In Which Em Goes Into Hiding

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Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    We’ve been fortunate so far, my spouse and I. We don’t have kids, so that’s a lot less to worry about.

    We’re pretty much stocked with food and supplies (except sanitizer and disinfectants), but my nagging scarcity mentality keeps telling me, “you should have more: there’s no telling if things will run out tomorrow.” That voice is especially insistent now that I suspect my mayor may soon declare a “shelter in place” order. (It’s a feeling I have. She’s going to make a speech this afternoon, and I suspect she’s going to announce some such sort of order.) While the stand-in-place orders I’m aware of permit people to go to grocery stores, I suspect such an order would create yet another mad rush.

    On the other hand, my more rational/altruistic side is telling me, “you don’t need anything now and it’s not worth infecting anyone just in case you do have the virus.” (If we do, we’re showing no symptoms, except once in a blue moon my nose sniffles or I cough. It’s almost definitely nothing, but I shouldn’t bet someone else’s life on it.)

    The worst inconvenience, for me at least, is we don’t have a washing machine, and I don’t want to go to the laundromat. I’m going to have to teach myself to wash by hand.

    My spouse and I are also extremely fortunate because we can work from home and our employers, for the time being, have enough resources to keep paying us. In an ideal world, I don’t like working from home, and we’re both a little stir crazy. Still, it’s really nice for us to hang out together and have lunch together.

    I really feel for those who have to work. I also feel for those who need the money but can’t work, or must choose between risking getting ill/infecting someone and maybe not being able to pay the rent. (I know others here are also concerned, too.)

    Another piece of very good fortune is I have a lot of books I can read. Last week, I stocked up on books from the library (and I already had some checked out that I hadn’t read yet, too): good entertainment. So far, internet has been working well (except for 2 hours yesterday), so I also have Netflix and Amazon prime.

    I do have a similar sense of impending doom as you. Maybe it’s evolved a little bit, because I understand W. Va. is just starting on the journey while Sangamon has been doing it for about one or two weeks (depending on when you start counting). For me the anxiety is the worst in the morning in bed, before I get up for the day….and when I watch the news coverage.

    At any rate, good luck with everything.Report

  2. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    There are little electric and hand operated washing machines at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon that are made for campers and RV’s, and they’re really cheap. Around $50 for a hand cranked one or about $100 for a super fancy delux dual-tub electric giant mini. Some of them are extremely cute, and this is the perfect time to justify buying one to play around with. I think the hand-cranked one could probably be adapted to make ice cream.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    We are both working from home. (All of that documentation that has been back burnered over the last duration? Those chickens are now roosting in the front.)

    Maribou and I are hammering out the rules for both of us being home all day, every day. The times when I have my skype meetings, the times when she has hers. There are times when I can go into the kitchen and bang pots and pans together and times when, seriously, it might be nice for me to wait 10 dang minutes before I wander into the kitchen using speakerphone.

    I realize that my exercise regimen has disappeared completely. I think I need to start jogging.

    Food is fine, TP is fine, snacks are fine. I have chewing gum.

    I wish Cyberpunk 2077 was out.

    (As for games for the kids, the Lego games are very, very good when it comes to 2-player stuff. Tons of stuff to do, tons of stuff to *UNLOCK*. And you don’t have to worry about content, particularly. Maybe a handful of double-entendres on the level of what Bugs Bunny was able to get away with.)Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      12 likes Minecraft and Fortnite. 8 is big fan of Sonic but will play with Minecraft with his brother sometimes. I pay for TWO XBox live accounts so that my two children can play online together from different rooms of the same house. Ridiculous. Me, I’m all Skyrim, all the time (about 45 minutes a day that I have time and am able to commandeer the console).Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      I wish Cyberpunk 2077 was out.

      I feel ya. OTOH, it’s a big win for Nioh fans.Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk
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    says:

    Next week I find out. This week is my spring break; next week is “pivot to teaching online, perhaps for the rest of the semester.” (They are saying “We will reassess on April 10” but unless a blessed miracle of medicine occurs? I expect we’ll be online for the rest of the semester, and also for summer. We’ll be LUCKY if we can go back to in-person in the fall. But I am a pessimist. We may have to do some kind of “in person for those who can but we’re gonna video lecture for students in high risk groups” thing – I had a student with an autoimmune disorder in one of my classes, on immune suppressants, and she was SCARED. She asked me a lot of hard questions I wasn’t qualified to answer and while I tried to be comforting I really wanted to say “I’m just a dumb ecologist and I don’t know enough about this, ask your doctor”)

    I am scheduled to participate in my first-ever webinar this afternoon on trying to learn how to do this. I hope it’s not just a glorified infomercial but I suspect it will be.

    Emotionally….I vacillate between pluckiness (“I have lots of books and fabric and yarn! I can do this”) and abject depressed horror (“I’m never going to get to see my mom again. I’m never going to be able to go shopping for craft supplies in person again because even after it’s safe to go out, all the stores will have gone out of business” and even worse than that….)

    I’m afraid for my job; I could see a major contraction in higher ed after this and I know some of you are saying GOOD! but I can’t do much OTHER than teach, and I would probably be a loser – not well-connected, not powerful – in the much-contracted economy we have coming. Well, I’m still strong enough to dig and pick and weed, I guess I could do farm labor….

    It feels very much like the end of the world to me. I’m already rationing food for myself so I don’t run out.

    It is probably not good for me that I live alone. I’ve called people and even did a Google hangout a couple days ago, but….I really need another human there to sigh and go “Babe, you’re not gonna starve” or “No, stop refreshing social media, go put a load of laundry in the wash or something” or even just make stupid jokes to me to distract me.

    I am tired of my own company. I didn’t think that would happen but it has.

    If we have ANY kind of mental-health system left after this, I need to go back to counseling. I was just getting better after losing my dad and then this happened, and this is a whole other grief, and also worrying even harder about losing my mom….because you always worry more about your only remaining parent….Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      Jaybird, below, is right. While there will be changes with Higher Ed, the chances of them hiting hard sciences, those that actually do take hands on learning, are very slim. My wife, who is a high-level admin, and I were talking about that this AM. While online teaching will become a larger part of Ed, it will mostly hit lecture type programs and schools; English, Languages, Math, etc. And coming out of a potenial pandemic, classes such as Botany, Bio, and so on, that can show a very strong correlation with a needs based curriculum in a hands on environment, will do well.

      The biggest thing right now is if your uni pivots fast enough to this new paradigm. Too slow, even in your neck of the woods, will be seen by potential students quickly, and be marked as second rate in their minds.
      In any case, stay healthy Fillyjonk.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I’m afraid for my job; I could see a major contraction in higher ed after this and I know some of you are saying GOOD! but I can’t do much OTHER than teach, and I would probably be a loser – not well-connected, not powerful – in the much-contracted economy we have coming. Well, I’m still strong enough to dig and pick and weed, I guess I could do farm labor….

    While I do see a major contraction in higher ed after this, I don’t see it hitting Botany particularly hard. I was going to make a joke about “Underwater Basket Weaving” but even that course will teach someone how to make baskets.

    Let’s just say that the major contraction in higher ed won’t be among the courses that will be useful during-and-following a pandemic and Botany is very high up on the “useful” list.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    There are three catastrophes: economic, public heatth, and psychological. It is possible we might avoid all of them but doubtful. It is possible, maybe even probable, that we get hit with all three catastrophes.

    South Korea managed to avoid the stay in place stuff by mobilizing and enacting early and widespread testing. The United States (and to be fair many European countries) could not manage to do this for a variety of reasons. Some geographic, some because of long existing infrastructure problems. Rural America is probably not equipped to handle a pandemic anymore. Others are pure “own the libs” negative partisan political culture like the Governor of the Sooner Pandemic state tweeting last weekend about how now is a great time to go out because those namby pamby effete libs are staying in place. Also how the Governor of Florida refuses to shut down the beaches because of the springbreak cash.

    Assume the worst case scenario is real and that stay in place is needed to keep things under control. Also assume that stay in place is needed for months, maybe up to a year and a half according to some estimates. This is going to create a serious economic downtown, perhaps a recession. Service and retail workers have already been laid of by thousands if not tens of thousands. Right now I can do a lot of my legal work from home but California courts are putting delays on civil matters for a period of 5-8 weeks. I already had a motion to quash subpoena I filed have its hearing date kicked from March 30 to May 5th. What if it gets kicked further down the line? Opposing counsel is not going to give up on their subpoena and it will just impede case development. Also my court reporting services and mediators are telling me that they will not do in person depositions and urging a switch to zoom or telephone sessions. I am extremely reluctant to do this. It is probably a matter of weeks before we see white-collar workers also laid off. Hopefully I am wrong here.

    Then there is the amount of time it will take to get the economy and life back to normal. That could take another period of months or years.

    Finally, lock in place is going to have huge psychological effects of mass loneliness and/or cabin fever. I suspect people can do for eight weeks maximum without getting demoralized. Maybe they can do it for more if the Government were actually to bear its part of the burden and make sure economic suffering was kept to a minimum. Right now the bailout could be a reasonable start but it might need to be more generous than our politicians are used to being.Report

  7. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    Well, I work out of a home office on a 75 acre property where we homeschool our children… so, um, what’s all this then?

    Kidding aside, all of our homeschool co-ops and children’s activities are closed… so we’re back to homeschooling 101 and that’s a bit rough.

    My post-graduate daughter is holed up in Rural Michigan working on her fellowship… but with 3 of her closest friends, so that’s something of a break.

    Elder son’s State School is going virtual… so he’s in his apt (being smart, I hope) in NOVA. He had to make a choice between home and Internship/NOVA, and chose NOVA… so he’s semi-banned from bouncing back and forth. For now. If things get worse, we’ll likely pull him back.

    Middle son’s SLAC is so S and so AC that they had hoped to shelter in place, but the state shut them (and everyone else down)… so he’s home and we’re hosting one of his friends, an ex-pat from Ireland who has nowhere else to go.

    We pulled back a little bit before other folks… missing Mass on the 15th before our Bishop suspended public Masses (though for the 15th he had allowed us to dispense with the obligation voluntarily)… this isn’t the first time I’ve ever missed a Mass, but its the first time I was at home, perfectly capable and willing to go, but didn’t. That felt odd.

    On the whole, we’ve got plenty of food, more on the hoof, lots to do, plenty of room to roam, lots of social capital, friends and neighbors… basically living off of years of fat; as long as the economy doesn’t nuke my software company (or the internet goes down)… then we’re in a good spot to ride this out.

    We’re doing what we can for friends/neighbors who are in a tougher spot; I’m quite certain that our community can handle 1 month with little disruption – probably 2 months too. Three will introduce complexities… and anything beyond that is nearly impossible to calculate… and by this I don’t mean people dying in the streets, but simple operational expenses being overwhelmed… mortgage, electricity, internet, etc, etc.

    The uncertainty over the length is the biggest X-factor. My hope is that widespread testing will be Phase 2 and will open up some space for work/commerce; but honestly, I don’t see this (and by this I mean the mostly voluntary altruistic “bend the curve” self-quarantine) holding for more than two, maybe three months. If after 2 months there isn’t a new testing phase… I think there’s a real possibility that the quarantine will break.

    Possibly I’m way off on my timing estimates, but I do think there’s a very real possibility that once the cost of quarantine passes some existential thresholds, then the fact that the virus is *only* 1% lethal will become a rational calculus. So, that’s my counter-intuitive (or maybe super-intuitive) take for the day… we’re buying 1-3 months by collectively living off some fat… after that, if there isn’t a testing regime that restarts the engine? Whelp, there’s only so much a people can do. I hope we’ll have used the three months we collectively sacrificed well. Pundit/Expert notions that this will go on for 18-months? Globally?… um, no. There’s your hard truth for the day.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      we’re buying 1-3 months by collectively living off some fat… after that …?

      Sitting on the sidelines watching this game unfold, it’s very easy to believe that you can’t keep the boys (and girls) pent up for too long before they break containment. Two months, in terms of business cycles and household management, is an eternity. The problem I see with your super-intuitive take devolves to who’s gonna be first to defect from the agreed upon rules. And my not-at-all counterintuitive take is that it will be Trump! The containment break* will come from the top.

      Pence at presser two months from now: “Because of the leadership exhibted by this Wartime President I’m happy to say that America can officially and finally claim victory over the Chinese. Virus.”

      *assuming, as you said, there isn’t some *new* dimension in play resulting from expanded testing or the like.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Yeah i doubt we can or will have the longer periods of shutdown. To many people will want out. Even if it was a good idea to keep shutdown trump will give in to loud people and business folks will want some sort of restart. We’ll have to see how bad the shocks from the next 3-4 weeks are. I think there comes a point where getting people back to a semblance of normal even if it increases some risk of transmission is actually best. People can’t just do nothing all day and night. They need some movement and purpose.

        Trump won’t care so if he can start to tell people to get back to work that will be enough, even if some areas are badly hit. He’s going to keep needing distractions and shiny objects and to tell everybody how great things are. If we stay locked down that becomes harder.

        Of course if we actually get some good news that would help.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        I take y’all’s point that maybe the administration will be the primary defector in an effort to salvage an election strategy based on the economy. Sure, let’s put that in the queue. Is that the only thing in the queue? I don’t think so.

        I think, though, that we just can’t project the level of break-down two to three months from now. That’s really my point… not some political point about whether Pelosi or Trump has a better plan (they won’t) … just that at some point the cost of bending the curve may (will?) be greater than 1%-3% fatalities.

        If it ever gets to that (and hopefully it won’t) whichever team is on the side of austerity for thee but not for me will be very much surprised at who defects for whom.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          Point taken about political points.

          My point is that I can’t see anyone in the economy defecting. For big firms the politics is too dicey. Same for Governors. Same for restaurants/bars. The way this breaks – if it does – is via a signal from Fed level political Leadership.

          Add: I do find it interesting that you viewed my comment through a purely partisan filter, though. And a bit disturbing for the future of our country. 🙂Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            A point has been made. To your sub-point about who in the economy defects?

            I’d see it start in the service sector… non-corporate owned restaurants/bars… I disagree that they would see it as too dicey; staying closed is too dicey. Maybe some number of folks who’ve recovered from the virus decide to open their doors to pay rent and all the other fixed costs… and then all the other service businesses that are privately owned and cascading from there.

            I’m not sure I saw your comment as overly partisan… I think it was perhaps overly political… such that I don’t think this will be driven by signals from Fed Level Political Leadership… so I suppose I’m post-Fed-Level-leadership once we traverse two or three months of quarantine.

            Or to put it more positively, the window for Fed Level leadership is now through month two or three… and/or what can they do to buy additional months of quarantine (if needed).

            But I’ll double down that this is *not* the new normal for 12-18 or (more!) months.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Well the actual Fed has few tools left to address the economic side of the crisis – their bond buying liquidity injections and zero interest rate cuts of the last week haven’t shored up the markets much (!) and I expect they will announce in a week or two they really can’t do much else. The initial disaster response bill the President has signed primarily helps industry segments dominated by large multinationals – and many of them are already paying their folks to stay home. So far as i can tell federal level leadership is still trying to take the disaster before the last disaster as its playbook. That won’t work.

            I think the governors – even the Republican governors – will crack first because they have to pay out unemployment benefits. Already we are seeing swelling ranks of unemployment benefit seeks for small businesses in retail and food service, so much so that state websites are crashing and state phone lines have airline level wait times to get to a person. Plus there are a lot of folks now out of work who apparently don’t qualify under their state’s regulations, which means a lot of rapidly destituting people. Governors have to deal with that reality, and they will lean on their congressional delegations HARD to solve the problem QUICKLY.Report

  8. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    My company has split all employees into two groups. One group works the first half of the week, the other then second half. They are isolating portions of the building so no one from team 1 goes into team 2, even though no one will be there. They are providing bottled water and ending coffee and food service..and ending our 9/80 work schedule. Our VP is looking into getting our staff approved for 100% WFH.

    None of this is too much of a hardship….more an inconvenience. What the real problem is people panicking and stripping the grocery stores of essentials and food. Last time I went in, there was a 2 hour line to check out…at 7:30 am. I went back on Sunday at 10am and everything was stocked except tp, paper towels, etc. Sheesh.Report

  9. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    The county I live in – Santa Clara County in CA – issued a “shelter in place” directive Monday. “Non-essential” social gatherings/contact is to close or stop. We had regular sessions with people in on three nights a week. These are now cancelled, though they weren’t large. My martial arts classes are suspended for at least 3 weeks. That’s another 2 nights and Saturday morning for me.

    My workplace is an office with just me and a bookkeeper for half a day a week. Other employees work remotely from home. We will continue, as it involves no contact. I had a conference call via Slack just yesterday. My bookkeeper has agreed to continue coming in so we can cut checks and pay people.

    I’m lucky. As I was getting takeout lunch yesterday (restaurants can remain open for takeout) I chatted with the counter guy, who was the boss. He said working remotely isn’t a possibility. I know of a long-time comics store that’s closing because it can’t pay rent.

    So I’m doing better than most, but I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with myself in the evening.Report

  10. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    I am mostly retired, but I have a small business that I work from home, usually wherever I sit my laptop down. (I have an office, but it is motly a library now.) So, that part is easy. And yesterday I made the descision to put said business on hiatus for approx three months. (Most of my clients are battening down the hatches so to speak, so interest is quite mild.)

    But, while my wife was just majorly promoted, she now has to work from home due to something(?) happening in the outside world. So, we are doing our best not to step on each other toes, which in practice means that I, being on hiatus, am getting out of the house at any and all opportunity. Which, in this time of discombobulation, is filled with state-sponsored idiocy. I stopped to get gas yesterday, and as my state has a strick no-pump law, I asked the attendant if there was a restroom in the quiky-mart attached. “We aren’t allowed to let you use it at this time” ??? The store is still open, people wash their hands afterwords, what is the problem?

    In anycase, my wife is turning into a prepper (possibly back into, as she grew up in the remote CA backcountry) so now I have two chest freezers, pickles for days, and a rapidly filling basement.

    But when I asked for an avocado, I got a lawyer.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      The store is still open, people wash their hands afterwords, what is the problem?

      {{The virus can live on metal surfaces, like door knobs.}}Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        In a rare piece of good news about Covid-19, a team of infectious disease experts calculates that the fatality rate of the disease caused by the new coronavirus is about 1.4%. Although that estimate applies specifically to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, and is based on data from there, it offers a guide to the rest of the world, where many countries might see even lower death rates.

        The new figure is significantly below earlier estimates of 2% or 3% and well below the death rate for China based on simply dividing deaths by cases, which yields almost 4%. While it is still higher than the average 0.1% death rate from seasonal flu, it raises hopes that the worst consequence of the coronavirus will be uncommon.

        https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/16/lower-coronavirus-death-rate-estimates/

        I am immune-compromised and live about 4-5 hours south of a major outbreak area. I am much, much more worried about the economic and social consequences of how we are dealing with this panic. So, yes, while I am very aware of its spreading via metal and door knobs, I am not very worried about it. But I am worried about people knobs at this point.Report

  11. Avatar Kristin Devine
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    says:

    I don’t know. On the one hand we live in the middle of nowhere and are always relatively well prepared, but on the other, that middle of nowhere is in Washington and there are cases even here in our own county now. I do have underlying conditions and I wish we had more info about what exactly the “underlying conditions” that we need to worry about really even are. If my adult sons get sick, I’m not sure what we’ll do to be able to take care of them without putting me at risk.

    Hubs still has to go to work every day as he’s essential services, and his coworkers have had what appears to be “just a cold” the past few days.

    And don’t even get me started about my business, which is failing spectacularly. No one wants to have a baby with this going on.

    Just don’t have a good feeling about any of it.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Kristin Devine
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      says:

      I suspect we’re gonna see a serious of disasters, each moving more slowly than the previous one: first, the deaths and the overwhelm of the medical system (if people keep being idiots and going to the beach and s***)*

      The second one, beginning already, is the economy. I expect a mass-extinction of small businesses and restaurants, perhaps a big restriction in consumer choice (the UK is talking about that, reducing what stores carry so they can have more of a few items on the shelves), lots of loss of jobs (I’ve heard 20% unemployment bandied about, and that canNOT be good for social stabillty)

      And finally – the psychological toll. I joked to my colleagues last week I’d need treatment for something like OCD given how regimented I’d got about hand-washing and I get anxious now if I touch a piece of mail or something that’s been “out in the world” and I can’t wash my hands right away. And I am terribly, terribly lonesome. And I’m afraid when this is all over, my social awkwardness will have gotten so bad that I won’t be fit company any more. And I feel like – everything I worked for all my life, the Ph.D., 20 years of teaching, some research, all of that – it’s meaningless, it’s for nothing. (I already had problems with that in the wake of my dad’s death). I know I will need counseling after this, if there are still counselors out there, and if I have any money at all (and have not become unemployed). I’ve ALREADY been rationing food for myself a little bit “so I don’t run out.” That’s Depression-era thinking right there, and I expect when I die they’ll find a giant ball of string and another one of rubberbands in my house.

      We are gonna see a whole cohort of badly messed-up people.

      (*That said, I was an idiot and went to the Lowe’s today for seeds. I tried to stay away from people but I couldn’t really because they still have giant pallets of crap blocking half the aisles. One group of people came within a foot of me for about fifteen seconds, and of course I was close to the checker. I will only have myself to blame if I get sick; I could have had seeds in stockpile or given up on having a garden this year)Report

  12. Avatar jason
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    says:

    I’m dong the “distance learning” thing for the rest of the semester. We’ll see how our IT holds up (my uni’s IT fails ALL the time, even when all the faculty aren’t using it). I’m not too worried about the effects of this on my job (remember when MOOCs were going to change everything?), and we’re already in the midst of a “visioning” process to deal with the problem of demographics (fewer college age students).
    Currently, I’m more worried that my wife’s place of work may shut down, which would mean a few hard weeks/months, at least until I start pulling in extra money in the summer from online courses (which are supposed to be online). We’re okay grocery-wise, and the stores have enough food to by groceries for a week. I’m just in a “wait and see” mode.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to jason
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      says:

      As of today, we’re still “permitted” on campus next week, though the interim president’s letter to us suggested even that might cease. This is gonna be a ****show if that happens; two of my colleagues have neither computers nor internet service at home (I know, right?) I will be bad off but less bad – I think I can do Zoom okay from my aging laptop, or I could even record stuff on my phone and upload from it.

      I am worried about testing, though, if I can’t get some help and guidance. Maybe I just go to “write an essay talking about the top three important things from this week’s material, and I’m gonna check really close to be sure none of you goons plagiarized”?

      I am really ready for the times not to be “interesting” any more.Report

      • Avatar jason in reply to fillyjonk
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        says:

        Me, too. Just found out my wife’s workplace is closing until mid April. She’ll have to finish this month’s business and she has seven days of vacation, so I don’t think we’ll be jammed too bad. Our IT has Blackboard working well enough. I don’t really lecture, so I’m not doing any zoom stuff. We just have discussion forums and then writing prompts and that mirrors my class fairly well.
        I’m more worried about long term economic impacts. Shit can’t stay closed for too long–people have bills to pay.Report

  13. Avatar James K
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    says:

    New Zealand has had 28 cases so far, but no signs of community transmission, so we’re not as locked down as the US yet. The government has just closed the borders to non-citizens/residents and everyone entering has had to self-isolate since Monday, but apart from large gatherings being banned, regular life continues as normal for now.

    I organised to have the next 2 weeks off work, but since my plan is to spend that time at home, nothing much has to change there. I have been pulled into Business Continuity planning, as some of my job is considered an essential service, so if the Ministry has to shut down, I am one of about 5 people in my branch who would still be working, though remotely if at all possible I imagine.

    With any luck all these precautions are going to feel like a massive overreaction, but only time will tell. Best wishes from the deepest South, I’m thinking of you all.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Speaking of people defecting, I had thought that I had seen that the pandemic was a good opportunity for us to reconsider offshoring and outsourcing production of a lot of things (including medical equipment).

    Then I saw this counter-argument:

    Now, like, I think it even more.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Their government-run media outlets have been threatening to cut off our supply of drugs and spread virus among our population.

      I’m guessing that they’ve been one-party totalitarian communists for so long, completely controlling the message, that they have no idea that their normal internal lies and threats fall absolutely flat on everybody else. All they’re doing is convincing the world that they’re are, through a mix of malice, greed, and incompetence, a threat to everybody.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        …completely controlling the message, that they have no idea that their normal internal lies and threats fall absolutely flat on everybody else. All they’re doing is convincing the world that they’re are, through a mix of malice, greed, and incompetence, a threat to everybody.

        Mmm Hmm.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/19/sean-hannity-denied-calling-coronavirus-hoax-nine-days-after-he-called-coronavirus-hoax/Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Is the fake press still seized with their “hoax” idiocy? Even CNN had to go back and debunk that talking point.

          The press has continuously proved to be the most unreliable source of information in this entire outbreak. Worse, instead of reporting useful information, they spend their time repeating Chinese Communist Party propaganda lines.

          Meanwhile, Joe Biden is out there claiming Trump refused test kits from the World Health Organization, which turned out to be just as accurate as his stories about going to jail for trying to meet Nelson Mandela. WHO doesn’t have test kits, it doesn’t make test kits, and it doesn’t offer test kits.Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            “It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday […] it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.”Report

          • Avatar beelzebob in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            “The World Health Organization has distributed 1.5 million coronavirus lab tests around the world and they will need 80 to 100 times that, according to Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies program.”Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to beelzebob
              Ignored
              says:

              This NYTimes piece describes the situation nicely. The WHO test was designed and is manufactured in Germany. The tests are paid for with emergency funds or loans. The WHO doesn’t sell tests to wealthy countries. The WHO has never offered to sell or give tests to the US.Report

              • Avatar beelzebob in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                from Mr. Turner: ” WHO doesn’t have test kits, it doesn’t make test kits, and it doesn’t offer test kits.”

                from your link: “It [the WHO] then delivers them to poor and middle-income countries at low or no cost…” Which implies that they have them and offer them. Apart from Mr Turner your five sentences are accurate. thanks for responding.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      They always were on their own. The federal government is not a hospital supply company. It also doesn’t provide sewer, gas, electricity, fresh vegetables, heating oil, or Internet service.

      The other day the New York Times ran a story about Trump telling governors they’re “on their own” regarding respirators, not mentioning the following sentences so as to have a “gotcha” angle that was picked up by the rest of the fake media. Trump told the governors “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.” The fastest way to get respirators is to place an order with a respirator supply company or manufacturer, just like any other piece of hospital equipment.

      If you want to add a couple months of extra delay, then sure, try to go through some federal procurement program where you have to submit a proposal, have it evaluated, get the run-around for a couple weeks, and then resubmit the request. Eventually, in theory, somebody in DC will then ask a respirator supplier or manufacturer to ship a respirator, assuming they don’t get snagged by a review that points out that the federal government isn’t in the respirator business.

      Fortunately, our hospitals have about twice as many respirators per capita as European countries. I’m sure they also know that the fastest way to get a respirator is to order one from a company that makes respirators. If we route that kind of thing through the federal procurement system, a respirator will cost millions and take ten years to develop, and probably be built by the same contractors supply the oxygen system on the F-35’s.

      What Trump is doing, where possible, is getting the federal government out of the way. If there are rules that make it almost impossible to build a respirator (and as a piece of life-saving equipment, there are going to be a vast number of regulations), he’ll wave them. The last thing we need is a bunch of bureaucrats wandering onto the manufacturing floor to throw up red flags to shut the line down, or for those same people to write up a bunch of new requirements for a “federally approved” respirator that will take months of changes to existing product lines.Report

  15. Avatar Michael Siegel
    Ignored
    says:

    This is roughly the situation I’m in. We’re both working from home and trying to keep the kids entertained. Although I teach college, my patience with kids is not great. Wife just made a supply run today so our food situation is good.

    But like you, I keep feeling like bad things are going to happen and it’s all going to go wrong. The real panic hasn’t hit his country yet — that will happen next week when the death toll begins to mount. So I’m worried that the power will go out or the food will stop flowing or something else. My wife assures me this is silly, that we’ll get over it. And I know that this is the sort of ting past generations had to deal with constantly. But it’s hard to stay focused on that with a long unknown looming before us.Report

  16. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m manning the office while the rest of the company works from home. It’s really weird being the only person in a usually bustling office. Based on the comings and goings of the elevator, I might be among just a handful of people in the entire 7 story building.

    We’re an event based business, so this thing has hit us HARD. A handful of people were let go today. Things are just so uncertain right now.

    I was chatting with my boss and I wondered aloud if we (society) weren’t overreacting a bit. He told me of an ER doc he knows who told him we haven’t even begun to see the worst of it. Pretty sobering stuff.

    My wife is somewhat immunocompromised and her parents live on a farm. She went out for a few days’ visit, but after that conversation, I may just leave her out there for a bit.Report

  17. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    So one of the frequent refrains on my side of the political aisle is that we could have taken this more seriously and had better leadership, we could do a South Korean testing and surveillance response rather than tank the economy through shelter in place. I’m kind of doubtful on this. We have a much more hyper-partisan political culture. On Earth-2, McConnell and Ryan and Republican state politicians could be working to undermine Clinton’s response to the Covid-19.

    Besides our hyper-partisan officials, America and other Western countries are a lot bigger and more dispersed than South Korea. In South Korea they basically have one point of entry and half the population lives in or near the capital. This limits the area we can work.

    Finally, we have the very tricky area of culture. South Korea could more or less expect its’ citizens to go along with the rapid test and surveillance with minimum fuss. That wasn’t going to happen in America because we have a much bigger I’m going to do what I want to do when I want to do it contingent as the Spring Breakers in Florida demonstrated or the people taking about Americans should be out and about enjoying themselves. So our citizenry would not go along with a South Korean system that well.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s a matter of degrees. Certainly it is easier for SK to test its population than it would be for us. However, we wasted a precious month with the President dismissing the virus as “fake news.”

      We cannot “shelter in place” waiting for a vaccine. Widespread testing of the general population is needed.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree. I’m not defending President Trump here. I just believe that America and many other Western countries possess certain geographical, cultural, and political limitation in doing so.

        We can’t shelter in place waiting for a vaccine. Neither can we engage in eighteen months of social distancing waiting for a vaccine. People aren’t going to agree to place their professional or social lives on a hold for eighteen months. Everything I’ve read suggests that scientists and health experts along with their wonky allies really believe that we need to practice social distancing for this time. I don’t see people putting up with it for that long.

        It’s basically telling my hobby community to stop dancing with other people for eighteen months. The social dance community is already itching dance from what I can tell and set up a support group on Facebook. Eventually, they are going to just insist on getting together again. Same with other people. Asking for eighteen months of social distancing just isn’t going to happen.Report

    • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Lee, you’re othering of non-US people here is concerning, along with your third (maybe fourth?) differential away from reality. Please revise.Report

  18. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Four Republican Senators caught off loading stock after a February COVID-19 briefing. Trump asks states not to release unemployment numbers. All of California is on lockdown, state planners estimate 25.5 million Californians become infected with around 750K in deaths.Report

  19. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Frustrating situation. In December a water leak wrecked my condo and due to a snafu we didn’t have insurance (the mortgage company thought we were maintaining it, we thought the mortgage company was maintaining it). The unit upstairs that left their door open and froze their pipes managed to skate off scott free and Hubby and I have been living out of a suitcase for months.

    Anyhow, this week was finishing touches on the condo repairs (on our dime). Then on Thursday/Friday the Covid shut down lands and the contractor is like, “yeah sorry, can’t do the last two things”. Fortunately one of the two things was deep cleaning which I spent the day doing. The other thing is electrical work, in essence putting lights back in instead of bare bulbs. We can live without that. SO basically we got back into our home with the equivalent of the space ship just barely landing and dinging its cosmetic outer bits off on the edge of the closing doors.

    But now, of course, you can’t buy toilet paper anywhere and we actually don’t have any toilet paper on account of the whole fishing place being gutted. I feel this is somehow ironic.

    Prepping is unlikely since everything is shut down. Fortunately I can work from home. Hubby’s contract is almost up and I have no idea when/if he’ll land his next one. Fortunately we can live off just my income if necessary.Report

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