And just when we thought we knew everything, COVID-19 came along…

If we’re going to get out of this COVID-19 outbreak together, we need to look back at what we’ve learned so far. We cannot expect to simply go forward without knowing what we’ve gone through.

Whether it’s the new oxymoron called social distancing or the true idiocy of some people, here are five surprising facts that we’ve learned from this global outbreak:

1. Social distancing is harder than it looks

This new term has taken the world by storm. In Australia, it’s one-and-a-half-metres. In America, it’s six feet. In the UK, it’s two-metres. And while it sounds simple enough, it turns out it really isn’t.

For a start, we’ve learned the hard way that it’s almost impossible to control the actions of other people.Yes, we’re talking about those who don’t understand personal space, never mind social distancing. Many of us have stood in a queue with someone hovering too close behind ‒ so close you can actually feel them exhaling on the back of your head. It’s awful! Or, when you’re going for a walk and you approach a pathway that’s too narrow so that you have to shimmy past oncoming foot traffic.

But the hardest part about social distancing has been the disruption it has had on our social lives. As human beings, socialising is imperative to our wellbeing. It makes us feel loved, supported and connects us to our community. So, as we’ve had to spend more time alone, it’s no wonder that mental health organisations are speaking louder at this time.

Plus, let’s not forget the newfound challenge as we change the way we greet each other. We’ve gone from hugs, kisses and handshakes to elbowing and footsies, or even the awkward close-range wave. And that’s hard for most of us who yearn for a human touch, a warm embrace or a firm handshake.

We are all missing the closeness that we’ve been so used to.

2. How to actually wash your hands

We’ll be the first to admit it, this time last year, we thought washing hands was simply a quick scrub. How we were wrong!

So it’s not just the splash and the scrub like we’ve always done. There’s a whole process to it.

And that’s if we actually wash our hands…

According to this peer-reviewed article about handwashing in the International Journal of Epidemiology:

“In regions with high access to handwashing facilities, handwashing with soap was performed by about 51%.”

That means about half of us are skipping the washbasins when leaving the bathroom. It makes you think twice about shaking another’s hand.

But there’s one particular action depicted in the video above that many of us who actually wash our hands don’t do. Who among us has turned the tap off with a paper towel?

And finally, how do you safely open the bathroom door when half of your fellow toilet users, who didn’t wash their hands at all, pulled on that handle before you? Just some food for thought…

Funnily enough, most of us can now be heard silently singing Happy Birthday to ourselves. It’s being hygienic and it’s fun (minus the cake).

3. Working from home is low-key amazing

A decent chunk of us has had to work from home thanks to COVID-19. But while we whinged about the prospects,, including missing out on all the office gossip, we’ve actually found some great benefits.

For one, we don’t have to be sneaky when checking those social media notifications.

But, there’s even more benefits to working from home:

  • No squishing yourself onto packed public transport every morning and afternoon.
  • No wasting money on expensive lunches.
  • Not having to stick to a strict schedule
  • No being distracted by office politics
  • No having to suffer the unstable air conditioning

All that freedom smells divine! Of course, we will be missing the neverending coffee, tea and snacks. But you can have tea breaks at home, too.

And don’t forget, you have full control over the way your office looks. And even where it is, too. Bored of your desk? Working al fresco is our new biggest treat.

4. You can only look after yourself and those around you

No matter the issue, no matter the pandemic, there will always be gullible and selfish people. And you’ve just got to accept that.

You cannot expect everyone to be doing the right thing. All you can do is focus on your actions and hope others follow suit.

Some people are gullible; we’ve seen it with the rise in COVID-19 conspiracies, which even includes the theory that COVID-19 is a hoax. Yes, some people actually believe that. Or they believe it’s not as bad as we’re making it out to be. You can’t change them, they’ve built their boat and they’re sticking to it.

And some people are selfish, as we’ve noted with the understocked shelves which are only now beginning to fill again. People hoarded toilet paper and a whole range of other goods including rice, flour and pasta to name a few – completely disregarding their fellow community. Even to the point of brawling in the middle of a supermarket. And not to mention those who are flouting social distancing rules. You can’t change these people either.

Indeed, governments can implement measures to lessen their impact ‒ and many of them have done so ‒ but those people will always be around. So don’t waste time whinging about them, just let them paddle their own rocky boat.

Because when the world goes haywire, you can only look after yourself and those around you.

5. Tiger King is insane

Finally, the craziest thing most of us have learned in quarantine is that Tiger King is insane. In fact, the entire exotic animal industry in America is insane.

And if you haven’t seen it, surely you’ve heard about Carole [expletive] Baskin.

Did she really kill her husband? Do we really want to know?

Yes, yes we do.