MARCH 24, 2020
WHERE WE ARE AT NOW IN THE U.S. (per CDC) AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DAY…..
- Total cases: 33,404
- Total deaths: 400
- Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)
March 24, 2020 – Day 5 from my previous encounter with the public in a grocery trip… and last night sorta resets that clock.
Yeah.. yesterday afternoon I got an advertising email from Walmart saying they were unfolding a separate grocery time for seniors. Anyone over 60 can enter the store on Tuesday mornings from 6am to 7am. Anticipating Walmart’s level of logistical proficiency I thought that this was more than just the store opening to bare shelves… that seniors were getting some head start on overnight shipments to the store. Arlee said she was up for it… so this morning we went over there.. before the sunrise. There were about 15 people milling around in some semi-line thing, waiting outside the door.
As the minutes ticked away folks seemed friendly and relatively jovial in the 50 degree temperature. Some had masks, most didn’t. But we all stood the 6 feet apart in a forming line. I grabbed a shopping cart from the parking lot rather than spend the time getting one inside… others did as well. By the time the doors opened there had to have been maybe a hundred in line… and I was about the first 15.
As expected, when the doors opened most.. but not all… made a slight sprint to the back of the store where the paper products were. Interestingly, a couple Walmart staffers were there to make everyone form a single file line.. and they handed out a single 12-roll toilet paper and an 8-roll paper towel. No one got more. Not a bad supply actually. I told a elderly guy standing next to me (or was that me?) that toilet paper will be the new coin of the realm in the apocalypse. While I was in the paper line I asked Arlee to check out the handi-wipes… and she did find a stock of 3-plastic bottle packs of Lysol or Clorox wipes… no one apparently rationing that out.. so we “horded” three 3-bottle packs. Since there is only two of us spending the apocalypse together this was a pretty good “haul”. But given we were all seniors, not a lot of people there were buying to support a family anyway. Frozen pizza.. the good and cheap stuff, was pretty much gone. Although I did find something appealing after moving the overpriced stuff outta the way.
But as we got to the checkout the cashier made us surrender two of our three Lysol/Clorox wipes packs. Apparently she was the last rationing authority. She also nabbed one of our two cans of disinfectant spray. I was just happy I was able to keep the pizza (my priorities are sometimes different from Arlee’s). Arlee just told me that her cousin that lives out in Ohio (where that GM Lordstown plant is located) told her that in certain places like their Walmart, plastic barriers are being installed at the checkouts to prevent the virus. Checkout people never are 6 feet away in meeting the public. A lot of occupations have their own risks.
This excursion out into the public has occurred while already being in day 5 of possible exposure from a previous grocery run. I guess we now have two clocks running. This could be a real record keeping challenge down the line… unless we just hunker down and stay inside.
So far in all this…. to the bast of my knowledge, no family or close friends have been affected by this. I have family in Chicago, and extended family up and down the Eastern Seaboard. My closer friends.. Phoenix, rural Ohio, all are unaffected so far. Blog friends and acquaintances… blog buddy, Pete, from rural England is feeling possible early symptoms. My well wishes for him and his wife… and hope it’s something else, like a bad day with Boris Johnson. As far as our desert community of 25,000 people… no rumors going around so far. We have one of those smaller regional hospitals serving a number of rural desert communities.. but no reports of them floundering. In-town traffic has noticeably been reduced but it’s still busy. Given the Governor’s proclamation to stay home and hunker down.. you’d sure think there was a lot of “essential” people in this town meandering about.
There is a growing number of people just expressing more than “Have a nice day.” when parting. “Keep safe.” Take care of yourself.” “Stay healthy.” is a personal fave. It used to be you could just sense the “elephant” in the room when chatting with people before this pandemic regarding the great political divide. Now it’s all about the virus, quarantines, hunkering at home, and rumors of who got infected. This town also has its fair share of aging Baby Boomers… so there’s that not-so-subtle realization that we ain’t gonna live forever like we thought we would back in our 30’s.
I just heard on the ham radio that some local print newspaper that comes out bi-weekly is printing an extra blank page or two in anticipation of toilet paper running out, as a service to the public who wishes to save old newspapers for just such a need.
It’s a brave new world.