(CNN)If you think quarantine needs a better publicist in the United States, you might be right.
New Zealanders went into a strict lockdown and so did Italians. So did the residents of China, Spain, Bolivia, Morocco and South Korea.
The idea of isolating for a stretch of two weeks either because you've been exposed to Covid-19 or are traveling from a Covid-19 hotspot, however, can feel like a punishment to Americans, not a long-standing infectious disease prevention policy.
It might feel the same way to thousands of Germans: Demonstrators gathered near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate Wednesday to protest an ongoing nationwide lockdown, Berlin police spokesman Stefan Petersen earlier told CNN. When the crowds didn't disperse, police used water cannons to move protestors away from the area, Berlin police said.
Whether or not the US ever imposes a nationwide lockdown, the fact is that with over 100,000 US cases confirmed daily, we're going to have to get used to the idea of quarantining. As that number inches up to 200,000 daily cases, the reality is that we're about to experience an even more difficult time with this virus if behaviors don't change.
It's puzzling to residents of other regions around the world that have successfully gone into lockdown -- and are heading into lockdown again without much debate.
This attitude also would likely confound people arriving in the US a century ago, some of whom were quarantined when they arrived at Ellis Island and were found to carry certain contagious diseases such as smallpox and typhoid or were required to stay in lockdown during the 1918 flu pandemic.
For the sake of community health
"Quarantine inherently means you're making a sacrifice for the good of others," said Dr. Dara Kass, associate clinical professor of emergency medicine at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City.
"For some, it feels like overkill if they're feeling no Covid-19 symptoms. Others are looking at it from their own perspective — how does it affect me, not how can I help prevent the spread to other people."
That doesn't make sense to many people outside the United States. The argument by some that quarantine is a breach of basic freedom doesn't work for novelist Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, who quarantined in a Singapore hotel for two weeks in March.
"Civic responsibility has to be more important than everything else," said Tan, the author of "Sarong Party Girls." Tan left her home in New York City, flying to Singapore to be closer to her parents when Covid-19 cases started rising in New York last spring.
During her quarantine, Tan isolated in her Singapore hotel room, with three meals a day delivered to her room. Government representatives called her daily and required that she show them, via video, that she had remained in that room — alone — or risk a fine or even jail time.
"I truly believe that if you want your freedom, give up your freedom for two weeks, and then we can all truly be free," she said.
Carole Blueweiss, a physical therapist and podcaster, followed every state-mandated quarantine protocol when she returned home to New York City in October after spending the previous seven months in Florida.