Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Coronavirus Check-in: How Are You Feeling?

I’ll admit: I’ve been obsessively reading Coronavirus news for two weeks, trying to weigh how founded my fears were against what some might argue is media hype. Two weeks ago I emailed my parents and aunt, who are in their late 60s and 70s and have some health issues that put them in a high-risk category for the virus (experts agree that the overall mortality rate for those who get infected is probably close to 1%, but in people over 60 it’s closer to 8%, and for those over 80, it’s 15%). I urged them to take some precautions and listen closely to recommendations from the CDC. I told them this was going to get very serious very fast. Then I wondered if maybe I was unnecessarily making them anxious, if maybe this wasn’t going to be the big deal that certainly seemed likely. I read more news articles. I discussed plans with Drew, including whether we should cancel our spring break trip next month and how we might navigate school closure. I posted a Corona-related letter last week and then an update a few days later that has garnered a lot of discussion. Yesterday the WHO declared a global pandemic, Trump imposed a travel ban, and here in the US we are still waiting for adequate testing. It’s a lot!

So I wanted to check in: How are you all of you doing? What, if anything, has changed in your lives, what are you doing differently, what are you feeling anxious about (if anything), and how are you keeping sane and calm?

For our part, I’m continuing to stay informed but know I need to make a better effort to turn off the news and seek some forms of escape. I’m still doing normal things – tonight I’m taking a friend out for a belated birthday dinner, I’m going to pilates class, I’m getting a hair cut. But I’m also making some changes and doing some things I wouldn’t ordinarily do. I mailed my parents and aunt some hand sanitizer yesterday after they said it was sold out everywhere where they live and they couldn’t find any online either. I’ve stopped going to the pilates studio that’s always very crowded with 15-20 students in a tiny room and am only going to the studio that caps at five students (in a bigger space), and I’m doing more workouts at home.

And the biggest change: Starting tomorrow we’re going to begin keeping the kids home from school in an effort to help “flatten the curve.” I informed Joanie’s teacher this morning and she said, “But kids are safe. They won’t get sick.” And I told her it wasn’t them I was most worried about. I worry about her. I worry about the older grown-ups in the other students’ lives who will be vulnerable to the germs the kids are exposed to at school and, in turn, expose them to. I worry about our hospitals not having the space for everyone who will potentially get sick at the same time if we don’t make some effort to stagger the pace of cases. So, because I have a flexible schedule and can stay home with my kids more easily than a lot of other parents, I am doing what I think is most civically responsible. I imagine schools here will likely close by the end of next week anyway, so we’re just getting a little head start.

As I said, I’ve been obsessively following the news, and I have some links to articles I thought were most helpful in understanding what’s going on and the potential impact if you’re interested in reading:

COVID-19: Not Just A Bad Flu

The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors

Why ‘flattening the curve’ may be the world’s best bet to slow the coronavirus

Worried about coronavirus? If your loved one is over 60, read this

What’s the risk of COVID-19 for a healthy young person?

On the plus side, there are signs when crucial steps are taken, the curve flattens: the last two of 16 temporary hospitals in the epicenter city of Wuhan (which has been on lockdown for fifty days) have been shut down.

I plan to continue posting columns as I normally would and will try to keep this space a place you can come to for a little escape from the news, but I also want to give space for those who want to discuss what’s going on, how you’re feeling, and how you’re coping. Expect more check-in posts like this one in coming weeks (and maybe a forum thread too?). I’m thinking of all of you and the myriad ways our lives are about to change, at least temporarily. Let’s try more than ever to be kind and patient with each other (I’m going to work on this one!) and to do what we can to help lift burdens when we’re able to. Check on your older family members, neighbors, and friends! They’re probably feeling extra anxious. Stay safe, be smart, keep calm.

156 comments… add one
  • veritek33 March 12, 2020, 9:38 am

    Honestly I wasn’t terribly concerned until yesterday. I too have parents in their 60s and grandparents in their 80s – all of whom plan to be at my wedding next Friday. Selfishly I do not want to cancel my wedding, and have no plans to do so yet, but dear god if you’ve come into contact with the virus do not breath on my parents or my grandparents! We have guest traveling from 4 states, some via plane and some via car. I’m afraid Trump is going to limit domestic travel too.

    What should be a happy time is now super stressful and anxious. Like Wendy said I’m not worried about me, but I’m worried about people who may come into contact with my older relatives and my fiancée’s grandpa who is traveling from out of state AND over 80 years old. My workplace has also gone into ultra caution mode, which is great because we see hundreds of people a day walking through our doors and we are literally right down the street from a University.

    So yeah, right now I’m selfishly hoping this all calms down for my wedding but knowing it probably wont. And I don’t want my grandma to get sick. Or my immunocompromised diabetic dad.

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    • Dear Wendy March 12, 2020, 9:46 am

      I really feel bad for you and others who have celebratory things they’re looking forward to and will now have a cloud over. We also fall in that category, although not for anything as big as a wedding. Drew’s 50th birthday is a few weeks away and I’ve been making plans to celebrate that I will probably cancel and we’ll probably cancel our spring break trip which was to be our first international vacation in eight years.

      I know you want everything to calm down for your wedding, but I think you need to start planning on that not happening and to think very carefully about whether it’s worth the risk to your older family members to potentially expose them to a virus that could be very harmful to them. I know there aren’t many confirmed cases in Missouri yet, but without adequate tests, we have no way to know what the actual number of cases is. Things will hopefully be clearer in the next few days, and hopefully you will feel comfortable with whatever decisions are made regarding your wedding.

      By the way, my 70-something dad is also diabetic – the highest risk category – and I’m worried sick.

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      • Liz March 12, 2020, 9:53 am

        In a similar boat here- I was taking my first vacation for my honeymoon in over a year (didn’t even take time off for my wedding back in November) and this was the only time due to my job that I could go…and now everything has been cancelled, and we aren’t getting a lot of the money back. I work in politics, so we already have a ban on any travel/time off more than like, a day or two starting memorial day, so realistically…I won’t be able to go again until at least November, if ever (depends on what $$ we can recoup, and how the inevitable recession plays out!). I also had surgery scheduled to deal with chronic pain I’ve been experiencing for months now that makes it hard to sleep/move etc…which has also just been postponed indefinitely. Feeling pretty down about things, but trying to be as proactive as possible to make sure I am doing what I can to make this impact things as little as possible.

      • Dear Wendy March 12, 2020, 10:00 am

        All shitty things – I’m sorry.

      • veritek33 March 12, 2020, 10:00 am

        I mentioned to my aunt, who lives with my grandparents that maybe it might now be worth the risk for my grandparents to travel and she said nothing is stopping my grandma from coming to her only granddaughters wedding. Which, super sweet, but she does dialysis three days a week and I don’t want her to die just to come to my wedding. But she’s also 85 years old and capable of her own decision but shit.

        Also we only expect 45 people so it’s not a HUGE gathering, but it’s still a semi large group of people, some of which coming from STL where there is 1 positive case of Covid19.

        I hope you don’t’ have to cancel Drew’s party and I hope you can take your trip later in the year. I’ll think good thoughts for your dad and mine.

    • Anonyme March 13, 2020, 12:32 pm

      Same situation and wedding date. Similar grandparent and parent health concerns. Different country. I just told a good friend who is travelling in the states they probably shouldn’t attend as the recommendation is for people travelling to the US to self-isolate on return. 🙁

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    • Ale March 16, 2020, 12:25 pm

      I’m sorry, but you should cancel. Your grandma shouldn’t have to travel. Things WONT calm down before friday, things can only go worse now. Please don’t make your older relatives travel.

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      • veritek33 March 16, 2020, 1:12 pm

        I’m not making anyone do anything. My grandparents have already made the decision not to come. His grandfather is not coming. I’m allowed to be sad about something I’ve waited MY ENTIRE LIFE for possibly not happening. I’m allowed to think it over very carefully after 8 months of planning and thousands of dollars potentially down the drain. I’m not taking this lightly. My father is high risk – he is at the forefront of my mind. Our state is banning events over 50 people. We have 40 planned to attend if we go on. If we have to cancel, so be it. But making me feel bad about this isn’t going to help anything either. I resent the implication that I would put the health of anyone after my wedding, but I’m allowed to grieve this.

      • Dear Wendy March 16, 2020, 3:36 pm

        It completely sucks, but the newest guidelines, just out an hour ago, are to limit gatherings of more than 10 people for the nest 15 days. 🙁

      • veritek33 March 16, 2020, 4:04 pm

        Wendy we saw that. Have a group phone call tonight with both sets of parents to figure out what to do.

    • Anonymous March 16, 2020, 1:24 pm

      I’m not trying to make you feel bad. And you’re OBVIOUSLY allowed to grieve about this (nowhere did I said you werent’t or whatever). I feel bad about this too, one of my friends is getting married on saturday and asked me what to do and I said you have to cancel, and he is a close friend, my advise was get married with only a lawyer but cancel the celebration.
      But YOU need to cancel your wedding so other people don’t travel. If they know it’s happening and because they love you and want to be there for you, they might travel. And they shouldn’t be.
      I’m sorry if my comment made you feel bad or selfish, you’re not. This is an extraordinary crisis that is affecting the entire world and we all need to take measures. It is completely sad and terrifying and everything.

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  • Miss MJ March 12, 2020, 9:49 am

    I’m getting pretty concerned, as well. I’m definitely worried about people panicking once they realize this isn’t just a “Democrat-fueled hoax” and see people starting to get critically sick and be unable to get treatment. Of course, it’d be nice if we could actually test for it to know whose got it and where it’s spreading, but that would require a functioning executive branch and, well, we all know how that’s going, so. I think the next few weeks are going to be a real shit show.

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    • bondgirl March 12, 2020, 10:11 am

      For real. You know it’s hitting the fan when even freaking Tucker Carlson is calling out Trump n his colleagues for politicizing this…..

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    • Bethany March 12, 2020, 12:29 pm

      At this point, I wish it was a “Democrat-fueled hoax.”

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  • ktfran March 12, 2020, 9:57 am

    I’m in Chicago. We don’t have nearly as many cases as NY or as out west, however, it’s changing rapidly with cases increasing daily. I take public transportation and coming into work this morning was eerie. Every day, there are less and less people on the bus. I enter our office through the underground pedway and it was nearly empty this morning. On a normal day, I’m dodging people as I pick up my iced coffee and head in. As a dept. manager in our office, I’m now on daily morning calls about virus updates. I suspect we’ll institute a work from home policy by early next week. Our network will have a hard time handling everyone working from home.

    As far as panic, I’m not really doing that. Going with the flow. I haven’t been hoarding toilet paper or groceries. Hand sanitizer at our local shops are sold out. Has been for a couple weeks. I wash my hands a lot more that I used to, and I washed them a lot. I do believe that limiting large gatherings will help. I’ll civically do my part as best to my ability.

    I’m headed home this weekend for my niece’s birthday. In two weeks, my sister (who also lives here) is having her baby. She has a scheduled C-section due to complications with her first pregnancy and a 10 lb baby. My mom is coming up and she and my nephew are staying with me while the sister and BIL are in the hospital for that. I guess that’s my biggest worry. Hoping they have a safe pregnancy.

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    • ktfran March 12, 2020, 10:19 am

      Oh, our office has hand sanitizer out in conference rooms, etc. and assholes who work here have been stealing it. People are awful.

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      • Kate March 12, 2020, 10:28 am

        I was going to go in today for afternoon meetings, but my boss texted that it’s really spooky in there (this is a big global company), and she’s leaving. Yesterday at 2pm it felt empty. From now on we’ll wfh, but not sure how well the system will hold up for teleconferencing. We have those big Purell dispensers you put your hand under, but yeah, I feel like people maybe stole bottles out of conference rooms.

        My husband found two full bottles at home we didn’t know we had, so I put a half bottle out on the table in our front hall to hopefully help protect the older people in this building, of whom there are a lot. They all bought in 1996 when it went co-op.

    • Copa March 12, 2020, 10:20 am

      I also find public transit during rush hour in Chicago eerie at the moment. A woman seated behind me on the bus this morning was having a coughing fit.

      Last night when I was walking my dog, I saw a man (some kind of employee) working on a Divvy meter. Saw him sneeze into his hands (twice!) then keep touching the meter people would use to get their bikes. Gross!

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    • MaterialsGirl March 12, 2020, 4:55 pm

      Several people at work mentioned the eeriness of the trains. However, the red line running south (and buses) are all jam-packed per usual (or even more so). I think it’s an interesting commentary on the segregation of the city.

      Work is prepping for cancellation or at least very limited staff production. Pretty difficult to do at a steel mill. However, the good thing is most of the work can be done with appropriate distancing between other people. We are not worried about ourselves, more so some of our elderly employees

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  • Kate March 12, 2020, 10:01 am

    I’m frankly very concerned about the economic impact of all of this, as well as older people whose health could be affected (my parents are 70. I get groceries for a guy upstairs who’s 85 and had back surgery. I visit a nursing home every Sunday, and I’m not sure people understand how important visitors are to people confined in these facilities.

    Also, I’m a freaking market research contractor for an investment company. We are pausing market research studies. While my “job” might be safer actually than FT employees’ jobs due to a hiring freeze and maybe even layoffs, that’s less hours i can bill. I’ve been billing 36-40 hrs, but who knows.

    And there are a lot of hourly people way worse off than I am.

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    • Dear Wendy March 12, 2020, 10:10 am

      I think the economic impact will be staggering, both nationally as well as globally. I’m very concerned and wish we had some competent leadership to guide us through and help relieve some of this anxiety.

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      • Dear Wendy March 12, 2020, 10:12 am

        I’m also worried about the impact of social isolation on a variety of demographics, especially people in nursing homes.

    • ktfran March 12, 2020, 10:16 am

      I totally agree with this. I’m concerned with people in the service industry and small business owners and those asked to take unpaid leave and anyone who doesn’t have good healthcare or time off policies. Many will not economically recover from this.

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    • quark March 13, 2020, 9:44 am

      Prior to this, we had about 30% chance of recession in the next year. This surely tipped us into a recession by the end of 2020. We will be dealing with impacts for years to come.

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  • Copa March 12, 2020, 10:15 am

    I’m worried, but not panicked. Like others, I do worry about my parents who are in their 60s — my dad is diabetic — and my grandma — who is 97 and in a nursing home. I haven’t heard yet if my grandma’s facility will be limiting or outright denying visitors. I obviously don’t want anyone spreading the virus anywhere near her, but the idea of her being without visitors for weeks if not longer also really upsets me (her memory has been on the decline and I feel it’ll really deteriorate if she’s too isolated).

    Right now I still see a lot of people thinking/acting in extremes. There are people who are dismissing this as a media narrative or political scheme, and I wish they’d take it more seriously. There are people acting out of fear and panic, which I don’t think is helpful either. I wish people would just stay informed (listen to the people who understand and believe in science!) and take the precautions they can, especially those we’re being told/asked to take to help stop the spread. (That man/family in Missouri that broke quarantine to go to a his daughter’s school function infuriated me!)

    At work, we’ve canceled meetings and events. We haven’t adopted any kind of WFH policy (yet?), but I see fewer and fewer people on public transit during rush hour.

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    • Liz March 12, 2020, 10:23 am

      Yea the WFH stuff is kinda worrying me…our office doesn’t have any real policy, but we work in close connection with the House/Senate offices (I live in DC) and most offices in the Senate have closed since a staffer tested positive. I am especially worried because my job specific involves cutting/depositing checks with a check printer and scanner…and there is NO plan in place for how that will happen at home. And not like I can decline to just pay our company’s bills! So we will see ! Thankfully I walk to work, so at least that provides little risk.

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  • Kalindria March 12, 2020, 10:33 am

    I have stage 4 cancer and am over 60 years old. I have been in chemo for 6.5 years. I had my last chemo infusion last Thursday and checked in with my oncologist on the sanity of continuing my plans to journey to California by train (private roomette, but still) and attend my granddaughter’s play. She said ‘Go. Have fun. You’re blood counts are good are right now, you’re not immunocompromised.”

    So here I am and I have something… a horrid head cold, chemo side effects (I had a bout of identical symptoms in August that last 6 weeks but were identified as chemo-related), or COVID-19, I don’t know. At least I don’t have a fever so far. I just know I feel miserable. I was supposed to stay until Next week but am going to see about changing my plane ticket to tomorrow if I can.

    I traveled with my daughter on the train and she’s already a germophobe. She sprayed and wiped and sanitizer everything so we were being as responsible as possible.

    I just want to be home in my own bed.

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    • Kalindria March 12, 2020, 10:37 am

      I should add that I live in Snohomish County where patient #1 lives and get my chemo at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in King County. Yup, ground zero.

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      • Kalindria March 12, 2020, 12:31 pm

        My partner works at Microsoft and has been working from home last week and this. Initially, they were told to stay home until March 15 and now it’s until.

        Got my plane ticket changed but the lines are jammed and I waited 90 minutes on hold. I’m officially not a fan of pandemics unless they’re confined to dystopian novels.

    • Ange March 12, 2020, 5:34 pm

      Is being on a plane the best idea if you’re potentially sick with it?

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  • Skyblossom March 12, 2020, 10:41 am

    Our daughter is supposed to come home this weekend. Last night we thought she wouldn’t make it and then saw that the UK was exempt. I think that the UK is doing a far better job of testing than we are and so they are still in the containment phase. I think her risk of getting sick would be much lower if she stayed there for Easter break but she doesn’t want to spend a month alone while all of her flatmates are gone.

    My husband and son have both been told to take their laptops home every evening just in case they go to work from home overnight. My son can do far more from home than my husband can. My husband manages labs and no one will be able to do lab work from home. People can write reports from home but they will only have so many reports they can write if they aren’t working in the labs. My son does IT so he can remote into laptops from home. His department is putting all of payroll onto laptops so that his company can continue to pay people even if all employees are at home. My son’s company does hospital sterilization. Not the buildings themselves but all of the things used in a hospital that are sterilized and reused. I think they will need to be up and running through all of this.

    I’ve asked at work what plans we have to deal with the virus and apparently we have none. It’s pathetic. We have a large number of elderly patrons. We’ve been asked to wash out hands more and we are providing hand sanitizer and tissues for everyone to use while they are in our building.

    One of my coworkers came in to work on Monday with a respiratory infection. She was sent home. I found out yesterday that she also worked over the weekend with the infection. I doubt she has been tested for the virus since there is such a huge shortage of test kits. Her lack of concern for the general public is disturbing. She complains, at length, when a sick patron comes in and yet she comes in and exposes people to her illness for an entire day. Even if coronavirus didn’t exist she shouldn’t come in and expose everyone to her illness.

    Our high school musical was supposed to open tonight but it has been postponed. All school trips have been cancelled. All school performances have been cancelled. Outdoor sports will continue for now but no one will be able to go and watch the meets. Our governor has asked everyone to cancel all large group events. The question became how many is a large group. Yesterday we were told it is 25 or more. Our schools remain in session. There is always the concern that some kids are fed at school but not at home so the schools try to remain open. The schools are preparing to go to online courses if necessary.

    The governor has asked all universities in the state to go to online courses only. They don’t want the kids to go back to school after spring break.

    I think our governor is doing a good job. He’s trying to slow the spread of the disease.

    There is no toilet paper for sale in our town. Also no hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes or cold medication.

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  • Allornone March 12, 2020, 10:45 am

    As I work at a non-profit that provides services to the elderly, this whole thing as effected my work-life quite a bit. My immediate boss is in charge of “disaster preparedness” (usually: hurricanes; we’re in Florida) so she’s really been bogged down with this. it’s a mess.

    Healthwise, me and mine are doing fine. I’m just looking forward to going home to my cat. He’s the best of cats (my boyfriend is alright too).

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    • Allornone March 12, 2020, 10:55 am

      Also, my mom, dad and step-parents are all over sixty, my grandparents over eighty, and my mom and step-dad live in a city that was developed for senior citizens (The Villages, Florida). To say I’m concerned would be an understatement.

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      • Kate March 12, 2020, 10:58 am

        Omg the Villages! I had an elderly neighbor who lived there during the winter, and he told me how they all have unprotected sex. The Villages were on the news recently too. No one there gives a shit! It’s kind of hilarious but not.

      • TheLadyE March 12, 2020, 11:22 am

        The Villages! Kathleen Madigan, a hilarious comic (sister to Pat Madgian with whom @veritek33 works!) talks about how her parents lived at the Villages for several years. Not sure if they still do but they probably do! The rule was no one over 55 could stay the night, so Kathleen said at 48 she would have to again go get a fake ID. Lol. I know all about the Villages from her talking about it.

      • Allornone March 12, 2020, 11:22 am

        Lol. Yeah, it’s actually kind of known for being a hotbed of STIs. People that never had to worry about having unprotected sex before are all now having all kinds of unprotected sex and things are going around. Fortunately, my mom and step-dad have been married for over 25 years and (to my knowledge) are monogamous, so I assume they are safe. If not, I don’t want to know.

      • LisforLeslie March 12, 2020, 12:08 pm

        I’m in Florida avoiding winter (I know it was relatively mild) and I’m in a community where the average age is around 75. People are cancelling their cruises and vacations but they still go to the community events. However, certain events at universities or through universities are being cancelled. A lot of people are hearing from their kids that they will not travel for Passover so we’ll see how crowded the dining room is. Shoah is in two weeks, last year 900 people came…. I don’t know if they will cancel or try to have it outside. One contagious person in the card room will expose dozens of others. All of whom are older, many of whom have health issues. So we’ll see if anyone got this from any recent travels or meetups. The people who are least likely to get it are those that are so old that they barely leave their homes, which is very isolating. It’s the active ones that are at risk.

        In the meantime, my nephew in the northeast hit his head and they took him to the ER (he was nauseated and vomiting) at a children’s hospital. They allowed one parent and no other visitors. My sister had to leave the hospital so that my brother in law could see the kid. My brother in law had to leave the hospital so my sister could see the kid. At the adult hospitals no visitors were allowed at all. Another relative was in the hospital and luckily yet another family member is a nurse so could check in.

    • Allornone March 12, 2020, 11:26 am

      The LadyE- you can visit, I mean, my sister and I have stayed overnight at my mom’s, but you certainly can’t live there if you’re not of a certain age. It’s a pretty happening community, though. My sister’s in-laws were living there, convinced my mom and step-dad to move, who in turn convinced my aunt. Everyone is loving it. If I could get my dad and step-mom up there, holidays would be so much easier.

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  • Phoenix March 12, 2020, 10:54 am

    As someone who works for a newspaper (and who is equally worried about the effects on others), may I ask you to please not use the term “media hype”? It gets bandied about so much now, and I assure you that you are getting better information from the legit media than you are from the U.S. government.

    The more people are encouraged to distrust the press, the worse things will be when information needs to be disseminated and people are skeptical because they have a knee-jerk reaction to what they are being told. It’s destroying our country. No one gets it perfect, but we sure are trying.

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    • Dear Wendy March 12, 2020, 11:13 am

      I should have put “media hype” in quotes to signify that it’s something I hear others use. I thought i was pretty clear that I have faith in the news sources I follow, which is why I linked to some.

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      • Phoenix March 12, 2020, 12:08 pm

        Thanks, Wendy.

  • Fyodor March 12, 2020, 10:57 am

    I’m trying to keep a level head but I am so fucking angry that we have a deranged idiot driving the bus in an emergency. Angry at all the people who supported him because he owned the libs and his idiocy wasn’t affecting them. Angry at the media who treated his derangement as an entertaining sideshow and not a terrible threat. Angry at all the Republicans who carry water for him even as Rome is burning.

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    • LisforLeslie March 12, 2020, 1:33 pm

      I work in pharma – listening to that moron talk about having a “cure” in 3 months was nauseating and I could see all of the scientists in the room blanch. It takes years to test a product. It takes 18 months to manufacture a vaccine in bulk. We will not have a vaccine anytime soon. Even so, we’re still up against people who willfully don’t believe in science. As for them, I’ve made my position clear: you don’t believe in any well researched and demonstrated science then you get NO science. Hate vaccines? Climate change is a hoax? Flat earther? Fine, you get no medicine, turn in your car, you are allowed a bicycle but nothing manufactured because those require sciences like material development, engineering and robotics. No computers, no phones, no wifi. You don’t like science – you don’t need to live with science. Enjoy your cave.

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  • Joanna March 12, 2020, 11:13 am

    I’m pretty concerned at this point. There are 9 cases in my county and there have been a number of school closures for cleaning. Contact Tracing has demonstrated that the parent of a child in my son’s school district had contact with a confirmed positive patient. There is a lot of news about sick people not being able to get tested, so there is no way of knowing if there is community spread at this point.
    My mom is currently in a nursing/rehab facility. She is 77, has heart disease and diabetes and has limited mobility. They finally shut down to all visitors yesterday, but I cannot help but think about that fact that on Friday evening, I was in the grocery store right next to the facility where the positive patient worked, and then Saturday morning I was kissing my mom on the top of her head when I left.
    At home, we have stocked up on 2 weeks of food, and last night I bought a case of beer in case we are home bound for a while. (Why suffer, right) My husband has been directed to work from home until further notice. The teachers at my son’s school have been explaining how things will work if they need to close school and take things on-line. I expect that order to come out in the next few days in my office as well. I fully expect that at least one of us in the family will end up being directed to isolate for 2 weeks at some point. I do have lots of fabric on hand, so If I end up making quilts for a few weeks, I’ll be set.

    My 13 year old son, on the other hand, is really annoyed that his school hasn’t closed for cleaning or anything. They didn’t get any snow days this year, and they keep asking for a corona virus day or two. 13 year olds don’t always grasp things very well.

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    • TheLadyE March 12, 2020, 11:24 am

      Wow, are you in a large county in NC? Because that almost perfectly describes the # of affected cases and situation that’s going on where I am. Thankfully I can still get toilet paper.

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      • Joanna March 12, 2020, 11:40 am

        I’m in the Philadelphia Suburbs. We picked up more TP when we were shopping last night. I left the last 5 rolls for someone else. I haven’t actually seen any hand sanitizer in a store for almost a week. It’s the new unicorn.

      • LisforLeslie March 12, 2020, 3:24 pm

        My aunt is mixing aloe and rubbing alcohol to make her own. She’s immuno-compromised but she’ll go stir crazy if she has to stay in her apartment all day. But she is avoiding Costco and Walmart just in case.

      • Kate March 12, 2020, 5:35 pm

        There’s not even rubbing alcohol or anything around here (Cambridge MA). However, there is toilet paper.

      • anonymousse March 13, 2020, 10:20 am

        I haven’t been able to find any rubbing alcohol in the last ten days. I did just find a recipe to make a sanitizer with bleach. Luckily, I have plenty of hand soap.

    • Allornone March 12, 2020, 11:50 am

      I had no idea toilet paper was even an issue until a coworker mentioned Costco being out this morning. I’m fortunate I just got some the other day before stores started running out. I wasn’t even stalking up. We just needed some.

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  • Bethany March 12, 2020, 11:16 am

    I live/work in the DC suburbs at a high school and you can see the tension in the air, it’s so thick. I was running late this morning and usually it would take me almost 40 minutes to go 6 miles on a normal day and today it took 15 minutes. That is unheard of unless you literally live next door to your work. The church we attend is closed for services and meetings for the next two weeks and probably longer. I have a 3 year old who keeps asking to see her grandpa that lives near by but he is 83 and has all the health complications. We’ve tried facetime but it isn’t the same. We thought ahead and stocked up on stuff weeks ago so we’re fine there but we are still being asked to go to work and therefore our daughter is in daycare and on a good day daycare is a cesspool. To top it off my husband is in the healthcare field and is on call for medical examiner duties next week. My family lives in a more rural part of Michigan and are totally like it’s not that big of a deal and didn’t really prepare. My stress levels are high and I know some of that is spilling over onto my daughter. This is all crazy because realistically my husband, daughter and myself are not in any of the high risk categories but the worry is there none the less. I just wish people would stop saying it’s like the flu. This is not like the flu…this is a whole other new thing just discovered.

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    • Vathena March 12, 2020, 11:24 am

      Oh yeah, traffic in DC has been a dream this week. I am actually very glad to see signs that people are taking this seriously and staying home!

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      • LisforLeslie March 12, 2020, 3:26 pm

        I’ve heard that Orlando residents are just all over the parks because the lines are short short short.

    • Vathena March 12, 2020, 11:27 am

      But also, it’s allergy season here – so of course I have a tickly sore throat and a bit of sneezing and I’m like… AAAAAGGHHHH!!!!

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      • Bethany March 12, 2020, 11:42 am

        OMG…is it allergies or Covid-19? That is a game we are playing every day at home and it is really neither! We are trying to do our part and stay home as much as possible and stay away from large gatherings, but I hear so many people asking about what is there to do tonight since my event/concert was rescheduled. I just want to scream sit your butt down at home and watch a damn comedy!

      • Vathena March 12, 2020, 12:58 pm

        Yeah, I’m all about social distancing at the moment – basically being at home with my little family and wiping down our phones and doorknobs with rubbing alcohol is the only thing that’s giving me any peace! Last week we went out to dinner and to our town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and I was like…welp that’s it for socializing for the foreseeable future. I know our small businesses are going to suffer but at this point I’m anxious about even getting a takeout latte and muffin. The allergy/sinus stuff is delivering some heebie jeebies, for sure.

  • Vathena March 12, 2020, 11:22 am

    For all those who, like me, are smoldering with rage in the face of this administration’s gross incompetence and abject failure, the Washington Post just reported that a Brazilian official who met with Trump and Pence at Mar-a-lago over the weekend has now tested positive for the coronavirus. So there’s that.

    My husband is WFH and off of public transit starting today, and I am really hoping the schools close soon. We don’t have a lot of confirmed cases in the DC metro area yet, but I am sure they are there and just undiagnosed. Once my husband and daughter are home, I’ll be a little less anxious. I’m essential staff (not medical) so I’m supposed to continue reporting to work, but I drive in, and my workplace is the NIH clinical center so there’s handwashing reminders and sanitizer everywhere and no meetings of more than a couple dozen people right now, and all official travel has been suspended for a few weeks already. And our lab doesn’t have a lot of people. So I’m not as worried about picking anything up myself as I am about my family members’ exposure. I am getting diddly squat done at work, though.

    My mom is recently retired and a germaphobe and introverted to the point of misanthropy, lol, so she is taking it all very seriously and I’m not so worried about her. Social distancing is basically her jam. (I am worried about her retirement savings, though!!) My 80yo MIL will be tougher, as she’s pretty social, and I also don’t think she cares that much about not dying – my FIL passed away in 2018 and they’d been married 58 years.

    We will probably cancel our spring break drive to the beach in Florida, which is a huge bummer. We are supposed to go on a big, fun, expensive trip to Banff this summer for my 40th birthday…we’ll see what happens. I am trying to keep things in perspective!

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    • Skyblossom March 12, 2020, 2:55 pm

      Maybe if Trump and Pence both catch the virus the conservatives will quit claiming it is a democratic conspiracy.

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      • Miss MJ March 12, 2020, 9:02 pm

        Maybe if Trump and Pence both catch the virus, Pelosi can be President.

      • Skyblossom March 13, 2020, 9:22 am

        I have thought of that and it makes me smile.

        The message would need to be that God smites down Trump and Pence and replaces them with Pelosi. After all, they are claiming Trump is God’s chosen one.

      • Vathena March 13, 2020, 10:42 am

        I can’t say it didn’t occur to me too! Also, an Australian official tested positive after meeting with Ivanka, Barr, and the acting secretary of DHS, among others. I wonder if the administration might start to regret dismantling the administrative state’s ability to respond to pandemics.

      • Kate March 13, 2020, 10:54 am

        Trump appeared close to death in that f’d up speech the other night, and has he been seen since?

  • TheLadyE March 12, 2020, 11:29 am

    I’m in Raleigh, NC and there have been 9 cases in our area. Several schools have closed for cleaning/quarantine. The general attitude is that people think it’s being overblown, but…I’m scared. Mainly, I’m scared because I’m extremely high-risk: I’m young but I have severely compromised lung function (have had it my whole life) and take inhalers every day. It’s pretty terrifying looking at the data about people with underlying pulmonary issues.

    My company/new CEO is being totally inflexible about WFH soooo I pulled the rip cord and got a note from my pulmonologist who strongly recommends I WFH until further notice. It’s a shame I have to do this but I really don’t feel like dying at 37 if I can help it. I know, it sounds extreme, but my limited lung function is challenging on even the best days.

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    • Bethany March 12, 2020, 11:47 am

      I will never understand how people can be so insensitive. This is a legitimate and terrifying fear for people with underlying health issues this is not a made-up hysteria. I know a few people who are immune-compromised and have been contacted by their doctors to work from home and this is in places where there are not currently a large number of confirmed cases. It’s like we haven’t learned anything from the situation in Italy.

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    • Joanna March 12, 2020, 11:47 am

      That is scary. I hope you are able to stay safe.

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    • TheLadyE March 13, 2020, 2:25 am

      Update: after much discussion and outside pressure (probably including my doctor’s note, who knows:?), my CEO gathered all 10-ish of the small company I work for together at 3pm today and said we are all working from home until future notice. So, yay for that.

      I just hope I still get health insurance on the 18th in case anything happens. Ugh.

      I went to Target on the way home from work today and there was zero toilet paper. Thankfully I got some a couple days ago. I bought paper towels and toilet wet wipes and we’ll see how we go.

      Stay safe everyone.

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  • Akeath March 12, 2020, 12:07 pm

    I’m more worried about accidentally passing this to my parents, whom I see at least once a week. I’ve recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, but I’m only 32. My Mom is 69 and diabetic, and she works at a chemotherapy place that treats cancer patients. I’m most worried about the long incubation period, and unknowingly passing it to her and then her passing it along to cancer patients, all of whom would be at higher risk from dying from this. My Dad is 68 and works as a janitor in a public school that is still running as normal, so I’m also concerned that he is in an environment where he is more likely to catch it and then pass it on to Mom and the cancer patients as well. I’m trying to use sanitizer when I go out and wash my hands more.

    There is a big anime convention that my husband and I usually go to every year that typically has between 8,000 and 11,000 attendees from the tristate area. That is a 3 day event this weekend. There will be a lot people, a lot of panels, and multiple video game rooms with people using the same controllers as a bunch of other people, so it seems like an especially likely place to catch this. I’ve decided not to go, but my husband still wants to. I’ve tried to reason with him about this and discussed the way it is passed, the amount of time the virus can live on hard surfaces, etc. but he still won’t agree not to go. I’m really worried that he’ll get it there and then it can be passed on to me and my family. I don’t know what to say to get through to him at this point.

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    • CurlyQue March 12, 2020, 2:20 pm

      I’m surprised the anime con hasn’t canceled their event, and also surprised your husband isn’t taking your concerns into account. So sorry.

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    • Akeath March 12, 2020, 3:27 pm

      The mayor of the greater city we live in has declared a State of Emergency, announcing that all events of over 1,000 people are now canceled. So now my husband can’t go whether he wants to or not, which I’m honestly relieved about.

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  • Helen March 12, 2020, 12:09 pm

    I also made the decision to start keeping my kindergartener home tomorrow. I’m trying to be proactive not reactive. The schools are instructing students how to use virtual school, so a shutdown is eminent, but they won’t call it till it’s too late. My husband visits jails weekly for work. That definitely concerns me. We both have elderly parents in poor health

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    • Helen March 13, 2020, 6:46 am

      They closed all the schools where I’m at. Thankfully. Today is payday so I haven’t been able to stock up till today. I’m hoping my neighbors left something at the stores for my family to eat. When they closed the schools yesterday everyone rushed to the stores. Keep seeing pics of empty shelves posted. Going to try to get to Costco early. Fingers crossed

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  • Allornone March 12, 2020, 12:15 pm

    I just realized my boyfriend works for Comcast as a Residental Tech, meaning he’s in other people’s homes all day. I wasn’t worried about ourselves so much until now. Crap.

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    • allornone March 12, 2020, 12:16 pm

      Heck, even the cashier at my local grocery market was wearing gloves today.

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  • Phoebe March 12, 2020, 12:24 pm

    I’m in MA, in a town with a positive. That person’s child went to elementary school yesterday and exposed about 75 people, so everyone there was sent home. We have no school today and tomorrow, and I would not be surprised if things escalate here for a while. People are getting very nervous.

    My daughter is at college in a state with no cases yet, and she’s questioning if she should petition to stay on campus. As a mom, I want her to be as safe as possible, but I wonder if she’s safe anywhere?

    My other daughter is at a college with a large international population and a lot of them can’t return home. Fortunately the college is taking good care of them and allowing them to stay.

    I have very bad asthma, and I have a constant feeling of imminent doom. It’s very likely I’ll get sick, and if I do, that I won’t survive. I’m not usually one to panic, either. It seems like an ocean wave coming slowly and you are powerless to stop it.

    I just heard that Trump was just exposed to someone with the virus, and I have to be honest, my first thought wasn’t charitable.

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    • Essie March 12, 2020, 2:42 pm

      I’m right there with you. My asthma has been terrible these last few weeks so I’m doing everything possible to avoid getting it. I haven’t been out of the house since Monday night. I’m also worried about my mother, who’s in her late eighties and in a senior community. They’ve been fabulous, and I’m very grateful for all they’re doing to keep her safe.

      They’ve banned visitors, though, and I usually spend a couple days with her every week. I can pick her up and take her to lunch and doctor appointments, but I find myself second-guessing whether it’s even safe to take her to the diner.

      Hell, I’m thinking about going out to pick up dinner at Applebee’s, just to cheer myself up, and I’m second-guessing that. I *hate* feeling like this. I’m not a worrier by nature. Don’t worry, be happy. I hate this. Hate it.

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      • Phoebe March 12, 2020, 3:18 pm

        I know — are you doing the right thing by being with them, or are you bringing germs? Do they have germs, and are they giving them to you? How can you even be sure the person who prepared your lunch plate is safe? It’s awful. I’m afraid to go out at all.

        My mother went to the local senior center to play bridge yesterday, and one of the seniors sitting at the bridge table was coughing a lot. The woman was on her way to the doctor because she was feeling really sick, and decided to kill time while she was waiting for her ride by playing bridge. My mother let her have it. Who DOES that? In a residential senior center, with high-risk patients? These days? Sheesh.

        Trust no one, and take care of the people who can’t take care of themselves.

  • Psykins March 12, 2020, 1:10 pm

    The college response is pissing me off. There was an article in the New York times yesterday about how poorly Harvard is handling the difficulties of low income students. Im sure it’s just as bad at a lot of campuses across the country – if you’re an international student from Europe (or China, or Japan, or…) or just plain don’t have a home to go to (this was me in sophomore year)…what are you supposed to do?

    I work for a college and a bunch in my area have sent students home. Mine just announced today. But they’re all keeping faculty and staff on campus. It’s frustrating me because the best way to handle this is to self isolate via work from home – which I’m going to do next week and they can fire me if they like (they won’t).

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    • Phoebe March 12, 2020, 3:12 pm

      I saw that — and there’s no university better funded and able to help those students. They did say they’d help those who needed it. But it’s still a scramble.

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    • MaterialsGirl March 12, 2020, 5:08 pm

      The university i went to is committed to keeping the dorms and dining halls open because so many students have no where else to go.

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  • Anonymous March 12, 2020, 1:56 pm

    I wasn’t too worried about it all until yesterday. My mom (who is in her 60’s and not in her best health) got a call yesterday that her 2 brothers are sick, and 1 is being sent to hospice. My mom has decided to fly home to Germany for a few months. I’m worried about her flying, especially internationally. Not having her here for the next several months will be tough, but I can’t even fathom the thought of losing her permanently. Plus, the fact that she’s losing her 2 brothers almost simultaneously is very difficult for her. It’s hard to see my mother in such emotional pain. 🙁 I’m also worried about losing a major part of my support network. I’m a single mom working 2 jobs and she helps me a lot with babysitting when my kids are sick and I have to work – and she voluntarily helps me with our laundry most weekends. I don’t know what I’m going to do for childcare – I have one who gets sick frequently. I can’t just call into work everytime. And now I feel selfish for worrying about my logistical problems when she’s worried about losing her brothers. And Guilty for being selfish.

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  • Skyblossom March 12, 2020, 2:14 pm

    Things are moving fast here.
    Our schools will be cancelled for three weeks.
    All of our programs at work have been cancelled. We are still open for now.

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  • anonymousse March 12, 2020, 2:18 pm

    I’m feeling like most everyone is. I’m scared, frankly. Not for myself or my kids so much but my older relatives. I’m shocked at how quickly things are selling out. My friends in Kirkland are terrified. One of my nieces has been in a Children’s Hospital for a week with a mysterious illness. It’s not Covid, she’s been tested. It’s stressful and between her illness and this pandemic…I’m a huge ball of worry.

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  • Allornone March 12, 2020, 2:23 pm

    My organization has one main fundraiser a year and that’s officially been canceled, along with Ultra, SXSW and anything else that involves the public. My mom has tickets to Cher she’s pissed she probably won’t get to use (though if they still hold the concert, she’ll go). My favorite band is Pearl Jam and they’ve put off their North American tour. Fortunately, they weren’t coming near me anyway, but still. It’s amazing what can shut down the world.

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  • mellanthe March 12, 2020, 4:24 pm

    I work in healthcare. This is a HUGE worry. I’ll be safe, but many of the oldest, frailest, most vulnerable won’t be. And I know that I and my colleagues will be overwhelmed, if it turns out like Italy.

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  • ktfran March 12, 2020, 4:32 pm

    Ugh. I ventured on FB today and some of my very right family members posted/liked…

    “Due to the coronavirus we will not have an election! Trump will be president for the next four years! (Watch how fast this epidemic is cleared up!”

    SERIOUSLY!?! Do people really think this is something the left is making up?!? What the literal fuck?

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  • Fyodor March 12, 2020, 5:04 pm

    We just heard today that the Spawn of Fyodor’s school is closing indefinitely. The next few days will be spent putting together a remote learning setup with remote classes starting on Tuesday.

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  • Lucidity March 12, 2020, 5:07 pm

    My mindset has changed a lot since I commented on “Assessing the Risk’s” initial post. I’ve been off on mat leave, we don’t have cable, and I’ve been trying to spend less time on my phone, so I hadn’t been on top of the news. At that time, I was listening to a few podcasts about COVID-19 which featured experts who explained that the death rate is probably much lower than what is being reported due to how many people are likely walking around with zero symptoms. I wasn’t thinking about how high the rates are in the elderly. I was irritated by the people buying up all the toilet paper and selling hand sanitizer on Facebook marketplace for $50 a bottle (seriously? You guys suck).

    Today things feel different. After Trump’s press conference and the news that my own prime minister is in quarantine, I caught up on a ton of news articles and got a lot more educated about this virus. A few hours ago, my province announced all public schools will be closed for two weeks following March break. It will be nice to have my husband, who is a teacher, home with me for three weeks. We plan on just staying in and spending time with our baby. He’s out picking up supplies right now – but we’re not going to stockpile.

    I’m worried about my husband bringing the virus home from school and passing it to his parents and my father, who are in their sixties and seventies and all have poor health or serious medical conditions, including diabetes. We’re going to avoid seeing them in person for awhile.

    I’m feeling extremely grateful that this virus isn’t so scary for babies and children, or I would be going crazy with anxiety.

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    • The other sarah March 13, 2020, 6:36 am

      Same province as you. I think we should be concerned. The man who got it in Sudbury attended PDAC a few days before he was diagnosed. 20k people from around the world were there. The PM, Ford and a number of senior gov ppl.

      It sounds like the province has a plan for things but I get the vibe that most ppl are not paying attention to what’s going on in other places like Italy. We seems to think that can’t happen here and that we learned so much from SARS. I’m glad the schools are closing. It sounded like a lot of fools were still planning on travelling internationally with their kids over March break.

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  • Fyodor March 12, 2020, 5:19 pm

    I’m pretty freaked out right now, so I’ll offer this uplifting example of the private sector helping those in need.


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  • Ange March 12, 2020, 5:42 pm

    I’m not worried about personally getting it but I will be super disappointed if my trip to Hawaii is cancelled in August. It’s a tournament so it’d be in the firing line if this thing doesn’t die down by then. Thankfully I got travel insurance before this all kicked off but my husband didn’t so he’s in line to lose some money.

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  • Bittergaymark March 12, 2020, 7:24 pm

    Honestly? I can see Trump trying to use this to stay in power. But in that case — it would be the RIGHT making this up. Or just exaggerating the situation.

    I feel curiously removed from things as I drove to Arizona yesterday. My parents and I daytripped to Sedona in the rain…. Sedona is pretty fucking glorious in the rain.

    But LA has gotten interesting, apparently. Got a call from a friend who went to nine stores to find toilet paper. Nine stores. Oh — And people were literally screaming at clerks accusing them of hoarding hand sanitizer. ?.

    Disneyland is now closed.

    People are nearing hysteria. Well past that, I suspect. Frankly, I have zero faith any of this chaos will do much good. It’s already creating panic and shortages. There is nothing calm or rational about much of this… But who knows. I could be wrong.

    My mood? Pretty fucking grim.

    Today my april cruise officially got scrapped by Princess. (All cruises halted for 60 days.) Bequinox — the burning man festival I was to attend next week —got postponed indefinitely. A much pursued, hard won lucrative film gig for April was scrapped. Oh, and the small theatres I do improv in have ALL shutdown for a while. Basically — everything I do. Or was planning to do for the next few months is gone. Just gone.

    Strange times. These. Yeah. Pretty fucking grim.

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    • Kate March 13, 2020, 4:54 am

      Who have you come into contact with who’s hysterical? No one on this thread is hysterical. I’m in Boston where there are a lot of cases and no one I know is hysterical. They’re concerned about the government’s response and concerned about spread, the economy, disruption to daily life, the health of older and sick people. But I don’t see anyone panicking.

      By the way, your 40k gun violence death statistic from the other day? Doctors are projecting 480k CV deaths in the US this year. So silly for anyone to be concerned.

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      • Dear Wendy March 13, 2020, 5:43 am

        That’s a conservative estimate too. Experts agree 40-70% of Americans will likely get infected. We are a population of 335 million. Let’s go with a more conservative estimate of 50% of us get infected. That’s 167 million. Some will get seriously ill, and this will include younger healthier folk, not just older people. The conservative estimate is that 5-10% will need hospitalization. That’s over 16 million of us. And a conservative estimate is that 1% of the cases will be fatal. 1% of half our population is well over one and a half million. Even if people *are* panicking – and I don’t see evidence of that in my life like at all – it would be justified.

        That said, don’t panic. Help enlighten others in your communities and your families so people will take more aggressive measures (like staying home!) to combat the spread. And wash your hands! So much washing of the hands!

    • Skyblossom March 13, 2020, 9:25 am

      I don’t see people panicking but I do see them preparing. They are thinking through everything they will need for three or more weeks and trying to get it now and stay at home.

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      • red_girl_42 March 15, 2020, 12:35 pm

        Buying enough supplies so that you can isolate for a few weeks = preparing.

        Hoarding so much TP and hand sanitizer that no one else can get any = panicking.

        Hoarding TP and hand sanitizer so that you can sell it at massively inflated prices on eBay = evil.

        Sadly, the last two things ARE happening.

  • Lucidity March 12, 2020, 9:06 pm

    Guys! Everything is going to be okay! Jared Kushner is taking a break from bringing peace to the Middle East to do some research on COVID-19, and he’s going to let the government know what they should do.

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    • Miss MJ March 12, 2020, 9:14 pm

      Oh? Thank god! I was so worried, but since things are going swimmingly in the Middle East and the opioid crisis is solved, I’m glad Jared is available to get right on it! Whew!

      (I can’t believe this is real life. What the actual fuck.)

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    • Essie March 13, 2020, 11:12 am

      And he got Karlie Kloss’s dad to ask doctors on Facebook for tips!

      I wish to god I was making that up. I’m not.

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  • Miss MJ March 12, 2020, 9:11 pm

    It’s looking like CV was floating around New Orleans during Mardi Gras. 15 out of the 19 positive tests In Louisiana (only 61 tested total!!) are in Orleans Parish and 4 people in 3 other states are confirmed cases and linked to Mardi Gras. My husband and I were in NOLA in the French Quarter the entire two-plus weeks. And Since a few days ago, we’ve both feeling kinda sick and “off.” I sincerely hope we’re just imagining it – like when your head gets scratchy after you hear about lice. His parents (80s) are not coming to visit us in Florida (hi, influx of Spring Breakers from now closed college campuses) this weekend, just in case.

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    • Skyblossom March 13, 2020, 9:27 am

      I have an aunt and uncle who went to Mardi Gras. They are in their 70s and my uncle had bypass surgery a few months ago.

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    • Vathena March 13, 2020, 10:46 am

      I mentioned above that it’s allergy season here in the DC area, and I’ve had a little sore throat and itchy cough all week. And my chest feels a little tight today – but I think it’s probably just from the intense anxiety but I have no way of knowing! arrrgghh! (No fever or any other symptoms, thankfully!!) I hope you guys are feeling better soon. Stay inside and wash your hands! 🙂

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  • TheRascal March 13, 2020, 6:18 am

    I’m practicing social distancing. I have a 9 day old baby and if I got sick, I’d be devastated. She’s exclusively breastfed so my husband and I discussed how he would take her to his mom’s house if I become ill and they would formula feed. If my husband gets sick, I will go to his mom’s.

    My husband is a teacher and thus far, only sports and after school activities have been canceled. I’d like to see the school close for a few weeks.

    I love 60 miles away from NYC on a train line and there are confirmed cases in my area. I am so angry at our federal government for royally fucking up the response and downplaying the virus.

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    • Dear Wendy March 13, 2020, 7:34 am

      Thinking of you and your newborn baby! Deep breaths. For what it’s worth, I had to formula feed both my kids from day 1 and they are now 4 and 8 and super healthy (they hardly ever get sick, knock on wood), smart and awesome. Hopefully, you will all stay healthy and all will be fine. If you have to formula feed, it will still be fine.

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  • Skyblossom March 13, 2020, 9:40 am

    Our local schools will be online starting Monday. We will have a week of online school then a week of spring break and then back to online for as long as needed.

    My daughter was notified today that she needs to take all academic materials she may need for the next quarter off campus because the campus may be closed when school is supposed to resume next month. I’m glad she is coming home. It’s only two more days until she’s back. Of all the things we thought of when she chose to go to school abroad a global pandemic wasn’t one of them.

    I’ve tried to talk to my mom, who is 81, about staying in to avoid the virus. She told me that they are so far away from everything it won’t make it out to them. She said no one ever comes out there. Just before that she had told me that my cousin who lives in Colorado and her family will be visiting next week. I pointed out that yes people do go out there and that they can have the virus. I think she will take zero precautions. She gets very sick any time she gets a respiratory illness so it won’t be good.

    My husband’s mum is 86 and has many underlying health conditions. She has Crohns and smokes heavily. Her digestive tract is often inflamed recently and she often eats very little. If she catches the virus it will also not be good.

    My son is imaging as many laptops as possible for people at his company so that as many as possible can work from home. Many of them have never needed laptops before so they won’t have enough to go around.

    My husband had someone come in to work yesterday who felt well when they arrived but then developed a fever and headache and they sent him home and were having his cubicle sanitized. It’s only a matter of time until someone tests positive. The lack of testing is letting this virus run rampant.

    Our governor/state health department have announced that they think 1% of the people in our state currently have coronavirus. My husband has 400 people working in his building so probably someone coming in with the virus every day. We have hundreds of people through our building every day, often over 600, so we probably have people coming through with the virus.

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  • anonymousse March 13, 2020, 10:26 am

    I am luckily in a country with no cases confirmed as of yet (although with the rate of testing, who the fuck knows, right?!) and the superintendent of schools is supposed to let us know about potentially shutting down for at least two weeks. I honestly hope they do. I think if we all embrace this and sacrifice our social functions, we could really help contain the virus. I hope.

    My niece is in a children’s hospital which is now only allowing parent or legal guardian visitors. I’m glad I got a visit in when I could.

    Stay safe everybody.

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    • anonymousse March 13, 2020, 5:00 pm

      Our schools just closed for at least the next two weeks.

      Don’t believe the liberal media hoax. – sarcasm.

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  • Vathena March 13, 2020, 10:51 am

    Wendy, thank you for having this space for us to share our angst about all of this. Ludicrously, our schools haven’t closed yet (I contacted our school board and the Virginia governor’s office this morning). We’ll be keeping our child home after today, but the community at large doesn’t need thousands of kids acting as disease vectors every day! I am scared at what things could look like in a few weeks, even with all the precautions. My husband is diabetic and fortunately he’s picking up another round of insulin and other supplies today – I think I will strongly advocate for him to stay away from other people after that. We will keep washing our hands and doing whatever we can to limit the spread!

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    • Vathena March 13, 2020, 11:40 am

      Update: our city’s schools just closed for a month starting Monday. I wish it was statewide (DC and Maryland have fully closed) but I’ll take it for now.

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  • ktfran March 13, 2020, 11:10 am

    A coworker was at an event over the weekend. Someone at the event tested positive a couple days later. That co-worker has now self-quarantined. However, he didn’t know about this development until yesterday evening. He appropriately notified the office as soon as he heard this and the office was thoroughly cleaned. I was in meetings with him yesterday.

    So fun times. Not really.

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    • ktfran March 13, 2020, 11:13 am

      Luckily the coworker had no symptoms and is being safe. And luckily our company leadership is taking this seriously.

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  • Copa March 13, 2020, 11:14 am

    One coworker came in this morning as usual and left to work remote when she got an email that someone who lives in her condo building is getting tested. My company hasn’t OK’d the rest of us to work remote (yet?), but I wish they would. Our HQ is in an area several hours away from me, no confirmed cases there yet, and I feel like they’re being too lax for those of us who work out of the satellite office in a major city. So far the only action from the building our office suite is in is to come in and deep clean my coworker’s office.

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    • ktfran March 13, 2020, 11:19 am

      Jinx @ Copa.

      I think we’re going to start seeing increased cases here. It was just a matter of time.

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      • Copa March 13, 2020, 11:26 am

        Yeah, it’s definitely going to get worse here. I mean, I know my coworker’s neighbor might not have it. (And hope they don’t!) But I feel like my company is slow to respond. (I think they’re following the leads of the courts at the moment.) We’re kinda dated. The employees in Springfield start whining about things being unfair when the Chicago employees are given the option of working remote and they’re not (e.g., during last year’s polar vortex even though it gets MUCH colder here and we all commute on transit). I’m doing my best but living in a city it’s hard to stay away from other people even when you’re trying.

      • ktfran March 13, 2020, 11:43 am

        Did you see all the Catholic schools throughout Chicago are closed?

      • Skyblossom March 13, 2020, 1:01 pm

        They should be canceling mass in all of the churches because a large number of the members of any congregation are retired. They need to protect the elderly by closing their doors. It will be the elderly who most feel the need to go to church because it will be a mortal sin to skip it.

      • ktfran March 13, 2020, 1:16 pm

        They might be. I only read the headline for the schools. Not the entire article. I’m not keeping track of every single closure in Chicago.

        The point was that so far, that’s the only mass (as in large) closing here. This morning, Chicago Public Schools were still open. Public transit is still operating.

        Oh, look at that, the headline was updated to include mass. But that doesn’t account for all other religions and religious sects.

        I’m not sure the point you were trying to make?

      • Copa March 13, 2020, 2:52 pm

        Just talked to my boss and it sounds like we’re planning to go remote starting Tuesday. Asked me how I’m feeling about all this, where my head’s at, in anticipation of a meeting higher ups are having on Monday. He advised me to bring all my stuff home with me this weekend, just in case, which I’ve already been doing. I just read this article, though, and it makes me want to ask if I can start working remote immediately: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca (it’s a long read, but it’s interesting).

        My understand of schools in IL right now is that there’s a lot of pressure on them to shut down like other states have done, but CPS is pushing back because of all the social services they provide to lower-income families.

  • ron March 13, 2020, 11:27 am

    First case reported in our 3-county area yesterday. Panic buying is in full swing today. No toilet paper, also no sugar, a lot of stock outs of canned goods. I saw one family buying 10 pounds of stick butter as I felt silly doing a 10-item shop. A lot of the public is smart enough to realize that until we do a reasonably level of testing, and we still are not (what a disgraceful failure of government) equipped to test all those who reasonably require testing (CDC criteria and shortages of test kits, reagents still preventing testing), we have NO idea how widespread the problem already is. The standard control procedure is test-trace contacts-tests-quarantine as necessary. That likely isn’t happening at all in most cases, because of lack of testing capability. Just a total clusterfuck by our government.

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  • Kate March 13, 2020, 11:49 am

    We were told yesterday to work from home and be prepared to do so up to a month.

    Also, I’m really proud of my parents. They got out of Boston and are staying in their condo on the Cape. Barely anyone lives in that town outside of the summer months. They also promised not to have in-person contact with my brother, who delivers packages for a living and does not wash his hands – he has to be nagged to shower and use soap. My mom has been teaching him piano, and I was like, can you not? They did agree to stay down there and be isolated. Usually they do whatever they want, but they’re taking this seriously.

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  • Bethany March 13, 2020, 2:03 pm

    Well Governor Northam (VA) just closed all k-12 schools for the next two weeks. This is getting serious and I’m trying to keep a level head, but this is getting really intense and even scarier by the minute

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  • golfer.gal March 13, 2020, 3:33 pm

    I’m starting a new job Monday with an organization which is very remote work friendly, but they’ve now made remote work mandatory. I’ll go in, meet with my boss and get my laptop, then go home. I am anxious. it’s important to me to make a good impression, and I can’t help but worry when the inevitable recession hits that I’ll be in a last in/first out situation without a job. But I’m trying to stay positive and appreciate the company’s concern for its employees.

    My parents are in their late 60s with some health issues. I have cardiac issues. My husband works in emergency medicine. I’m worried for all of us and mostly I just wish, over and over, that we had competent and moral leadership in place. On a bright note, over the holidays I accidentally bought a 75 pack of the “crappy” toilet paper at Costco instead of the 30 pack of the good stuff. My husband made fun of me at the time, but I decided to keep it just in case. We’re set with TP through 2021 and are even able to help family who ran out. Who’s laughing now?

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  • Cleopatra_30 March 13, 2020, 7:08 pm

    Up here in BC there have been less concrete statements of travel bans, just heavily advised to not make any un necessary travelling. I booked a trip end of April to South America, but will most likely cancel, as well as a trip back home to Ontario where my dad advised me to not go to avoid entering the airports and planes. So that sucks, although depending on how things blow over later in the summer I may reschedule a trip home.

    Campus here at my school is still open, but they have advised classes are all online starting next week. Quieter on the streets and transit too. Not looking forward to my weekly grocery shop this weekend.

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  • Bittergaymark March 13, 2020, 7:56 pm

    The insane shortages at grocery stores strikes me as mass hysteria. The hoarding of toilet paper is just flat out bizarre to me.

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    • red_girl_42 March 15, 2020, 12:43 pm

      I find the hoarding of water bottles even more insane. If you think things are going to get so apocalyptic that the municipal water supply will fail, a few cases of Aquafina aren’t going to be that useful. And if you just don’t like drinking tap water (which most bottled water actually is anyway), maybe consider a Brita filter…?

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  • Ashley March 13, 2020, 9:19 pm

    I live in Houston and apparently there have been some fights at HEB (local grocery that is pretty every native Texans preference) witnessed by my bf. My kickball friends and i are going to brunch and bar hop, in an effort to keep things normal. As someone who works from home already no kids and who hasn’t gotten sick in like 5 years I’m hoping to help the service industry because I do worry about that-people who are stuck with short shifts with no safety net. It has to suck so much

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  • PurpleStar March 13, 2020, 9:23 pm

    Deep South here. Wednesday night (around 7pm) my son and I went shopping for some small household items. Joked about getting supplies – kinda’ like we would for a hurricane. Shrugged it off as we were both tired. He works overnights and I have been pulling 10 hour days. Everyone in town was doing their normal thing.

    Thursday morning the first presumptive case was announced 1.5 hours north of us (you can’t get south of us unless you are swimming) . By Thursday after work (so 6pm) the stores were wrecked. Stopped at my local convenience store and the clerk told me that his wife had been out looking for diapers for 2 hours – TWO. HOURS.

    College campuses are now closing and going to online classes. Some local elementary – high schools, while not closed yet, are doing temparture checks on visitors. We are a big military base area and the VA hospital and Retirement homes are stopping visitors from even coming in. The bases have gone to no contact ID checks – scans only and closing some access to the public.

    Meanwhile, my place of employment – in patient and out patient mental health locations- is like “eh, wash your hands; we ordered more lysol and hand sanitizer (which, at this rate, will be delivered in June). I worry about our inpatient clients who don’t always come in the most robust of health.

    My son is waiting to find out what the casino he works for plans on doing. I know of one that has set up an employee hotline for staff to call each day to check the status.

    While I understand the theory behind shut down is to “flatten the curve”, for those that live pay check to pay check this is going to be more than just a health crisis. Heck I can’t afford to miss much work without getting behind.

    And, whine, my sinus and ear infections are coming back so its off to Urgent Care tomorrow …… with my can of Lysol.

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  • bloodymediocrity March 13, 2020, 9:44 pm

    I’m doing ok for now. Up here in MN it’s just starting to happen. My wife is a college professor and they announced they’ll be doing online classes…and then announced they are having a mandatory staff meeting on monday, bringing all 700 faculty members into a room just as they are returning from spring break. The professors are rioting. We’ll see what happens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gov. Walz steps in and says “absolutely not”.

    It hit me yesterday that if my dad – who has emphesema, COPD and just shitty lungs in general – catches COVID19, he will almost certainly die. That hit me.

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    • dinoceros March 14, 2020, 5:41 pm

      Assuming most of the faculty have tenure, I’m not sure how mandatory this meeting is going to end up being. My faculty would for sure not show up.

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  • Kate March 14, 2020, 6:45 am

    There’s a guy at the park we go to, who runs a brain imaging lab at Harvard. As a doctor, he’s just sick about this. He is so upset that no science is being used. The testing doesn’t matter for diagnosis, because you treat every respiratory illness the same way, it doesn’t matter if it’s Coronavirus. But they should be doing actual research with the testing, taking a lot of blood samples and examining them to understand who gets it and how it spreads. He says without that, this thing is going to go through the US like polio did. It went through and killed a lot of people (and left a lot of people disabled, obviously), and this is also going to go all the way through and kill a lot of people because no one is using science.

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    • TheLadyE March 14, 2020, 7:34 pm

      Kate, what makes him say that science isn’t being used? I obviously know nothing about it but I have bad lungs and I need to stay safe. Why does he say science isn’t being used?

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      • Kate March 14, 2020, 7:56 pm

        Ok, so he’s a research scientist and a doctor. I’m a researcher too, but it’s survey research. If I want to find out what’s going on, I have to get the right sample of people to participate in my survey, I have to design it right, and I need a big enough sample of the population. Similarly, if you want to understand how this virus behaves and spreads, you need to be taking a bunch of blood samples from different populations. The point of testing is NOT to figure out how to treat someone. It doesn’t matter what they have, you would treat those acute respiratory symptoms the same way whether it’s Coronavirus or something else. The point of testing is to understand who gets it and how it spreads and what the fatality rate is, so you can predict what it will do in the future and try to control it. In South Korea they’re testing like 10,000 people a day, right? We’re testing almost no one. We have no handle on it at all.

      • Kate March 14, 2020, 8:23 pm

        I think this article gets at it somewhat:


        In other countries they’re testing asymptomatic people, and doing it scientifically, for research purposes. Here, we’re testing a very small number of people, who are showing symptoms. That’s not going to help much. We don’t really understand the disease and how it works and spreads, and that’s bad news.

      • TheLadyE March 14, 2020, 8:31 pm

        Wow. Well, all that is true. I am scared.

        I was going to wait and go to the grocery store for a big haul on Monday so it wasn’t on a weekend, but I guess I’m going tomorrow. Everyone here seems to think it’ll have passed in 2 weeks-a month. Not sure how realistic that is. And oh yeah lol, I don’t even have insurance yet (I get it on the 18th) and have an inhaler I HAVE to buy in order to live. And I’m actively interviewing for other jobs. Lol. Cool cool.

  • ron March 14, 2020, 7:20 pm

    Kate — Of course the testing matters for diagnosis. That’s how you learn who’s effected, who their contacts are, how much the virus has spread. It’s important to know what people are suffering from, even if the treatment is basically the same as for flu — except with a 1–30 times higher death rate, something I assume a treating physician would want to know. Also, it changes health system procedures, with isolation and enhanced protection for healthcare professionals and other patients. One of the reasons the New Rochelle cluster grew so fast is that patient zero was treated as simple flu for close to a weak, infecting many others. I also wouldn’t assume that the science isn’t being done. Many corporate and governmental labs are researching. They even have samples from China and elsewhere in the world where the virus has exploded faster than in this country.

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    • Kate March 14, 2020, 7:59 pm

      Ron, it doesn’t matter for epidemiology, is what he said. It has no impact on treatment. It matters for understanding the disease and its spread, and in order to do that you need to be testing lots of people and you also need to be using the testing scientifically. We are not doing that. We’ve tested, what, a few thousand people in the whole country??

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      • Kate March 14, 2020, 8:01 pm

        I would believe what this guy says. He has a lab at Harvard named after him and is mapping the human brain. Do I understand the science? No. Do I believe him when he says we’re not handling this right and it’s going to go through the population like polio and kill millions of people? Unfortunately yes.

      • Kate March 14, 2020, 8:05 pm

        Anyway, obviously I don’t know wtf I’m talking about so don’t even come at me with whatever academic shit, please. The point is we’re not testing and the testing we are doing, we’re not doing scientifically in a way that allows us to understand the disease and control its spread.

  • Bittergaymark March 14, 2020, 8:31 pm

    What? I’m confused. I haven’t heard any scientist (or Doctor) say that testing isn’t key to controlling the spread. Its largely being spread by those who don’t know they have it.

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    • Kate March 14, 2020, 8:36 pm

      We aren’t testing, is the point. We’re testing a tiny number of people, who already have symptoms. How does that help us understand who gets it and how it spreads?

      It’s like if I did a survey only among people who were already super pissed off at a brand or something or only people who were saying glowing things about a brand, I wouldn’t actually be learning what American sentiment is about that brand, why they really feel that way, and how I could influence their future behavior.

      Testing isn’t being done, and the testing that is being done isn’t scientific.

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    • Kate March 14, 2020, 8:39 pm

      Pasting this article again


      We DON’T test samples of asymptomatic populations. So we don’t actually understand the incidence or the spread. There are probably tens of thousands (at least) in the US who have it. They’re spreading it and it’s not being tracked and studied.

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  • ron March 14, 2020, 9:54 pm

    Yes, of course we needed to have tested 1000 times more people than we have to date. That doesn’t mean testing is an unimportant as this guy seemed to be saying. The problem is our government had a snafu in creating working test kits and was too proud to use the WHO kits, which Germany developed.

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    • Kate March 15, 2020, 5:16 am

      He’s not saying it’s unimportant, omg. He’s saying that the testing we’ve done to date, where almost no one can get a test, and they’re already showing symptoms, is not helpful to the epidemiology. It is not giving us an accurate picture, at all, of who has it and how it’s spreading. He’s saying we need to be testing systematically and scientifically, and we aren’t. We have no handle on understanding the incidence and spread. It’s much much higher than the CDC says.

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  • ron March 14, 2020, 9:58 pm

    There’s justification for not testing asymptomatic people unless they are being investigated because of where they’ve traveled to or as tracing of contacts with infected people. There are a lot of flu cases out there now and without testing people with symptoms doctors don’t know which ‘flu’ victims actually have corona virus. I just had flu and was swabbed and determined to have Influenza Type A. that was about 15 days ago. If it was today, far more serious issue, since coronavirus is spreading.

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    • Kate March 15, 2020, 5:09 am

      If you don’t test asymptomatic people, if you’re not testing in a systematic way, if you’re not doing it scientifically, for research, then you absolutely do not know how many people have it and how it’s spreading. We’ve tested a handful of people who are already showing symptoms. China is testing 20k people a day.

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  • Anonymous March 14, 2020, 10:49 pm

    I am oddly more nervous today about the situation then yesterday..1st virus death in New Orleans….80 odd miles away from me. I have older relatives within 25 miles of the city.

    And, got a text message from Walmart today cancelling my grocery pick up in the morning “due to operational” issues. So I’ll be going to the store in the morning when my son gets home from his casino job in the morning. He has been told he will be working through this unless they go to hard shut down. Soft shut down, wherein the casino is closed to guests but not dark, is what he ultimately expects.

    But the Walmart thing has me freaked. Does “operational issues” mean problems with the supply chain? I need normal groceries and pet supplies.

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  • Bittergaymark March 15, 2020, 12:38 am

    Where are you getting the number “tens of thousands (at least),” Kate? I haven’t read anything like that anywhere… though its possible that article.

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    • Kate March 15, 2020, 5:12 am

      I saw it last night. It’s not surprising at all. We know that most people will have mild or no symptoms, but we’re only testing a handful of people, who are showing symptoms. It’s obvious that many, many more people have it and are spreading it around, but we have no idea how many because we are not doing any kind of systematic testing.

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      • Kate March 15, 2020, 7:41 am

        Another Harvard doctor on CNN just said he estimates we have 20k-30k cases in the US. It’s definitely not the much lower number of, what now, 2k? that has been reported.

  • Bekahtravels March 15, 2020, 10:28 pm

    I’m a teacher in Oregon. Schools were closed for at least two and half weeks while I was asleep Thursday night. I woke up Friday morning to chaos. My district hadn’t planned for the closure and we had no advice as to how to proceed or what to send home with kids. Parents were asking me what to do and I had no idea other than wash your hands and we are doing what we need to do to stay safe and healthy. I had to stay calm. One first grader ran in screaming, “75 people died of coronavirus yesterday!” To which a young girl retorted, “More people have died of acute alcohol poisoning than the corona virus this year!” Than it snowed the first big snow of the year. It was Friday the 13th. I had a parent screaming in the office about a plastic keychain that gotten stolen off their son’s backpack on the bus the day before angry that I hadn’t solved the problem.

    Now I am sitting at home, social distancing to the best of my ability, worried because I may not have a full paycheck for this month, and emailing with first graders who promised to blow up my inbox to practice and keep them writing. I’m doing my best to stay calm, but gosh that was and still is stressful!

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  • ron March 16, 2020, 3:49 pm

    The president’s/coronavirus task force’s press meeting this afternoon was definitely a far more somber affair than past briefings, I’d call it grim. I’m assuming the government has given up hope of geographical containment and primarily wants to limit rate of spread. President Trump has done a 180 and is now all ‘we need to deal with the health crisis and the stock market will recover after we do that’ , rather than prior approach of sugar-coating to stop the stock slump. He must have been told that things are going to get really bad. Others clearly had the same reaction because, unlike last presser, the market fell the whole time he was speaking.

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    • Dear Wendy March 16, 2020, 4:00 pm

      Italy is up to 300 deaths a day (for the past couple days); we have six times the population of Italy. So, unless we’ve gotten ahead of the curve a little faster than Italy and that measure is successful, we’re looking at approximately 1800 deaths a day in about two weeks.

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  • ktfran March 16, 2020, 4:24 pm

    I just made a donation to our local food bank. According to their web-site and updated Covid19 page, a monetary donation makes the biggest impact right now. If you are financially able, please do the same in your city.

    Yes, I’m worried about people getting sick. I’m equally as worried about those people who will be out of jobs for several weeks. And the children who depend on schools for meals. Etc.

    Please help those less fortunate than you. Especially now.

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    • Copa March 16, 2020, 5:10 pm

      Thanks for this! I’ve been looking for ways to help. I put my name on a list to help buy and drop off groceries for those who can’t (so far no takers!), but am looking for things I can do NOW.

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      • ktfran March 16, 2020, 5:14 pm

        NP! It’s the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

        I’m trying to find little ways I can help too.

  • PurpleStar March 17, 2020, 9:03 am

    My son works at two casinos. They are on shut down as of midnight. He is security at one, so will be working two shifts a week but that gaming company is paying all employees through month end. The other is laying everyone off, as of now.

    He is at the little Walmart right now trying to find pet food and some regular food items. We are in good shape right now, but have family friends that he is trying to buy for as their food, and money, are already running short.

    Which is the crux of this. Down here much of our economy relies on tourism. Those in the service industry are mostly hourly employees who live pay check to pay check. With hours being cut and lay offs happening, we will have many families facing shortages. If your store has groceries, which, it turns out, the one he at this morning really does not, buy some extra to give to others.

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  • PDX816 March 17, 2020, 1:32 pm

    Bored, I am feeling bored. Portland is all but shut down (except for my job, of course). I get it and I will definitely abide so we can help get in front of all this, but it’s SO HARD. I don’t like forced isolation.

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