Self-isolation: Some non-medical predictions

I’m not qualified to make any medical or epidemiological predictions, but here are some linguistic predictions:

1. When the Oxford English Dictionary choose their Word of the Year for 2020, it will be “self-isolate”.

2. In the next few weeks, there will be lots and lots of online articles with titles such as “10 top tips for self-isolating” and “15 great Netflix choices when self-isolating” and “How self-isolating taught me more about self-care /silence /friendship /cooking /prayer /sleep /relaxation /insert-something-else-relevant-to-particular-publication”.

3. In future years, the phrase “self-isolate” will evolve to mean “giving yourself a bit of space away from other people because you need to look after yourself”. In 20 years time, young people will say they’re “self-isolating” and we’ll say to them, “That word used to mean something a lot more serious. Do you know it derives from the Great Coronavirus Outbreak of 2020?”. They’ll say, “Yes, we do, because you keep telling us.”

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