Open Thread for Saturday, March 14, 2020

The toilet paper aisle at Walmart Friday evening.

The toilet paper aisle at Walmart Friday evening.

It’s been a long couple of days for me, helping ADCO clients with various coronavirus-related communications needs. It’s been affecting members of my family far more directly. For instance, one of my daughters works at the Richland County courthouse. Others are dealing with other shutdown-related challenges at their places of work, or figuring out how to keep working with the challenges presented by the virus.

I’d be interested in hearing from y’all as to how you are affected, even if it’s just inconvenience. Meanwhile, here’s some news:

  1. Trump declares ACTUAL state of emergency this time — But let’s not look upon him as the boy who cried wolf, just because he previously declared a state of emergency in order to divert billions from national defense to his border wall. This time it’s real, and the only thing wrong with his doing it now is that he didn’t do it sooner. Of course, he’s not taking responsibility for not doing it sooner. But just how much do you expect from this guy? We take what we can get. He’s done it, and we need to pitch in and do what we can to help each other get through this.
  2. Henry follows suit — Closes schools in Kershaw and Lancaster counties, among other measures.
  3. Unlikely pair of Pelosi and Mnuchin join forces as Washington’s crisis negotiators — Thought this was interesting. Nancy and Donald aren’t speaking, so she deals with Mnuchin. The House goes on to pass the relief package. Meanwhile, Sen. McConnell is AWOL…
  4. Stocks bound back, big time — I was going to say that maybe we should all give the president a pat on the back for finally getting serious — but he actually got a bigger thank you than any of us could give him. You know how important a booming stock market is to him. And not only to him, of course.
  5. Learning to Live With the Coronavirus — This is Friday’s edition of the NYT podcast, “The Daily.” I don’t know if y’all have been listening to the shows theyve been doing with Times science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr., but they’re well worth your time. He’s very good at putting it all into perspective, and giving practical advice for dealing with the situation. If you don’t have time to listen to it, there’s a transcript. But it’s better if you listen.
  6. Companies that feed America worry about restocking stores — Look at the pictures I posted above and below, and then imagine if those were food shelves. The problem is if we don’t have enough workers to produce and deliver food, and unpack it stores.

Dang. I was looking for something fun to alleviate all of the above, but didn’t find anything right away. And this post has been delayed long enough. I meant to post it last night…

... and here's where the disinfecting wipes used to be.

… and here’s where the disinfecting wipes used to be.

11 thoughts on “Open Thread for Saturday, March 14, 2020

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, here’s an ironic footnote.

    I’m no longer a member of the Columbia Rotary Club, but a friend who still is invited me to attend this coming Monday. The scheduled speaker was DHEC epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell.

    The meeting has now been cancelled…

  2. James Edward Cross

    At Clemson we’ve been planning how to provide online instruction for the past couple of weeks. A lot of deciding what equipment, software, etc. we would need to do that and to work remotely. This week I was one of two people from our Libraries unit who were chosen to participate in a work from home trial to test out what systems and software we could access from home. For the most part it went fine but there were a few glitches that had to be worked out.

    Clemson has restricted *all* travel, including in-state. Had a meeting in Columbia that I ended up joining remotely. Since we had to set it up quickly it was lees than optimal (the connection was fuzzy) but we got what we needed to done.

    Next week we will be open but only by appointment. Since archival material does not circulate we will be scanning stuff for several English classes so students can work on their assignments. We will also be finalizing projects that we (and out student assistants) can do from home if the University decides to shut down completely.

  3. Randle

    McMaster didn’t go far enough with the actions he proposed to contain the Coronavirus in his declaration of a state of emergency. He should “go medieval on it”, as your friend Donald G. McNeil Jr., suggested in a column in the New York Times on Feb. 28. McNeil writes about the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 and 1919, “Cities like St. Louis that reacted quickly — canceling parades and ballgames, shutting schools, transit systems and government offices, ordering the sick to stay home — ultimately had fewer deaths.”
    South Carolina had six new cases of Coronavirus today, and the numbers will increase exponentially if we don’t take strong measures to shut it down now. Our hospitals aren’t equipped for large numbers of critically ill patients, and we could find ourselves in a situation similar to the one Italy is dealing with now, with doctors having to decide who gets treatment and lives and who doesn’t — and dies. Sorry if this is a depressing scenario; it happens to be reality.
    McMaster said he wanted South Carolinians to go on with their normal lives, but that just isn’t possible in a pandemic, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why we aren’t being more aggressive.
    The economy will recover, kids will make up their schoolwork and more of us will survive, if we move decisively while the number of cases in our state is relatively small.

    1. Pam Wilkins

      I strongly agree.

      Admittedly, my outlook is shaped by my own experience. I’m a native South Carolinian but have lived in Michigan for more than fifteen years now. My elderly mother still lives in South Carolina.

      Here, Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency after the first two diagnoses. The immediate guidance was that universities should go online (I work at one), and the next day, she ordered K-12 schools closed and urged religious groups and others to close (virtually all have). As of 3:00 p.m. today, any holdouts among libraries, theaters, etc. must close. Restaurants may do carry-out and delivery only. Websites are informing us of the findings about contact points for the confirmed cases. We’re pretty much on full shut down.

      In the meantime, the state attorney general has been very public about combating and prosecuting price gouging practices; she’s put out her own set of announcements.

      Finally, Governor Whitmer is expanding eligibility for unemployment relief here, and police and others are distributing food to families.

      None of this is going to stop this virus, but it’s clear to me that our political leaders here in Michigan are decisive, bold, and information-driven. That in and of itself is reassuring.

      In the meantime, I’ve really worried about my mom in South Carolina, where, until President Trump himself declared a state of emergency, the state-level leadership looked (at least from a distance) lackadaisical/business as usual. From a distance, it looked like good-old-boy government, not the work of competent professionals.

      I hope I’m wrong. I’m really worried about my mom.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, I think what you’re seeing is a governor who takes his cues from Donald Trump, period. If Trump is downplaying the threat, Henry is likely to downplay the threat. If Trump ramps up his response, so will Henry…

  4. Mark Stewart

    My observation is the hording is being caused by the diminished look of an item on the shelf. If something looks like many people have grabbed that kind of thing others do, too, out of some kind of subliminal panic. Yesterday, I noticed there was a run on about five items in a store. These were all gone or almost all gone. Everything else was well stocked, however. Some like bleach made “sense” but not most things.

    Then I went to a different store and they had full shelves of some of the stuff cleaned out at the first. Except TP, that’s been horded completely – and nonsensically. Stop the silliness.

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