trends that brought life to each period of our time spent at home. Near the start of quarantine the bizarre Netflix show, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, became an unexpected hit with its bizarre themes of animal abuse and hints of murder. In less than ten days from its release, Tiger King had hooked over 34 million viewers. It was never expected to have such a big audience, but the initial boredom that many faced due to quarantine definitely helped with the amount of viewers. Though the talk of the show simultaneously stopped as the viewing period came to an end, and Tiger King slowly became a series stuck in the past.
Shortly after this Tiger King phase, a large number of people started to develop cabin fever. In an attempt to solve this problem, baking bread (and baking in general) became the new coping mechanism. Some made cookies, cakes, or banana bread, while others chose a more complicated sourdough. To some, this craze may seem odd, but in reality baking bread can be very therapeutic. It kills time and serves as a good distraction that one can watch mature throughout the day. Once the process is completed, one is able to enjoy one’s own creation and bask in the glory of hard work rewarded. Due to this increase in baking; ingredients used for baking bread became very scarce in supermarkets throughout the country in yet another covid-related episode of panic hoarding: one was about as likely to find flour and yeast in a local grocery store as they were to win the lottery. Unlike most of these trends, there are still a few people that continue to perfect their bread recipes.
TikTok had already existed prior to covid isolation, but with the growing boredom amongst young people, the app became the perfect distraction. TikTok offers a variety of short (under a minute) videos, from styling tips to comedic clips. Twelve million people joined TikTok in March of 2020 alone. A lot of trends sprouted from the use of TikTok as well, including the popular spin on regular instant coffee nicknamed Dalgona Coffee, or whipped coffee. This unique type of coffee is made by combining equal amounts of instant coffee, sugar, and water in a bowl, and vigorously whipping the mixture until it becomes light and airy. Once it has reached the perfect texture, you finish it off by adding a splash of milk. For people who owned an electric mixer this trend was fun and easy, but others had to do a full arm workout to get the perfect whipped texture. Though it seems this hard work is thrown down the drain, because one works very hard to reach the perfect consistency but then drowns the coffee fluff with milk.
In early April, the drive-by birthday celebration was invented as a substitute for the regular birthday parties in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. This new birthday party relied on friends and family driving past a person’s house and honking the horn, yelling “happy birthday!’ and possibly chucking presents out of the car window. For some participants (mainly the birthday-person), this celebration was uplifting and very fun, but others found it a bit depressing—the birthday person deserves a better celebration.
Eventually, almost everything was shut down because of the pandemic, from restaurants to hair salons, leaving people craving their favorite food and wanting to change up their hair. Many people bought at-home hair dye and took matters into their own hands. Some people wanted a trendy new look, while others just wanted to maintain their natural color. Since these at-home dying jobs were not carried out by professionals, some fraction of people ended up with damaged or bizarrely colored hair.
Despite being released in 2018, the game Among Us was probably the most popular trend for a prolonged period of time through quarantine. The surge of players occurred in September of 2020 when multiple big-name gamers created content of themselves playing the game. From there it spread among youth by word of mouth, or by text in this case. Among Us is an online game similar to the game Mafia, two players are the ‘imposters’ who attempt to kill the other “crewmates” while they try to uncover the killers’ identities. The surprisingly simple game offered a chance for friends or family to play together. They could create their own room and simultaneously call each other while playing the game, but it seems that its popularity evaporated as fast as it came, for a lot of people describe the game as a passing fad. Senior Josh Peyton said, “It was a really great game while the fun lasted”; Holly Hillstrom agreed: “I started playing it when it got popular but then got bored of it, thus deleting the app.”
A small group of people even decided to adopt a pet to keep themselves entertained during the pandemic. Typically pet owners described this as “the best thing we could have done during COVID for our whole family!”
Other activities have increased in the number of participants too. Polls have shown that almost 80% of people at Stevenson have begun to work out more frequently since the start of quarantine. Many of these people have found that they now have more time to work out since they are at home, and most of the time working out helps relieve stress.
A large number of people have been listening to music more often to keep their minds occupied. Quarantine has offered an opportunity for people to discover new music genres and listen to music whenever they have spare time. These avid music listeners have confessed that music has helped them to relax and focus on tasks that they need to complete.
The most obvious source of distraction that immediately comes to mind for many people is television. About 70% of people reported that they have been watching more movies or television series, mostly with their family. Phoebe Zeidberg commented, “My family has always watched a lot of TV, but through quarantine it has become almost a tradition. My day doesn't feel complete unless I have watched at least one episode of a show with them.” Another source of entertainment is more old-school: reading. With what sometimes seems like infinite time on their hands, readers are able to catch up on books that they had been wanting to read for years. War and Peace, anyone? It’s 1200 pages — should last out the pandemic.