Americans are excessively eating, drinking, smoking pot, playing video games and watching porn while quarantined, I wrote back in April 2020.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, there was a heated debate about what people should be doing. Some said that this was a time for self-care and just focusing on making it through one day at a time. Others ascribed to the “hustle porn” mentality, saying you should get up early, workout, learn a new language and read 10 books a day.
After conducting research into the activities of the self-quarantined to determine if they were diligently working hard at home or engaged in extracurricular activities. The results were that Americans drank heavily, smoked copious amounts of weed, played video games, ate lots of junk food and watched television, Netflix and porn more than ever before.
A study from the Nielsen Corporation, a nearly 100-year-old marketing research and ratings firm, revealed, “Alcohol sales were up 55% in the week ending March 21.” It found that the amount of spirits sold—such as tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails—skyrocketed 75% compared to March of 2019. Wine sales rose 66%, beer sales popped 42% and online alcohol sales grew by an astounding 243% from last year at this time.
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Marijuana sales were high in a number of states where it’s legal. For instance, Illinois marijuana dispensaries—which were allowed to stay open—sold almost $36 million worth of legal weed in March. The Los Angeles Times reported, “Amid coronavirus siege, California cannabis sales soared.”
Pornhub, if you can’t tell by it’s name, is a popular online porn site visited by about 120 million viewers every day. Locked down at home, Pornhub has seen a big rise in traffic—up 11.6%.
NBC News wrote at that time, “Many Americans may find their bodies flabbier and less healthy when they finally emerge from the Great Quarantine of 2020.” Bloomberg reported that people have stopped eating healthily, “They are loading up on shelf-stable items from canned meat and soup to pretzels and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, as they comply with orders to stay home.” They cite studies showing an increase in the consumption of potato chips, Oreos, spam, burgers, pretzels and other comfort foods. Psychology Today refers to the weight that will be gained as the “quarantine 15.”
During the week of March 16, Nielsen said that U.S. consumers streamed 156.1 billion minutes of content. That was twice as much as last year at this time. Almost 30% of the stream was Netflix programming—including binging the Tiger King— and 20% was YouTube viewership.
Here’s the highlights of what they found.
- 42% have been on a date
- 41% have had sex
- Almost half said they’ve had an alcoholic drink
- About 60% have taken a nap
- An overwhelming 77% say that they shop online, while on the clock at least once a week.
- Around 50% of the respondents have worked for another company while on the clock with their employer.
- Two in five (44%) have been reprimanded at least once for getting off-task, and 39% of people have been let go from their jobs for doing non-work-related activities.
- Despite 76% of respondents spending more than four hours each day focused on work, 40% of participants said they spend four or more hours away from their computers.
Of course, this survey isn’t all inclusive and doesn’t take into consideration the array of challenges confronted by people. For many, it was a daily struggle to get by. Roughly 80 million people in the U.S. filed for unemployment benefits.
After this brutally tough time is over, we may experience our own “Roaring ‘20s.” At the end of both World War I and the “Spanish Flu” epidemic in about 1919, a new era of optimism was ushered in. Everything seemed possible. There were new technological innovations, the Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance started, arts and culture flourished, people were dancing and enjoying life to the fullest.
It’s likely that a year from now, a new study will show that we’re traveling all over the world, hugging loved ones, going out to restaurants and bars and attending live concerts and sporting events. We’ll look forward to in-person graduation ceremonies, weddings, parties and social events.
Profoundly comprehending the carnage created by Covid-19 and the loss of life, people will most likely appreciate what they have and try to lead their best possible lives. They’ll also seek out jobs and careers that have meaning and serves a larger purpose. It will be a time of excitement, optimism and change.