As the weeks of confinement progress, we are seeing a new normality that two months ago would have seemed absurd but which we have now assumed almost completely. You can even go a step further to see that we have accepted that many things will not be the same until a vaccine or a cure for this Chinese virus that is doing so much damage to the rest of the world is found.

What we are going to talk about now are those devices that have always been there but now have returned to the front line and for a while they are going to accompany us as we had not imagined a few months before.

Hygiene

Two basic elements have played an important role in the prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic: masks and alcohol soap dispensers. These dispensers used to look like something in hospitals and operating rooms but now they are everywhere when we enter any place and also in the houses: instead of being received with some sweets, we find ourselves with a wall dispenser of alcohol soap.

Another device that was in the storage rooms and attics were the hot waxing machines for waxing at home. The closure of the hairdressing and beauty services during the days of confinement has meant that many people, especially women, have had to return (or in some cases learn) to do some of these “maintenance tasks” themselves. As soon as they are able to reopen, the schedules of hairdressers and beauty centres will become too small to serve so many women on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

The purifying devices would deserve a separate chapter since the obsession to avoid the spread of the virus has put in value anything that purifies. Water purifiers, for example, have many virtues but practically none in relation to the coronavirus that caused the pandemic; however, their sale has increased because now many people has realized that not everything that enters their home is as healthy and clean as it used to be, so why do not start with something so basic as water?

A warning against ozone air purifiers is necessary here because ozone itself is toxic (generically speaking) and it is not a good idea to increase the proportion of ozone in the air in rooms with people. According to health agencies, despite its disinfectant properties, ozone is an important oxidant that can irritate the airways causing coughing, burning, wheezing, and shortness of breath; it can aggravate asthma and other lung ailments. However, there are other techniques for applying ozone that are not harmful to health. Ozone in water, for example, is a treatment that keeps water free of microorganisms, viruses or bacteria. It is better to leave it for professional cleaning in controlled environments and not to pay attention to the advertising that announces them as “useful to prevent the coronavirus”.

And the same goes for UV devices, which although very useful for destroying microorganisms, should only be used in controlled environments and for short periods of time, since ultraviolet radiation is very harmful to human skin in the long run.

Leisure

Of all the consoles on the market, Wii has been the one that has changed the most during confinement: from the memory drawer it has come back to life because of its undeniable usefulness as a family entertainment tool where all the family members can participate but also because of its usefulness as a sports trainer, especially if at the time you bought the accessory called WiiFit that serves to follow a training plan with this console.

It is also possible that many exercise bikes and treadmills have been rescued from oblivion and have proved to be very useful during confinement. One could almost say that their owners have been very lucky to have the possibility to sweat during these days when the level of physical activity has dropped so much.

Similarly, tablets, as a tool for consuming digital content are living a second life because now more than one screen is needed at home and the smartphone one is too small for some uses, such as watching a movie.

Finally, how many guitars have returned home from the storage room during this quarantine? How many piano lessons have been taken? How many neighbours have turned out to be fans of an instrument without us noticing it until now?

Against what it might seem, many of these changes have come to stay and it is not clear if they are all going to be good. 😉

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