Watching things close down, a step at a time


Each day, on my walks around the USC campus and downtown area, I’ve watched things change. Each day, I encounter fewer people. And I watch as things close down a step at a time.

For instance, last week I could still walk into the Thomas Cooper Library, get a sip of water at the fountain, use the rest room if I needed to. Maybe walk back to the Hollings annex to see what collections are on display.

Monday, there was the above sign — only students, faculty and staff would be admitted. IDs would be checked.

Then today, the below sign — closed down completely.

When I got to Main Street today, it was the first day that I felt a bit like Rick Grimes entering Atlanta. Blocks of open curbside parking. Businesses all closed — or sufficiently curtailed that they looked closed. Go ahead and cross the street without waiting for the light, because there’s no one coming.

Passing maybe one person per block, each of you veering away sideways as you approach, so you don’t come too close. Careful. You might get “bit,” and become one of them

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?


25 thoughts on “Watching things close down, a step at a time

    1. Realist

      By the way, calling it what it really is, is not racist. Wuhan Virus or Chinese Virus, same difference but accurate description. Unlike the Spanish Flu which by the way didn’t originate in Spain, this virus did originate in China.

      1. Barry

        I agree it’s not racist,

        However, I also know that some are using it to attack and verbally abuse Chinese people and Chinese Americans and I believe focusing on that name increases the likelihood of that continuing. I don’t want that to happen and if I can do anything to reduce that possibility, I’ll take it.

        So I call it COVID19 because that accurately describes it and seems to be well understood by everyone I encounter.

        1. Realist

          There will always be some jerk who will use any excuse to verbally attack someone of a different ethnic culture. If we let them dictate our lives, then that is on us. I know anyone who is Chinese living here had nothing to do with the Wuhan/Chinese Virus and I would guess 99.99% of everyone else agrees. Won’t stop me from enjoying great Mu Su Pork in a crepe wrap either.

          1. Barry

            I’m also hearing it on right wing radio and a few blowhards on Fox News that just insist on calling it the Chinese virus. Every time I hear that I know it increases the chance that some of the idiots in their audience are going to hurt a Chinese person.

            I had the unfortunate experience of hearing the blowhard sitting in for the blowhard Limbaugh yesterday and a few callers were trying to change the subject but he kept bringing it back to having to call it the Chinese virus. It was clear he had some other agenda.

            So that’s yet another reason I’m going to call it COVID19. That makes more sense to me. I’m not interested in playing dumb games with the name and playing the blame game at this point. It’s a waste of time and energy.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        “Racist” isn’t the word. But in our interconnected world (which can’t be wished away), it’s unwise and unhelpful to call it that.

        It offends the Chinese, and frankly, we need to work with them on getting through this crisis. They’ve learned a lot that could be helpful. There’s no point in slapping them in the face, when we can easily call it COVID-19.

        And as others have noted, I think it’s in vogue to call in “Chinese” or “Wuhan” among Trump’s base right now because it DOES offend the Chinese. People who are ticked off that they’ve been forced to admit this is serious now want someone they can blame, someone they can disdain.

        Which is not constructive…

  1. Norm Ivey

    COVID-19 are what the medical professionals and scientists–people I trust–call it. If I hear it called anything else, I’m less likely to take the speaker seriously.

  2. Barry

    Another Fox News backtrack. They are re erasing the saves as fast as possible.

    Ainsley Earhardt last week: “It’s actually the safest time to fly”

    Ainsley Earhardt this week: “There’s a message definitely for all those young folks that are out on the beach and out on spring break, or have been over the past week: Stay home. Heed the warnings.”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Since I don’t watch ANY cable TV news, I don’t know who Ainsley Earhardt is.

      But I’m a huge fan of Ainsley Hayes, who is the greatest Republican talking head I’ve ever seen on TV:

      1. Barry

        Ainsley is a USC grad. Use to be a reporter at WLTX. she is on the morning propaganda, entertainment show on Fox in the mornings.

        She is not the brightest bulb in the room- said gently.

  3. Bryan Caskey

    The Richland County courthouse is pretty much down now. Up until 5:00pm today, we could access the Register of Deeds, to record documents and search records.

    Now, they are only going to record what they recieve in the mail or via online. Worst of all, the clerk told me that’s “as long as the mail delivers”.

    Could mail be stopping?

    I’m now a lawyer with clients who need things done, but the shut down is now becoming an issue for legal matters.

  4. Realist

    I don’t watch Fox News, ABC, NBC, or CBS news or any of the cable outlets. Don’t listen to talk radio, conservative or liberal. I don’t understand why anyone who is capable of thinking for themselves bothers to waste their valuable time on this earth polluting their minds with the barrage of negativity and hostility each side hurls at the other side.

    The iterations of a descriptive phrase for the virus has been an ongoing process and the apparent final most accurate, reasonable and least offensive is COVID-19. Forbes link below.

    Which brings me to a great George Carlin routine about language and the changes to what was once called “shell shock” after WWI. A link is furnished below to the “George Carlin Shell Shock” video and to watch – if you want to.

    If someone wants to continue calling it Wuhan or Chinese Virus without engaging in any anger, verbal retribution or overt xenophobia toward anyone other than an irresponsible Chinese government, I won’t dismiss their comments and thoughts because they are not using the WHO’s recommendation to call it COVID-19.

    1. Barry

      “ . I don’t understand why anyone who is capable of thinking for themselves bothers to waste their valuable time on this earth polluting their minds with the barrage of negativity and hostility each side hurls at the other side.”

      I watch some of it and listen to some of it because millions and millions of people do watch it, including people i interact with on a daily basis.

      From my experience, the people that say they never watch, actually do watch it. I can recognize some of their arguments straight off some of the most ideological shows.

      1. Realist

        “From my experience, the people that say they never watch, actually do watch it. I can recognize some of their arguments straight off some of the most ideological shows.”


        Are you calling me a liar? If so, be straight forward and post saying so. No need for faux civility.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I certainly hope he isn’t. But if he is, perhaps it is aimed at me.

          And perhaps I shouldn’t brag about not watching them. It might come across as putting on airs. But I don’t. I can’t. I don’t have basic cable…

        2. Barry

          I’d have said so straight out if meant for anyone here.

          If that doesn’t apply to you, then it doesn’t apply to you.

          1. Realist

            It has also been my experience when someone uses a double entendre in a reply, they are intentionally targeting the individual they are replying to. Copying and pasting a portion of a post as an opening and then closing with a direct reproach of the portion without providing an exception is in fact an intentional act.

            However for the sake of not further engaging in meaningless exchanges with you or anyone else on the subject, will go with Brad’s response, “No sweat…”

  5. Barry

    She saw her friends making jokes on social media about the coronavirus — eye-roll emojis, Fox News talking points, Rush Limbaugh quotes writing off the threat. And then one person asked if anyone really had this thing.

    Ms. Frilot had an answer to that.

    “I have been seeing a lot of posts about people taking this virus lightly and joking about it,” she began in a Facebook post. “Mark has tested positive for the coronavirus.”

  6. Scout

    In reading about the virus at the CDC website, I had an aha moment about the name. Maybe this is common knowledge and I’m just dense, but I don’t remember hearing it explained before. It is more apparent when seeing it in print, though. The name Covid 19 is essentially like an acronym that comes from COrona VIrus Disease 2019.

    Calling it the Chinese Virus makes me angry. China doesn’t have any special claim to bats or viruses and didn’t do anything to cause it. Everybody is at risk. It is a global human virus. We need to work together to solve it and implying blame inappropriately is not helpful.

    We should call it by it’s official name.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The name of the virus itself is SARS-CoV-2.

      Which would be big news to the twits on Twitter who mocked poor ol’ senile Joe Biden for calling it “SARS.” (As for calling it “ebola,” the way Bernie did, well…)

      The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is called COVID-19.

      And as far as I’m concerned, for the president of the United States to cross out “corona” and replace it with “China” on prepared public remarks, thereby unnecessarily stoking international tensions at a time of life-and-death crisis for his country, should be an impeachable offense.

      But we don’t have time to go through all that again. While we’re all trying to stay alive, we need to do what we can to see that Joe Biden pushes this guy out of office…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Of course, we don’t know whether Trump personally replaced “corona” with “China” on that copy. It was quite likely done by an aide filled with zeal to do the president’s bidding.

        If that’s the case, of course, it is incumbent on the president, in reading that copy, to correct it back to “corona,” and to admonish the aide never to do anything like that again.

        Which we know won’t happen, right?

        And this isn’t about being “racist” or whatever. It’s yet another childish attempt to transfer blame to anyone on the planet other than himself — such as his constant, repeated (I heard him doing it yet again in a live briefing just yesterday) attempts to blame lack of preparedness on the Obama administration, whining about how he “inherited” a bad system, and is the guy fixing it….

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