Self isolation, social distancing amid coronavirus difficult in shared housing

In Canada’s crowded major cities, where many people live with one or multiple roommates, the spread of COVID-19 is leaving residents struggling with what to do if someone in a shared house has to self-isolate.

For Lebni Avitia, a video editor in Toronto, the pandemic has compounded the everyday stresses of living in a confined space with multiple people.

Avitia has a heart condition that would put him at a higher risk of complications if he were to contract the novel coronavirus, but he says it still took time to hammer home the point to his roommates that they take social distancing seriously.

At the start of this week, his roommates were still going out to crowded restaurants, despite increasingly dire warnings from public health officials that Canadians should be staying home.

“It was awkward when I realized they weren’t (staying inside),” Avitia said in an interview. “When they told me that, I sent a message on a group chat basically saying ‘I’m planning on staying inside, I hope we can all do the same.”’

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