How to Buy Food for a 14-Day Quarantine (and How Not To)

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In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, “quarantine” no longer sounds like some obscure concept from medieval times. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of those who were exposed to the disease but haven’t yet become ill — for instance, people returning from a coronavirus hotspot.

As COVID-19 is intensifying, more and more people are forced to quarantine. One concern of those who are under quarantine is making sure they have enough food and household necessities. But how much is enough?

A Polish startup called Omni Calculator, that creates custom-built calculators covering hundreds of subjects, has provided guidance with a free interactive tool called Quarantine Food Calculator — Coronavirus.

Created by Joanna Michałowska, a PhD candidate at Poland’s Poznan University of Medical Sciences, the tool lets people input the number of household members and quarantine time, then estimates dietary needs in four categories: fruit and vegetables, perishable foods, non-perishable foods, and canned or frozen foods.

The tool’s site also includes sample meal plans, links to other pertinent calculators (including one on social distancing and another on stimulus payments), and a number of specific recommendations on how to shop when stocking up for two weeks of quarantine. Be careful what you buy, in any case — these are foods that spoil faster than you’d think.

Omni Calculator’s recommendations appear, paraphrased and slightly rearranged, below.