Got that pandemic.

Well, I guess we’re in the thick of it now. Both my jobs have pulled the work-from-home trigger. I went out Saturday because I always go out Saturday, although I observed more than the usual courtesies — washed my hands a few times, refrained from touching the vegetables at Eastern Market, overtipped at the coney island where I eat breakfast. I’m torn between supporting the small businesses imperiled by this disaster, and doing my public-health duty.

Also, I’m trying to avoid stir craziness. This is going to be the real challenge. Once the temperature gets above 50, I’m going out on my bike and you can’t stop me. Around this car-crazy town, no one is coming within six feet of me, I promise.

I should add that everyone at Eastern Market, basically a very big farmers’ market, was polite and the goods were plentiful. Grocery stores, meanwhile, are being stripped like farm fields in a locust invasion. Toilet paper in particular is a very hoardable item. I guess people figure that if you need it you need it, and it’s not like it goes bad. If it turns out the crisis ends before they use up 200 rolls, well then, no need to buy it before November. I just inventoried our stash; about 11 rolls. I think we’re good.

Meanwhile, here is the scene this very afternoon in Corktown:

Fox News viewers, I presume.

This is going to lead to the full shutdown of bars and restaurants, I predict. Ohio and Illinois did so within the last hour. And if that happens, ah well, it was nice knowing you guys.

Things are changing so quickly I don’t know what to say other than: Hello from lockdown. “Bombshell” is available for rent on iTunes now, and we did so last night. It was OK, not a bombshell, but not terrible. Charlize Theron is quite the mimic. And John Lithgow wore those prosthetic jowls like the pro he is.

Stay safe and isolated, guys.

Posted at 5:35 pm in Current events |

79 responses to “Got that pandemic.”

  1. JodiP said on March 15, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    Yesterday we got groceries and I went out and got a monitor to make working from home easier. The line to buy stuff was about 45″! Everyone was getting stuff to WFH. I also brought my bike in for a small repair so I’m ready to go once spring hits.

    I puttered doing a few things at home, and around 4, asked my wife if she wanted to watch Contagion. Of course! We then moved right on to Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Rene Russo, Donald Sutherland and Morgan Freeman.

    Most out of custody court hearings in MN have been cancelled, so there have been some emails as our judges created a plan for our treatment courts to deal with that.

    We are still moving ahead with a painting project, so we began cleaning out the area to be prettified: mostly magazines I haven’t looked at in 25 years and books I brought around to various Little Free Libraries.

    I hope everyone is well.

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  2. Nancy F said on March 15, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Here in California, Gov. Newsom just held a press conference during which he called for all bars, brewpubs, clubs, and wineries in the state to close immediately. Ballsy (and correct) move in the middle of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, usually a raging public boozefest in San Francisco.

    I drove through San Francisco a bit at midday. Very little traffic, car or foot, and an uncanny number of open parking spaces. I zoomed across the Bay Bridge in both directions; practically unprecedented.

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  3. David C. said on March 15, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Our farmers’ market was cancelled. Our Governor has banned public gathering of over 250 people, but I don’t think we have over 250 at the market at one time. Maybe it’s a cumulative total. I don’t know. Anyway, we were running low on some things and we have the business cards of a couple of the vendors. We called them up and they were happy to have us come and buy from them. Then I was talking to one of the farmers and he told me he had leukemia and was in the final stages of preparation for a bone marrow transplant and was worried about the virus. So I’m like, oh shit. I’d have a hell of a time if I found out he got the virus and succumbed. I shouldn’t because he and his wife could have told me not to come. They would have been at the market too. But I’d still feel bad. Looking out for each other could be a minefield if the ones you want to look out for are keen to not be looked out for.

    The toilet paper aisle at our grocery was finally being hit hard yesterday. As I was checking out, a guy loaded eight 12 packs on the conveyor and gave me a shit-eating grin. I suspect it’s become a contest. Buy all you can and brag abut it to your idiot friends. Pasta was also being hit hard. It looked like a pack of jackals had been through that aisle. There wasn’t a can of tuna packed in water to be had, but packed in oil was plentiful. So we’ll know it’s really bad when tuna packed in oil disappears from the shelves. It makes me happy AF the this guy is stuck with 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and isn’t able to perform his public service of selling it for $20 a bottle. No entrepreneur of the year award or you, asshole.

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  4. Joe Kobiela said on March 15, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    If on Facebook you go to Eckhart public library my oldest daughter will give you a tour of the library she helped to rebuild, they opened today 33 months after the fire.
    Pilot Joe

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  5. David C. said on March 15, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    I can’t think of much sadder than a fire at the library. I’m glad they’re up and running again.

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  6. Little Bird said on March 15, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    It’s been suggested that if you want to support small businesses during this pandemic, you can pop in and buy a gift certificate now, to use when this is over. It gives them the money now, and it could actually work.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on March 15, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Isn’t Karma grand, David?

    We still had church this morning but I stayed home and watched our daughter’s online service. I suspect the real reason our pastor didn’t cancel is because we had a vote scheduled this morning to approve him applying for a Lilly sabbatical. I’m just a little cynical. We don’t have huge numbers but some of our old people think if church is open, they have to be there.

    And my mom refused to come over for lunch because my husband is still working and going out and about. She’s fine with contact with me. So far she’s hasn’t realized that he could expose me, and then I could expose her…

    We had been out of town, so I did a big grocery run on Wednesday, not realizing I should have bought more than normal. What a long time ago that seems now.

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  8. Deborah said on March 15, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    I didn’t step one foot outside the last 2 days. I did go down to the laundry room today, no one else showed up as usual, I don’t know why but there is rarely anyone in the laundry room when I’m there and it’s the laundry room with the most amazing view you can imagine over the lake.

    My husband and I did an inventory of the food currently in the kitchen to determine if there’s anything we need before we leave town on Saturday and we determined that there are a few things so he’s going to the grocery store tomorrow and then we’re good. His brother gave us some vile smoked salmon from Seattle for Christmas and we’re including that in what we’re going to use this week. Most people love smoked salmon and we usually do too but this stuff is awful, I don’t know why, we had one package shortly after we got it and yuck. We’re going to try to drown it in sauces.

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  9. Sherri said on March 15, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Evergreen ER doc in critical condition with COVID-19:

    Starbucks closing some stores, going to-go only at rest:

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  10. jcburns said on March 15, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke tweeted “GO INTO THE STREETS FOLKS. Visit bars, restaurants, shopping malls, CHURCHES and demand that your schools re-open. NOW! If government doesn’t stop this foolishness…STAY IN THE STREETS. END GOVERNEMNT CONTROL OVER OUR LIVES. IF NOT NOW, WHEN? THIS IS AN EXPLOITATION OF A CRISIS.”

    So…you agree it’s a crisis. And you want us to do anything we want with our lives, even if it endangers our neighbors and loved ones.

    Are you insane? Or just immune to science? (Trying to imagine him ‘handling’ a crisis in the streets when he actually was sheriff.)

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  11. gretchen said on March 15, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Imagine going to an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and ordering a can of Bud Light you could have bought at the grocery store.

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  12. Deborah said on March 16, 2020 at 12:35 am

    I thought the exact same thing Gretchen.

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  13. susan said on March 16, 2020 at 1:18 am

    The Met Opera is doing something very cool:

    Met to launch “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the coronavirus closure

    Starts tomorrow eve. Carmen!

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  14. Dexter Friend said on March 16, 2020 at 2:50 am

    Outside of “Ride With Norman Reedus” (he was in Japan this week) and “Homeland” and a very abbreviated “This Week Tonight With John Oliver” (shot in a sparse empty studio room, just him and one camera), I was on my phone screen watching msnbc and then the CNN debate. Nobody really won the debate and nobody is winning the new war. Dr. Fauci said that since the exposure to symptoms rate is 7 to 10 days, the USA midwest will have Covid19 roar through with many exposures and infections showing up this week. Another doctor in Dayton reported many hundreds in Dayton have already been exposed. A Detroit school teacher has the bug. I am sure Dorothy knows all about the Dayton report. DeWine, the Ohio governor, is considering just closing down the entire statewide school systems until the fall of this year, and I think he will. The only sports news for days is that the NFL plans on opening on-time in September with a 17 game schedule. Nobody gives a fuck about that but the die-hards and the players. I doubt ML baseball starts in May as planned…how could they possibly do that? No way. Fauci says “tip of the iceberg”. The Fed is down to nearly negative interest rates. And people are freaking the fuck the hell out. No plans to close domestic airline travel? Maybe, no plans. But things change so fucking quickly nobody would be surprised at first. How can this happen? I do not know. I worry as half my family is in Port St. Lucie in the 85F sun and sand, and if the airports close, how the hell could they ever find a rental van to get back home? To quote Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in “No Country for Old Men”, Deputy: “Sure is a mess, ain’t it Sheriff?” Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: ” If it ain’t it’ll do ’til the mess gets here.” Nobody in my Facebook universe has any local stores thas has T.P. Now that’s a mess. Shee-itt.

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  15. David C. said on March 16, 2020 at 6:03 am

    The Dutch are going to get through this much better than we are.

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  16. Connie said on March 16, 2020 at 6:39 am

    So my hometown, Holland, has a case. You think my 88 year old dad will stay home from morning coffee at Franks downtown? Nope, after all, he has been having his morning coffee there since 1960.

    So I have been watching our numbers here and in what seems like only 24 hours Michigan’s case count went from 33 to 45 to 53.

    Re David C’s link above. There were no lines Friday morning. Oh, and my ancestry is 100% Dutch fwiw.

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  17. Dorothy said on March 16, 2020 at 7:56 am

    I’m not sure why I have not been worrying incessantly up until now, but this weekend I’m starting to feel a semi-meltdown coming on. When I get upset my bowels are the first physical manifestation of when worry starts to take hold of me. For the first time, my hubby said something last night about “if we get the virus….” and I never thought we’d have to talk about it like that.

    I’m honestly more worried about my kids getting it – especially my daughter since she works in D.C. Yes they’re mostly working from home, but occasionally she has to be in the office building. She will probably drive instead of taking the Metro in that case, but still, she’ll have to be out and about and who knows if anyone else in her building is asymptomatic? I keep trying to picture what the future is going to look like and I can’t settle on a date – two weeks from now? A month? Six months? It’s the uncertainty that is getting to me. Will my nephew’s wedding still happen in August? (We already booked flights and hotel). I really, really need to get myself lost in my sewing room and focus on this new quilt I’m dreaming up to get the voices in my head to shut the hell up.

    Dexter I have not really been following the Dayton news very closely but that statistic (hundreds exposed by now) does not surprise me. No cases reported yet, but a co-worker told me last week that her son (high school junior) said a friend’s mother works at Miami Valley Hospital, and they had 3 patients quarantined there. I haven’t heard anything since that. Quarantined does not necessarily mean they tested positive.

    I’m grateful more than ever that I have all of YOU to talk to and listen to, and I hope everyone stays healthy. Everyone needs to check in and wave a hand from time to time, okay?

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  18. alex said on March 16, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Starting the week in shock and grief. The son of one of my college friends just died in his 20s. I’ve known him since he was a baby. As a matter of fact, my friend became widowed while she was pregnant with him, and I just cannot fathom what she must be experiencing right now.

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  19. Suzanne said on March 16, 2020 at 9:04 am

    So sorry, Alex. How awful for your friend.

    Honestly, I wasn’t that concerned about COVID-19 until this weekend. On top of the Trump Administration’s usual obfuscation and lies, that MSNBC interview with Dr. David Ho put me over the edge as he stressed that due to lack of testing, we have no clue what we are dealing with. I also ran across a statement by the head of the WHO which gave me no comfort and another infectious disease doctor who said we should all act like we have the virus because, at this point, we really have no idea who does and who doesn’t.

    And thinking about the ripple effect. What happens with funerals? Funeral visitations? Easter is coming and will be even be able to have Easter services? Will we even want to have the usual Easter meal at my house?

    So much is up in the air.

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  20. nancy said on March 16, 2020 at 9:19 am

    One other thing I wanted to say about “Bombshell” is this: One of the pleasures/cringes is seeing how they cast the roles of people who are still very much with us, people like Jeanine Pirro and Kim Guilfoyle, et al. My fave was Richard Kind, who you might recall as Jerry Seinfeld’s uncle, as Rudy Giuliani.

    Oh, and by the way? I found myself stuck on YouTube TV (hi, JC! Thanks, JC!) and the remote wasn’t working. It was stuck, not on Fox News, but Fox Business. Michael Milken was on, explaining why reducing interest rates to zero was a good thing, a really really good thing that even a child could tell you would mean another cratering day on Wall Street today. It was like…Fox News for Even Dumber People. Seriously, I don’t think the North Koreans could have done any better.

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  21. jcburns said on March 16, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Milken? Lock him up! Oh, wait.

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  22. Peter said on March 16, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Nancy, I think Len Lesser played Uncle Leo; Richard Kind was in a lot of movies and TV shows, but not Seinfeld, as far as I know.

    Oh, election day tomorrow is going to be a hoot. I just got a call from the Board of Elections: are you feeling fine? Are you up for being an election judge? I said sure, and they said great, because there’s been some cancellations. So, how many judges are left in our precinct, and they said, including me, it’s two.

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  23. Deborah said on March 16, 2020 at 10:57 am

    We’re going to vote tomorrow in the early morning, right after the polls open. My husband is going to see Uncle J for the next few days, he’s leaving right after voting.

    They have set up a protocol for everyone entering uncle J’s house you have to sign in and have your temp taken right at the door. I’m not going this time because they’re trying to have very few people enter, only the care givers or people who have to be there. After this time even my husband won’t be going there for a few weeks.

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  24. Heather said on March 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I watched Bombshell over the weekend too. I wasn’t too impressed with Charlize Theron’s prosthetics when I saw the trailer but she did a really good job inhabiting the mannerisms, etc., of Megyn Kelly. It was fun to watch Ailes go down but of course the whole time you’re thinking, “And then a couple of months later we elected Trump,” so it’s kind of an anticlimax.

    I haven’t been out the last couple days–I even decided not to go to a regular Sunday night get-together with three friends. They still did it though. I just don’t want to be a vector, especially since I think some of them are still going to the office. I do have a derm appointment tomorrow at Northwestern–wondering if I should cancel it, but I think as long as I drive (instead of taking the CTA), keep my distance in the elevator and the waiting room, and wash hands before and after, it will be fine. I hope?

    And Alex, I am really sorry to hear about that. What a horrible thing.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on March 16, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Alex, I’m so sorry about your friend’s son.

    Peter, thank you for serving, and I hope you can get a good good night’s sleep for your long day. Our kids are the last one’s standing at their polling place. Everyone else dropped out, and the Election Board has no more substitutes. The board is supposed to drop off wipes and hand sanitizer, but no masks. I’m very surprised that Florida hasn’t postponed the election.

    Hubby’s office is closing beginning tomorrow. They are supposed to work from home as much as possible, although a fair amount of his job can only be done in person. Maybe we can finally finish unpacking all our boxes–silver linings!

    Susan, we saw Carmen in the movie theater and I would advise listening without watching. It’s already a sad story, but this production must have been designed by someone who is terminally depressed. We were thinking sunny Spain and saw only gray rocks and understated lighting. Here’s hoping the others will be better.

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  26. susan said on March 16, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Julie @25 – I am the sort who never listens to lyrics, only the music, and I love the music from “Carmen.” I have no idea what the plot is, who the characters are. The music is wonderful. Ya know, if you can humm it, whistle it sort. I’ll just listen to the Met tonight, not watch.

    The first time I actually saw “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma” was in the mid-90s, when I was working on a project away from home. We all were staying in another crew-member’s house. For entertainment, we’d rent videos. One evening we watched “South Pacific”; another evening, “Oklahoma.” I was shocked at how dark the racism element was in SP; and then there was the rape part in OK. I had no idea about any of that…because I grew up with those musicals playing on LPs. And I just loved the music. And still do. And still don’t listen to lyrics.

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  27. Sherri said on March 16, 2020 at 11:41 am

    My husbands stepfather went in the hospital a few days ago and is about to die. They’re removing life support today. But who knows when they’ll be able to hold a funeral? Do we travel to be out there? The uncertainty makes it harder.

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  28. Julie Robinson said on March 16, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Indiana’s Governor just closed dine in for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, and banned gatherings of more than 50. State workers will be remote if possible, state museums closing, asking hospitals to cancel elective surgeries.

    Oh, and I just watched the preview of Carmen. It’s from 2010, with different singers, but looks like the same set.

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  29. Sherri said on March 16, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Things are moving so quickly but communication doesn’t always keep up. A friend’s daughter is in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. Last night, the Peace Corps announced that they were evacuating all their volunteers. My friend WhatsApped her daughter, which was the first her daughter heard of it. Later she got an email with news of the evac, but no details. She was due to finish and come home in April anyway, but as my friend says, hopefully by the time she gets to an airport, they’ll have a plan.

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  30. LAMary said on March 16, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Just got furloughed for three weeks with no pay. I have just under a week of vacation time accrued. Garage sale time.

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  31. Sherri said on March 16, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    So sorry, LAMary.

    I’ve been saying for a while that we’ve been headed to a cataclysmic event. Now I find myself hoping that the pandemic is the cataclysmic event rather than the trigger.

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  32. 4dbirds said on March 16, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    So sorry about your friend’s son, Alex. My young adult son died almost 7 years ago and I still love seeing his friends and catching up on their lives. Please don’t forget her in the weeks and months ahead. It seem like everyone was around in the beginning (when frankly, I don’t remember much of that time), but later when I really started grieving, the visits were fewer.

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  33. Scout said on March 16, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Checking in from Phoenix, AZ. The schools are closed, the senior centers and most gyms as well. A lot of people are reporting that they’re working from home, as am I. Large gatherings of every genre have been cancelled, but so far restaurants and bars are still open. We shopped for groceries to last us a while over the weekend. No TP to be found anywhere. We have about 6 rolls and are being very judicious with them. I was quite paranoid about being around the public in the stores but it seemed everyone was doing their best to keep a safe distance from others. Yesterday we went out for a hike. The sunshine and fresh air was refreshing. Usually on the trails when you pass other hikers everyone is very cheerily greeting one another. Yesterday everyone kept their heads down, gave each other wide berths and if there was a greeting it was a mumbled hello. Strange times. None of us saw this coming and the people who should have failed us miserably.

    Alex, I am so sorry about your friend’s son. Today is the anniversary of the death of my cousin’s son and she is having a hard time. What 4dbirds said is so true, keep reaching out to her in the months and years to come.

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  34. Colleen said on March 16, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Alex, I know the family you’re referring to. So sad.

    We watched the Mr Rogers movie over the weekend. Made me cry. Bombshell is on my list to watch.

    Husband and I both work from home normally, so that’s not a change for us. But I have a feeling once everything’s closed down, I will be getting a little antsy.

    Stay well everyone.

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  35. Deborah said on March 16, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Lake Shore Drive definitely has less traffic than usual. My husband and I ventured out to take a walk, he was out of yogurt so he went in to Whole Foods, no dairy on the shelves except a couple of cartons of half and half which he bought to use with his granola instead. Not any milk at all. It wasn’t such a zoo, but lots of empty shelves. So the supply chains are being disrupted I suspect. The streets were very empty compared to the usual hustle and bustle. We stopped in at our little neighborhood coffee shop for a takeout, we were the only ones there again and the guy behind the counter told us they will be closed for 2 weeks after today. It was good to get some fresh air, and it was plenty easy to stay clear of other people.

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  36. Deborah said on March 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    It would be interesting to hear from Jerry in the UK about what’s happening around him.

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  37. Mark P said on March 16, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    I was going to start a short-term (maybe 6 months), about half-time job in Huntsville, Al, where I worked for many years, but it’s looking like it will be delayed because of the coronavirus. I would have been working on Redstone Arsenal for an Army office, but I just got an email saying that every non-essential person is to work from home. My job would be “non-essential” but I couldn’t really do it at home. So, who knows when the job can start.

    I expect Georgia will eventually follow some of the other states in closing restaurants and bars. Chick-fil-a is already stopping counter service and will be open only for drive-throughs. I would really miss our weekly Mexican lunch with my relatives. Unfortunately, we’re all over 60.

    Oh, and the state is delaying the presidential primary from this month until May. I wonder what things will look like in May.

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  38. TGF said on March 16, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    I’m no fan of Ohio’s dweeby Governor, but dang, he’s talking about listening to and acting based on science. Further, he’s talking about how facts (then plans) can change with data. And of all things, his chief advisor on this is a girl doc — I wouldn’t believe it if I weren’t listening to the daily pressers. She (Amy Acton, MD, MPH) taught for several years at OSU in Public Health, so is super good at explaining complex ideas (grilled swiss cheese sandwiches should be the iconic food of the outbreak). Further, her family was homeless when she was a kid, so while dealing with big picture issues, her eye is always on the most vulnerable among us.

    If you have friends who simply don’t understand why we should be staying in place now and for as long as possible, see this from 14 March — A series of video graphics explains how social distancing can flatten the curve of infection. Doing so decreases the likelihood that the epidemic overwhelms the medical system. Yes, it prolongs the epidemic, but it protects the health care infrastructure.

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  39. TGF said on March 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    In situations like this, I prefer bullet points vs. narrative coverage. In that vein, this is particularly useful for understanding what the experts do and don’t yet know about COVID 19 —

    [BTW, I’m licensed to call someone a girl doc. When accepted to OSU Veterinary College in 1977, the class ahead of ours was 14% women. Seeing the Bakke case coming down the line, our class, as admitted, was 40% women. The blowback and hazing from classmates whose buddies didn’t get in ’cause we “took” their seats made the following 4 years just barrels of fun.]

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  40. Julie Robinson said on March 16, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Omigoodness. I took some meals over to Mother and as we sat around talking my daughter called with all the latest restrictions. I missed the news conference, but it is really possible Trump is finally listening to his scientists?

    LAMary, I’m so, so sorry. You’ve had the worst luck possible with jobs. This morning I was listening to an economist who was saying we need to help families, not corporations. But his “help” was to send families $1000. While that would be appreciated, I know, I couldn’t help wonder how long that would last for most families.

    Our daughter’s church has really been struggling lately and they cut her pay, so she found a contract job helping with a music program at nursing homes. That’s gone now too.

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  41. David C. said on March 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    As soon as IT gets me set-up to remote into my work computer, I’ll be working from home. It’s going to be strange.

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  42. Jeff Borden said on March 16, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Johanna and I voted a day early here in Chicago in advance of tomorrow’s Illinois primary. Election judges and all staffers were wearing rubber gloves and they had a ton of hand sanitizers. Everyone waiting in line self-separated and kept their distance. I’m planning to hit the grocery when it opens tomorrow at 7 a.m. for fresh fruit, bread and some lunch stuff.

    I know many visitors to NN.C are much more technologically savvy than me. I’ve been tasked with figuring out how to migrate my two public speaking classes online. So far, I’ve been noodling around with Zoom and Google Hangouts, but other sites would be welcome if you think they’d work.

    If the Stage 4 cancer is reelected, we’re fucked. No ifs, ands or buts. Just fucked.

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  43. Vicki A said on March 16, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    @Jeff Borden, I’m a longtime lurker, worked at the N-S with Nancy back in the day. Your pleas for help setting up remote classes have prompted me to comment. My employer, John Wiley & Sons, is offering free resources to educators in your situation. Check out the news release here ( and then click through to a collection of links, which I hope you’ll find useful. Please spread this info far and wide to anyone who may find it helpful.

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  44. Heather said on March 16, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    I voted early in Chicago today and the election worker helping me was an older lady NOT wearing gloves, and then she got up right next to me showing me the form to fill out. I was appalled. There also was not a ton of hand sanitizer easily available. The voting machines were also right next to each other–not even a foot apart.

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  45. Colleen said on March 16, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Heard from my sister in San Francisco. She and her husband will be confined to their house starting at midnight. This stuff is getting really scary.

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  46. Connie said on March 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Whoa. The city of Holland Michigan has cancelled Tulip Time for the first time since WWII. That’s half a million tourists and a huge chunk of revenue.

    The millions of tulips will still bloom.

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  47. Dorothy said on March 16, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Confined to their house?! What if they need medication from the pharmacy? Do they have a dog that needs to be walked? Can they do that to people??

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  48. David C. said on March 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    All those kids with their klompen callouses and nowhere to klompen dance.

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  49. Sherri said on March 16, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    About the Seattle Times, the still locally owned newspaper at the epicenter:

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  50. ROGirl said on March 17, 2020 at 5:02 am

    My office remains open, but we are supposed to keep ourselves isolated from co-workers: no meetings, communicate by phone or email. Thermometers have been placed around the building, we’re supposed to take our temperature twice a day. Maybe I should bring my own thermometer to work. Someone stayed home on Friday with a fever. Luckily it was a cold, but it could have made the entire office self-quarantine. I’m expecting the governor to announce a self-isolation/lockdown order soon.

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  51. Dorothy said on March 17, 2020 at 5:58 am

    ROGirl I brought a thermometer to my office on Thursday last week. That was also the day that after two hours, I declared I was going home. It was just me and two other secretaries, but we all knew the stress of the situation was getting to us. All three of us left. Our boss asked that one of us come back in for a couple hours in the afternoon just to have someone in the office. Susan volunteered. And then on Friday another lady went in from 10-12, and I worked 12-2. I’m going in today because there are some issues regarding pay that I have to do in person, and I’m not messing around when it comes to someone being paid. Especially these days. But I’ll be out of there in under 3 hours today. No one else will be there so I’m comfortable with the situation.

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  52. Suzanne said on March 17, 2020 at 8:15 am

    Now I know for sure that this crap is real. The big Vera Bradley Outlet sale in Fort Wayne has been called off.

    Also, am I the only one thinking that any bad world player that was considering a biological attack on the USA has been watching the Trump Administration drop the ball on this viral outbreak? And thinking that now would be a good time to get something in the works?

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  53. Deborah said on March 17, 2020 at 10:21 am

    I voted for Joe this morning, and all 8 of his convention delegates that were on my ballot. Last night I tried researching the rest of the people on the ballot for various things but I didn’t have a lot of luck so I did what I usually do when I don’t know anything about the candidates, I vote for the women and if they also have a not-Anglo name so much the better.

    We’ve pretty much decided to rent a car and drive to NM. We had already moved our flight up from next Tuesday to this Saturday but now I’m hoping we leave Chicago on Thursday and get to Santa Fe on Saturday. So today my husband is getting the car squared away and canceling our flight. Chances are they’ll ban domestic flights anyway, it’s just a matter of when and how long.

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  54. Nancy F said on March 17, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Dorothy @ 8:35 pm: I’m in one of the seven Bay Area counties affected by the shelter-in-place order. A total of 6.7 million people are affected. We can go outside for exercise (including dog-walking) and “essential services” like buying groceries or medicines, as long as we maintain social distance.

    Relevant graf:

    “The orders — which are all similarly worded — fall just short of a full lockdown, which would forbid people from leaving their homes without explicit permission. The orders (read San Francisco’s here in its entirety at call for county and city sheriffs and police chiefs to ‘ensure compliance,’ and local authorities said they would not ‘rush to enforce’ the directives as residents adjusted to understand what activities are no longer allowed. Violation of the orders is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or jail time.”

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  55. Deborah said on March 17, 2020 at 10:58 am

    Lots of bored people at home Look at the comments too, there are some hilarious ones.

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  56. Deborah said on March 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

    You have to click on the Twitter post at the top to get the comments

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  57. Heather said on March 17, 2020 at 11:11 am

    It seems clear that asymptomatic people can have the virus and spread it, so while having thermometers is helpful it’s not a test. Idris Elba reported he has the virus and feels fine. If only we had some way to do mass testing, but clearly that’s not going to happen, so instead we all have to stay home.

    I might have mentioned here earlier that I chose to stay home from a small gathering of friends on Sunday night–today one of those friends who still went to the gathering reported she’d been in contact with another friend the previous week who is now showing flu symptoms.

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  58. Dorothy said on March 17, 2020 at 11:31 am

    That was a wise decision to stay home, Heather. It’s why we’re supposed to avoid gatherings – if you have the virus you can transmit it even if you’re not symptomatic yet! Why is that so hard to understand?!

    Nancy F @ 54: Goodness that is very sobering. Thanks for explaining it in case that becomes the next change here in Ohio.

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  59. Deborah said on March 17, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Heather, I keep thinking about our lunch Thursday, wondering who at the booth next to me might have been in the asymptomatic phase and what about our waiter! Having a late lunch was a good idea because there were fewer people there. And then there were my trips to Whole Foods especially on Friday when it was a zoo. These things are all whirling around in my head, especially because my husband is seeing his elderly uncle right now. And of course I’m imagining a tickle in my throat every now and then and is that a headache coming on. I’m such a hypochondriac.

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  60. Jeff Borden said on March 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    I’ll admit to suffering from a low-grade panic that has kept my stomach roiling since last week. Much of this is due to the responsibilities I have to the 46 students in two classes, some of whom need the credit from my class to graduate. But a lot of it is realizing what will be changed and/or gone by the time the virus runs its course, particularly the small restaurants, bars, retailers and service providers who have little cushion for this kind of shutdown. Lots of them will not survive.

    So, what is our fucking government talking about? A $50-billion bailout for the airlines. I’ve heard nothing about ways to support entrepreneurs and small businesses and hourly workers beyond Mitt Romney’s idea of mailing every American adult a check for $1,000. Government by and for the people my fucking ass.

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  61. Julie Robinson said on March 17, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Deborah, do you have a thermometer? I’ve been coughing a fair bit, so yesterday I hunted around, discovered four of them, and was 97.5 on all four. We bought a humidifier for the apartment, but my nose is stuffy and I’m breathing through my mouth at night. So I’ve ordered an additional humidifier for the bedroom, which I hope will help.

    The husband working at home thing isn’t going well, and I can see he’s going to be stir crazy soon. He went to the Y as usual this morning (!) then tried to log in remotely. Whoops, he turned off the office computer so couldn’t access records. He was able to get his office email and worked away at that. At 11 he declared lunch, and now he is off to turn on his computer and have coffee with a friend (!), albeit picking up the coffee via drive through on the way.

    Also, our cozy apartment has the computer in the great room, so I feel like I have to creep around and be super quiet. I’m used to being queen of the castle and playing music or audiobooks all day; now I’ll have to plug in headphones I guess.

    My mom has a podiatrist appointment this afternoon to get her toenails trimmed. She can’t reach them anymore so she goes every three months, and I don’t relish going into the office, with all the elderly diabetics who always seem to be sick. I also don’t relish her being in there, but even though she’s staying home for everything else, she’s adamant. I tried to trim them for her one time and that didn’t go well either.

    There are certainly some challenges!

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  62. Deborah said on March 17, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    I have looked high and low for our thermometer. I know we used to have one but I can’t find it. I don’t feel feverish though, and the last place I want to go is Walgreens right now to buy one. They’ll probably be sold out anyway. Really, I know I’m not sick but every single bodily function is being exaggerated and has me questioning everything.

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  63. Scout said on March 17, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who is freaking out over my low grade throat scratchiness, which is likely seasonal allergies. We have been social distancing for almost two weeks now, however I did attend my great grandson’s birthday party last Thursday, a decision I now question. My 82 and 88 y/o parents went too. Since we have already been around them quite a bit while social distancing from everyone else, we’re having them over tonight for dinner. They are going stir crazy because they haven’t been anywhere since the birthday party and they are used to going to the Y, their sing along group and weekly events at the art museum. Someone on Twitter said this is like 9/11 in slo-mo.

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  64. LAMary said on March 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Julie, I have a cough and a very stuffy nose but my temperature has been between 97.6 and 98.2 every time I checked. I don’t feel sick. I feel like I have a cold or maybe allergies. Since I’m a geezer I can’t really go out anyway, although Trader Joes and at least two other local supermarket chains are reserving the first hour of the morning for seniors to do some shopping without being trampled by the assholes buying all the TP, bottled water and hand sanitizer.

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  65. Julie Robinson said on March 17, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    It’s tree budding season here, which is bad for allergies. It was pollen dusting season in Orlando, and of course they have three darling animals which I’m also allergic to. Plus we think this apartment had pets even though the landlord says not. Every time we vacuum it’s full of hair that doesn’t belong to either of us. We bought a better furnace filter, and that’s helped some, but we had one of those micron whole house filters at our old house. I’m allergic to almost everything, animals and dust at the top of the list.

    I’m staying in the car instead of going in to the podiatrist’s office. Got a show downloaded on my tablet, and I’ll burn gas to stay warm if necessary.

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  66. Julie Robinson said on March 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Okay, one more thing before I have to go. Our son just called from the poll place in Orlando, and they have taken a lot of precautions. People are waiting on chairs that have been placed six feet apart and when they come in they have to use hand sanitizer. The tablet for check in is cleaned after each voter, as is the voting machine. They did end up having a full slate of poll workers after all. It will be interesting to see turnout numbers.

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  67. basset said on March 17, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Dollar General here is reserving the first hour for seniors as well. Just left the west Nashville Costco, line at the door and one in, one out just like it was a packed club or something.

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  68. Julie Robinson said on March 17, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    The podiatrist is having everyone wait in their cars and calling when they have a room. Mom even suggested I stay out. Usually she wants me at her appointments as an extra pair of ears.

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  69. alex said on March 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    I just left work because I’ve been feeling lightheaded all morning and now I’m feeling a headache coming on, sinus pressure type. So I’m going to take a nap this afternoon and hope it’s nothing serious.

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  70. JodiP said on March 17, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Deborah, thanks so much for that Twitter feed. I was guffawing. I cut myself off after a few minutes because I have work.

    Question for the group: we have an interior painting job scheduled to begin on 3/30/2020. I had thought we were OK, but learned today about COVID-19 staying on surfaces. (Thanks to whoever posted the bullet-point version of info–super helpful!) It’s likely a 3 day job and includes our bedroom. We do have other bedrooms and could totally avoid the floor the work is being done on. I would isolate myself in my home office while the workers are here. We could then clean everything once the job is done. What say you?

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  71. Sherri said on March 17, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    How to look better on Zoom!

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  72. Little Bird said on March 17, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    I personally know the store owners and one of their employees. And that employees girlfriend and her daughter. I’m honestly worried for all of them.

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  73. Jeff Borden said on March 17, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you, Vicki A!

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  74. susan said on March 17, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Deborah @55 – I especially like the treadmill idea!

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  75. David C. said on March 17, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    It sounds like you would be taking enough precautions to have the job done safely, JodiP. I expect we’ll be completely locked down by the 30th though.

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  76. Deborah said on March 17, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    That treadmill idea was genius.

    LB has dogsat (is that a word?) for the music store owner of that place Idris Elba went last week in Santa Fe, LB got that gig through her friend who has the boyfriend who works there. Her friend has a daughter who is going to college in Ohio who probably will be going home soon if she isn’t there already. The dog sitting happened last year so LB isn’t worried about herself in this situation but the degree of separation is kind of amazing when you think about it.

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  77. Scout said on March 17, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Biden is up by 38% in FL. I’m surprised by how well Bloomberg is doing considering how long ago he dropped out.

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  78. lisa said on March 17, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    I work third shift so I hear the news long after everyone else. I woke up last night ready to go to the Voting polls this morning here in Ohio. One minute they said things would stay the same and the next minute DeWine said polls were closed.

    Total shit show.

    I work in retail and in the 25 years I’ve been at my job I’ve never encountered more absolute assholes and selfish people as I have since this pandemic started. I’ve been cussed out, threatened over paper goods, and called just about every name in the book. They need to hand out shirts that say, “no, it’s not in the back.”

    I’m really sorry about what all has gone on with your daughter’s tour. How awful. They are good at it so when all this blows over, I hope they can get back out there.

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  79. Vicki A said on March 17, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    You’re welcome, Jeff Borden! I’d love to know how the setup works for you after you’ve used it for a few weeks. Remind me where you teach?

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