15 votes

Daily coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - March 17

This thread is posted daily, and is intended as a place for more-casual discussion of the coronavirus and questions/updates that may not warrant their own dedicated topics. Tell us about what the situation is like where you live!

36 comments

  1. [11]
    zig
    Link
    It's eerie, to say the least. I live in a relatively congested suburb of a large (US) city. Everything is closed aside from delis, grocers, pharmacies and other essential places (e.g. hospitals)....

    It's eerie, to say the least. I live in a relatively congested suburb of a large (US) city. Everything is closed aside from delis, grocers, pharmacies and other essential places (e.g. hospitals). Here are a few observations.

    My typical commute of about 3 kilometers is 25 minutes by car. This morning, I left to get fuel and there was practically no one else on the roads! Perhaps 10% of normal volume.

    I stopped by a small deli yesterday: cash only and a max of 10 people in the store. The line was long, to say the least. I also stopped by a store to by some wine and the line was wrapped around the inside of the store.

    Yesterday, I spent some time walking around the neighborhood. No one has school, so all of the kids are playing outside, parents are outside. Everyone is chatting from a distance. It's more of a community than I've seen before.

    My biggest non-viral concern is local businesses. I'm very worried that people will lose their livelihoods.

    13 votes
    1. [9]
      Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      Agreed, I think this will crush the service industry and most retail. Beyond giving people tons of money, I'm not sure what can really be done.

      Agreed, I think this will crush the service industry and most retail. Beyond giving people tons of money, I'm not sure what can really be done.

      8 votes
      1. [8]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        For now, people are gathering in informal mutual aid societies to handle emergencies and hoping for a more robust response from the government. I'm with you on the benefit of direct cash...

        For now, people are gathering in informal mutual aid societies to handle emergencies and hoping for a more robust response from the government. I'm with you on the benefit of direct cash transfers, though.

        In the USA, the Small Business Administration is offering businesses low interest long term loans (up to $50k, 2.7-3.25%, up to 30 year term) to try to support immediate cash needs. Going into debt is better than going out of business, but offering loans as opposed to cash is exactly the sort of long term trap that keeps people pacified.

        On the other hand, in the absence of a proper full governmental response I'm glad that something is being done.

        6 votes
        1. [7]
          Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          On the press briefing yesterday, Trump admitted this is going to last into at least July or August. There are other reports out there that think we will be keeping up social distancing practices...

          On the press briefing yesterday, Trump admitted this is going to last into at least July or August. There are other reports out there that think we will be keeping up social distancing practices for 12-18 months. Many businesses are going to fail simply because people aren't going to be going out and spending on items that aren't necessities; it isn't going to matter how many loans they can take out.

          8 votes
          1. [5]
            teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            If so I'm moving out of the SF bay area and working remote (presumably by car). Somewhere that's sparsely populated but still has internet.

            that think we will be keeping up social distancing practices for 12-18 months

            If so I'm moving out of the SF bay area and working remote (presumably by car). Somewhere that's sparsely populated but still has internet.

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              Autoxidation
              Link Parent
              Do I have some bad news for you: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-plan.html
              1 vote
              1. [3]
                teaearlgraycold
                Link Parent
                Just referring to the duration of the pandemic? In general I consider myself very lucky. My job is not at risk and I have plenty of savings. If I'm to work remotely for 18 months I'll save a lot...

                bad news

                Just referring to the duration of the pandemic? In general I consider myself very lucky. My job is not at risk and I have plenty of savings. If I'm to work remotely for 18 months I'll save a lot of money.

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  Autoxidation
                  Link Parent
                  Glad you're in a decent position to ride this out!

                  Glad you're in a decent position to ride this out!

                  4 votes
                  1. teaearlgraycold
                    Link Parent
                    Thanks. I already feel some survivor guilt but can hopefully assuage that with some generosity.

                    Thanks. I already feel some survivor guilt but can hopefully assuage that with some generosity.

                    2 votes
    2. Parliament
      Link Parent
      Cash only is a bizarre decision. The last time I went to a retail store (Friday), they were card-only so that employees didn't have to handle cash.

      I stopped by a small deli yesterday: cash only and a max of 10 people in the store.

      Cash only is a bizarre decision. The last time I went to a retail store (Friday), they were card-only so that employees didn't have to handle cash.

      7 votes
  2. [2]
    reese
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't mean to politicize everything I'm not a fan of accelerationism I do not wish ill health upon anyone I want markets to function swimmingly but if there's anything that's accelerated...
    1. I don't mean to politicize everything
    2. I'm not a fan of accelerationism
    3. I do not wish ill health upon anyone
    4. I want markets to function swimmingly

    but if there's anything that's accelerated collective mindfulness of our consumption, notably the leisurely and conspicuous kind, it's this pandemic. The environment has never been given a bigger break in modern times. In the US, most people live in excess and they should be ashamed for it. I acknowledge that there are struggling poor and sick Americans with crushing debt, but let's be real, business-as-usual has not stopped anyone from falling into bad habits that ultimately keep them in place and pacified. We have too much junk, like bobbleheads and life-sized stickers of people we don't know for fuck's sake. Multiple times a week, we eat fast food that remains to be the same consistency before and after it's digested. We don't appreciate what we have or anyone around us.

    We drink blue, liquefied sugar out of single-use plastic bottles, swerving our 5MPG SUVs, adorning Star Wars and MAGA bumper stickers, across three lanes of traffic without using a turn signal so we don't miss the exit. Those people around us? Fuck 'em. Then we refresh the Facebook app to look at poop emoji, almost running over a gaggle of pedestrians while a cop ignores it since he's doing the same goddamn thing.

    There are countless suburbanites who have so much shit that they can't even park one of their five cars in the garage. On my street, there's all these cars inconsiderately parked directly across from each other so navigating said street requires a professional driving certification from the Stig of Top Gear. Many of my neighbors do well, and were planning on retiring soon. And they're wondering what the government will do to help them, instead of having planned and saved all that wealth they must have. After all, it couldn't just be a facade of unpaid debt, right?

    I know I'm ranting, but I am hopeful. Most of us, we don't replace or fix anything until it's well past broken, and, now, here we are. Time to consider, experiment with, and execute new modes of being and interaction. And we're well beyond the point of no return, glue and duct tape won't do it anymore. The silver lining, I guess, is that now the most relevant subject matter is helping other people. Unless governments don't, and/or use this situation to legitimize authoritarianism.

    13 votes
    1. asoftbird
      Link Parent
      I'd like to pitch in and say I don't think I've ever been as happy for getting household items, like how today my friend got me a 12-pack of toilet paper, after me not being able to get any after...

      We don't appreciate what we have or anyone around us.

      I'd like to pitch in and say I don't think I've ever been as happy for getting household items, like how today my friend got me a 12-pack of toilet paper, after me not being able to get any after a week of daily shopping.

      4 votes
  3. [2]
    kfwyre
    Link
    I'm near a hot spot with confirmed cases. My husband and I prepped early, so we didn't feel the panic that others did in the recent frenzy to stock up on supplies. If anything, we experienced a...

    I'm near a hot spot with confirmed cases. My husband and I prepped early, so we didn't feel the panic that others did in the recent frenzy to stock up on supplies. If anything, we experienced a kind of opposite panic -- one that came about as we continued to see people not taking things seriously and continuing with business as usual. We've now reached a point where even the most skeptical are actually seeing the value in hunkering down and limiting exposure, but it remains to be seen if they hopped on board at just the right time, or too late.

    Multiple people texted me independently yesterday, saying that their government/military contacts were talking about an imminent national shutdown for the US. It's hard to know what to think, as the fact that I received the same news from multiple unaffiliated contacts, each of whom is individually trustworthy, makes it seem real, but our National Security Council has said that it's fake. On the other hand, our government hasn't exactly been the most forthcoming or truthful about this whole process (c.f. Trump calling criticism of his response to it a "new hoax").

    At this point I think trying to predict the response of government or leadership is moot anyway, as their decisions are changing and developing daily. What's most important is that people distance themselves and stop going unnecessary places. It's unfortunate that this message took so long to be taken seriously. Despite warnings and time to prepare, this caught a lot of people with their pants down. My district, as of Wednesday last week, didn't even anticipate closing. In the words of an administrator, "we don't believe this will impact us." By Friday we were fully shut down. It's now Tuesday, and they still don't have a plan in place. It's hard not to feel angry at this, especially because I started directly teaching my students about social distancing, proper handwashing, and preparing for this last Monday. By not being prepared ourselves, we failed to educate our students and their families about their role in this epidemic, and by not being prepared we also didn't lay groundwork for them to continue their educations at home. Our horses have left the barn now, and they are not going to be coming back soon. We have failed in our responsibility to them.

    11 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I stopped by my regular cafe to let the owner know about what he could do for himself and his employees during the shutdown and he hadn't heard anything about the coronavirus until the...

      Yeah, I stopped by my regular cafe to let the owner know about what he could do for himself and his employees during the shutdown and he hadn't heard anything about the coronavirus until the county was shutting restaurants. The depths of ignorance are shocking sometimes. In his case he isn't even a bad guy or a skeptic, he was just wrapped up in the day-to-day of his business. It still meant an awful shock when his business is closed one day with "no" warning.

      7 votes
  4. gpl
    (edited )
    Link
    Watching these press conferences with Trump feel weird. On one hand, the US government response has been horrible. On the other, this is the most "normal" Trump has felt in the past 4 years. He...

    Watching these press conferences with Trump feel weird. On one hand, the US government response has been horrible. On the other, this is the most "normal" Trump has felt in the past 4 years. He very rarely veers into divisive comments, praises working with Democrats, says he's not focused on the economy, etc.

    Still doesn't like the press though.

    7 votes
  5. [5]
    Adys
    Link
    I'm going to get a haircut in an hour. I feel pretty lucky to be able to do that right now, it probably won't be possible in two days.

    I'm going to get a haircut in an hour. I feel pretty lucky to be able to do that right now, it probably won't be possible in two days.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      vivaria
      Link Parent
      I had a similar dilemma (do I rush to get a cut now?), but I think instead I'm going to use this as an opportunity to try to grow my hair out. Without the need to really be Presentable for the...

      I had a similar dilemma (do I rush to get a cut now?), but I think instead I'm going to use this as an opportunity to try to grow my hair out. Without the need to really be Presentable for the foreseeable future (WFH, video/voice calling), I think I should be able to get through the awkward intermediate stage with little friction. But, maybe that's a bit naive, heh.

      4 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        I actually ended up asking for a much shorter cut than usual, with a similar reasoning. Truthfully I love this hair salon and especially my barber, and wanted to support them before they have to...

        I actually ended up asking for a much shorter cut than usual, with a similar reasoning. Truthfully I love this hair salon and especially my barber, and wanted to support them before they have to shut down.

        I ended up being the last client of the day. They had a busy day considering, but they closed early and they're not opening tomorrow, so I was likely their last client until things go back to normal. Feels weird.

        4 votes
    2. Icarus
      Link Parent
      My haircut was scheduled for today but then shelter in place closed that down. So now I am growing all my hair out.

      My haircut was scheduled for today but then shelter in place closed that down.

      So now I am growing all my hair out.

      2 votes
    3. cwagner
      Link Parent
      For some reason the German shutdown exempted hairdressers in the list of essential businesses. I have no idea why.

      For some reason the German shutdown exempted hairdressers in the list of essential businesses. I have no idea why.

      1 vote
  6. JoylessAubergine
    Link
    House feels "prepped" now. We've got enough food and toiletries if everyone gets it at once or the shop situation gets worse to last us a few weeks. I made sure that we have enough easy to...

    House feels "prepped" now. We've got enough food and toiletries if everyone gets it at once or the shop situation gets worse to last us a few weeks. I made sure that we have enough easy to cook/heat food is available so if one person has to help the other 5 it should be doable.

    I'm dreading when someone gets it, or the symptoms, because it is a 2 week quarantine for everyone in the house. For us that is 5.5 adults. It's going to really strain relationships that are already a bit tense.

    There is also the situation/probability with grandparents that i'm literally avoiding thinking about.

    5 votes
  7. acdw
    Link
    My work (library) just closed to the public, but we're still supposed to come into work. For the time being. It's weirdly quiet.

    My work (library) just closed to the public, but we're still supposed to come into work. For the time being. It's weirdly quiet.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov
    (edited )
    Link
    I've realised that what the experts are recommending is not "social distancing", it's "anti-social distancing". :) More seriously, I've realised there's finally a benefit to liking unpopular food...

    I've realised that what the experts are recommending is not "social distancing", it's "anti-social distancing". :)

    More seriously, I've realised there's finally a benefit to liking unpopular food items. Usually, this means the product lines I like get discontinued and I can't buy them any more. Now, it means that noone else is buying them so they're still on the shelves.

    EDIT: Damned formatting!

    5 votes
    1. ali
      Link Parent
      what kind of foods do you mean? In a lot of stores here the normal pasta is sold out. I still have some, but I wanted to buy an extra pack, so I don't have to worry later, but the only ones left...

      what kind of foods do you mean?
      In a lot of stores here the normal pasta is sold out. I still have some, but I wanted to buy an extra pack, so I don't have to worry later, but the only ones left were some kind of super expensive chickpea/lentil pastas

      1 vote
  9. [3]
    latkins
    Link
    I've been working on a tool with my girlfriend to try and get an idea of how bad things might get for us (we are in the UK). I don't have complete info on the lockdowns / when they happened, but...

    I've been working on a tool with my girlfriend to try and get an idea of how bad things might get for us (we are in the UK). I don't have complete info on the lockdowns / when they happened, but the idea was to look at the lag between them being initiated, and the number of cases dropping. It does not look good. Hubei appears to have a lag of ~3 weeks before the current cases started decreasing, and they initiated their measures much earlier than we have. I can't imagine how bad it is going to get for those working in our hospitals.

    5 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Doom and gloom aside, your tool is looking much slicker than when I saw it yesterday. Keep up the good work!

      Doom and gloom aside, your tool is looking much slicker than when I saw it yesterday. Keep up the good work!

      4 votes
    2. Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      Nice tool! I wish I could view the US as a whole though instead of certain states.

      Nice tool! I wish I could view the US as a whole though instead of certain states.

      3 votes
  10. skybrian
    Link
    SFDPH on Twitter:

    SFDPH on Twitter:

    Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations.

    5 votes
  11. zara
    Link
    I cancelled my flight to Seattle today. I was going next week to visit an old friend and get away from everything for a while, but things have obviously changed recently in the US, so I thought...

    I cancelled my flight to Seattle today. I was going next week to visit an old friend and get away from everything for a while, but things have obviously changed recently in the US, so I thought it'd be best if I just stay put.

    I work in retail though, so I'm still expected to go in, exposing myself to hundreds of people. :/

    4 votes
  12. moocow1452
    Link
    So turns out my work had a plan all along, just wasn't willing to commit to it until they knew it could be done and everyone being all kinds of pissed forced their hands. We're taking towers home...

    So turns out my work had a plan all along, just wasn't willing to commit to it until they knew it could be done and everyone being all kinds of pissed forced their hands. We're taking towers home tomorrow, and bunkering down for at least the next couple weeks. Hopefully none of us already caught it since we're in relatively close proximity, but working from home is better than not.

    4 votes
  13. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    I read this article today and found nothing alarming or surprising. I guess I'm well-calibrated now? Hello from Italy. Your future is grimmer than you think

    I read this article today and found nothing alarming or surprising. I guess I'm well-calibrated now?

    Hello from Italy. Your future is grimmer than you think

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      It's a fairly well-balanced piece, but I see what you mean—who would've ever expected 2 months ago that significant portions of the western world would end up confined to their homes by government...

      It's a fairly well-balanced piece, but I see what you mean—who would've ever expected 2 months ago that significant portions of the western world would end up confined to their homes by government orders.

      4 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Maybe a better way to put it is that it's surreal but it makes logical sense to me. I feel like I get it. But maybe there will more surprises tomorrow.

        Maybe a better way to put it is that it's surreal but it makes logical sense to me. I feel like I get it. But maybe there will more surprises tomorrow.

        1 vote
  14. bleem
    Link
    My upcoming therapy session is going to be conducted over the phone. Going to be awkward to say the least.

    My upcoming therapy session is going to be conducted over the phone. Going to be awkward to say the least.

    2 votes