Reflecting on the Trends of Quarantine

Reflecting on the Trends of Quarantine

Elizabeth Alexander

I think it’s safe to say that the quarantine of March and April was insanely boring. People were starting to get tired of lying in bed, stressing over the grim news for hours on end, and they longed for something fresh and fun. So when new forms of entertainment started arriving, people jumped on their bandwagons immediately. 

Some of these trends have died down a bit since their peaks. But, some continue to take the Internet by storm. Either way, there’s no denying that they’ve made life much more exciting in these scary times.

One such trend was a tasty one, and that was bread baking. You may recall the early days of quarantine when panicked consumers started buying everything they could possibly need to survive the apocalypse. Amongst the hottest commodities was bread, and it soon became near impossible to find the loaves everyone wanted. With the shortages brought the idea of, “Hey, I should make my own bread instead!” 

Of course, this in turn caused nationwide flour and yeast shortages as well. This was very unhelpful to a certain someone taking a virtual Food Fundamentals class at the time, but that didn’t stop anyone. In fact, one leading flour producer reported a 2000% increase in flour sales in the month of March. People turned to alternatives, including almond, coconut, chickpea, and oat flours. Still others scoured the Internet to find the yeast needed for all sorts of breads, and if they couldn’t find that, they watched roughly five thousand videos on how to make sourdough starters instead.

So why was bread baking specifically so popular? A Huffington Post article suggests a few reasons. Not only is baking relaxing, but there was also a lot more time to do that with so many out of school and work. Many felt like picking up a new hobby during quarantine, and with stress levels through the roof, why wouldn’t one try something calming?

Another early trend came in the form of a Netflix show, one that went viral like no other Netflix series had done before. That show was “Tiger King”. One of the first forms of entertainment people turned to when lockdowns began, Netflix (alongside other streaming services like Hulu and Disney Plus) reported a 40% increase in viewing from March 9th through 23rd, according to streaming analyst Conviva. 

“Tiger King”’s seven episodes premiered on March 20 to immense success. Netflix reported 45.3 million watched the documentary within the first ten days of release, likely due to the almost immediate influx of memes and discussions about the show popping up on social media. One couldn’t go on TikTok or Twitter without seeing “Tiger King” mentioned at least a dozen times. 

That number of 45.3 million viewers would only increase in the following weeks, with a grand total of over 64 million as of late April. “Tiger King” likely wouldn’t have had the success it did without lockdown, and the memes circulating about it online brought many smiles to my face in its heyday.

Online gaming has carved out a niche for itself in recent years, with the likes of Minecraft and Fortnite. With time on their hands and nothing better to do, people turned to a variety of games during quarantine including Animal Crossing and Among Us, which are polar opposites, yet similar in one way: they went viral.

Animal Crossing was first released in 2001 by Nintendo, and has since come out with four new editions. The most recent addition to the series, called New Horizons, came out in late March (the same day Tiger King was released, interestingly enough). With its adorable art style and its simple, relaxing premise of exploring an island, it’s no surprise why New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies, making it the second-most popular game on the Nintendo Switch.

Among Us, meanwhile, was created in June of 2018 by an indie game company, but only gained extreme notoriety two years later. It’s a “social deduction” game where you can be either a Crewmate or an Impostor on a spaceship. Impostors have the ability to kill Crewmates, and the team has to work together to find out who the Impostors are. This is one of the trends I have personally taken part in, and I can confirm it’s a ton of fun. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already!

Those are just a few of the many trends that have grabbed our attention since everything went down in March. They have definitely made life more enjoyable and participating in some have done wonders for my mental health. When everything was stressful and scary, I knew I had something to turn to for an escape.

Our pop culture will evolve and people will move onto the next big thing. But, when this is all said and done, we can always go back to these trends and get some very strange nostalgia.