A State of Madness

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There is an appeal to insanity, a certain joy in letting go and joining the howling.

The Mass Media which had found they’d lost their power when trying to lead us in the paths they thought rational, have discovered they can still scare us.  This makes them very happy, and has convinced them that they will soon have us voting for whom they want us to, by the power of stampeding.

I find myself in the position of an outsider, staring at the madness going on around me, and wondering what the heck everyone is doing and why.  And why everyone keeps howling and running around and insisting on being scared, even if they really aren’t. (And yes, I know what I speak of.)

I’ve been accused of being “superior” and of “priding herself on being rational” for not joining the panic fear.  I am in fact very afraid, just not of what the rest of the people seem to be afraid of.  Also, I don’t think I’m more rational than anyone else, in general. I mean, I do try to arrive at my opinions by thought but I am as much subjected to emotions as the rest of you. Probably more.

So why am I standing aside and staring, round eyed with horror, as everyone runs around as if they were preparing for a hurricane crossed with the black death?

1- I’m a depressive.  It goes without saying I’m a natural pessimist. Those of you who are staring at me as if I grew a second hand are not my closest friends. Those are nodding. They’ve talked me out of “the sky is falling” more times than I dare mention.  I think Dorothy who comments here often has a script entitled “Get Sarah NOT to kill herself now.”

So, why does this make me step back and stand aloof?  Well, I’m used to reality-check myself. If I weren’t, I’d have committed suicide in my twenties.  I panicked before you guys had even heard much about this.  And then I reality checked: the difference in cultures, (more on that later) the difference in our medical establishments and the way health is handled, the difference in populations (and that too). THE FACT NO ONE KNOWS THE NUMBER OF INFECTED, ONLY THE NUMBER OF AFFLICTED. And even so the deaths in other countries, while worrisomely high are NOT black death and ending civilization numbers. Particularly given the ages it impacts.

2- The fact that the media is obviously, insanely, gleefully trying to stampede us. And that I see the strings.

Look, as a writer I KNOW that the easiest emotion to evoke in your audience is fear/horror.  This is why many a beginning writer first finds success in those modes.  It is an easy emotion to create, it appeals to the most primitive part of the brain.  Mostly it relies on repetition, exaggeration and pushing worst-case-scenarios.

Which is exactly what the media is doing. I have absolutely no idea how many people have died right now, in the US of the Wuhan flu.  I can tell you, though that the number is ridiculously small for the panic we are seeing.  And most of these people had direct contact with a foreign source of infection.

Note I’m not saying it’s not a bad flu, or that it’s not going to create issues on its own.  The very fact that other countries will be much, much harder hit will cause issues in a world with interconnected economies. BUT what we’re doing is making those effects worse, far worse. And “let’s shut down the country” is not anything to stop this flu. Not really. There are rational measures, but none of these are being taken, and instead everything is being done that will make the crisis worse, if it gets bad (and no, I’m not blaming the president. This is a media driven show and he has to conform to the script or be destroyed in the heat of the moment. But dear Lord. NONE of this is rational!)

ALSO I have seen the media encourage panics all my life. NOT ONE OF THEM HAS TURNED OUT TO BE WELL FOUNDED. NOT ONE.  Now, even a blind squirrel can find a nut, and maybe they’ll  eventually pick up their little “the world is ending sandwich boards” for something that really proves lethal and dangerous. But I doubt it. Knowing how they perceive the world, and what they were indoctrinated with, they routinely think real danger — radical socialism! — is peachy-keen and will bring about paradise and that completely rational things — killing a terrorist in Iran — will bring about the end of the world.

So, I’m not saying when the media goes into one of their frenzies they’re ALWAYS wrong.  I’m saying if they told me brushing my teeth was good for my health, I’d spend the next 3 days finding studies on health and tooth brushing.

When evaluating information, minding the source is ALWAYS a good idea.

3- People aren’t treating it as if this were a real threat.  No, seriously. The media has got through to the back brain and panicked people, THERE, but the rational ape knows this is not really so.  So, while the dino brain runs around screaming and getting into fights over toilet paper — toilet paper is not made in China. How the heck this got crazy all over the world, I don’t know — the ape brain is going about its normal business.

This was illustrated for me by a friend who said her parents are losing their minds with panic….  but are planning to go to brunch with friends on Sunday.

These people are not at all irrational. The panic-suit is needed so the panicked and crazy with fear people don’t turn on you. However, you KNOW it’s not real.  YOU KNOW.

Which is in some blog (legal insurrection?) someone mentioned that people are preparing for Wuhan Flu was though it were a hurricane.  No, seriously. Yes, I’ve heard it, and you have too “If we all die, who is going to keep the lights on/the gas flowing/etc etc etc.”

Look at the demographics of the people dying. These are not likely to be your linemen, your power-plant operators.  They JUST AREN’T.  Unless our government goes ape-shit (not out of the possibilities, mind you, with the media going nuts) and decides to start willy nilly welding us into apartment houses as in China (how they’ll manage that, since most of us don’t live in apartment houses, I don’t know!) I don’t see the lights going out. Also, as I understand it, a lot of these are automated now. Lights, water, etc. The reason they fail in storms is being overwhelmed by…. well, the storm.  A virus is not going to run around taking down powerlines.

What people are buying is equally crazy, and it’s preparing for weeks (months?) without power.  Which is highly unlikely in the circumstances. As is running out of water. As is…. well, running out of bleach wipes, honestly, unless you’re like me and always use quantities of them so you can clean quickly.

None of the things people are panic-buying makes any sense. NONE. They’re acting like they expect a storm, or Godzilla to come through.

This is the sign of a completely irrational panic.

REAL panic would have people holing up at home with enough food for a month or two, after which this will have blown over one way or another.

Oh, and I was highly amused yesterday to find that despite the cancellation of schools, several local associations are offering early summer camps for while your kids are home for spring break “and beyond.”  I bet you can find them in your area too.

That’s not REAL panic. That’s cosplaying panic stimulated by the madness of the crowds.

4- Add to that that I’m always a little apart, a little different. No, I take no particularly pride in this, it just is.

This is partly my background, the fact I’ve lived in many countries and realize that they are not in fact “just like us” or “have a first rate medical system” (For EUROPE — snort, giggle.) Or whatever.

And partly the fact that born under national socialism and raised under international socialism I treat the news as a scrying means. They’re not the real truth, though you can find it in their entrails sometimes.

NOW WHY I AM IN FACT GETTING SCARED:

1- This panic reaction is entirely wrong.

I don’t mean just that we’re preparing for the Wuhan-flu-hurricane that will down power lines.  I mean something FAR more intrinsic:

We should be concentrating on protecting people AT ACTUAL RISK.  You know, the elderly and infirm. (And btw, why is obesity on the list of risk factors, other than the fact the west is obsessed with it as a cardinal sin.  Sure, it’s a risk factor for ALL SORTS OF THINGS, but obesity BY ITSELF doesn’t damage your lungs, or put you at a higher risk of flu/colds.  That alone tells me this is insanity. Now obesity can be a co-morbidity with things that damage your lungs, such as I gained a ton of weight when my auto-immune/asthma was out of control and I was continuously on prednisone, but trust me on this, living in a village where people died of trifling little colds, being too skinny was more of a risk than being too fat.)

IF we were being rational, all the media and the health services would be saying “If you’re under fifty and in mostly good health, don’t come running to ER or annoy your doctor because you might have this. Come to us only if you are in actual respiratory distress, not before.”  The public health people would be saying “If you have a relative in a nursing home, DO NOT VISIT.  JUST DON’T till we have a handle on this.” Because, social isolation beats being dead, honestly. They might promote things like facetime to talk to your relatives.  Oh, and they would be prioritizing testing AND isolation for anyone — medical personnel, relatives, etc — treating or looking after those people at risk.

THAT would be the rational and sane thing to do.  We’re not doing it. This “everyone is going to die screaming” panic is only going to make it harder to look after those at risk.

It’s almost like they WANT those people to die. And yes, that’s paranoia and the idiots are not that savvy.

2- Now Trump is standing astride the economy hitting it with bags of money.

It didn’t work under Obama, and it won’t work under Trump.

I do understand why he’s doing it.  But you know what would be better? “If you’re young and healthy, get out of your basement and go the frack to work.”

The country shut down yesterday afternoon. For an illness that impacts MOSTLY those over 65. We closed the schools and colleges. This as I have pointed out might not be entirely bad. Hell, you know, the kids probably learn more at home playing video games.  But we also shut down everything else.

It’s find if you can telecommute, but as someone pointed out in the comments, that a fraction of the population.  I don’t know. In the US we might be up to 50%. It’s certainly not everyone. And there are a lot of people paid by the hour who are out of work for the duration, and whose places of employment, from restaurants to stores to amusement parks might not recover.

I’m not a sports fan — to be fair, I’m too ADD to sit through games — so to me the shutting down of sports events means nothing but there are small businesses who already took loans to sell food or whatever at parades and sports events, who are staring ruin in the face.

The country is taking a MASSIVE economic hit where it’s real — not the stock market, which will come back — to protect children, the young, and the early middle aged from an illness that as far as anyone can tell has negligible effect on them. Probably less than the annual flu has.

Meanwhile, we’re creating economic situations and social situations which will make caring for the most vulnerable and at risk — to this flu and everything else — almost impossible.

3- The world is going to hurt. The world is going to take a hit like you wouldn’t believe.

I suspect Italy is the “best case scenario” for most Latin countries. The fact that I have elderly relatives in one of them doesn’t fill me with wonder and happiness.

And here is where cultural factors come into effect, things I don’t think even Americans who have traveled are aware of.

Early in this, a friend made some mention of Chinese men peeing in public, and said maybe they learned it from American college students. And I paused and went AHAHAHAHAHAH. No.

Peeing in public might be the default mode for the human male.  When I was little I had penis envy because my little male friends didn’t have to go in to pee, and lose their place in the game. (Yes, I know there are implements. Six year old me DIDN’T though.) BUT it’s not just a childhood thing. Always with the caveat that the Portuguese are more socially conscious now and this is reduced (but not stopped. I see at least a couple every time I’m over.)  I grew up with males peeing wherever they felt like it. Find a convenient wall, pee against it. Even if the wall is made of glass and someone on the other side is staring at you in horror (it was a phone booth. Dan and I were in it, calling my parents.)  I had to explain to my husband not to touch anything from about waist level down, including walls, light poles, etc.

Also public bathrooms in Portugal (and France, when I was there) are generally far less clean than in the US. The closer comparison would be porta-potties in downtowns infested with druggies…. and even then.  Even in decent restaurants in Portugal, I warn people going to the bathroom to take toilet paper AND soap (and usually have those in my purse to lend. Too many situations of not having either to hand.) as they’re not refilled nearly as often as they’re here. I’d be shocked if Italy is any different.

BUT there are other seemingly innocuous things that put them at higher risk.  Seriously, I’d forgotten about this — I don’t go out and meet strangers much when I visit my family — until my son reminded me: the kissy face.

I’m serious and this is why Latin countries will be at a greater risk: they kiss. They kiss A LOT.  Okay, not the guys, at least in Portugal. I mean they don’t kiss each other. Unless they’re related, and then often they do. But if there’s a female involved in any social interaction? She gets kissed by everyone else, male and female, INCLUDING STRANGERS SHE’S MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME.  Kisses at leave taking are also not unusual.  In church the “kiss of peace”?  It’s a kiss if there’s a female involved. If you’re a woman, you just got kissed by ten/twenty strangers.

Now these are face-kisses, but if you think they don’t carry a greater risk than a reluctant hand shake (in times of real danger of infection followed by hand sanitizer) you aren’t thinking.  And of course, at least for churches most of the attendance in Europe is over 60.

Then let’s talk social distance. I’ve lived in the US west for close on thirty years. Our social distance is “Ya’ll stay six feet away and shout, okay? That’s great.”  Okay, that’s probably exaggerating, but not by much. Three to four feet “distance” between individuals isn’t rare.

When I fly East, like for Liberty con, I feel the closing in as social distance becomes two feet. People are going by way too close to me. I want to sing “don’t stand so close to me.”

AND….. the Eastern US is still “freakishly large social distance” compared to Europe. And I understand Asia (never traveled there) is even closer.  I wonder how since I often made my way through Porto by virtue of my left shoulder, at busy times. But there it is.

Social distance. how many strangers do you rub up against or close as makes no difference in the course of your day?

The US is different in this because we were a fairly young culture when the germ theory of disease became known. It informed a lot of our culture. BUT in Europe (and Asia) the rational knowledge of the theory is overlaid on MUCH older structures. It doesn’t percolate so well. You might not want to kiss your brother’s work-colleague, but how will that affect his career? So you do.

Which brings us to another point: transportation.  Most Americans — much to the horror of the left — do transportation in GLORIOUS and MAJESTIC solitude.  At WORST, if my entire family is going out? There are five people in the car.

In Europe the RULE is public transport. And in cities most public transport is CROWDED.  I know this will be hard to believe considering how often I’m very ill, but it was far worse when I used public transport even though I was much younger.

Also their medical systems are mostly government controlled or regulated to such an extent that as in all government-created enterprises keeping appearances is elevated above treating the sick.  So they will LOOK like excellent health systems. The reality appalls almost every American who experiences it. (There are always exceptions and some people get lucky.)

So why does this terrify me?  Europe was already in an extremely precarious position. I think they’re going to lose people at “youngish” ages from this, say 50 on. Which means they’re going to lose a lot of the highly trained individuals that keep their tech and society going.  And yes, this will be affecting us.

What we SHOULD  in sanity be doing is figuring out how, and be ready to have other systems to go on line when Europe buckles. Because Europe WILL.

Yes, closing flights from Europe is PROBABLY rational. For one, Chinese were still coming through Europe (duh.)

BUT instead of hitting the economy in the face with bags of money and closing our economy down for the duration, perhaps we should be considering what factories/services/etc we’re going to need here if Europe (and a lot of Asia, though note the panic is far less there) goes dark.

And this is why I’m staring in horror and wonder while the mad hatter pours tea on the mouse’s head.  This is not just crazy. This is counter productive. ALL of it pretty much, except for the closing of flights is completely insane and will hurt more than the virus does.

At the back of my mind, too, there is a little voice saying “And what happens when after all this is said and done, there are maybe a hundred thousand people who die, and those from the oldest demographics. What then?”

The press should be aware that the next easy emotion to stimulate after horror is anger.

I know, I know, they think they can pin it all on orangemanbad, and that this will not only prevent the righteous beating they took in Great Britain, but will husher in their zombie-candidate-for-socialism (third term of Obama. Sure we want that, right?) and ruin.

I’m not ready to say they won’t succeed.  What I’m going to say is that if they succeed it will be a brief victory.  We have all seen them with their masks off, trying to bring about the death and destruction of the west, all in the name of getting power back.

They should consider that when it proves everything they said was a lie, including “the” and “and” and that the panic they stoked was EXACTLY the wrong panic and caused us to do the wrong things, people are going to remember.

May G-d have mercy on their souls.

 

 

 

489 thoughts on “A State of Madness

  1. The News Media is “the boy who cried wolf”.

    But the wolf won’t eat them first. 😦

  2. Sarah, when you have articles like this one, and a hashtag #BoomerRemover, trending on Twitter, you might want to start thinking that Col Schlicter has a point — and I’ve seen it longer than he has.

    “Don’t take this the wrong way but if you were a young, hardline environmentalist looking for the ultimate weapon against climate change, you could hardly design anything better than coronavirus.
    Unlike most other such diseases, it kills mostly the old who, let’s face it, are more likely to be climate sceptics. It spares the young.”

    http://archive.is/aGGem#selection-723.0-729.137

    1. Steve, I’m saving that article for PJ if I can have enough energy.
      Look, the rebellions in the East and Europe against the elites are off the news.
      Our left is getting their way on a bunch of things.
      I confess I’ve wondered how much of this is even REAL. But the virus seems to be real.
      The panic, otoh…..

      1. The panic being pushed by media falls into the “never let a crisis go to waste” category. Recall the same media now fomenting panic is the same media that outright said that it was okay to fabricate stories about Trump and to lie about him during the 2016 campaign, and has doubled down on that attitude and course of conduct since he won anyway. It should be no surprise that the Democrats and their media arm are trying to create a panic. They want an economic downturn (and have been wishing for one for years) in order to “beat Trump.”

        The intent to exploit this for partisan purposes couldn’t be made any more clear by the leftist wish list that the Democrats are trying to put into legislation to address the virus; such as federal funding for abortion on demand, universal guaranteed minimum income, and the rest of the Marxist wish list. And with live gatherings curtailed, it gives the tech oligarchs almost absolute power over public political discourse and political speech, which will enhance the impact of their censorship of non-leftists.

      2. The virus is real. It is probably *way* more spread around the country than we think, with lower mortality.

        I’m in an odd position here… I never listen to the media, so I’m not getting the same dripfeed of insanity that everyone else apparently is. But I’m also dealing with people with very strong Nothing Ever Happens biases.

        Yeah, those are harder conversations than should be necessary. Fortunately the Disappearing Toilet Paper Virus finally arrived in town yesterday, so they got the idea that it would be good to have a little food on hand before everyone else panic buys.

        1. Oldest son told me yesterday that he thinks he caught it when he was in Washington last month. He went into Seattle several times and was sick when he got back to Key West in early March. He told me it was like a bad cold, several types of which is also caused by a corona type virus. He shrugged it off and is back working the dive boats, though the tourist biz may take a big hit very soon.

          1. I know someone who’s son caught what he thought was CV in Australia a couple months ago. Yeah, most people will just have a bad flu, or in mild cases bad cold.

            1. There is a report out today that the Chinese apparently lied (I know, surprise surprise) when they “admitted” that the first cases were from December. Apparently they actually go back to November 2019, Which means that in today’s jet set world of travel, the virus had already worked its way around the globe well before the late January/early February publicity storm. Funny enough, when I was sick in mid-January, first thing Doctor did was try to determine if it was flu or a cold (my temp never got over 100) and he determined it was a cold-which he warned me had had seen lingered and from what he had seen would take about six weeks to recover from it. Wouldn’t you know that the people who have had it and recovered report it took them about 6 weeks to get over it!

              Which of course mean that the number of serious cases and the deaths cased by it would be very vastly overstated as a percentage of total number of people infected.

              I suspect that state media will metnion this-the day after election day in November.

              Just saying….

              1. My brother, age 68, had a nasty cold the first week of January, recovered, and had a short relapse the following week. I am 66. I had the first cold I’ve had in years during that same period, but it only lasted a few days. Both of us had sinus symptoms, no fever, no cough, no chest congestion, so I’m pretty sure it was just a common cold. I also have RA, an autoimmune disease.

                But the common cold is also a type of coronavirus, is it not?

                1. That and rhino are the two most common, but there’s something like a hundred different causes for the common cold when it *is* actually a cold.

                2. Cough (mostly dry notwithstanding the congestion) and congestion were the big symptoms I had, bad enough to lose my voice for about 4-5 weeks; temp never got over 100 and was very up and down below that (from basically normal to upper 99s), and I also went through the seemed to be going away, and came back; which is what the Doctor had told me to expect.

                    1. I’m actually kinda hoping we had it already. But ours was only two weeks, no measured fever though I kinda felt like it sometimes, fair amount of congestion especially for the little one — so perhaps unlikely. Worst cough I’ve had in years though. Bleah. (During… the six-weeks-and-counting lingering one is just mildly annoying, at least unless people freak out at me about it.)

              1. He didn’t know: there were a bunch of Chinese at the studio where he worked. Then everyone got very sick, he stayed home while sick to not spread it, then the Aussie doctors weren’t interested in testing after it was passed.

      3. A good way to tell when people are propagandized is when they become angry if you disagree with them, especially if it’s irrational. When I talk about the coronavirus with people I see this phenomenon. It’s like they’re coronavirus lefties and I’m a coronavirus “denier”. It’s so gross. We are all Paula Alquist now.

    2. I’ve heard that Trump is a notorious germaphobe. Thus, I actually saw his trying to calm the populace before (which people are calling ‘inaction’ wtf) as him being very calm and rational. He’s in the usual demographic for the sufferers (though, let’s be honest, Bernie and Biden are further into there, because Trump still strikes me as a rather active fellow.)

      And yeah, the young. *snort* They think they know all that and a bag of chips, but if the things go into zombie apocalypse scenario the way they would love it to, these hardline lefty watermelons would be eating each other AND their children in order to survive. (ESPECIALLY their own kids, since they seem to be of the opinion that children are disposable.)

  3. I’ve been accused of being ‘superior’ and of ‘priding herself on being rational’ for not joining the panic fear.

    Being rational is now a crime?

    Ye gods and little fishes. What that reveals about the accuser … Oncet we praised that sort of thing.

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    1. It hain’t so much I take pride in being rational, y’see, as it is I’d be embarrassed to be otherwise.

      1. Eh. I think.if being rational as more of a target to aim at. Like being virtuous. I’m covered when I miss, so I don’t get discouraged, and keep shooting as it were. One does get better.

        Rationalizing, how ever. Got that down pat.

        1. Rational thought just *works.* In an industry that punishes things that don’t work with immediate and painful effect, you either learn fast or drop out quick. More things in life used to be that way and aren’t now, for good or ill.

    2. I love that poem.

      And RES, being rational is considered a ‘male’ thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if some fools out there also tag ‘cis white’ in front of that, and thus it is considered EVILBADWRONGTHINK.

      Which really, explains SO MUCH about what’s wrong with society today.

      1. Carol Gillihan: ‘way back in the ’90s and early lights when the DIE / SJW brand of intersectional #Feminism was getting anchored across Academia, proclaimed (to applause) v is reason and formal logic “You can’t year down the (slave) master’s house with the master’s tools.”

        I know, right?

      2. True, that. My twin sister, whom I love dearly, thinks I’m … hard. Her feelings are quickly and easily tapped. Mine are not. I think she is sometimes overwhelmed by them. I try to keep an even keel, and a habit of rational thought is the best way I know how to do that. It takes practice.

        As fraternal twins, we think of ourselves as individuals. We couldn’t be more different, but we can try to learn from each other.

        I would add that she is definitely not beside herself about the coronavirus. She may be emotional, but she’s an intelligent woman with adult sensibilities.

  4. People who can’t pay the rent or mortgage if they expect to buy groceries are going to be pissed about their companies sending everyone home, and if too many companies fold, people will be losing their homes, and most of their savings.

    IMO, sanity will return fast, with companies reopening, and people digging out from a couple of weeks with no income.

    Either that or we’re all screwed.

    1. This. The best thing that could be done, IMHO, for the economy would not be throwing bags of cash to people – but putting a moratorium on debt payments (and interest accumulation). Thirty days, sixty at the outside. That would do the most to preserve the middle class and small businesses.

      Some cash out, but only to businesses that can show their ability to continue operations depend on receiving those payments.

      BTW, my odds on the actual final death toll from this are even at 30K. The curve is somewhat skewed to the right, it depends on just HOW stupid the Blue States can remain.

      1. My credit card company has already sent out emails stating that if people find themselves facing financial difficulties, to reach out to them and they’ll work with you. Our local power company has sent out notices that they will be putting a moratorium on turning off people’s power for unpaid bills if things begin to seriously shut down.

        Going by my personal experience with my credit union when I was furloughed for six weeks last year, they are more than willing to work with people during tough times. A mortgage IS trickier, but I bet if I were to reach out to my mortgage holder in the event I was stuck at home and not getting paid, we’d figure *something* out.

        People freak out about this, and not without reason, but at LEAST 60% of it is because they don’t think to/aren’t willing to speak to those holding their debts to see what their options are. Amazingly, most utility companys/mortgage holders/loan holders are humans too, and not without compassion and willing to work with you. (Of course there will be exceptions to this–but won’t that leave you with a.) knowledge to NOT take your business to them in future, and b.) to spread word about their poor behavior to help ensure others don’t give them business ?)

        I agree food is trickier, because a lot of people really seem to operate on the “have barely more than a couple of days of food in the house” thing. Honestly, that makes no sense to me, but then I come from a culture big on food storage. We could probably manage for at least ten months at my house, if we didn’t mind powdered milk.

        But again–I’d bet a LOT that most people wouldn’t stand by here and watch their neighbors starve to death.

        1. When we got our mortgage, local bank that still holds it, they specificallly stated that if something happens where it looks like we might miss a payment, to contact them immediately so they can rework terms more favorable for the situation.

        2. Also, mean as it sounds: a lot of the crises that will come–and that I saw develop during the furlough last year–are because of poor decisions and poor planning. Now, I’m not great with money. Never have been. But in the case of the furlough I had been hearing about it for MONTHS before it actually happened. And knew that it was most likely to happen around the holiday season. So I made sure I had enough to cover at least a month or two of the most urgent bills in savings. Food wasn’t a worry–as I said, I come from a family that does food storage–and heating wasn’t really a worry because we could always gird our loins and chop wood. I made sure that I bought the biggest bag of my cat’s prescription food, so he wouldn’t have his health at risk for quite a while.

          And…I was fine. I went ahead and took the short term loan the bank offered (they basically gave us the amount of two paychecks). I signed up for unemployment, though by the time it rolled through the red tape I was back at work, and hadn’t needed it (thankfully, because doing temporary unemployment when you later get your back pay is a PAIN). Things were tight, but I was fine.

          There were people wailing about not being able to afford food because they didn’t keep food on hand, spent all of their paycheck every time, and had made zero plans. (To which my reply was “You know, there IS a food bank in most communities…) I had a hard time feeling sorry for them, because like me, they had been hearing about the possibility of a furlough for months before it happened.

          It’s a little trickier here, because we’re not *sure* what’s going to happen. But, again: I’ve been putting money into savings (though odds are good that my job, if they close the entire office, they will probably pay even those of us who can’t telework our jobs). I have food storage. I’ll make sure to have stocked up a bit on the pet food. If I end up stuck at home, I’m good. If not, well hey, I won’t have to buy pet food or basic meds for awhile, and the money in savings will go to what I’d already planned for it, which is a stenography course.

          People need to plan better for disasters. I do okay–better than many–because I live in a state where the major artery, the interstate, spends a huge chunk of every winter closed (because they sited it in a stupid location). Getting snowed in happens a LOT. The grocery store shelves getting a bit bare because the shipments couldn’t get through is a not-uncommon occurrence. (We already buy toilet paper in bulk, because it’s just easier–and also my grandmother goes through an insane amount.)

          A lot of times I hear “well, that’s just impossible for poor people” except it isn’t. It’s not *easy* but speaking as someone who, a very short time ago was one of those poor people and who is still on the edge of it, it IS possible. And it might not be very much–but sometimes even just having an extra fifty bucks saved makes all the difference.

          ::cough:: sorry for the lecture, it’s something I’ve been thinking on quite awhile, especially as I’ve lived both realities (though never to the point of not being able to buy food)

          1. After the year when my flight hours got cut so much that the Ramen-of-the-Month-Club kicked me out for non-payment (grad student joke), I learned to save, stockpile during good times, and be ready for the bad. It’s gotten me through a few other lean times since then.

          2. “I live in a state where the major artery, the interstate, spends a huge chunk of every winter closed (because they sited it in a stupid location).”

            You’re in Wyoming?

            1. I vaguely recall reading that a lot of the early interstate system that looks like it doesn’t make sense makes more if you check what military bases used to be nearby. The system may have become the backbone of civilian travel inside the US, but a good deal of the original intention had to do with facilitating movement of troops and supplies in the event of war.

              1. Ike, who pushed the interstates, was involved in a 1920s test troop movement across the US (using roads not via train).

                It was extremely difficult so after seeing the German autobahns, he decided that the US needed something similar.

                1. IIRC, it was during the First World War. Eisenhower was tasked with moving troops from California to the East Coast, and it took 30 days.

                  This is why the formal name of the interstates is the National Defense Highway System.

              2. Not just troops– their dependents.

                My grandmother drove cross-country with another soldier’s wife, two babies… found out the gal was lying about knowing how to drive… the bridges were often four boards. You put the boards on yours side over the river, walked over, carried the boards on that side back, drove over, pulled the boards back, left.

                1. Somewhere or other I have a book the AAA published to mark their 50th anniversary, and it includes an account of an attempt (successful, as I recall) to drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific, at a time when there weren’t any comprehensive road maps of the route. They had to make their way West asking in each town how to get to the next.

                  I don’t remember the date, but it was later than I would have thought.

                  1. “book the AAA published to mark their 50th anniversary, and it includes an account of an attempt (successful, as I recall) to drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific, at a time when there weren’t any comprehensive road maps of the route.”

                    Couple of notes.

                    50 years is 1970 … For some of us, that is just yesterday (okay I was 13, still yesterday).

                    When you consider the few (safe) routes available over Cascades in Oregon/Washington, or even Oregon Coast Range, even now, not surprised.

                  2. Family lore, and a reminiscence from my Great-Aunt Nan – in the mid-twenties, the family relocated from Detroit to Southern California. They traveled in a Hudson touring car; my grandfather, his sister, a friend named Edgar, his mother and aunt, and a dog. They went with a tent and camping equipment – they camped out for most of the way, probably following would later be Route 66 at least part of the way. Dirt roads, not much in the way of traveler’s conveniences. Nan wrote that they went into California through an unimproved road which led through Yosemite. They all thought California was just grand. I wish they had taken and saved pictures.

                    1. OTOH, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov came to America and did a road trip in the 1930s. Yes, they were comparing them to the roads of the USSR but they talked at length about how great they were — to the point where you got used to them being great and resented being on a bad road.

            2. Yeah, I’m in Wyoming. Southeast Wyoming, and I live an hour away from where I work (which, y’know, is normal for Wyoming. You live an hour away from EVERYTHING)

              I dunno how true it is, but local lore says the guy who sited I-80 ignored all the locals in favor of his route being “more scenic” (because there sure as hell aren’t any military bases anywhere near here–Cheyenne is really the only one). And so the prevailing winds mean that the interstate spends a big chunk of time closed.

              We had a terrifyingly massive vehicle pileup just a couple of weeks ago down near Wamsutter that shut down the highway for most of a week. That’s the barest I’ve seen the grocery store shelves in a while, nasty winter this year notwithstanding.

              1. I always assumed it was routed that way because it’s pretty close to the Oregon Trail route, which meant virtually no issues with the Continental Divide.

          3. Extra dollar after the must have right now things? Throw in a four pack of TP, it’s on sale this week. Three extra dollars? BIG bag of rice for less per ounce. That’s how we got through our REALLY poor times.

            Well, that and my parents had a Sam’s Club membership, and would drop a dozen bags of diapers on us at a time. THAT honestly is the worst expense for young parents without their own washing machine, IMHO. I pay forward with a couple dozen for the diaper drives every year.

          4. This has all done a great job of poisoning waters where trust in “experts” is actually needed. The whole toilet paper epidemic, sparking panic, and outright stupidity and “I know better” mindset shown has made me mistrust any of these proclamations. I’m admittedly in a tough spot because I’m moving and starting new work so I’m not fully stockpiled. But the govt resisters calling for people to prepare for months of quarantine, saying there will be hundreds of millions of infected and hundreds of thousands of deaths , and so on just means to me now, and to family members who have been working in hospitals for half a century, that the govt is full of it and to not believe them.

            So the next time something comes thru, especially if its hushed up by the fascists in media because a fellow fascist is in power, deaths will follow. First from disease, second from enraged populace.

        3. I grew up on a farm, where we could get snowed in for days in the winter, so I always like to have a decent supply of the basics. Things may get monotonous if trouble goes on for a while, but at least we will be eating. (We’ve run our stockpile down a little this past winter, since all the winter conventions worth doing have waitlisted us, but it’s not like the cupboard is down to a single bottle of soy sauce).

          And because I remember my mom’s struggles when her thyroid medication ran out during one of those long periods of being snowed in, one of the first things I did was contact my endocrinologist and request an additional refill on mine, because I was on my last refill and did not want to risk running out if supply lines got screwed up. The doctor switched me from 30-day to 90-day refills, and I now have enough to last me well into June.

      2. Well, of course those payments are going somewhere, and even if to a “Too Big To Fail” bank their absence will affect balance sheets and required liquidity levels. It’s a manageable problem (I’m confident HerbN could explain it more coherently than I can) but requires a) anticipation of problem and b) absence of rabble-rousers like AOC denouncing it as a bailout of banks.

    2. Italy declared a mortgage holiday. There are remedies for the problems you list. Please consider that this time there is actually a wolf, and that a great many of us are actually screwed. Think anyone in China is the same as they were before Christmas?

      nick

      1. If you said “there may be a wolf”, I might agree but I’ve heard too much “crying wolf where there was no wolf” to make too much changes in my life-style.

        I’ll just take my normal precautions for cold/flu season.

        1. Exactly. Everything that the CDC is telling people to do is exactly what they should be doing Every. Damned. Season. I’ve had one flu episode in something like the last ten years – without the flu vaccine, and with $SPOUSE$ in a “high germ” work environment. I don’t sit at home, either, as I do just about all of the shopping where I get a wide (although less concentrated) exposure to everything that’s out there.

      2. the problem is if there is a wolf, it is running off or passing through, not actively hunting, and the little boy isn’t warning us about it, he is claiming a passel of packs is storming in, and claiming they are dire wolves to boot.

  5. Back in my teens, I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still for the first time. There’s a scene where Klaatu, who looks entirely human, is out walking about the city, and is stopped by a television reporter, who asks if he’s afraid. He answers, “I’m always afraid when I see people substituting fear for reason.” The reporter hastily turns to a different interviewee. They got that one right!

    I have to say it made a lasting impression on me.

      1. It also made more sense than the so-called remake.

        It’s somewhat reasonable for Klaatu’s people to be concerned about mankind bringing our wars into space (possibly involving them).

        But why the heck would the “new” Klaatu & his people be worried about what we’re doing to our planet and then there’s the stupidity of him destroying our current technology & letting us live.

        IE: The survivors know that they have an enemy “out there” so they have a motive to rebuild and leave Earth to “teach the aliens a lesson in manners”. 😈

        1. I don’t like the part about surrendering autonomy to robots, either. But heck, it’s a great story. I never saw, and will never see, the remake. I’ve heard that it’s terrible.

          Hollywood is completely out of ideas. The literary tradition that used to inform the film industry no longer exists. Now they make movies from comic books (not that I object to that, per se, but c’mon … that’s become a one-trick pony), video games, vested interests masquerading as moral principles, propaganda tricked out as life lessons, and lousy remakes.

          1. Chuckle Chuckle

            In the short work “Farewell To The Master” that the movie very slightly based on the Robot Is The Master. 😈

  6. I’m going to disagree with that part about the shutdown of public events not being a good idea.

    The protestors would be the likeliest group to take advantage of this otherwise. Now, they’ll have to stay home, rather than trashing the cities.

    The energy of the Leftists will be curtailed. They will be reduced to pontificating on Twitter and other social media. However, they will not gain courage and support from others around them. This cools the rhetoric.

    This allows the American people to isolate, reflect, and decide for themselves what level of social interaction they want to have in the future.

    It also gives kids some time away from the schools – if they were attending, they’d be drilled on the many ways that Trump is responsible for everything that is going wrong.

    Most importantly, it cools down the economy. That’s bad, isn’t it?

    Maybe not. It may allow industries/companies some breathing room, to plan on changes in their supply chain, determine which parts of their workforce is not necessary (HR? Please, please, please, reduce their size/influence). Then, after returning, they have a clear head, adjusted plans, and a workforce anxious to prove their value.

    For the many working in the food industry, they might look at other options, that have greater potential for growth.

    The easing of bill collection/mortgage payments, and other temporary concessions will make the adjustments easier. Keep in mind that the budget-breakers are often the discretionary expenses – shopping, eating out, entertainment – that wreck the working poor’s budget. By isolating, they will save on those items. And, with some extra time, may come to realize that downsizing – housing, car, lifestyle – might work for them.

    1. I think you’re seriously underestimating the damage of shutting down the economy.
      Yes, including public events. What we should be doing is concentrating on AT RISK POPULATIONS.
      Look, most nursing home residents aren’t attending parades….
      Oh, and quarantining all and any incoming people.

      1. Absolutely agree. The people who died in Washington State (near my step daughters btw) were in a memory care facility. Not a one of them left the center.

      2. One thing rational I’ve noted here in Massachusetts and south of us in Connecticut is that the Nursing/ Elderly Homes HAVE for the most part turned off all visitation except in family emergency. The locals did something rational how did that happen?

          1. Right that’s the hard part. My father in law is in a home in the Worcester area. His care givers are mostly female, very much from the “lower” class. They’re paid poorly and need to get home to care for the family so I’m not sure they could stay. Mostly very decent sweet folks working like a dog. I think mostly aides with no degree and an occasional LPN Associates degree supervising. Mix of poor white folks, and assorted immigrant/ first gen families (Haitian, Brazilian, and occasional Vietnamese or other South east Asian) which matches Worcester and its surrounding area

            There are few RN/BSN types to do the meds and check vitals etc. As a side note the old 3 year RN type folks have essentially disappeared off the face of the earth. The few that remain are in their 50’s pushing 60 so graduated about the same time I did. The nursing schools that granted RN’s are almost totally gone. Like many oother things everyone is encouraged to get a Bachelors rather than a practical 2/3 year degree with a strong practicum component.

            1. There is a minor problem if staff do’t go home: are they on the clock? If not, then they cannot be tasked to perform any duties, especially potentially dangerous ones. If they are then the overtime is going to bankrupt the facilities.

              As for “everyone is encouraged to get a Bachelors rather than a practical 2/3 year degree” … well, duh. Elsewise there’s a severe risk of them having a manageable debt load.

            2. Outside of nursing homes, you have no shot at a job without a BSRN. Just more welfare for colleges.

  7. My answer to “You think you’re superior” is “Damned right I’m superior, and so is everyone who doesn’t fall you your stale central planning blather.”

  8. I planned for this flu the same way I plan for illness. I just added more rubbing alcohol, clorox wipes, and face masks because I am one of those at risk. Still I just had surgery, putting a hole in my arm, for an A/V fistula. And, I stocked my pantry. I also bought the TP and paper towels months ago– preparing for the flu season. I do that every year. So it hasn’t been that much more prep for me. But then I am two people away from the flu right now. I know both of the people who were near infected people. So I’m in a different spot than most– Of course in my entire life I have always kept extras… because personal emergencies can be devastating.

      1. Just a day or two ago my daughter got irritated at me because she was trying to say that people trying to buy toilet paper in stores right now are preparing for the virus, and I was trying to say that they really weren’t — that anyone who hasn’t bought their food/supplies at least a couple of weeks in advance, weren’t planning or preparing, and all they are doing now is panicking.

        The fact is, when I prepared a two-week menu of canned/dried goods and actually went out and bought it a couple of weeks ago, I still don’t consider it preparation for the virus, because that’s stuff we should have had on-hand weeks or even months ago. I felt weird doing that, though, because I didn’t consider the coronavirus to be a threat. I still don’t, but I’m glad I went and did that, because I didn’t count on having to deal with the panic of the coronavirus as well (which is probably the bigger threat).

        Having said that, while I don’t consider the virus in general to be a threat, I’m nonetheless concerned about my own family — but that’s because a couple of people in our household have asthma, and a couple of us may even be pre-diabetic, which put us in a higher-risk group. Even so, we have an oxymeter that we got several months ago because three or so years ago, our youngest daughter had pneumonia, and the only reason we took her into the ER was because, just before sending us home from visiting the doctor, the nurse thought it would be a good idea to check her oxygen levels.

        I can’t help but wonder to what degree advice like “get an oxymeter and a thermometer, keep an eye on things, and if someone is having difficulty breathing, or their oxygen drops low, call the ER and ask when would be the best time to go there” would have been far better than the advice we’re getting right now….

        (And I would also add that such advice would be sage, even if you don’t have any reason to believe you’re infected by the coronavirus, or any particular virus in general….)

    1. New roll of TP on the spindle, two more in reserve, so I’m good until June.
      Wait! I forgot, there’s another full roll in the other bathroom so no need to panic until July.
      And yes I am a bachelor living alone, why do you ask?

        1. Took me a long time as an adult male to understand the obsession all females seemed to have with TP. In an epiphany one day I actually thought through the, in retrospect, obvious difference in the elimination process for the two genders. Wipe vs shake is of course more resource demanding.
          Of course install a warm water bidet along with personal drying towels and imagine how many trees one might save over the course of a lifetime.

          1. The Greens would start demanding ‘low flow’ bidets, if bidets ever became popular.

            one of MANY reasons my gut reaction to seeing a ‘Green Protest’ is to wonder if I could get away with a strafing run with a croquet mallet.

            1. They are talking about making a hand crank version of the new micro-mini gun that would be legal for anyone to own.

            1. OTOH, I don’t expect you get your genitalia caught in too many zippers.

              I consider the human body a strong argument against evolution being a random process. Nothing this funny happens without a joker involved in the design somewhere.

              1. Or as one wag famously queried: who in heck thought it was a good idea to put the amusement park next door to the sewage plant?

                1. That is the final sentence in the joke about what kind of engineer God is….
                  BTW… he’s a civil engineer….

          2. I’m annoyed enough at the moment..I’m actually thinking about getting one each, to put on our toilets…hell even if I’m the only one to use it and like it…that cuts down on tp usage. my sister, mostly by herself…goes thru a minimum of a roll a day. it’s irritating

          3. There is a clear argument to be made that women are significantly greater consumers of Earth’s resources and therefore ought shoulder a greater tax burden..

            Only a fool would publicly make such a case.

          4. Having used bidets in Spain and Portugal, I have to agree with Heinlein. They are vastly underrated.

      1. bought a pack in December from Woodman’s (12 rolls?) and still have not opened it, and that was because it was on sale, and the cat has clawed two rolls still in the previous pack under the sink (I need to catproof the vanity, but I need a smaller one . . . long story) and I figured I best just go ahead, so I’m likely good for the year.

            1. It is too big for the space, so I plan on changing it out to something that allows me to get into the room. Door hangs the wrong way, so when opening the door it is 3 inches from the sink when half way open, almost a person width from the tub/shower when 2/3 open, and almost strikes the toilet when almost wide open. and the vanity top is about the same distance from the tub/shower, with an overlap of a foot.
              Yes, I also plan on changing the door’s swing.
              The new vanity will likely get some type of door latch, as she also likes to stick a paw/claw into a crack and rattle the door.

              1. *sympathy*

                When we bought our house, the guy mentioned they’d bought a bathroom “remodeling”.

                Consisted of painting the room slate gray with blood red trim, and putting in a HUGE sink that, I swear, has a perfectly square basin. So the water won’t leave the basin….

          1. um,
            Yes?
            Last friday I had to put Isabeau down as she had a gastric tumor. I still have her older sis Annie and the younger Allie not related to the others.
            A small cat and a smaller vanity would be alright.
            Allie , I am sure, would disagree with the cat end, Annie with the vanity change.

              1. She was 14, from a different litter from Annie (a year or so older) Annie looks like the mother cat (Tuxedo), Isabeau looked like the Tom (Tabby pointed Siamese with the chocolate brown almost purple look), and was the world’s clumsiest cat.

            1. My condolences on losing a cat. Here’s to the second one staying around and being a pain in the… vanity… until said vanity is replaced!

              1. thanks.
                Annie is a pain everywhere, except the bed, as she and Allie don’t always get along, so she avoids bed, though then Allie becomes the pain, as she thinks I am a climbing wall and I need a face full of whiskers multiple times a night.
                It’s all a part of the Cat job description.

            2. That’s a hard thing to do. One reason we no longer share our lives with any cat is the difficulty we experienced taking the necessary steps once the last one required it.

              The lack of confidence we would outlive any new family member was the other factor.

              1. I knew a guy with a bird (Blue and Red Macaw) and it was in the will and provided for via insurance as they had no clue as to how old it was. His daughter was supposed to get Groucheaux.
                Isabeau went from seemingly fine to “Oh Shit” in a few days. Wednesday she was ill acting but demanded my food, and about took my fingers off when I gave her some gristle and fat from a steak, Thursday when I got home and went hunting for her she was almost room temperature feeling, and I figured she wouldn’t take well to a trip to Green Bay (nearest 24 hour vet), so stuck her in the bathroom with a heater and heat lamp, then I called the vet when they opened and set the appointment.
                My vet was a one stop shop for this. They do cremations on site, so Isabeau’s ashes are here, waiting for me to find an Urn of some fancier sort.

                1. Had similar. Dropped off with sitter and she bolted to get belly rubs, literally sliding on her back the last 3 feet. I got the text that she wasn’t eating 5 days later, picked up and heard the diff breathing. She was at my vet next am and stayed there 3 days before going to the 24 hr vet with o2 for biopsy and had to put down 36 hrs later (on full o2, either cancer or rocky mountain that had not improved after 4 days abx). Literally one week from first symptoms until last ride. Buried at my formerish house, the ranch, and made ashstone for her.

                  1. We had a 3 year old cat do the same. He dropped at our feet with seizures one day. Immediately took to veterinarian. Ran all tests for likely poisons. Then for viruses, whether already vaccinated for them or not. Ran full panel. No sign of trauma via Scans; no direct sign of tumors. Nada. Transported between our veterinarian and emergency vet for 3 days while on supportive care to try and diagnose. Looked like he was going to rally after transport 3rd day. Got a call 5 hours later, that he wouldn’t last until after work. I told them I was on the way. Called my husband that it was time to make the call. We met there and held him for the final goodbye. He is buried in the backyard.

                    Six weeks later his twin*, about 8 weeks old, showed up in the backyard … 20 years later we buried Hobs next to Bugs.

                    * This is the cat that we “stole” from the neighbors. They’d gotten him for their granddaughter, but they were keeping him at their house. But he’d gotten out while they were gone 10 days from the house. I say “stole” because he wasn’t working out with their other two cats. One was adamantly apposed to the kitten, to the point of attacking, drawing blood, biting, etc. While they were gone, decided they’d have to rehome the kitten. He got rehomed alright. Got along with the neighbors cats when he was finally let outside a year later, as long as he didn’t live there they were fine with him.

        1. In my case– I make sure my brothers know by text. We started a daily check after I was diagnosed with high potassium. I made sure my housing admin know that I just had surgery. The other thing you can do if you are worried about it– get yourself one of those buttons … you know that annoying “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ad

        2. In my case I have an abundance of friends, family, and neighbors who, bless their hearts, refuse to leave me the hell alone whenever I’ve been a bit under the weather.
          Every time all I wanted was to huddle under a blanket with a bowl of hot soup or a mug of spiked cider and power through my misery, instead I’m getting incessant phone calls offering all sorts of not wanted or needed care.
          Damn difficult being a surly curmudgeon hermit I must say.

    2. I always have a two week supply of everything. I did pick up some extra hand sanitizer for $SPOUSE$ to take to her classroom – she goes through that like a bandit, it being special needs, with toileting. (She and one other teacher there are the only ones that weren’t suddenly bothering the custodian for sanitizer, gloves, etc. – they already had them as a matter of course.) Guess I lucked out on TP – picked up six dozen rolls as usual on my old people discount day, before the panic hit down here in the more rational south part of the metro area (SIL reported that the stores in the north were cleaned out already – yes, that is the part of town where the California refugees mostly settle…)

      The one place I am weak on is electricity, but note that we do not live in a hurricane or tornado zone, or in an “earthquake any day now” (or even “any century now”) area. Nice big nuke plant to the northwest, so not a big worry on fuel supplies being interrupted.

    3. I was getting a retina check Feb 21, and as usual, hit the Costco. We elected to get one more pack of TP* and another big bag of dogfood. Before the eye issues, we’d hit Costco every 6-12 weeks. While those were getting dealt with, I was a *very* welcome customer at the nearby hotel, but now it’s every 6 months.

      We figured that if things are still wonky in May, we can skip a Costco trip.

      My only health care concern is the fact that in the near future, I need to get a blood test. I’m still dealing with what seems to be hay fever followed by a bad cold. I’d like to wait until I’m not coughing my lungs out to get that test.

      (*) At least then, the Marathon TP was a) wrapped to keep the TP clean until needed, and b) was notably cheaper per square foot than the Kirkland stuff. All bets are off now.

      Yesterday, a commenter on TXRed’s blog mentioned an article showing a pair of pictures at a store. (No links provided, alas). Picture A showed the obligatory empty shelves. Picture B showed the same shelves, but taken 20 feet further away to show where the pile where the presstitutes removed the stuff from the shelves to drive the narrative.

          1. Heck … I don’t want to run out of the stuff either, but … seriously! How much of a stock-pile are these people looking to build!
            Are they counting on using it in exchange in the event of societal collapse? Because that might make sense…
            Cohen, what is best in life? “Hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper.”

        1. (Looks it up, refreshes memory.) Ah yes, the narrative. Covering up corruption under the guise of “environmentalism”.`

          1. It’s more important to be morally right than factually correct. — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

            I may have paraphrased that, but it’s what she said.

      1. That may have been then. But the shelves are empty now . 4 stores today, miles apart. No TP in any of them. Possibly (probably?) the staged photos drove the real panic. I have a longer post on Facebook, but it starts out: “We are currently going through a nationwide toilet paper equivalent of a bank run. Hey! People! We’re not Venezuela, or Cuba, or any other socialist paradise! There’s plenty of toilet paper to go around!”

        The TP panic is wholly irrational.

        1. I don’t know anything about staged photos, not filling my time with media outlets, but I have seen with my own eyes our local HEB has NO paper products for the last three days.

          Costco had one partial pallet of Kirkland brand sandpaper, and nothing else when I was there 3 days ago. The shortages are real. The empty shelves are real. I’d be more inclined to think the “staged” photo was itself staged based on what I’ve seen with my own eyes.

          nick

          1. There’s been multiple.

            Which probably TRIGGERED folks to go buy a lot more than usual.

            And I’ve been told by folks who hang out on facebook that a lot of the “empty shelves” folks are posting are things like the gardening center– which is empty because of the time of year in a lot of places.

            I know that the Menard’s today didn’t have a limit, and weren’t running low; they’re across the road from the Walmart that I mentioned was almost out of TP a few days ago. (I didn’t need anythign so I didn’t go in to check.)

            Costco had a 5 pack limit (I was tempted to try to buy five of the Scott’s holy-crud-that’s-a-lot packs that I usually get, but I don’t think they’d fit in the van even if I didn’t have seats in it) several weeks back, but they had a lot. Cases of water, same situation.

            1. You know, I understand that it doesn’t take many people deciding to throw one extra in the cart to create a bare shelf, but I still have to wonder – if the mills creating TP run overtime now to fill the demand, does it just gently even out, or will there be a corresponding pileup of “can’t move this” later in the year?

              How elastic is the toilet paper demand curve?

              1. IIUC, the issue isn’t making the TP but the shipping of it. A typical Sam’s Club will sell a trailer or two full of TP every week and keeps less than a normal week’s worth onhand at any given time. Here in FL when the first Tropical Storms pop up they push an extra week’s worth out for Hurricane prep so unless a storm comes nearby they have more cushion June-October. The three Sam’s Clubs in my county are all currently out of all TP.
                When most parts of the country want extra TP at the same time there aren’t enough trucks to get it out to the stores fast enough. I predict that in a 7 – 10 days the panic will be over and shelves across the country will be in stock again.

              2. Sticks tongue in cheek: Depends on whether norovirus becomes widespread.

                OTOH, in one bathroom, the nosewipe is far from the throne, so if I need to blow my nose when otherwise occupied, TP will do in a pinch.

              3. I just remembered– at one point, back before Thanksgiving, I bought out the local Walmart’s entire stock of 90-whatever rubbing alcohol and those budget hand sanitizer bottles with the pumps on them.

                That’s because they only had five of the alcohols on the shelf, and my linen closet for the bathroom has room for six behind the one that’s open and the bandaid level first aid kit.
                I bought a whole *three* pumps, because my most active child– Wasnme– broke the one in the van, and I wanted to give our local parish one for each door. Grabbed a couple of the refill bottles and the soap refill, too.

                And one container of cookies.

                Guy at the check-out gave me a *really odd* look. ^.^

                1. It’s only odd when you’re ahead of the curve!

                  Heh. I have a habit of buying soaps when we go places. This is because I don’t have enough room for accumulating tchotchkes, and soap is both useful and functional, as well as smelling pretty. (Being asthmatic, the quest for “smells pretty but doesn’t trigger asthma” is fraught, and results in buying 5-6 bars gleefully when I find a maker whose essential oils don’t set me off.) My husband declared a… if not moratorium, at least a slowdown after we accumulated, um, 30-odd bars that were in queue to use.

                  We’re finally below 20 bars of soap… I think, if I didn’t forget any stashes that were too odiferous and got moved to the garage to air in peace… we’ll be fine.

                2. I buy the 91% alcohol, too. But I read recently that the 70% may be a better choice. The higher potency may fry a pathogen’s exterior wall, but the water in the lower concentration will permeate into the pathogen’s innards, delivering the sanitizing agent more deeply.

                  I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds reasonable.

                  1. I read an article on that!

                    It’s aimed at bacteria.

                    On the upside, anything over 60% works fine on all the viruses, though.

                    *********

                    I homeschool and do a lot of repairs, and most of the cuts that need to be disinfected are on the kids, so rubbing alcohol is hardly ever used for removing germs from humans in this house. 😀
                    “That random sticky spot,” on the other hand, FREQUENTLY gets rubbing alcohol.

                3. Buying a dozen cans of spaghetti sauce and a dozen pop tart boxes may actually get them to ask WHY.

                  1. ….darn it, I was considering trying to get someone to ask why, but if I only had that many things I’d use the self-checkout.

                    It takes at least three boxes of cans before I’ll use the normal checkout, and that’s just because I don’t want to waste the self-checkout lady’s time by LOOKING like someone trying to shoplift.

                    1. So get two dozen of one. 0:)

                      the answer being, of course, food bank, which gets plenty of pasta but not so much in the way of pasta sauce, and few breakfast foods, too.

      2. The day my state declared emergency, I went to the grocery store late at night. The shelves were bare of EVERYTHING, and the worker I spoke to told me that the store had been a madhouse all day, with lines around the store. (I was there for butter, because I assumed there would not be a panic. Oops.) Of course, the next day I went again (I live walking distance so I use it like my refrigerator) and everything was restocked. Coronavirus isn’t closing the roads!

  9. Irrational hair-on-fire panic is all they’ve got. They can’t understand the issues, or the science, or the logic, or how they must all be put together to arrive at a rational view of what’s going on. Everything has to be a CRISIS!! because it scares them.

    I don’t think this bad cold is going to kill hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands, in the U.S. Remember SARS? All I remember is the hype, and the Usual Suspects running around like headless chickens.

    They’re trying to stampede us off a cliff. I hope they get trampled.
    ———————————
    Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do remember history are doomed to watch everybody else repeat it.

    1. > CRISIS!!

      “OMFG 1/4 inch of rain scheduled build an Ark NOW!”

      I wonder how many people still have their sheet plastic and duct tape that the CDC stampeded them into buying when they were telling us we were all going to die from terrorist anthrax…

    2. If irrational hair-on-fire panic was all they had, I don’t think hey’d be quite this hysterical. See, they ALSO have either Bernie ‘I love Castro’ Sanders or der Bidengaffer. And either one might have a tough time running against a Teatotal candidate in Glasgow.

      1. Good point. They are panicked, just not about coronavirus. This is the black swan event they’ve been wishing for. Too bad it won’t accomplish what they hope it will.

    3. I always loved the “quote” at the start of one episode of Andromeda along the lines of “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn history correctly … why they are simply doomed.”

  10. REAL panic would have people holing up at home with enough food for a month or two, after which this will have blown over one way or another.

    It’s not like we were going out much anyway. And I like to have enough food to not need to go shopping every other day.
    Right now the LAST PLACE I want to be is any store.
    I don’t really want to catch the wuflu/covafefe/COVID-19 because I don’t like getting any flu
    Plus, I’m risk averse. I don’t like risks that are 1% because I experienced a very painful thing that only happened to 1%.
    …so we’re almost to the point staying home for the next 2 months even though we ought to be fine if we got it.

    Things I’m learning.. how different individuals evaluate risk, and who I would say, “Sure, you can hang out with us” in distressed times. The difference between going to the store once a month and once a week. The speed at which stories travel, and with which the media changes stories. (Thanks to FB for the last one. It’s one thing to see the headlines, a different feel to see the echo from the whole scroll of acquaintances).

  11. This fits with something I’ve been saying for a while. We’ve been seeing wave after wave of hysteria the past few years. Me Too. Transgender activism and parents trying to change their girls into boys and vice versa. The wave comes, people get irrational, and it dies back. But each wave seems to be getting worse. And good grief, the mindless sloganeering! My poor husband, who’s been running his own business almost 20 years, gets told he’s “evil,” on Facebook by people we’ve known for decades because he doesn’t support a higher minimum wage. (These people have never filled a payroll, btw).

    1. While out running errands I noted a car with a “Yang Gang” decal in its rear window, and pondered that there are to sides in the American polity, one which denounces the other as rage-filled monsters ready to blow at any moment and one which avoids putting decals or bumper stickers on their cars lest they provoke (at minimum) a keying.

  12. First off let me say that I am not a big fan of KFC. I prefer Bo Jangles. But somehow or other I got on the KFC e-mail list so was sent the following message which I think is one of the more practical and responsible reactions from a corporation in these interesting times.

    Dear KFC Guest,

    You’re likely following the news related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Like you, we’re learning each day as we continue to monitor this ever-changing situation. With more than 4,000 restaurants in the United States and thousands more in over 140 countries and territories across the globe, we are also learning from our partners around the world, and we’re taking action to help keep our team members and guests safe when you come to our restaurants.

    Since last week, we have increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing throughout our restaurants to hourly, particularly high-touch areas such as front counters, pin pads, tables, trays and more. We’re reinforcing our already strict sanitation, handwashing, and health and wellness policies for our employees, and ensuring hand sanitizer is always available in every one of our restaurants. We’ve also created a hotline for our restaurant teams and franchise partners so we can provide real-time support to our restaurant teams around the clock. Many of you have told us you’re planning to have more KFC bucket meals at home with your families, so we’re making sure our KFC.com ordering site and delivery partners are prepared for any increase in demand, regardless of whether you decide to pick up a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken or have one delivered to your door.

    And of course, we’re focused on taking care of our team members. We’ve been providing them with frequent guidance so they can keep themselves and their families safe. Team members who feel sick are staying at home, and rest assured, we’re committed to paying our company-owned restaurant team members for their scheduled or regularly scheduled hours if they are required to self-quarantine or they cannot work because a restaurant temporarily closes. We’ll continue to support our teams 24/7.

    In short, we have action plans in place, supplies at the ready and we’re committed to rapidly evolving our policies based on recommendations from the CDC and local health authorities to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect you, and the team members working in our KFC restaurants.

    Thank you for letting the Colonel cook for your families for nearly 70 years. In times like these, we appreciate the loyalty and support of our customers.

    Kevin Hochman,
    President, KFC U.S

    1. Good for them. We don’t eat out all that much, but I’m trying to keep up what we normally do – just takeout rather than dine in.

      Oh, interesting data point. The son works at the Amazon warehouse here. What they are doing is 1) where an employee takes unpaid time off, they are not charging that against their allotment; 2) a policy that, if one tests positive for coronavirus, they will get two weeks of paid time off, also not charged against their sick and/or personal time allotment; and 3) offering overtime to those that do work. He is going to take that overtime this week, since he can now – although he is peeved that his USMCR field drill for this weekend was canceled just this morning.

      (Speaking of Amazon. Took a quick look over there – the brand name consumer TP is out of stock, pretty much, as expected. HOWEVER – if you really need it, and can deal with having it on the counter instead of the roller, commercial TP is still very available in brand names – one I saw was Georgia-Pacific brand at a decent price.)

      1. I “chatted” with an Amazon rep earlier. Apparently my monthly order on Subscribe and Save of the TP we like isn’t coming. Which irritates me to no end. I have it on order, every month. And they sold their supply to panic buyers without taking care of their regular customers. Everything on my subscribe and save list I can get cheaper elsewhere if I look for and buy it on sale, but is less (by far) than the regular price using the S&S option, and convenient.

        But if I can’t rely on them – why should I continue to use them?

        1. I think there was a lack of anticipation by everybody re the runs on TP.

          I know that my local Frys (Kroger) set a limit on the sanitizers nearly three weeks ago, but just started a couple of days ago with TP (by the shelf signs I’ve seen).

          This was something akin to a “viral video” – very hard to predict.

      2. We are still dining out. If things tank financially, that will be the one item that will have to be cut.

    2. That’s pretty much the email I got from half a dozen other corporate bodies that I do business with: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Frost Bank, and some others. Essentially, “We know, we’re taking extra precautions with keeping customer areas clean, etc, etc, no need to panic.”

      1. Our PTA bought some new cleaning stuff, and they are deep-cleaning the school during break. (I shudder to imagine what will emerge from some of the carpets. The horror, the horror . . .) We’re insisting that the kids wash their hands more, and the adults make a point of using hand sanitizers and washing our hands more.

        At least the student lip-locking in the hallways has disappeared. Small blessings and all that.

          1. Our 5 year misson to explore new floor coverings to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly step where no man has stepped before.

      2. I sign up for all the lists, in all the cities, so I think I’ve deleted two dozen different “hey, everything is shut down, but we’re open and taking these steps, don’t worry.”

        The best so far is Party City’s letter that they understand a LOT of people order balloons and stuff for parties that are now not happening, just contact your store as soon as possible to cancel or reschedule, no charge, be safe.

    3. The Bo used to carry a vinegar and (IIRC) dill seed slaw that I really liked — as in, would make an extra drive-thru just to get some to go with my main meal.

      As with nearly all foods I like, the market clearly don’t support that any more. Apparently America’s restaurants are destined to not cater to wallabies’ tastes.

      1. I know what you mean. I’d love to know how to convince Kellogg’s to make UN-frosted raspberry pop-tarts again. And Pepperidge Farm to star making corn and molasses bread again. And Baskin Robbins to make their grey licorice ice cream for Halloween.

        Food available in the US has gotten a lot more varied, and generally better, since my childhood (and a LOT better since the 1950’s), but there are taste-memories I really miss….

        1. Some childhood taste memories ca never be revisited as they require childhood taste-buds. I loved Three Musketeers bars when I was a kid but now they’re so cloyingly sweet that I have to freeze them before eating.

          Which, of course, I don’t bother doing. Freezing a Reeses Cup works just fine, however, dulling the flavor of the chocolate enough to make the thing pleasant.

      2. Not dill seed — mustard seed. I gather some locations still offer the “pickled” slaw. The vinegar dressig makes it particularly good for diabetics.

    4. If KFC cared about the health of their customers, they’d shut down.

      Or at least reduce the amount of MSG in their food by about 90% or more! (Preferably shut down though.)

      1. Bah, switching to the currently approved, no-fad-has-attacked-it type of food won’t make you live longer, it just feels like it.

  13. Something about all of this has had the Wrong brainfeel about it, and I haven’t been able to put a finger on it. I think this comes pretty close. None of the actions have much of any relations to the stimuluses, and… the attempts to pile on Guilt over not joining in (it’s not whether YOU’LL survive coronavirus, but if you’ll infect someone who won’t!) just feel creepy. x_x

    1. I agree. I work in an ER, so I’m going to be the point of the spear. My worry is the stupid people who shouldn’t be there, not the coronavirus. So when I hear all the guilt mongering, I wonder what the actual basis is. My doctor friends fall in two camps. One group is looking around, wondering what the fuss is about. The other group is busy posting memes about how unprepared we are, and how are medical system sucks. Any guess which group votes Democrat?

      1. The latter one is the one that frosts me. Got folks brandishing MD posting stuff to go viral about how every American gonna lose a parent or grandparent and the if we just had government medicine wed be all good.

        Meanwhile my father still works 911 ems (I started the trend in my family apparently) even as the labs have sent then to telecommute for his full time. I’m absolutely not worried outside of the general risks of the job (I’ve had needle stick, both of us have had vehicular incidents, etc). I remember running teens code 3 during h1n1. Forgive me for thinking this is bullfeces

        1. Hah! Joke’s on them! My parents and grandparents are securely stashed i the ground and if they get lost it is because of geological action.

  14. observations from a walmart trip:

    no TP or ramen noodles

    next to no rice

    a big dent in the pasta

    bread aisle fine, PB fine, meats fine, milk seemed at ok levels…

    wtf

    1. Just returned from the grocery ourselves. No TP, store-brand pasta a bit sparse (name brands fine), only small containers of oatmeal, half-gallons of OJ gone (gallons still fine). The less expensive brands of cooked shrimp gone, although the high-price ones still available ($18/2 lb.) The local mexican market had full shelves, but noticeably fewer customers that we’re used to seeing.

      1. Also just returned from the grocery store. There were a lot of gaps in the shelves, though I was able to get most of what I came for (apparently sugar-free caffeine-free soda is one of those things that the apocalypse can’t keep up with). What was most problematic, though, was the people: there were lines like it was the day before Thanksgiving, and the meat counter, bakery, and most other things that involve dealing directly with a sales person were shutting down. It really does have an “end of the world” feel to it.

      2. I too made a grocery run today, Food4Less (Kroger). The idiots have all gone batshit crazy!

        Ordinarily the parking lot is about 1/3 full, store moderately busy. Today it took 10 minutes and a quick maneuver to nab a parking space, 5 minutes to snag a shopping cart just as somebody finished using it, 10 minutes to pick up the dozen or so items I needed — and then 45 minutes waiting in line for check-out.

        TP and paper towels were gone. They were flat OUT of pasta and spaghetti sauce, almost every kind of packaged chicken, and store brand orange juice of all things. Cart after cart was groaning under massive loads of bottled water, and suppressed panic permeated the air.

        The stock market has dropped 25% in two weeks. It may be about time to start buying.

        Bat.
        Shit.
        Crazy.

        But that is not the worst. The bigger threat is, if at some time we actually wind up facing ‘Outbreak’, ‘The Last Centurion’ or ‘Under A Graveyard Sky’ nobody will pay attention because they’re already burned out from false panics.
        ———————————
        “It’s reassuring to find that the world is crazier than you are.”

        1. “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

      3. Oh, yeah, at the checkout there were two different tabloids screaming ‘THE END OF THE WORLD!!!’ in lurid 144-point headlines.

    2. Sale on at Sprouts (The reasonably-priced organic grocery answer to Whole Foods), my daughter wanted to pick up on specials. Normal crowd, everything fully stocked, except for TP. Apparently last night the nearest HEB was jammed to the rafters and the meat department (???) was picked clean.

      1. Protein for the immune system?

        Eat steak and be merry, for tomorrow we die?

        Good sale?

        Delivery flub?

    3. Draven said :”bread aisle fine, … milk seemed at ok levels…”. Clearly not New Englanders. Ever since the Blizzard of ’78 the first reaction of every New Englander in a panic situation is to buy bread and milk. This is because with roads were impassible for 2-5 days grocery stores ran out of those staples. It’s like some inbred panic now. People did it aon 9/11, people did it when the Boston Marathon Bomber was on the loose. For crying out loud if you’re not >42 years old you weren’t even BORN when that blizzard happened. Hopefully this does not add new insanity to New Englander panic shopping habits other wise we’ll be clearing whole Walmarts at the sign of the first flakes.

      1. In our house we call those “the french toast people.” Cat 4 in the Gulf? Bread, milk, and eggs sell out. In seriousness, it makes sense to refresh those short term items if you can. I’ll grab extra. If they get a bit “short time” before you use them up normally??? Make french toast and use them all up at once.

        nick

      2. OK, My wife and Daughter went grocery shopping this evening about 7:30 at the local Market Basket (local chain). there were 0 loaves of bread and 0 containers of milk. I would say the New Englanders have hit TEOTWAWKI levels of panic… Also hard hit were Pasta. Rice and Cereal as well as noodle cups and similar simple soups and Flour. The soups I can understand as they represent the upper limits of the local reheat and serve capabilities of the local cooks. But regular Rice and flour? These folks can barely cook Minute Rice and what the frack they think they’re going to do with flour with their cooking skills is beyond me…

          1. Foxfier the local so called cooks would have a hard time correctly making the kind of biscuits that come in a tube. Those do look quite tasty. Both my girls can cook (although the elder would rather bake) though I don’t think we started them at 8 (lest they decide to cook on their own, they were like that). Being able to cook is one of the things an adult human should be able to do.

            1. When the Spanish Influenza hit, my grandmother was the only ambulatory member of her family, and oatmeal was the only dish she knew how to make. They all survived, but they were thoroughly sick of oatmeal.

              (After that, great-grandmother overcame her distaste of having other people in HER kitchen enough for more lessons.)

      3. You don’t need to have lived. It got passed down. Honestly I’ve worked my way out of it but its still there. But I’m also single so a gallon of 2% and a loaf of wheat and sourdough keep for a while

    4. I stopped by my usual supermarket last night. There was exactly one non-organic carton of 2 percent milk left – which I grabbed (unfortunately, it was a full gallon instead of my usual half-gallon). The other percentages of milk were more or less present on the shelf, but I’m very sensitive to the taste of different percents of milk.

      Ramen was heavily impacted, but there was still quite a bit. There’s a pretty big Asian population in the area, so I’m wondering if this has something to do with it (i.e. they’d already have lots of dried noodles, etc…). TP, paper towels, hand soap all gone. Bar soap was almost gone… except that there was still plenty of Dove.

      The open registers were packed, but the express check-out was closed. Self check-out had a long line, and the woman in front of me in that line had a cart so full it was bursting. That’s unusual in self-checkout, which is usually full of people who could have gone express, instead.

      1. I went back last night, as I’d forgotten a couple of items during my previous visit. There was a rather dramatic change in the items available.

        Most of the produce was gone
        Most of the meat was gone
        Most of the milk was gone – not just the non-organic 2 percent stuff
        Multiple aisles were very short of stock. One of the items that I was looking for was yeast, and much of the baking goods aisle were I found it was cleaned out. Frozen vegetables of all kinds were gone. But there were plenty of frozen meals of all sorts.

        It was a very big and dramatic change.

        On the positive side, the number of customers was about normal for that time of night.

        I also noticed that the cashier didn’t ask whether I’d been able to find everything I’d been looking for. Ironically, my answer would have been “Yes.” 😛

    5. I went to two different Wal-Marts this weekend (Lake of the Ozarks region in MO), as well as a Dierberg’s. The Wal-Marts looked like they’d been pillaged by Vikings, with no Lysol, Clorox, TP or paper towels, not a lot of eggs, bread or bacon and only odds and ends of pasta, Spam, soups, ramen noodles and anything else that was long-storage. I saw people leaving with literal PALLETS of bottled water. The Dierberg’s in Osage Beach, and Gerbes (Kroger) in Camdenton, on the other hand, were reasonably well-stocked of everything except TP (and Dierberg’s actually had some, for a little bit, because they had the sense to limit their TP to two packs per customer). I find myself wondering if the supply chain issues aren’t hitting Wal-Mart worse than everybody else; for a couple of months now they’ve had problems restocking various items . . . And pretty much everybody – cashiers, customers, even the people hauling pallets of bottled water out to their minivans – were just shaking their heads and going “WTF?”

  15. What odds are we being offered that those panicking over the Woo-Hoo Flu have ridiculed the Y2K crisis?

      1. The Y2K made a lot of retirees a mint as they came out of retirement to do the FORTRAN work.

        It was not ridiculous in the trenches.

        1. Not saying there wasn’t a lot of work to be done. But Grandma’s pacemaker wasn’t going to quit, the power grid wasn’t going to go down, all of the ICBMs weren’t going to launch…

          Good times (personal). I didn’t get any FORTRAN work, didn’t have the contacts – but I DID have them for COBOL users, which I also knew. (Even did a couple of RPG II consults along the way.)

          Sigh, didn’t hang on to any of the extra money being thrown at me. But the eldest daughter got through parochial school from kinder through junior high.

  16. “If you’re under fifty and in mostly good health, don’t come running to ER or annoy your doctor because you might have this. Come to us only if you are in actual respiratory distress, not before.” The public health people would be saying “If you have a relative in a nursing home, DO NOT VISIT. JUST DON’T till we have a handle on this.”

    That’s pretty (one of the things) the Ohio Governor said during his press conference yesterday.

    I’m not sure if his closing all schools for 3 weeks was a good/bad/irrelevant thing, but I did like how he pushed decision making for how to handle the complications of this down to the local level (school board, city/county government). Call the state if you need help, but we are not going to micromanage this.

    It is so nice to no longer have a Governor that bases his responses and directives on supporting his fantasy that he has a credible chance of running for president. (Cough-Kasich-Cough)

    1. I think closing the schools is a great idea. Our governor hasn’t … The reason I believe it is that children in public schools are germ factories and it is easy to pass it back and forth. I know the children are doing okay… but they take the germs home to their families and to their grandparents or others who are at risk. Plus the kids might learn more at home without all the distractions of school. 🙂

          1. I haven’t been in an airport since 9/11. TSA problems — I object in principle to their intrusiveness and nobody has offered a compelling argument for enduring them.

            With airports reportedly deserted I do wonder who’s watching CNN?

            1. I haven’t flown commercial since 29 SEP 2001 for much the same reason. I’m afraid I’d get arrested in reaction to some TSA goon’s ministrations: “You have a naked body scanner but you still say I gotta take off my shoes and belt? You wanna grab my what?” Especially since what I saw in that halcyon era immediately post-9/11 at Logan airport proved to me that it’s all security theater, anyway.

    2. I think legal liability is behind a LOT of closings. Lawyers are already circling around the “Diamond Princess” and filing all sorts of cases, so schools are going to be even more hyper-sensitive. To paraphrase SanFran Nan, “If it staves off just one lawsuit . . .”

      1. That seems to inform so many decisions nowadays. Common sense used to be sufficient, but since there’s so little of that anymore, I guess it makes sense that posterior protection is more appealing than addressing the thing itself.

    3. Governor Kate Brown (D-Portlandia and *those* flyover counties) announced a school closure yesterday. Essentially, it extended the nominal Spring break period a week for the public schools. I assume the charter/Christian/whatever schools are expected to go along. (The order says “schools”, but doesn’t seem to acknowledge that non-public schools exist.)

      So far, no grand announcements for distance learning. I’m *very* glad I haven’t done any IT support for a couple of decades.

        1. Here in Massachusetts there hasn’t been a state order to close. However there is a state of emergency which allows the schools to close without worrying about the 180 day minimum school year. Lots of schools are closing for 1-2 weeks (e.g. the school system where my elder daughter works is closed for 2 weeks as of today). Considerably less traffic on Rt128/US 95 and fewer riders on commuter rail. They also just put a suggested ban on meetings over 250 people, Some towns extended that to 50 people The 250 wouldn’t cause trouble for Sunday Worship, but 50 would.

      1. “So far, no grand announcements for distance learning. I’m *very* glad I haven’t done any IT support for a couple of decades.”

        I’ll echo that. Haven’t done any programming for 4 years. Let alone hardware, network, support for, OMG 25 years, almost. What do you want to bet they’ll try to enlist the help of anyone with ANY experience. It doesn’t work that way, sorry. I’d just get in the way.

  17. I’m going to disagree with you, Sarah, at least partly. Younger people have older people at home. Not everyone, but enough. At this point we have to assume that everyone will eventually get this thing, though most cases will be very mild. And we’re not sure how much immunity having it gives you. This thing is just like that. So it’s important to slow the transmission, to avoid overwhelming the hospitals and to give them time to learn. And time to see if any of our existing drugs can treat this. There’s an SSRI that looks promising.

    As to shutting down sporting events: there are issues besides public health, like fairness when key players are ill. Apart from that, I’d endorse holding the collegiate events w/out fans in the building, just televising. That was contemplated, but rejected.

    Mostly we’ll spend the next sixty to ninety days figuring out what’s going on.

    The real problem is that the push-em-into-the-city-and-ban-the-cars crowd should be getting pushback–seismic level pushback–and the media is preventing it

    1. Sure. Yes. We should TELL PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUNG but have older/frail people at home to self-quarantine. The effort wouldn’t be a 100% successful, but honestly, might save more lives than what we’re doing.

      1. My brothers are very careful with me when they have cold, flu, or sniffles normally. They stay away from me. I don’t know if everyone is selfless to their own frail people.

      2. My brother just called me and he knew two people who have coronavirus (tested). He told me he is staying away from me for two weeks. My nephew has also been around those people. They have not received a quarantine letter yet… but they will stay away from me.

        1. Honestly, I believe that sensible people (and the majority of us ARE sensible people, it’s only morons like Florida Man who make the news) will self-organize and do the sensible, neighborly, considerate thing.
          On the Next Door app – for my neighborhood, which mostly seems to be fairly sensible, neighborly people – I have already seen a post from a stay-at-home mom offering babysitting for parents in the neighborhood whose kid’s school is having spring break extended for another week or two. Individuals are being neighborly, pro-active and responsible.

      3. It`s not just a flu. It’s just math:

        ~300 million people in the US.

        – Normal flu sweep infects ~60% of the population

        ~ 5% of the infected will require intensive care, That’s about 9 million people in ICU.

        ~ 1% of the infected die. That’s 1.8 million dead, provided the health care system can cope. If it can’t, add a couple of million.

        – It’s not just the elderly who get hit. Sure, few young people die (~0.2%) but that makes Covid-19 about 20x more lethal than regular flu in the young.

        And it’s not just anti-Trump media pushing this. I’m in Europe, and Trump isn’t what’s motivating the reaction. Seeing what’s happening in Italy is. Again, this is not some remote hypothetical like Y2K. It’s happening right now, and even early in the Italian epidemic, the healthcare system is cracking up with triage in ICU:s and the death rate pushing 7(!) percent.

        Finally, it can be stopped. China did it. South Korea is doing it. It requires swift and extreme action (which is not to be confused with panic).

        1. Oh, dear fug. Good name, btw.
          No. No. Also No.
          Have you seen the numbers from the Diamond princess, where contagion occurred in the worst possible conditions, before the quarantine was imposed, and in cruise ships which are floating germ paradises.
          That 60% is insane. It’s not that. It’s not even close to that.
          They tested virtually everybody (4061 tests). Of that number, 705 tested positive, or about 17%. IN a bad-case scenario, where nobody knew what was happening at the start, they had 17% spread, even when there were hundreds of people to spread it.

          More interestingly, of that number, it appears 400+ were asymptomatic, which means they would not have been tested if not for being on the ship. Seven have died so far.

          so, without full testing, you would have thought that about 300 people had it, and 7 of those died, for 2.3% death rate.

          But with 700 tested positive, the death rate is 0.99% …

          I’m laying down a hard HARD marker on “bad flu.”
          And “more people will die from the crazy response to it.”
          We’ll see, but in the US I’ll bet you big money I’m RIGHT.

        2. As for China…. I’d take the “they stopped it” with a MASSIVE grain of salt. Like, bigger than you can hold.
          And SK is a whole ‘nother thing and much smaller.

        3. Problems– the 1% fatality rate was based off of China’s numbers, and early “we aren’t even testing anybody who doesn’t have a known vector for infection AND bad symptoms.” Not even just having a cold, but being really sick in the first place.

          It got blown all to heck when half the people on that cruise ship that tested positive were totally asymptomatic. They had to hit the numbers over the head with theories about folks being likely to get symptoms later on to get it under 20% showing no signs at all.

          Yeah, 7 deaths out of about 700 positive, with over three thousand tested– in a demographic that is overwhelmingly tilted to the highest risk groups. A full third were over 70, for heaven’s sake; average age was nearly 60.
          That’s about a 25% infection rate before we correct for it BEING the really high risk demographics.

          Ignoring all of that, and that makes your absolute worst-case more like 750,000 dead.

          That’s one and a half of the estimated bad flu year deaths.

          Start correcting for things like the US population over 70 being about HALF of what it was for the ship, and that drops like a rock.

          https://www.niid.go.jp/niid/en/2019-ncov-e/9417-covid-dp-fe-02.html

          ***********

          Also, 60% of the population gets the flu? WHERE?
          Even the CDC in their highest mode of invent-numbers-to-justify-more-funding tops it out at 20%.

        4. A reminder: while all effective action is swift and extreme, not all swift and extreme action is effective.

    2. I’m going to disagree with you here. Mildly. Anyone who has an elderly relative at home, or an immunocompromised relative, should ALREADY be germophobic. This year was a bad influenza year, and that is just as much a problem. 50,000 deaths this season, 50 million cases. (I feel it was higher, but maybe the kids got hit harder)
      I really want to address the “slow the transmission, avoid overwhelming the hospitals” meme. Swine flu caused 61 million cases and 12,000 deaths in the US alone. No one told us to “slow the transmission” and we didn’t have anyone panicking about not having enough healthcare resources. I was working the ER in that year, and it sucked. But everyone got care. Now, my governor (idiot) is talking essentially talking about MARTIAL LAW (!!!!) for 47 cases !!! FORTY-SEVEN!!! That’s not even a BLIP in our ER. What’s going to overwhelm the ER is the number of people panicking and demanding to be seen.
      Perspective is lacking. Why?

      1. Anyone who has an elderly relative at home, or an immunocompromised relative, should ALREADY be germophobic.

        Husband and I are taking note of who is trying to use “I live with someone who might get sick, YOU have to shut down your life to protect them” as a hammer to make people do what they want. We will probably try not to shove it down their throat sideways when the situation changes and they’re trying to browbeat people for other stuff in a contradictory manner… mostly because we would eventually regret having done so….

        But we are definitely taking note.

      2. Perspective is an Oppression by the White Male Patriarchy! Along with facts, logic and reason.

  18. The fact that the media is obviously, insanely, gleefully trying to stampede us. And that I see the strings.

    Oh, gads, the whole shtick where they go and CLEAR OFF STORE SHELVES so they can be videoed in front of them empty…and then people keep snapping pictures of the piles of stuff they moved on either side, so you can see the “reporter” and the empty shelves as well, and uploading it.

    /applauds

    1. … If I were a store manager, I would be very hard pressed to not tell those reporters, and their cameramen and their producers “GTFO and by the way you’re all banned from the store for life.”

      Both for the blatant propagandizing and for the amount of work they just created for my employees in restocking those shelves.

      1. Oh yes! Or get the most muscular bag boys and stockers and have them block the ends of the aisles while the crew puts everything back, neatly, in the right places, as you the manager call their station and network affiliates and inform them that you are going to ask your upper management to pull ALL advertising from that channel. After informing the police of the malicious vandalism.

        But I’m tired and cranky today.

        1. That’s all good. I’d prefer to see the lousy lot of ‘em belabored about the head with trimming axes, but yours is probably the better response…

  19. Ok, well…

    I don’t watch or even see MSM much so maybe I’m missing something. In my circles, everyone is acting prudently and rationally, having topped up existing preps last week at the latest. The folks in the store yesterday were there after work and after the schools here closed. They also appeared to be folks who don’t have a lot of extra money to stock up routinely, and they now KNOW that they’ll be home with the kids for at least a week.

    People are acting like they’re getting ready for a storm because that’s what we’ve trained them to do. Want to talk irrational behavior? The same people who flatly state that most people only have 3 days worth of food at home are now complaining that people are trying to get enough food in to stay at home for a couple of weeks.

    More people than you might expect have seen the lockdown in China and decided that’s what’s coming here. they see how rapidly Italy went to restrictions. And surprise, we are well on our way. People don’t want to starve in their homes or have to venture out in the middle of an outbreak to find food. That is purely rational and self interested behaviour.

    WRT this stopping or not stopping the spread, watch the CDC briefings. Watch the WHO conferences. Read the transcripts of the CDC calls. Read the pandemic material on their website. They DON”T EXPECT this to stop anything. At best they are hoping to slow the spread, slow the doubling rate, to shift the bulk of cases out of flu season, and to flatten the curve so that some people have a chance to recover and leave the hospitals making room for more, instead of all the cases hitting at once.

    Epidemic and pandemic math is exponential. Humans have a hard time internalizing exponential growth. Italy went from NO cases to being swamped with 15 THOUSAND cases in about 3 weeks, going from 5000 cases to 10000 cases in 4 DAYS. They should be at 20K today, but haven’t reported yet. 5k to 20k in essentially one week. Humans don’t deal well with growth like that.

    With very few exceptions, once the virus is established in your country, it will go exponential and the doubling rate is currently 3-5 days. Everywhere I can see numbers, that has been the case. Right now, in the US, we are in the very small part of the curve. That isn’t going to be true in 2 weeks. Do the math yourself, starting from today’s numbers and doubling every 3 days (current US rate). You go from “this ain’t so bad” to “oh my f’ing diety” in ONE doubling, two MAX once you get to a certain number.

    WRT the awesome US medical system… others have addressed this from first hand experience and actual research, which I’m recounting here from memory. The US has about 190K hospital beds, about 93K iirc ICU beds. MOST OF THEM OCCUPIED RIGHT NOW. The number for ICU beds is that they are normally 75% occupied. The number of available ventilators is similar. The economics of the US system mean that all the excess capacity has been squeezed out of the system already. MOST weekends in our major cities and regional facilities, we completely fill up our available ICU and trauma beds. Hospitals routinely go on ‘diversion’ meaning no new patients. I’ve listened to the radio and heard it with my own ears as our EMS tries to find someplace to take the guy in the red bus…

    The upshot is, it doesn’t take many additional cases to overwhelm our system, just like Italy. They did the right thing. They set up surge tents. When your patient load doubles in 4 days, then doubles again, you end up where they are, stacking people in hallways and triaging older or comorbidity patients to “can’t help this one, they’ll have to die alone”.

    Further, no hospital in the US is “fully staffed”. Historically, we’ll lose some percentage (around 10%) to the disease or other factors which will further deplete staffing levels. Every time we roll on what turns into a CV call, we lose the EMS shift to quarantine. DiBlasio acknowledged this by ordering that EMS wouldn’t be supported by Fire on possible CV calls, in order to conserve trained firefighters. EMS is always understaffed.

    The short answer is, you have to do something to slow the spread. The only tools they have (without effective treatment or vaccine) are travel restrictions, social distancing, and quarantines. Spain is already seeing a higher than previous rate of infection in Madrid, and it’s being attributed to the woman’s march gatherings.

    Lastly, this is NOT just an issue for old people. Look at the cases reported in the Orlando Sentinel and you’ll see young women and men of all ages. (they actually report demographic info, so I’m pointing you there.) Even if it ONLY affected old people, how is that a comfort that your parents, the people who own and run your company, your kids’ grandparents, our most knowledgeable and experienced people, have a 5 to15% chance of dying from this? And we’re basing those numbers on China, which is unreliable at best, and skews older than our population so even if the numbers are true, if you have more old people, then more old people will get sick.

    This all _feels_ like over-reaction because of what we see RIGHT NOW. What we need to be worried about is what will be in 2 weeks, 4 weeks, etc if nothing is done, and because of the exponential nature of the spread, we don’t and probably can’t have a _feel_ for it. We have to trust the math and act on the math, not the _feels_.

    nick

    1. One trick used in Boy Scouts to push home compounding and exponential effects is to use money. They have a choice of $1/day for 30 days, or a penny doubled every day. So, $.01, $.02, $.04, etc., for 30 days. Or a penny saved adds up to a lot when doubled. Put in perceptive of the virus on day 30 alone 536,870,912 people are newly infected. Or 1,073,741,823 total infected. Now extend that out 73 days since first of 2020.

      Reality check. That isn’t what actually happens. Over time, eventually people interact with only the infected. That person doesn’t count as a new case, unless being infected & cured isn’t proof against reinfection. Even then they aren’t counted as another person. But that isn’t the point. The point is to force home the impact of exponential effect and why distance matter & makes a difference.

  20. There’s one point I think our hostess overlooked.

    Lack of excess capacity of the healthcare system.

    You see the problem isn’t that we can’t care for people who need to be hospitalized; it’s that we can’t care for the number of people that need it when the contagion spikes. Most hospitals run about 90% capacity (beds filled) in order to stay solvent. Getting the beds filled is rarely the problem. The problem is emptying them fast enough to take the newest cases that need them. Which is one of the reasons why we’ve gone to so many things like same day surgery, where you’re cut on, probed, and sent home the same day.

    So the goal is to flatten the curve on the total number infected, and total number requiring hospitalization. Closing events (sports, church, town meetings, political gatherings, etc.), initiating contact precautions, going full blown remote-access/work-from-home should slow that rate of infection, and depress the amplitude of the maximum hospitalized at any time, and reduce the number of deaths through failure to be able to treat. What this does mean is the total flu season is going to be stretched out. And yes, we will, and are, taking an economic beating over it. Will this be enough to destroy the Trump reelection campaign and put Bernie on the Throne? (Biden isn’t going to make it, he’s obviously in a downward dementia spiral and the Democrat Party elites haven’t been able to accept that yet.)

    1. Excess capacity costs money. No healthcare system, nationalized or private, has beancounters who are going to put up with much of that.

      1. Ah, bean counters. And regulated vs. Non-regulated. When I was much younger, as in teenager, a friends father worked for PSE&G in NJ. All utilities nationwide in every state were regulated, and guaranteed a profit. At the time, according to him, PSE&G had enough poles, transformers, and wire stocked to do a complete 100% rebuild of the system.

        Utilities were deregulated. Power is reasonably priced. It also was under regulation. And competition is ferocious. Inventory (like excess beds) costs. So in case of widespread damage, like NY’s ice storm a few years back, where my generator ran for 10 days, utilities are pulling stock from other utilities in disaster assistance agreements, which all, or course, have to be paid for. If there’s a large enough widespread disaster, there simply won’t be enough repair parts on hand to fix things.

        Hospitals are sort of regulated, and sort of not. Regulations between states differ. If there was requirement they have 100% excess capacity, and could bill for it, they would. But they can’t…..

  21. So, I have to disagree a bit with the whole “it’s not rational panic to shut down the schools, colleges etc” because it doesn’t impact the young/middle aged nearly as much. Except. All those kids/middle aged/youngish adult people can still carry the disease elsewhere and they WILL infect those who are at risk. So, sorry, I don’t see the social distancing happening as a bad thing. I’ve been home sick for a WEEK with near-pneumonia because either someone brought a kid who was a carrier to a bridal shower I had to attend a couple of weekends ago, OR someone came to work sick (and I know exactly which coworker it was, too and she does this ALL THE TIME and it’s stuff she catches off her KIDS). And I am a fairly healthy adult. Unfortunately, because I got sick, my mother also got sick–and she’s in a much higher risk group (although at this moment this particular crud is kicking my ass far worse than it is hers. THis crud appears to be my personal bugaboo–I had it last summer and it nearly hospitalized me. And, again, I caught it off someone who caught it off their kids and brought it to work.)

    The average ages of college professors is in the high risk groups. There’s more than a few school teachers in that age bracket or, if they are younger, they have elderly parents or other relatives they are in frequent contact with.

    So…no. I’m okay with this. Because when an epidemic is sweeping the local schools? It doesn’t matter than I DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN. I catch it anyway. Because people I work with DO have kids, and even when they themselves do not get sick with it, they bring it to work anyway. Or, as is far too common, they take the attitude of “Oh, I’m not THAT sick” and come in to work.

    The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in my state was in a middle-aged (I think) woman. She’ll be fine. But here’s the problem: she worked at Walmart. She was at work while sick. 3 other people in town have now tested positive for the virus (two students and a prof at the local community college). What d’you want to bet the odds are they caught it at Walmart in some way?

    The little town in Wyoming I work in is right on the interstate. Everyone from all over freaking CREATION stops at the gas stations/walmart/grocery stores there. You think they’re disinfecting everything? They aren’t. And again–if I caught it, I’d be fine, probably. (Though possibly not on top of this crud which is borderline walking pneumonia.) But I could carry it home and pass it to my parents, who are in their sixties and have existing health issues. Or to my 84 year old grandmother. Or my elderly neighbors.

    I fully agree the media is being hugely irresponsible and evil with their treatment of this, with ACTIVELY trying to panic people. But I also have equally no use for those of my neighbors who are currently throwing a fit all over social media because all the kids’ sports events have been cancelled for now, because “it’s not that big a deal.” No, it likely won’t be, not to them or their kids, and sure they could avoid visiting the elderly relatives. But what about all the OTHER people/things they come into contact wtih? They can’t control that. And even if COVID-19 is not much worse than a ‘bad flu’ it does seem to be pretty damn infectious and persistent at it.

    I see a lot of this–not all of it, but a lot of it–as a precautionary attempt to slow things down so that the hospitals don’t get too overwhelmed by the sick if/when the infections really get going. And I live somewhere where the local health care really rather sucks–everyone actively avoids going to the “local” hospital if they possibly can, we don’t have many actual doctors nearby, and the nurses and nurse practitioners are already sick from the rounds of flu/strep/crud going through the schools. Our local hospital has *maybe* thirty beds. Maybe. Probably less than that.

    So…as someone said elsewhere: the problem with this is that the result of unnecessary caution and needed caution are going to look exactly the same, and we’re not going to be able to tell which one it was after the fact. :/

      1. Why no, good sir, I don’t know anyone who heard that and immediately thought “Openings in the tenure track!”

        Not saying it wasn’t their second thought, just saying it wasn’t their first…

        1. First thoughts can be very odd. My first thought on the morning of 9/11, upon seeing the burning towers for the first time, as “this is taking architectural criticism a little far”

      2. The senior college professoriate is vastly more likely to include a conservative or somebody who has made friends with one or more conservatives. It am the younger (relatively) professors who are most likely to be hard-core Lefties and outright Marxists, ruling their classes with an iron grading book and tolerating no dissident views.

        So, that might not work out very well.

  22. Latest numbers I heard this morning were 39 fatalities in the US…and 26 of those were in one nursing home in Washington state. For that, we’re going to shut down the economy?

    This is crazy.

    1. No, prudent. Have you watched Italy– who didn’t do much until their patients went from double digits to the 1000s in four days? I think this is an attempt to slow the infection.

    2. Last numbers I remember were something like 1000-1200 confirmed cases in the US.

      Now take into account the complete clusterfuck that is the US testing kit situation.

      And take into account that when Wuhan had 440 known cases they had somewhere around 10-12000 real cases. (And those are Chinese numbers, so before you multiply down because bad healthcare make sure you multiply up for lying government.)

      Now take the current known US doubling time of 3 days…

      We can lowball the real case estimate at 20k (2 times 440 leading to 2 times 10k). From that you cross 1 million cases in about 18 days. 20 million in a month. 320 million two weeks after that.

      Note that I am lowballing the numbers wherever I know of a range. If you are not thinking in terms of exponential curves you are just as unqualified to have an opinion as the MSM and Doomers who live for a good panic. This is not going to destroy the world, it isn’t even going to be that bad for most people. And this is the best possible country to be in when it happens. But acting like it is nothing at all, or “is just the flu” is stupid.

        1. I don’t know. I was using a number from upthread, which is lower than other comments I had seen.

          It could easily be longer doubling. It could also easily be much shorter.

        2. Use the graph at worldometer. When you hover over a day, the total for that day pops up. pick any day and move three to the right, the number of cases doubles (some rounding need because of when the numbers are reported and when you look at them but generally true.) The whole world excluding china was 4 days. Using any numbers that include China will give problematic results. The US is three or four days to double depending on which days you choose, but mostly 3. Italy was 3 but they should be at 20K today and aren’t so maybe their shutdown has had a slowing effect.

          The WA Governor used 5-6 days in a speech, but that doesn’t match the reported numbers, and only delays when we get to the point we are saturated anyway.

          There are differences in country and state rates, probably due to availability of testing, reporting infrastructure, and actual rates because of cultural mechanisms, like our Hostess pointed out. Although the US does plenty of hugging and handshaking, and in certain social circles, plenty of face kissing too.

          I had to wave people off of handshakes a couple of days ago and they seemed irritated and offended. Saying that it isn’t them that you are worried about being infectious, (implying that YOU are worried about YOU spreading disease) doesn’t reassure them either…

          Other cultures than mine have different expectations too, as in the US when two black males handshake and greet each other, there is almost always a one armed hug included.

          nick

          1. There were many opportunities for the disease to arrive and begin community spread going back a few months now. We have not been testing well since we know it got here. Testing is picking up. That’s going to result in a rapid increase in known cases that partially reflects past spread (and probably still undercounts it badly). I’m not sure we can get a realistic estimate of the doubling rate while that effect is in progress.

            1. The lab in Seattle that the CDC told ‘You can’t run that test! You have not completed the right paperwork!’ when they wanted to backtest their previously collected flu swab samples have positive COVID-19 results on samples as far back as February 20th, and new genetic analysis on positive results from a month before that from January 20th indicates that COVID-19 was on the ground there as much as six weeks before that, which puts it in Seattle before Christmas.

                    1. Which has now been rectified by President Trump’s executive order. Pretty sure someone complained, probably Seattle, loud & long, about the inability to test, being blocked by CDC. Pence & his committee said “Wait? What? Why?” Raised the red flag to the Oval Office. With a stroke of a pen, the old CDC regulation was eliminated. Now it is implementing the ability. Not just giving permission. That takes time. It is one thing to know that regulation on top of regulation strangles peoples ability to do their job, or just do what is right, another is to see it in action.

                1. Apparently we have the previous administration’s fondness for “Centralize/Federalize ALL the things!!!” to credit for a lot of that “no test unless we make it” mess.

                  1. Clausewitz’s =On War= begins with the observation that one must master both the preparation for war and the conduct of war AND THE TWO ARE DIFFERENT and sometimes opposite. The CDC’s rules might have made some sense (to whom? for what?) during quiet times, but during the crises for which they should prepare, they were JUST WRONG. And the failure to see that probably came from looking at little goals instead of the big goal.

                    1. Panic control.

                      I’m low on coffee, and I only came up with this while I was trying to fall asleep last night, but:

                      I was trying to figure out on what planet limiting testing would be a good idea, and suddenly pictured China being able to have a lab in Seattle announce that the Wuhan cases had come from Seattle.

                      Or a bit less specific to this case- J Random Loser being able to announce that they had found evidence of Ebola.

                      *********

                      I think it’s a short sighted reason, and frankly sets things up to go badly via capture and politicizing science, but it’s a possible reason.

                    2. In at least one case, all four kids tested in a family came up positive, but no symptoms– I want THAT coin!

                      *snorts* Get the idea that they’re trying to Avoid Panic or at least aim the panic, and they’re gonna break their ability to influence stuff at ALL.

                    3. The Daughter Unit has been wondering very much about the hazard posed by false positive results from the Wuhan-Flu tests. To her mind, it’s as much of a hazard as false negatives.

                    4. If you read into the article this came from, what the CDC used besides “Respect Mah Authoritay!” was HIPAA, in that the swab takes had not explicitly consented to anything past flu tests on their swabs, and on the other end that as a research lab they only had the right to aggregate results, not report individual results to others like the public health folks.

                      Talk about unintended consequences – HIPAA originally started out as a way to try and make health insurance portable (didn’t work), with a side codicil to attempt to make the new electronic health data safely portable while protecting it from disclosure*, and now documenting HIPAA compliance is where healthcare folks spend a huge chunk of their time.

                      * One that shows up in almost all the mandatory annual HIPAA training packages is some receptionist put her boyfriends new girlfriends test results on social media. But that was illegal before – now it’s double-illegal or something, who’s is clearly betterer.

                2. That would explain Trump’s apparent discomfort during his address Wednesday night (aside from knowing he was missing the opening of SEAL Team) — he had to praise the CDC in spite of knowing what a Charlie Foxtrot they’re making of this … and realizing how much worse they could make it if he pissed them off.

                  Once the crisis is passed there ought be heads rolling.

                  1. I stand corrected; apparently the hostage got loose:

                    Trump rips CDC, blames Obama for slow response to coronavirus
                    President Trump on Friday blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the agency at the forefront of the nation’s battle against the coronavirus — and blamed the Obama administration for making changes “that only complicated things further.”

                    “For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it. It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped,” the president said in a tweet.

                    “President Obama made changes that only complicated things further,” he continued. “Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now. The changes have been made and testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!” …

                    1. And of course that proves that Trump is “blaming others,” and “not in control.” There’s no single dictatorial leader, noooooo!

                      It is amazing how many lefties are taking the normal US civic idea that the federal government should do some things, states do others, and counties and cities do still others, while private groups help in ways of their own choosing or as asked by government entities… as a bad thing. As weakness or disorganization, instead of flexibility and usefulness, not to mention Just What Americans Do.

                      Other countries can do as they like, but Americans espousing this kind of junk should just stay home and do their totalitarian fetish there. Seriously.

                    2. Then there’s the game of “Republican President is a Nazi” but when there’s a crisis it’s “Republican President isn’t doing enough”. [Sarcastic Grin]

                    3. AND they’re fueling the panic by telling everyone other countries have “better health care” without mentioning their ASSUMPTION is that government control is better.

                    4. There’s no regulation for the FDA to be involved with testing, although it does seem to be a recently adopted, unwritten policy. It did not insert itself into the H1N1 testing protocols.

                1. Anyone else have enough paranoia to suspect that China’s choice of blaming the US Army could be because China stole involved biological samples from a US Army lab? Perhaps under Obama, the same as the data, I think from the GAO?

                  1. Wouldn’t have to be the same time, they’ve been pretty obvious about putting “pressure” on the only offspring of four grandparents who happen to get into useful places since at LEAST the Clintons.

                    IIRC slowed down during Bush, probably as a side-effect of 9/11, but with Hillary! in charge of state I don’t even want to THINK about what was going on.

                    *************

                    My paranoia would be more that they targeted US Army for infection, so that’s enough facts to hang the accusation on and persuade those who want to be persuaded. Like accusing the person you robbed of trying to take the stuff from you. It’s technically true…..

                  2. The following is an observation, NOT a suggestion of connection.

                    Canada has one Level Four bio-research lab (this is the ‘really, really nasty bugs, don’t even think about asking for a tour’ level of precautions place). The Canadian government arrested at least two people – Chinese citizens – running the lab, and sacked a lot of their hand-picked and hired lab assistants – Chinese citizens. This was late last summer – fall. At the time, parts of the Canadian media were wondering what in the name of little green apples made someone think letting foreign nationals run Canada’s ONLY level-four research and testing facility was a tolerable (let alone good) idea.

                    1. Half of our labs are staffed by Chinese (and other) nationals. WHY?
                      Well, Obama made it mandatory to give them PREFERENCE in hiring. Foreign graduates, I mean. One of those pen and phone thing.

                    2. I remember several news stories from January or thereabouts, reporting on Chinese researchers who were suspected by the authorities of filching virus samples from US and Canadian labs and taking them back to China. IIRC in January RCMP arrested two or three of them, who were involved in . . . coronavirus research. There’s also a story (taken with a BIG grain of salt) that the specific strain that is causing such a ruckus now is, or has its roots in, a strain developed by Chinese and US researchers that was intended to be a carrier for a HIV vaccine. Which, if true, begs the question of just how it escaped that lab in Wuhan . . . and whether it’s a good idea to let the Chinese run CHINA’s only BL-4 level lab, let alone ours. Especially not since they seem to think it’s OK to sell leftover lab animals to meat markets.

                  3. China is in full face recovery mode, so expect both more propaganda like this and on the cyber side, and for them to start using all the SF-86 and background check results data they stole from OMB with no repercussions very actively.

                    I’m glad the .gov is still paying for that identity theft protection.

                  4. Yep. I could credit that.
                    The b*stards. And then having then unmitigated gall to blame the Wuhan-Flu on us deliberately spreading it.

                  5. Wasn’t there a Chinese national working in the US who was recently busted for stealing that kind of material? Not sure if I’m remembering this correctly.

              1. This is where the math starts not adding up. The population of the Seattle Metro area is 3.94*10^6. That’s roughly 2^21.9, or slightly less than 22 doubling periods. If the doubling rate was 3 days, and the CV has been in the Seattle area since before Christmas or 81 days now, we would have had 27 doubling periods and literally every single person in the Seattle area would have it.

                I can categorically state that not every single person in the entire Seattle area has CV. So the math doesn’t add up.

                I suspect that the “doubling” rate in the US is largely due to (finally) increased testing

      1. Expect to see a huge increase in numbers in the next week. We have more tests, so we will get more cases. The truth is, its probably a LOT more widespread than we think, but most people are minimally symptomatic. So, the morbidity and mortality are probably a lot less than being reported. We are going to go from it being a not common, but very dangerous virus to a very common, but not very dangerous (except to people with medical problems) virus.

    3. It’s only crazy until, suddenly, it isn’t. Italy, I think, is a good case in point of trying to quarantine and socially distance too late.

    4. “For that, we’re going to shut down the economy?”

      –no no and more no. We are shutting down the economy for where this will be in 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and beyond. Don’t be complacent because of current conditions. Look at the numbers yourself, and how they are growing. I’ve commented above with a link to the data. Simple doubling, without anything to slow it down, takes current TRUE acknowledged numbers to horror show territory very quickly. MUCH more quickly than it feels like it should. Italy is learning this the hard way, as is Spain after this morning.

      If it takes thirty days of doubling to cover a pond in lily pads, on what day is the pond half covered?? If you can’t answer that correctly, you won’t see the horror headed our way.

      It is not intuitive how fast this spreads once it gets going.

      nick

      1. For anyone without google, it takes 29 days to cover half, and only one more day to cover the rest of the pond. That’s the shock. you expect 5000 cases when you start the week and think you’re covered, but you end the week with 15,000, not 7 or 8k.

        nick

  23. What’s wearing on me is the whip-saw. On one hand I’m being told to prepare to tele-teach, to be able to stay at home for 14-21 days without re-supply. On the other hand people are playing in the park, walking their dogs, shopping, and planning for Spring Break – in other words, living a normal life in flu season.

    I can see the propaganda, I detest the propaganda, but it is wearing on me. I want the media to just shut up and go away.

    1. Oh yes! The contradictions are driving me crazy! No groups over 250 people, except for hospitals, malls, airports, restaurants. Schools are closed, but children can come to school for the free lunch. It makes no freaking sense!

      1. In Ohio, the state is giving support to the idea of delivering the free lunches and breakfasts to the kids’ houses, or sending them food supplies. Some districts already do this during the summer and breaks, so it’s not that weird of an idea. And it gives the lunch ladies something payable to do.

        1. The Fed Ag Department has given a waiver so that ‘Closed” schools can have free/reduced-cost food eligible kids kids pick up breakfasts and lunches at a spot near the cafeteria and take it home. Otherwise Fed law says they have to eat it “in a group setting.” Some of the New Mexico districts are doing that.

  24. I do SO understand “watching from outside” and the rest, too. I did notice something, or finally realized it. While the run on toilet paper only makes sense in the “What’s the one thing I really don’t want to run out of if I’m stuck at home for some time?” way, the run on hand sanitizers makes more sense. But the curious thing? The perhaps most effective tool, SOAP… is all but unaffected. Huh?

    1. Here in Plano, anti-bacterial HAND soap is short —- but antibacterial dish soap is good.

        1. If folks look really upset at the lack of C and zinc, you might mention that the “b complex stress formula” pills have both. Most of the supplement companies offer them.

          (I take a lot of supplements, so I try to make sure I’m not poisoning myself– it amused me that my stress pills were basically the prevent-a-cold pills with B vitamins.)

          1. I either absorb Vitamin C horribly or have an unusually high need for it. I take large doses when I bruise, because it’s often slow to heal without it.

        1. My daughter and I struck up a random conversation yesterday with a pair of elderly black ladies in a Tuesday Morning outlet. (Hey, best price for household linens and towels!) One of them a retired nurse, the other a retired teacher; we were joking about the rush on TP and sanitizer, and the one lady lamented that the Walmart she had been to earlier was out of all that, and bleach, too. They agreed with us – about the utility of hand-washing,with soap, especially when my daughter said, “And … this is new, somehow?” An appalling number of people don’t – as the elderly nurse and I could both confirm, through having been in bathroom stalls and heard people come in, use the potty and leave without hitting the soap dispenser and sink.
          A nice, tough old broad – she had worked at the Center for Infectious diseases in her time; not scared of the Kung Flu, although she is in the demographic particularly threatened by it. What she said about anti-vaxxers could have peeled paint. Early on, she nursed polio victims.

          1. “What she said about anti-vaxxers could have peeled paint. Early on, she nursed polio victims.”

            I bet. I wasn’t very old when I had both measles types (less that 4), That was almost 60 years ago. I remember it very clearly. I remember the rush to the hospital emergency room, in mom’s arms, as dad drove that night (they left baby sister “next door” at grandma & grandpa’s, folks had a trailer on mom’s parent’s property). I was, maybe 3? Don’t remember a lot from that age, but I remember that. We all had the Chicken Pox & Mumps much later. My sisters never got the measles, they both were vaccinated as soon as it was available. I also probably gave measles to my pregnant aunt. Cousin was born all but blind, and as it turns out, extremely hard of hearing. When the anti-vaxer’s hit me up, & I’m no way a nurse or doctor or medical, both middle fingers were involved. The only reason our son wasn’t vaccinated for Chicken Pox was because it was released about 2 years too late. Required by the time he hit school, but I put down the date he had them (was told that was an invalid date …). Rewrote on the form, in red, before date “Had it for 10 days, starting on:” Then wrote on back. “NOT a light case. Just ask how much clear skin the kid had.” Answer: none. They got the point.

      1. I used to buy the antibacterial stuff, but don’t bother anymore. Ordinary soap is just fine.

        Our society has become hyper-sanitized. Is the apparent increase in allergies a result? When I was a kid, very few of my classmates had severe allergies or were at risk from food sensitivities. But we were allowed to get dirty.

        1. I don’t use antibacterial, either, because we’re all pretty healthy.

          I think part of the allergy thing is lack of exposure to stuff– which getting dirty provides, and “don’t let pregnant women even eat ____” has been shown to slightly increase chances of an allergy for– but there’s also that folks are simply more likely to SURVIVE the initial difficulty.

    2. No.. I’ve been on delivery only for the last two weeks (I was told by my doctors to stay away from crowds) … I ordered some soap from Walmart and they refunded my money. I looked at online and it is going up in price extremely quickly. I think we will be seeing 50 dollars for 8 oz. in a week. (I don’t use bar soap… anti-bacterial soap due to a lowered immune system)

      1. I have a very easy to do recipe for homemade crockpot soap. Betcha can still order lye and various fatty substances (I’m a fan of sweet almond oil and pomace grade olive oil, myself, but you can even use bacon grease in a pinch if you don’t mind all the dogs in town suddenly deciding you are their god) for the usual prices. I’d be happy to share it here, so long as our hostess does not mind. Otherwise, fire me a message at frostfyre7-at-gmail-dot-com and I’ll send you the instructions. 😀

        (If you do it in a crockpot–hot process–you can begin using it immediately, although it won’t last very long. But hot process means you’ve already cooked the soap all the way through the saponification process, and so there’s no lye left to burn or dry out your skin. 🙂 )

        Also realize that most bar “soaps”–and many antibacterial cleansers–are NOT actually soap. They’re detergents. It’s only soap if it’s the combination of fats + sodium hydroxide. Most of the bar stuff will hide itin the small print by calling it a “cleansing” bar or a “detergent” bar.

        Proper soap in and of itself is very good for killing germs. And you can add stuff to make it more antibacterial too–though I’d have to do a bit of research on what’s easily available on that front.

        1. ….I’m contemplating the potential effect of bacon grease soap on my relationship with my husband.

          1. Well, $SPOUSE$ is already a Goddess to my mind. But constantly licking her hands would probably have me in the doghouse for excessive kink. (Maybe. She sometimes surprises…)

          2. ::snickers::

            A young man of my acquaintance many years ago asked, to the general air, why so many of girls’ lotions, etc smelled like food? We didn’t have a good answer for him, but the friend who was with me asked him if he’d find body spray or lotion that smelled like steak appealing? He gave a definitive “OH YES” which still makes me laugh.

        2. Lard makes an excellent soap. Very nearly pure white, without adding any titanium dioxide for color.

          The best is leaf-lard form around the kidneys – or so I’m told – but AFAIK any will do

          … couldn’t tell you about details of rendering it before turning it into soap though..

          1. If you buy the lard straight from the store, it’s already rendered and ready to go. I think with beef tallow you might have to do a bit first, but that might depend on how/where you acquired it.

            (And you can, I found out a few years ago, buy lard at the grocery store. It’s usually hidden away on the bottom shelf–or in the “Mexican Foods” section–but it’s there! Lye is harder, usually you have to do that online nowadays.)

            1. You should find lye at the hardware store. Red Devil Lye drain cleaner says ‘100% Lye’ on the label. ZEP Crystal Heat Drain Opener says ‘Contains Sodium Hydroxide’ but not how much. It gets HOT when mixed with water, so there’s a high NaOH content. Either one should work for home-made soap.

              1. Yes, it gets hot–pretty much instant-boiling temp, even though the water doesn’t bubble. And the fumes are toxic, so mix in a well ventilated area and keep pets/kids well away from it.

                ALSO: always add the LYE to the WATER, NOT the other way around. Adding water to the lye can cause it to explode-splash, and you do NOT want that stuff on your skin or anywhere near your eyes. Wear safety glasses (or some form of eye protection) and rubber gloves if you’ve got ’em. (I’ve done it without, but that’s flirting with a trip to the ER)

            2. Actually, more and more stores have lard in the baking section. The Save a Lot here caters to both a Southern and a Mexican ethnic community (along with all sorts of other groups, because of the university and the Air Force base), so I don’t think they ever stopped stocking lard.

              1. A good, clean rendered lard is actually better for you than margarine. It fell into disfavor because of successful marketing campaigns to promote margarine as superior.

                1. My only complaint about it for making pie crust is that it makes really crumbly pie crust. Good for biscuits, but I’ll stick with butter for the pie crust 😀

        3. All right, here’s the soap recipe. You can get everything you need at Amazon for a decent price. I also quite like Bulk Apothecary–they’re a bit more expensive, but their products are *excellent* quality.

          Basic Recipe for Crock Pot Soap

          Ingredients:

          ¾ cup cool water
          ¼ cup lye – also called 100% sodium hydroxide
          ⅔ cup olive oil (I recommend pomace grade–non-edible, but fantastic for your skin)
          ⅔ cup coconut oil
          ⅔ cup other liquid oil such as grapeseed, almond, sunflower, or safflower oil

          Equipment:

          Crock Pot
          Glass container (a quart jar or a 4 cup glass measuring cup works well)
          non-reactive stirring device (I have used a wooden spoon most frequently—though the lye is pretty hard on it. Basically, just avoid using stainless steel, because lye tends to, well, stain it.)
          Soap Molds*

          *This can be: a glass cake pan (you pour the soap in and cut it later), silicone baking molds (loaf molds work as well—again, you slice the soap later), or (one of my favorites) an empty, clean pringles can lined with a tube of waxed paper (it makes nice round soaps)

          **Some notes before you get started:

          Generally, it’s recommended that you have a crock pot that is ONLY for soap making. Obviously, for many of us, this isn’t necessarily a luxury we’ve got. I’ve found it’s fine to make the soap in one you later use for food, but do be aware the process of soap making is hard on the enameling of the crock pot itself—it IS going to have a shorter life than it might otherwise have.

          This recipe makes a very small batch—I honestly have never done it at these amounts, I always at least triple it. But I also have a large crock pot, and generally am making soap for the entire family with the intent of it lasting for six months or so. If it’s just you or only a couple of people you’re making soap for, or if you only have one of the little crock pots, stick with the amounts listed above.

          This recipe CAN boil over, so do be careful if you double or triple the amounts. Keep an eye on it—you don’t have to constantly watch it, but don’t make the mistake I did the first time I made it and wander off to play the computer and not check on it for a couple of hours. If it starts foaming up and looks like it’s going to boil over, just give it a quick stir.

          The Process:

          Pour the water into a quart canning jar. Slowly add the lye and stir until dissolved. ALWAYS add the lye to the water and NOT the other way around!!! The fumes from lye are toxic, so avoid breathing them and try to do this in a well ventilated area. It is also strongly recommended to wear eye protection, long sleeves, and gloves while handling lye, as it is extremely caustic. Also keep young children and pets well away while you are dealing with the lye.

          Also be aware that the moment you add the lye to the water, the water is now at near-boiling temperature, even though it will not bubble or steam. (This is why you add the lye to the water, and not water to the lye.)

          Set the lye mixture aside somewhere safe—since this is hot process soap, it doesn’t matter if it cools down while you warm up the oils in the crock pot.

          Next, measure your oils and place them in the crock pot. Be sure to measure them while in liquid form, not solid, so if they’re in solid form, melt them first in a double boiler. When the oils are hot (you can start on high to get it going, but then switch to low) you can add the lye. If the oils are hot, the lye will be too and you’re going to cook it anyway.

          Once you get the lye and oil mixed together, stir it until you achieve what is known as “trace.” Trace is when the saponification process begins. Essentially, your mixture is going to become cloudy and resemble pancake batter. I really recommend using an electric hand blender for this, as it allows trace to happen almost instantly. Once trace begins, thoroughly stir the mixture until the “batter” is uniform throughout.

          Once it gets to a light trace, cover it and walk away. Keep an eye on it, and if it looks like it’s going to boil over, give it a quick stir. Otherwise, don’t stir it, there is no need. (I do end up sometimes scraping the sides a bit, because I have an older crock pot and it seems to get rather crunchy on the sides, but really it’s not necessary.)

          After some time (it varies, depending on a lot of factors including altitude) you’ll see some bubbling on the sides. Then it will start to bubble and turn translucent, almost like petroleum jelly. After some time it will expand more and start to curl in on itself. Eventually, it will resemble mashed potatoes covered in Vaseline—this means it’s almost done. Now you need to begin checking to see if the lye has been fully incorporated or not—this involves the entertaining thing known as the ‘zap test.’ Take a butter knife and dip the end into the soap mixture, then carefully touch it to the end of your tongue. If it feels like you just touched a live wire to the end of your tongue, then the soap needs to cook awhile longer (this is safe, if a bit startling). If there is not a ‘zap’ (and it just tastes absolutely disgusting), then the soap is done.

          You can now add dried herbs and essential oils to make it what you want. Pour it into molds, cover with wax paper, and let it sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours, take it out of the molds. (Cut it into bars if needed.) Set it on some parchment or wax paper to cure for a week or so and that’s it. Technically, you could use it right away, but it will be very soft and not last very long. I’ve found that the longer you let it sit out to dry, the longer the bar of soap will last. The bars still won’t endure as well as a cold-process soap does, but they are well worth it in that you have usable soap a LOT faster.

      2. Bar soap is unaffected. Liquid hand soap has taken a hit, but curiously the stuff on sale is sitting the the shelves, the stuff costing 3x more (maybe antibacterial? Didn’t look that close) is mostly gone.

    3. Part of that may be size– the aisle of soap is usually just as long as the TP, but on a per-person-per-month basis it’s insane. I’m a hand-washing bully, the kids are home all the time, they play in the dirt and they frequently leave the soap to get soggy and/or someone keeps stabbing at the soap, and we still use maybe two bars a month.

  25. The public health people would be saying “If you have a relative in a nursing home, DO NOT VISIT. JUST DON’T till we have a handle on this.” Because, social isolation beats being dead, honestly.

    This is exactly what the management of the assisted living facility in which my Mom resides is doing: Baseline of “Don’t visit,” and then a long list of hurdles if you really for some reason feel you have to – only one adult admitted at any time, with no history of iffy contacts, no recent travel, no symptoms, don’t look funny, etc.

    Their emails to the families are not saying they are making visitors mask- or full-PPE-up but I would not be surprised.

    And this rule is being applied across all their facilities nationwide just as corporate due diligence.

    Plus they have already implemented super-duper versions of their normal flu-season wipe-down and sterilization protocols.

  26. Closing down schools and events is meant to buy us TIME, and that it will do, by slowing Kung Flu’s spread. We’ll all get it (if we haven’t already) sooner or later, and some small percent will be seriously ill, but the trick is to not have a flood of serious cases ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Closing down all needless interaction will probably have more negative economic impact than not closing down, BUT you also won’t get overwhelmed medical systems where all but the top of the triage list are left in the hallway to die, because there just aren’t enough beds.

    I watched Trump’s statements on what he plans to do as economic mitigation. It’s mostly tax relief. We may discover we don’t need those taxes after all… in fact he said as much. He’s also said a bunch about let’s not be dependent on foreign supply chains, and times like now are why.

    As to the stock market, I’ve noticed the MSM doing their best to start a panic. (I remember the day the DOW broke 1000, and laugh. -500 then was a disaster. -500 now is statistical noise.) Seems to me the smart investors are quietly buying up whatever stocks they can while prices are down, cuz when this passes, the market is going to rebound bigtime. It was overdue for a correction anyway, and now it’s harder to blame Trump for that.

    1. ^This. The precautions are about slowing things down so hopefully the medical services won’t be entirely overwhelmed.

      The media setting its hair on fire and screaming we’re all gonna die because Orange Man Bad isn’t useful, or helpful, I agree. And the people buying out all the tp and hand sanitizer are idiots. But…they’d likely be doing all that anyway. Just look at what happens–especially down South–when there’s even a hint of a snowstorm. >:D TP MILK AND BREAD, heh.

      1. One of the teachers said there was a mini run on . . . BBQ sauce. Even though it is supposed to be cool and wet all week. G-d Bless Texas! 😀

        1. Over on her blog, Cedar Sanderson reported a run on… chocolate chips.

          I giggled. A lot. But then, my emergency chocolate cache (what, don’t you have one, too?) is currently pretty topped off, even after being home sick for a week.

          1. Why not stress bake chocolate chip cookies while stuck at home? It would teach kids math, and most of us like cookies.
            We go through a lot of chocolate in this house. I once tried to buy a year’s supply around the Christmas baking season when baking supplies are on sale. It lasted through July!

            1. I asked a coworker (we all work remotely already, so no change for us) if he needed to make a local run there in NC run to refill his TP vault, and he corrected me: “Wine.”

              1. People are _finally_ buying the sangria. I don’t know why nobody was buying the sangria; it is very nice. But yeah, some chick had her cart full of pairs of wine bottles, including a couple of sangria bottles. (I got the feeling that she might have been one of those people doing an alcohol run for her friends.)

                1. 1. “Oh, all this wine? Err, I’m buying it for, ah, friends! That’s it! Kinda like doordash for wine!”

                  2. Local “Total Wine” super-mega-wine-store gives you free boxes when you buy enough bottles at once, around 9 up to 12. I’ve seen carts holding three and four boxes rolled out just about every time I’ve been.

                  3. Does buying wine for your friends constitute a straw purchase under BATFE rules?

                  1. 3. Does buying wine for your friends constitute a straw purchase under BATFE rules?


                    That depends, is it Assault Wine? Are the bottles bigger than some arbitrary limit?

                    1. Did an avid NotAlwaysRight reader decide to insist that everyone you have communicated with in the last day come in to get carded?

                  2. When we lived in El Paso I’d hit Specs– the local liquor store, it’s AWESOME– and head out the door with three or four boxes of the whiskey blend my family likes, plus one mixed box of the other stuff. (gin, vodka, whatever)
                    Why make a specific trip for one bottle when you can fill a shopping cart at a good price and just store it?

            2. I finally found a high-altitude friendly sugar cookie recipe. Since the post-wedding luncheon has been cancelled (and the reception, halleluja)…I might make some anyway just for possible-quarantine! 😀

  27. I have a friend who moved from assisted living into full time care. The full time care isn’t letting any visitors into the building at all.

  28. Notably in the media crap I have not seen anything further on the “cigarette smoker” risk factor – if you want lots of smokers, Italy would be one of the places I would pick.

    Though in the case of the east coast media maybe that’s just trying to hide from their own behavior by not mentioning Voldemort’s name – smoking is still a lot more common on the US east coast, and as I understand it very, very common in TV news circles.

    1. Also, except for homosexuals, who have a lower rate than the average, smoking is far more common among the designated victim groups. Nobody wants to tell them that they’re more vulnerable thanks to their own bad habit.

      (Yes, I am a smoker. No, I don’t expect to have a problem, thanks to good health habits other than that holdover from before the brain was installed.)

    2. Smoking is very much related to socioeconomic level here in the East. The are I’m in is almost ALL Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and suchlike. Essentially no smokers under 40, darned few under 65. Children (if such exist) don’t seem to take it up. Few remaining “Townies” (i.e. folks whose families were here when this was part of Salem) and blue collar types MUCH higher smoking rates. Add a few European imports and an occasional Asian first generation (who tend to smoke like chimneys) and thats it. Go up to Lawrence or down to Boston in the lower income neighborhoods and everyone is out smoking all the time. Why are the OUT smoking? Because in most of the cities it is Illegal to smoke in anything but a privately owned single family domicile. And folks like now house member Ayanna Pressley quondam city rep keep trying to assault that.

      1. Yeah. The people who smoke the most seem to be those who can least afford the immediate costs. Waiters and waitresses especially.

        1. People need a way to manage stress at work, weight, appetite, etc. I’ve never smoked but I can understand why people do. Also, you get more breaks if you smoke, and you get more socializing with other smokers.

          Anyhoo, the gene for ACE-2 isn’t the problem, it seems. It’s that smoking activates that gene to make more protective ACE-2 cells in your lungs (and also you can have them in your gut and kidneys, for whatever reason), and then Covid-19 loves to come live in those protective cells (just like SARS and MERS).

    1. Something about small town management makes them immediately rush to this behavior. As I noted the state has requested that meetings of 250+ be postponed or cancelled. The town of Reading made this mandatory for meetings of over 50. There few meetings of over 50 in Reading but most of them occur in churches of one sort or another. Previously there were some issues with food safety at one of the chain restaurants in town (Not even the one in town, just the chain, Chipotle). The food inspector went insane. We can NOT serve food to those not from the church unless it has been prepared “FoodSafe” and is then handled appropriately. This means that things such as a potluck dinner prepared for say a funeral (which will have MANY non member attendees) is verbotten. There was a brief moment where the food inspector was thinking of applying the food handling rules to Communion. Our congregation has several lawyers including one on the leadership team (think elders) who wrote a letter to the town manager explaining politely what would happen should their rogue food inspector do this including calls to several local media outlets. Apparently several other churches expressed similar feelings.

      1. Of course, Champaign Illinois is infected by the University of Illinois. 👿

        Champaign County was one of the Illinois Counties that went Hillary. 😈

  29. The head of Ohio’s Public Health agency passed along an interesting quote during her presentation at today’s press briefing (heavily paraphrased here, I can’t find a transcript yet):

    At the beginning of a pandemic, everything you do will be criticized as being chicken little fear mongering. At the tail end of a pandemic everything you did will be criticized as being too little too late.

    1. This is true. It’s worth studying the tactics used by the World Health Organization to stamp out smallpox. They didn’t have enough vaccine to vaccinate everybody…but if a case was reported, they would immediately jump in, vaccinate everybody who had come into contact with the patient, and everybody who had come into contact with THEM. It may have been a sledgehammer, but it was a sledgehammer that put the smallpox virus into Level 5 containment facilities.

  30. What makes me laugh is the Left frantically accusing anyone who uses the term “Wuhan flu” of racism. It’s like they can’t function without someone being accused of being a racist.

    1. They’re just coordinating with their paymasters in the Ministry of State Security.

      1. COVEFE-16 is more dangerous to them than COVID-19.

        I wish I could take credit for that, but a genius on another comment thread is responsible.

  31. Fear not- panics tend to burn themselves out, and the hotter the fire, the faster it will be over.
    Humans, are also really really quick to adapt and go back to life as usual.

  32. This is a problem, but the Propaganda Press has whipped up a hysterical frenzy. I’m convinced that Trump should have used the Lincoln precedent to temporarily suspend habeus corpus…and slung a dozen or so “reporters” into preventive detention for the duration. With a promise that anyone else in that pack preaching hysteria or disloyalty will find themselves ejected from the country.

    In a real-deal crisis, one of the unpleasant chores is to shoot the hysterical ninny whose panic will get everyone killed.

  33. We’re mostly self-quarantining here—kids are out of school (district cancellation), husband working from home (which is quite nice for him, major introvert that he is), I’ve gotten a lot done in the mess we call a yard, and since there’s rain coming up, I’ll get some work done in that mess we call a garage.

    But…

    I still had to deliver Girl Scout cookies yesterday. At least everybody was home. (It was also just me, since I’m better at washing my hands than the daughter.) And I get to turn the money in tomorrow. At the meeting. Run by the elderly leader in a risk category.

      1. It’s getting harder everyday to write satire. Even the most absurd rings true. They certainly have their work cut out for them.

  34. The other bit of good news is that I think this will put a “Fortress America” supply chain policy on the map. Sure, we’ll trade…but we’ll never let ourselves become dependent on foreigners for necessities again. Never.

    And the People’s Republic of China just proved itself unfit to be considered a First World nation. Like the Soviet Union, they are a Third World country with a thin layer of modernity…particularly their military.

    We need to reinforce the U.S. Navy. Stop playing soldier games in that damned sandbox and start building subs and aircraft carriers. Enlarge the air wings. Build a new high-end carrier-capable fighter.

    1. While most people panic like sheep, there’s usually some really good opportunities to come out of these kind of situations- for those able to see and take advantage.

      1. Well, yes. I AM an optimist. And a paranoid…paranoia is a professional requirement for anyone in Flight Test.

  35. I’m mainly worried about the leadership of my church. President Nelson is 96 and the youngest Apostle is 61.

    1. When your board of directors includes a retired cardiac surgeon, a retired professor of cardiac surgery, and a retired medical care system CEO, you may have reason to expect a certain familiarity with the issues and rational decision making on matters of public health. When the others include retired senior executives in business, finance, law, and education, that’s fairly broad variety of real-world expertise on to draw on. Since their current occupation typically involves extensive international travel and public contact in all parts of the world, I’m reasonably certain they have all been briefed on how to protect themselves from contagion.

      1. Doctors do tend to have the “it can’t possibly get me!” impulse, though.

        Not that they ALL do it, but it is a common failing– possibly because doctors have to seem confident, and that forms the mental pathways.

  36. Some thoughts:

    Lean inventory / just-in-time means only a small buffer against a surge in demand.

    If for one week everyone buys one extra can of chicken noodle soup, the shelves will be bare of anything similar to CNS in a few days, same for one extra pack of TP or one extra bottle of Acetaminophen. This can trigger other binge behavior, making things seem worse.

    American society has this weird fascination with end-of-world scenarios.

    Some folks have weaponized that doomview habit. “Meh” really steals their thunder, and boggles them gloriously. We can weaponize “meh” , and isn’t -that- truly amusing.

    The one thing the hard Left cannot handle, cannot stand, and cannot defeat, is when we reduce them to ridicule through reason.

    Have fun.
    #meh…

    1. I think it is in part because of pop-culture. The profs can pontificate for days about the psychological reasons for the fascination with vampires (1990s, early 2000s), zombies (2000s), pandemics (late 1980s-1990s), Jesus-coming-back (1990s and whenever). When you look at genre fiction from the early 2000s on, so much of it was EOTWAWKI, be it plague, war (1980s nuclear winter with glowing zombies), bioengineering gone wrong, or whatever. I almost wonder if part of what we’re seeing and hearing is a legacy of that sustained slug of end-of-the-world stories.

      1. The Left has *always* pushed “end of the world” scenarios, but when the danged Rooskies failed to subvert the government (barely, as we found out later) or rain nuclear holocaust down on us, they went on to UFOs, overpopulation, global cooling, running out of food, running out of water, ecological catastrophe, air pollution, global warming, the ozone layer, “the sea is dying”, “the end of oil”, Legionnaires’ Disease, AIDS, herpes, SARS, Donald Trump, and now covid-19, the cycles getting closer and shriller every time.

        We’re on at least the third generation of “the world is going to end NOW!”, which has affected how some people think.

          1. Some of them are “utopian”, but from the point of view of an individualist they’re indistinguishable from dystopian.

  37. Ran to the commissary today. The TP was gone and more sensibly, most of the tissues. The meat dept looked like it had been hit by a swarm of carnivorous locusts. The lines were extensive but ironically, the lines with cashiers rather than self-pay were shorter and faster. I feel for the cashiers, though.
    Also, the Publix on the way home was short of TP but fine on meat. Almost out of butter.
    My husband owns a tax business and this time of year I’m the receptionist. I figure we’re going to get exposed to every freaking germ in town. OTOH, a couple of months ago in addition to the usual gastro bug and flu, there was another upper respiratory bug. It had a bad cough which lingered for weeks and it spread quickly. Who knows?

    1. People are getting tax returns. That of course helps folks with impulse spending.

      “Oooh! Shiny!” Ka-ching

      1. Unfortunately, our household won’t be able to do much impulse spending, or even helping small businesses stay afloat during this difficult time. With one of our biggest conventions of the year postponed and our emergency fund depleted from the last crisis, that refund is going to have to be made to last until we do get to a decent convention. That or some decent online sales, although those seem to be extremely sluggish.

  38. I quit panicking based on reporters information push when St Helens blew. We were in Longview. Mud flows did reach the Columbia via the Toutle River, but by the time it passed through the Longview/Kelso border, the mud flow didn’t even get out of the river banks. Didn’t help that our rental at the time was in the flood plain protected by levees and drainage canals. Bleating about “would the mud flow plug hold?” What they forgot to mention was “would the new mud flow plug hold”, after all the old one had been there for decades.

    Mom & dad probably went through the same during the ’69 snow storm; you know when roads were closed down & big rigs couldn’t move let alone make deliveries. Don’t remember shortages. Then there was Elk, Deer, Trout, at minimum, in the freezer. Canned Peaches, Applesauce, Pickles. Bins of potatoes, flour, & sugar. Anytime power was out, it was don’t open Freezer or Frig. Might have ran out of milk, but there was powdered version.

    Hubby asked me yesterday that should the market pull a ’28 crash, can we cut back on household expenses to within, actual monthly income (SS x 2, pensions x 2, for all that my pension is $1400/year – no I did not drop a zero). Short answer: Yes. Even budgeting for the 2x or 1x per year large hits (insurance & property taxes). But if it gets THAT bad, we all need to be CC qualified, & likely bugging out. He asked bugging out where? My answer: Exactly.

  39. I haven’t watched today’s news conference yet, but from the summary there is one very interesting point.

    Now, some of this is technology changes, but most of it is, I think, is an attitude change at the highest level.

    Anecdote: Back with the Swine Flu, when they finally had a vaccine, I took the family to be vaccinated. It was ONLY available at the County Health Center, and ONLY on one of two days. Those were the only things in the public notices. Okay, I thought, efficiency in that a 100+ different PCPs wouldn’t have to keep it refrigerated, or have floods of people overwhelming the rest of their practices.

    Ah. We get there. HUGE line. Half an hour in, they come by with paperwork, one copy to be filled out for everyone in the line. Fill out the paperwork (for five people). Another hour shuffling along. Get to the door and there is another functionary to who I hand the paperwork. “Oh, you and your wife can’t get the vaccine – unless you have a doctor’s note that you are immunocompromised?”

    Afraid I did a bit of a scene – “If I were immunocompromised, you just had me standing for NINETY MINUTES in a crowd of people that could have ANYTHING!” In somewhat more colorful language, loudly enough that a Deputy came over and did a really good Stasi impersonation.

    End anecdote. From the news conference, the process for testing will be: 1) fill out a form ON LINE. 2) IF, and ONLY IF, testing is indicated, you get a code and directions to the nearest DRIVE THRU testing center at a PRIVATE pharmacy (apparently Walmart / Walgreens, I didn’t see others but they will probably also be utilized). Testing centers that will certainly run seven days a week, and possibly twenty-four hours in some places.

    What a massive difference.

    1. (Note, massive difference if it actually does work as stated. Must always add that if any member of the species “bureaucrat” is involved anywhere. Worse plague than the virus…)

    2. It was ONLY available at the County Health Center, and ONLY on one of two days.


      Daaayum, that’s straight from President Warrick in The Last Centurion!

      I am so tired of the Wu Kung Flu!

  40. The younger people aren’t bearing the brunt of the virus impact, but they can be carriers to bring the virus back to people who are vulnerable, so that’s why they’re temporarily closing those gatherings down. The rallying cry among the people I follow is just “be alert, but don’t panic. Flatten the curve so that the vulnerable people get it slower and in a more spread out fashion, and don’t overwhelm the health system.” Also, keep a month of food on hand so that you don’t have to go out shopping as often, and can stay home if you start feeling symptoms so you don’t spread it around.

    The toilet paper thing is just a contagion effect of its own. Some people start buying it, so others hear about it and start buying it, etc. It’s very silly, but hopefully it’ll get restocked reasonably fast since it’s almost entirely US made and shouldn’t have supply chain issues beyond just taking time to ramp up to higher production. Though, the producers might not want to ramp too hard on a permanent basis, because the more they sell now, they’ll probably have a prolonged dip in sales in the future as people just use their existing hoard.

  41. Love you Sarah, but I think you’re wrong on this one.

    Our mass media IS hopelessly corrupt and WILL latch onto any handy cudgel for an OrangeManBad narrative, agreed.

    Most of the barely-clued-in folks emptying grocery stores right now are in herd-panic mode and DON’T know what they’re doing, agreed.

    But occasionally the brat on the hill has actually seen a wolf.

    Docs overseas have been saying “this is NOT just the flu” since before the blow-dried idgits were calling Trump racist for closing flights from China.

    Who knows – maybe all these shut-downs keep the spread under capacity and in six months this will all look like a Y2K false alarm. Or maybe it won’t be enough and people will be piled up six deep outside the ER.

    Either way, we’ll know for certain in Seattle inside two more weeks. A doc there said their ICU just hit capacity w/covid cases – which means there’s about 2-3 times that number already infected out there that are going to need those beds in about a week.

    https://threader.app/thread/1238322250392039424

    1. Docs overseas are a) not as competent as our docs (no, please, trust me on this, I have family involved in both sides.); b) their equipment, etc. is MUCH worse. c) Social distance overseas is non existent. In places like ITALY, they don’t line up (as a friend reminded me) they scrum. In Portugal, they do it in CHURCH. There’s the communion scrum.
      They’re more sociable in person than most Americans can IMAGINE. Etc. etc. etc.
      And of course Seattle ICU hit capacity. perfectly healthy or not that badly off people are convinced they’re dying. Including people not at risk, ever.
      Bah.

      1. Perhaps I am missing something, but that was the ICU, not the ER. A doctor has to admit your to the ICU and I would be astonished and furious if the hospital had not advised all the doctors to ONLY admit the most serious cases. Thus people’s self diagnosis should not pack the ICU.

          1. I’m not sure what blog that is, but the one that posted the thread was — if I follow what she said correctly — passing on information in accordance with a request from the supplier… who posted it in an anonymous group supposedly vetted to consist only of MDs from the Pacific Northwest.

            A couple of people expressed concerns, such as that the thread claimed 21 COVID-19 patients and 11 deaths in the ICU of one Seattle hospital when the reported death toll in Washington was 31, with 22 of the deaths occurring within a nursing home.

            The person whose twitter it is said she would not retweet any more anonymous sources.

            1. *waves hand*
              I am not familiar with that source, but I am familiar with the…uh… “culture” of PNW “I am an MD” sorts. My folks’ former employer (25 years) was one of the sharp elbows in several of the social groups.

              Anybody remember the Reebok Fliers ads? “Bigger better faster higher”? Everything there. -.-

              There are good doctors, they just… well, we’re talking about an area where you don’t want to have stickers that might suggest you’re to the right of Stalin, and where having Catholic related ones without liberal ones was an act of defiance. Take a guess what folks who value work over signaling do….

              1. Yeah. Going to the blog as opposed to the thread alone… er… rapidly undermined the credibility.

    2. It is just barely possible that the anonymous source isn’t flat out lying– *IF* they work at Evergreen Health, and IF all the nursing home folks were sent to the same Evergreen, AND they all went into the ICU. (There’s like four or five, but they might have all gone to the big main campus?) Evergreen is one of those one-stop shopping places that are really nice when you can’t be sure if the thing you went in for is the real problem. I think that’s the place that we took Baron for his lead exposure test. (turns out the first was a false positive, for those wondering)

      Will post link to lady on facebook who works there, at the time in the middle of the claim, and doesn’t seem to support the claim from the anon source– in a response to this one, so Sarah doesn’t have to dig through spam.

      Here’s the evidence that it COULD possibly be partly accurate:

      https://www.khou.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-deaths-cases-washington-state/281-68179a8d-9ea9-461a-9077-1f32675b802b

      A man in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on Feb. 29.
      A man in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. The man had underlying health conditions and died on March 1.
      A woman in her 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. The woman had underlying health conditions and died on March 1.
      A woman in her 80s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in critical condition. She had underlying health conditions and died on March 1.
      A woman in her 70s who was a resident of Life Care Center in Kirkland died on March 2.
      A woman in her 90s, resident of Life Care Center, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on March 3.
      A woman in her 90s, resident of Life Care Center, and was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She had underlying health conditions and died on March 3.
      A man in his 60s. He was not a resident of Life Care Center, but was a visitor. He died on March 5.
      A man in his 70s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on March 2.
      A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and who died on March 5.
      A woman in her 70s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on March 6.
      A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on March 6.
      A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on March 6.
      A man in his 90s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and who died on March 5.
      A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and died on March 4.
      A woman in her 90s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and died on March 8.
      A woman in her 70s, a Life Care Center resident, who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on March 8.
      A woman in her 80s, a resident of Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah, and died on March 8.
      A male in his 80s, a resident of Ida Culver House, was hospitalized at University of Washington Medical Center, and died on March 9.
      A woman in her 90s, Life Care Center resident, died on March 3.
      A man in his 90s, Life Care Center resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, died on March 5.
      A woman in her 60s, Life Care Center resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, died on March 9.
      A woman in her 90s, a resident of Redmond Care and Rehab, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, died on March 10.
      A man in his 80s died at EvergreenHealth on 3/11/20.
      A woman in her 90s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died on 3/6.
      A woman in her 90s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died on 3/6
      A woman in her 80s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died on 3/4.
      A man in his 70s, who died at Overlake Medical Center on 3/9.
      A man in his 80s, who died at Swedish Issaquah on 3/11.
      A woman in her 70s, who died at Swedish First Hill on 3/12.
      A man in his 80s, a resident of Life Care Center, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, who died on 3/12.
      A man in his 80s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died at Overlake Medical Center on 3/8.

      *************

      I cannot find any support for otherwise healthy people in their 20s being at death’s door from Corona; in fact, the current poster child for otherwise healthy and not old is a 30-something year old gal whose grand total worry was a 101 fever, and there’s only some 40 cases of folks in their 20s being sick total.

        1. Trying to be as charitable as possible, it looks like the author was also attributing pretty much any cold-or-flu with breathing distress to covid-19– which I think actually has a decent chance of being true, the problem is they are doing this while at the same time that they’re trying to scare folks with how nasty this is gonna spread.

          As someone just commented recently by the doubling that would mean most of Seattle should be infected.

          It ain’t.

          And almost all the deaths are from one group of extremely medically vulnerable folks.

          1. As far as panic, the folks I’m hearing from seem to have settled on “You’ll probably be fine, but if you go near anyone when you could have chosen not to, you are vile scum who wants to accelerate the spread and make people die.”

  42. Re: Social Distancing = Don’t you just love that “kiss of peace” handshake, especially from a little darling that has spent the past 20 minutes irrigating their nasal passages? Or the “Man hug”? When did that become the go-to mode of greeting? No, give me the neighbor, who would do anything to help you but stands about 6 feet away and greets you with, “Hey, there”!
    Love this post, Sarah. kiss, kiss! lol

    1. As late as March 3rd, when I saw my insurance agent to drop coverage for an old trailer, he shook my hand. I didn’t think to refuse.

      This morning, $SPOUSE is taking me to the hospital/clinic testing center to get tested for flu since the symptoms are incompatible with the colds I’ve had. (COVID-19 test kits will arrive “Monday”.)

      I hope we didn’t trade virii on the third. We’re far away from the known hotspots for Kung Flu, but one wonders.

      1. Test complete for flu.

        Neither Flu A or B, but not presenting the official Kung Flu symptoms (For reference: Fever 103-104F, Shortness of breath, take 3 steps and sit down Now, and weakness–hard to get out of a chair.)

        I might have one of the *other* coronavirii. Sigh.

        On a happier note, they seem to be taking the issue seriously. Nobody with cough & fever gets into the clinic, the testing center is for one person at a time, and the two people have positive pressure headgear and appropriate coverings. The doctor who gave me the results said if it gets bad, the ER is set up to handle this. Not bad for a boondock city of 20,000.

          1. Thanks!

            My wife is *not* a happy camper. I’m in sort-of inhouse quarantine; separate bathroom, separate bedroom, and I’m eating my meals at the computer. Whether it was enough to keep her OK, we’ll see in a while. OTOH, she ticks far fewer of the high-risk boxes than me, being in good health for her age

    2. No passing of peace at Masses in our archdiocese (Cincy). It’s an optional rite anyway, which people have started to remember. Various other stuff.

      But the most important was that (if people couldn’t figure it out for themselves) we’re all dispensed from going to Mass for the next three weeks. Folks can still go if they want, but they don’t have to.

        1. Given what the Church has been preaching of late this will probably increase souls saved by ten percent.

    3. In our diocese, we have been omitting the kiss of peace and also receiving under one species (no cup) since the flu season hit. No changes yet for COVID-19.

      1. I could do with cutting down the hugs and handshakes at church during cold and flu season in general myself. Some people seem to have no common sense on the subject.

        1. I don’t know if the priest/parish secretary was supposed to do it or not, but they basically reprinted the guidelines for what Father was supposed to say at the start of mass and put it right in the bulletin, so there’s lots of “this would be a good time to remind everyone that you fully receive Christ in either species, both the Precious Blood and the Body” and “remind your parish that the kiss of peace is both an optional aspect of the Mass, and does not require physical contact” and has very harsh reminders that staying away from Mass when you’re sick is an obligation of charity.

          It’s frankly brilliant as a means of pulling any teeth from the folks who get in too late to hear Father attempt to talk (he just had surgery and he’s got an Indian accent, he has a lot of trouble with a lot of words, and you know how folks are…) and flatout recruiting the folks whose impulse to be helpful is sometimes counterproductive, by handing them exactly what Father got– so you can be sure they’ll be informing anybody who holds still about it, without anybody needing to correct them if they were previously of an incorrect impression.

          1. staying away from Mass when you’re sick is an obligation of charity

            Even not being Catholic, this makes me feel better about having attended church only online since the beginning of the year. I doubt any of us are still contagious… but it was mid-February before everybody was actually well at the same time, and even before the closures hit, I wasn’t sure it seemed entirely polite to bring in the Lingering Cough.

            1. That’s a nice thing about Catholic theology– you don’t have to be Catholic to be sure that, given the assumptions, it’s logically consistent. Then you just have to figure out if any of the things you disagree on are involved.

              Which is why the idea of a Vulcan Pope is so popular among some of the Star Trek fan Catholics. ^.^

  43. Pingback: HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS:  A State of Madness…. – The usa report
  44. The age for those most vulnerable also keeps getting lower and lower, as if not enough of us are panicking. It went from over 70, to 65, to now 50! Soon, everyone over 16 years of age will be told they have a greater chance of dying so they better take these hysterical measures seriously.

  45. Thursday (when I wasn’t working, and when they started to announce things like school and Disneyland closings) was apparently a supercrazy day at Sam’s Club. Long lines, people cussing and trying to fight, etc.

    Friday wasn’t nearly so bad. There was still some cussing in checkout lines or by dissatisfied shoppers. It wasn’t our normal bunch of members, though, but more the members who only show up at Christmas and such. Other than the tractor trailer of TP, though, it was mostly people buying food, bottled water, etc. We ended up running out of milk, so a lot of people just brought home something else for cereal (like almond milk, half and half, whatever). Our soda fountain broke overnight but got fixed in the late afternoon, and people were mostly goodhumored in the food line.

    Schools were not officially closed until next week, but there was an in-service day previously scheduled at many. So there were a lot of kids, and they were mostly pretty cheerful about the prospect of staying out of school for three weeks. Heh. There were three kids from Michigan whose private school hadn’t closed, so they were a bit depressed but bearing up.

    But the local Costco (our rival company) was on the news with much bigger lines and much worse attitudes, so there. Like Tom Stranger, we provided great customer service.

  46. Some apparent troll over on an anime site has caused me to come to the most fascinating realization.

    The American institution of slavery was a result of foreign cultural influence.

    US was heavily influenced by English culture, and with it economic thinking. West Europe did not have the same economics or economic thinking as East Europe, and England was extreme for West Europe and perhaps for Protestant Europe.

    Immigrants from West Europe were sometimes bought and sold as indentured servants, which was a custom that the mores of those cultures could support. Willingness to abide by such contracts, do the book keeping, do honest bookkeeping, and trust the bookkeeping.

    Immigrants from Africa were originally bought as slaves, and sold as indentured servants. The first bought as a slave transaction in now America apparently had a purchaser who was a former indentured servant from Africa. The South, with a lot of population ancestry from Africa, had a pro slavery culture. The North, without near as much, did not see the custom of slavery as anywhere near as tolerable.

    The South’s support for slavery was African cultural influence. The vaunted purest of the pure ‘white supremacists’ of the day were strongly influenced by ‘black’ culture. They, the cultural tolerance moderns, and the handwringing over slavery moderns, can go *beep* themselves. Especially the 1619 project folks, with their ‘blacks are predestined to be oppressed’.

    1. Nobody ‘invented’ slavery.

      Slavery has been with us since before we were human, half a million years or more. It has been an integral part of every civilization throughout all of history. It has only been in the last few hundred years that anybody got the notion that there might be something wrong with the practice.

      Here in the U.S. formal, organized opposition to slavery began with the formation of the Republican party in the 1850’s. The Democrats supported slavery so strongly that they started the Civil War a month after Abraham Lincoln took office.
      ———————————
      My grandpa voted Republican until the day he died — but he’s been voting Democrat ever since.

      1. Didn’t say that it was invented.

        Saying that perhaps the abolition of slavery was tied to cultural factors from Western Europe in general and from England in particular.

        If so, you would expect de facto abolition first in English influenced cultures. And it most strongly preserved in English influenced cultures with a strong influence from outside of Western Europe.

        1. Argh, I need to stop posting when I’m not paying enough attention to remember which handle I use on which website.

  47. So, since I’m 81 I’m is the beervirus high risk group.
    Since I’m 81 I’m in a lot of high risk groups.
    Sorry society, can’t see any reason to stop living to put off dying or to panic about this one.

  48. Agree that the rest of the world faces much more damage than we do.

    If enough people keep their distance we may be able to avoid overwhelming our health care system and end up more like SK and less like IT. That requires a big and immediate change in behavior at the individual level. Panic may be the best way to accomplish it. It has the right shape: Big initial response that fades.

    Here’s a good if scary piece: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

    1. We’d never be like Italy.
      No. We didn’t need that immediate change, whatever.
      Italy is not the US. Socially, hygienically OR IN ANY OTHER WAY. If you think it is, you’re confused.

  49. Sarah says: “I think Dorothy who comments here often has a script entitled “Get Sarah NOT to kill herself now.” ”

    Me: Clearly, she can’t be talking about me, because I’m not organized enough to have a script for anything!

      1. Still true, innit? World’s still here, we’re still here. Can’t get rid of me that easily!

        1. Not one to argue needlessly, but I feel compelled that the world is coming to an end* and we’re advised to keep our selves in readiness for it.

          *Exact date yet to be announced .. maybe. Opinions differ. Anybody get the number of that beast?

  50. A very interested primer on epidemics is, strangely enough, S. M. Stirling’s “The Last Centurion”

    The guy put a LOT of research into that book And not just epidemiology. Weather. Farming. Middle East politics.

    Fascinating book.

      1. Although S. M. Stirling is an awesome writer, too, and he just released a new book! Shadows of Annihilation – get yours at a friendly book e-tailer today, without having to leave the house!

  51. Good post, miss Sarah. Sums up a lot of what I’ve been thinking this last week or so. Just went from disaster recovery to come back to virus panic taking over the radio on the way back. *shakes head*

    One the one hand, I can see this as a very human response. On the other, disappointed in some of my fellow human beings.

    Eh. It’ll pass. If I go too far down that path, I’m giving in to my baser nature and expecting global economic collapse as critical industries fail and nothing steps in to replace them because the personell who keep the whole thing running are either down or caring for family members in a bad way, tensions flaring over lack of medical and general supply, et cetera.

    I think I’ll instead spend the day cleaning and maybe adding a chapter or two if I get the time. Work doesn’t stall when the media goes nuts. Fellow citizens ought to have learned by now. *chuckle*

    1. WTF? Thar was supposed to be in response to DrTanstaafl at 1:57 pm:

      … posting memes about how unprepared we are, and how are medical system sucks.

      Damn you, WP, may you rot in Heck.

  52. In related news, the Seattle Times just emailed me saying that President Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus.

    That sound you hear in the distance is millions of lefties screeching in disappointment…

  53. Wonderfully logical and informed – even the paranoid parts. Thanx!
    It’s sad what you’re saying about Europe (prayers for your family there), but it also points out why our contagion and death-rates from this will be so much lower than overseas. Most of our public isn’t hearing that right now, but they will. And once the stores have time to restock toilet-paper, they’ll start wondering what all the screaming was about.
    On the plus side, I believe the Administration is doing the right things, although they are being drowned out by some of the wrong-headed panic-mongers (the MSM continues the drum-beat that if we can’t all be tested immediately, we’re all going to die; the task force is having to spend entirely too much time refuting that instead of talking about what’s really necessary.)
    I’m 63, and in shamefully good health (through no fault of my own, I seem to be immortal) and corona won’t survive me, but my Significant One is in the poor health demographic where I can’t risk getting sick for fear of infecting her, so I’ve been working from home since March 6th (I’m blessed to work a hjob that makes this easy – my normal schedule is WFH two days a week) and I’ll probably maintain this through April. By then, I’m thinking the worst will be over and it will be time to resume life as we know it.
    We will get through this.

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