‘What day is it?’ searches surge, under coronavirus lockdown sense of time is lost

A clock showing the time at noon, is displayed for a photo at Eminonu district during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Istanbul,Turkey, March 31, 2020.

If you’ve been wondering what day it is, you’re not alone.

Time feeling distorted is one of the more peculiar consequences for millions of people who have had their daily routines upended by coronavirus lockdowns. More than a third of the world’s population is currently under some sort of lockdown or has been asked to practice social distancing.

When no one’s going anywhere, does it even matter what day it is?

Google searches for “what day is it” have spiked online and #whatdayisit has become its own hash tag because, for many, life has lost its markers.

For those who work from home, daily cues like commuting and socializing after work have disappeared. Workdays, weekdays, and weekends blur into one.

What makes the coronavirus-era disorientating is that the physical environment looks very normal but we have lost every social anchor that we would normally use.

No, really, what day is it?

Fox 8 news producer Todd Meany has launched the popular “What Day Is It” segment in the state of Ohio’s capital Cleveland, to help Americans who have lost track of time as they isolate themselves in their homes. Meany’s brief addition features its very own 70s-style game show music and graphics package.


The segment began on April 1 after Ohio’s lockdown was ordered on March 23. Since then, it has been featured on the local news station every day.

“In this free-form, kind of weird world that we’re in right now, everybody’s internal clock is thrown,” Meany said in an interview with the New York Times. “There’s just no reference point anymore. Nobody has a calendar in their house. Everybody’s just on their phone.”

And the weirdest thing is that, one day, leaving the house could seem as weird as staying in it.

“A weird thing is that a lot of this that we’re living through now, we’re going to get used to it,” Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told the New York Times.

“And when the doors open again and we’re back in a crowded place, we’re going to feel weird again.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:06 - GMT 07:06
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