No, this isn’t another post about the 2020 elections….
I don’t typically watch or follow the news that much because of the hype and hysteria that accompany most things considered newsworthy, but I made an exception about the Coronavirus, following its spread throughout Asia and Europe before it landed on our shores. Now that is has permeated our borders, I’ve watched its track from west to east, all the while trying not to get upset about this Administration’s lack of preparedness, their spin that minimizes the risk and characterizes it as more fake news and, well, I’m not going to get into that.
In our state, whenever the forecast calls for snow, even if the projected totals are minor, people go nuts and raid the grocery stores, as if a blizzard is coming and we will all be stuck in our homes for an indefinite span. I typically roll my eyes at this kind of freak-out, and have often wondered what would happen if something really monumental were to occur. Well, these last several days have confirmed what I thought all along. The apocalypse is upon us. How else would you explain that sales of Corona beer have tanked since the outbreak.
Not that I am minimizing the gravity of what is going on, but seriously. It’s not like a nuclear blast is imminent.
I refused to get caught up in the hysteria as I watched confirmed cases of the virus reported in Florida, Maryland, Washington DC and New York. It was a matter of time before something was reported in Connecticut, which finally happened on Friday. Still, I didn’t take the bait. It wasn’t until yesterday morning when I read that the Governor of New York had declared as state of emergency that I relented. Assuming that something similar would occur in our state sooner than later, we bit the bullet and decided to stock up as much as possible in the event there was a run on the grocery stores, or a state of emergency was declared in this state that curtailed our activity.
I hit several drug stores to find that the shelves that typically contained disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers were empty. The same went for rubbing alcohol. Fortunately, I then traveled to our local grocer’s to see if I could at least find the alcohol, which I did, but also discovered a recent shipment of the disinfectant wipes, so I grabbed a half-dozen of those.
My next step was to go to a Stop and Shop the next town over to stock up on non-perishable foodstuffs and as many paper products I could find. Kleenex was plentiful, but toilet paper and paper towels were not. Bleach was missing, not to mention various cleaners and any Purell or Lysol/Clorox wipes. A lot of the shelves that are normally brimming with items like rice, pasta, beans, oatmeal, were picked over.
Then I went to the local meat market to stock up, and even though I got what I wanted, they didn’t have as much I typically see.
So even though I felt a little silly about buying two months worth of product, I think it will turn out to be a smart idea because the situation I described will only get worse as the numbers of reported cases grow.
Our new reality is very strange indeed. As a society, we are used to to seeing a doctor and getting a shot, but there is no vaccine to be had, and won’t be for months. Instant gratification is not an option, so we have to revert to the old fashion way of treating this: isolate and contain. This makes perfect sense, although I have to admit I would be super worried and pissed if I had a parent in a nursing home and was prohibited from seeing them, as is the case in some states.
It’s a brave new world for most of us, so of course the immediate reaction is to overreact. I read this morning that some manufacturers of sanitizers and wipes said no product will be available until May. I also read where the company that distills Tito’s Vodka implored people not to use it for hand-made hand sanitizers because it only has 40% alcohol. People really are losing their minds over this. What’s next, wearing garlic necklaces?
Yes, this is a serious thing, but it isn’t a death sentence. Less than 2% of the people who contract it succumb from it, and many believe the percentage is much less than that because not everyone has been identified. Elderly folks (defined as over 60 – when did that happen) and anyone with a respiratory condition are the high risk groups, and need to be vigilant. This puts me in the high risk group, which I wasn’t thrilled to learn. My eighty four year old mother-in-law lives with us in the apartment we made downstairs, and she is more vulnerable than me because she has COPD. So we will be careful with and protect her as much as possible, while I try not to be reckless or stupid.
As someone with MS, I’m not overly concerned about my health because the nature of the illness is an overactive auto-immune system that cannibalizes the body. Given the fact that I rarely get a sniffle anymore, I figured that would provide an extra level of protection should I mistakenly come into contact with the virus. But, I am scheduled for an Ocrevus infusion on Friday, and since that is designed to suppress the immune system, I’m wondering if it might be wise to defer it for a bit, and am waiting for a reply from my neurologist. My guess is that he will say to get the infusion, but work from home for a while afterwards just to be safe. I’m good with that.
So here we are, hunkering down with a house full of supplies as if it were the dark of winter with several feet of snow outside, instead of early March with today’s temps sniffing 70. I admit that I’m wondering how wise it is to attend events with large groups of people. I’m supposed to go to a couple of Red Sox games in April, and wonder how much risk I would incurr by travelling on the T (Boston’s subway system) or attending the game.
I think the decision not to go will be made for me because I would not be shocked if health officials ban the public from attending such events. After all, soccer matches in Italy will go on without any fans in the stands for a month. There have already been a handful of college sporting events here in the northeast that went on as scheduled but the public was prohibited from attending. It makes you wonder what will happen to March Madness, or the Tokyo summer olympics.
It also makes you wonder how political candidates really feel about going to campaign events and shaking all those hands. I cetainly wouldn’t be digging it.
It is going to be a wild ride. I just hope that we don’t get to the point where one can’t go anywhere, stores, schools, and restaraunts get shut down, and people’s ability to get everyday products are compromised. I also hope we don’t see price gouging, or, if things were to get really bad, looting.
Guess we’ll find out. Meanwhile, I really need to stop looking what is happening to the stock markets, my investments and 401K. That will make me sick faster than anything else.