Coronavirus check-in thread 2.0 March 1, 2020 1:27 AM   Subscribe

A second catch-all thread for mefites living in areas directly affected by novel coronavirus (aka SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19) picking up from the last one. Again, please no idle speculation, catastrophizing, or chat. Let's stick to actual news, updates, personal experiences, and more mutual support from and to people dealing with this virus in their daily lives. How you all doing?
posted by Gotanda to MetaFilter-Related at 1:27 AM (1004 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

I’m not sure how widespread this kind of thing is yet, but I’ve popped down to Bangkok for the weekend and have been asked multiple times if I had been to Hong Kong; one place wasn’t willing to admit me at all when I said yes. Thailand is highly dependent on Chinese tourism and it’s been very quiet here, even busy areas like Siam and Chatuchak Market.

Back home in HK, more and more high-level voices are trying to make people stop wearing masks, including Bernard Chan, the convener of the Executive Council. This piece from a local doctor is an excellent perspective on the crisis and what we all do next.

Keep washing your hands, everyone!
posted by mdonley at 2:24 AM on March 1, 2020 [20 favorites]

After his racist remark on TV (a more accurate translation is "eat live rats"), it has cost the governor of the Veneto region no more than a shrug, a private letter, and an "it came out wrong", to get back to lobbying the government to re-open the region for business, despite local cases of covid-19 still being on the rise.
posted by progosk at 2:41 AM on March 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

My wife returned to the US from Beijing on Feb. 2nd, apparently getting one of the last flights out. No symptoms. Her large software company employer directed all the people in her situation to work from home for 2 weeks, so she holed up in the downstairs bedroom and didn't go out. She's fine. I'm not eating in restaurants because of the COVID-19 thing and the bad flu season; the workers can't afford to stay home when they're sick.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:51 AM on March 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

mdonley, that article by the HK doctor you linked is amazing: from the poignant fire analogy to underlining focussing on incidence, and generally framing the political aspects inherent in this phase - very sobering, useful framings that are so direly rare right now. TFTL, a lot.
posted by progosk at 5:06 AM on March 1, 2020 [10 favorites]

Interesting times: I now find myself placed precisely inbetween (a five minute walk form either) a coughing, appointment-cancelling pontiff, and two central Roman churches the French embassy has just announced the closure of, following yesterday's confirmation that a priest who'd just left town by car a few days ago, has shown up in Paris positive for Covid-19.
posted by progosk at 6:38 AM on March 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Any links to advice on what to do after traveling to Japan? All the online advice I’ve found is for what to do while in Japan. I’ve just come back to a small island community in the US and don’t want to share covid with my community if I turn out to be an asymptommatic carrier.
posted by Capri at 7:36 AM on March 1, 2020

Capri, can you ring your local health department and ask? I wonder what advice they would have for asymptomatic people other than “avoid gatherings and crowds, work from home and stay in as much as possible”. Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 8:25 AM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sending good thoughts and general "hang in there" vibes to everyone.
posted by cooker girl at 8:43 AM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Currently on vacation in Arizona, and kind of apprehensive about heading back to Seattle. I know I’m not in any high danger groups and that there is a vanishingly small chance I would acquire it on a short flight, but still.... anxiety.

Also, REALLY dreading Asian markets opening soon. Work hasn’t had any communication about the spread and we’re a logistics company, so things are precarious to say the least.
posted by lattiboy at 8:51 AM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

The governor of Washington State has apparently declared a state of emergency, over the virus. I live ~20 minutes from KIrkland, which was just mentioned in my morning NPR broadcast as supposedly having potential cases.

My work, in fact, is there and has a large CHinese contingent. We've been told to stay home if we feel at all sick, and to generally exercise caution. It's weird to hear a city so close ot me in the news.
posted by Alensin at 8:54 AM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

CLose to, of course. :/
posted by Alensin at 9:01 AM on March 1, 2020

Coronavirus has probably been spreading undetected for six weeks in Washington state, study says (WaPo)
Genetic analysis of samples taken from two patients suggests that the coronavirus has been spreading for about six weeks in Washington state, where the first U.S. death from covid-19 was reported this weekend. The finding could have broad implications for the spread of the disease in the rest of the country. [...]

“This strongly suggests that there has been cryptic transmission in Washington state for the past 6 weeks,” [Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle] wrote. “I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China.”
posted by katra at 9:39 AM on March 1, 2020 [6 favorites]

Here in Seattle I still don’t know whether I have/had COVID-19. An older relative who was supposed to be visiting today has postponed their stay. (A sensible precaution even if I just had flu.)

Somehow it’s not surprising that US authorities have been so 100% focused on cases coming from outside the country that they totally failed to stop or even detect the spread of the virus within our borders. And now what, are they going to cordon off the entire West Coast? The type of large-scale containment that other countries have done with varying success seems like it won’t even be an option here. At best we’re seeing things like school closures after people have already gotten sick.

(On the other hand, it seems clear now that containment was never going to work more than temporarily, since enough cases have managed to slip through the net to keep spreading the epidemic to more countries despite best efforts.)
posted by mbrubeck at 10:01 AM on March 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

How to prepare for the coronavirus like a pro (MIT Technology Review)
If the virus keeps spreading and isn’t contained, there is a chance that everyone will come into contact with it eventually. For people like [Jamie Heywood, a health-care entrepreneur,] and [Alistair Miles, who studies malaria at the University of Oxford], the longer you postpone getting it, the better. The longer the delay, the more doctors will know about how to make serious cases less lethal. Within a few weeks there may be an idea of what drugs help; in two years, there might be a vaccine. What’s more, the more slowly the virus spreads overall, the less acute its effects on society will be. “My assumption is that everyone in my family will get this virus at some point, but I think you can delay it,” says Heywood. “The value of delay can be substantial, for society and for you.”
And to highlight what I think is a key part from the SciAm article above:
We should prepare, not because we may feel personally at risk, but so that we can help lessen the risk for everyone. We should prepare not because we are facing a doomsday scenario out of our control, but because we can alter every aspect of this risk we face as a society.

That’s right, you should prepare because your neighbors need you to prepare—especially your elderly neighbors, your neighbors who work at hospitals, your neighbors with chronic illnesses, and your neighbors who may not have the means or the time to prepare because of lack of resources or time.
posted by katra at 10:15 AM on March 1, 2020 [25 favorites]

Mod note: Hey folks -- there's an open CV thread on the blue, maybe put general news stories there and keep this thread to personally-affected MeFites-talking-to-Mefites?
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 10:23 AM on March 1, 2020 [17 favorites]

Flying home from Seattle in the next few hours, if all goes as planned. We were in the middle of a big crowd yesterday when we got a text from a local friend about the state of emergency declaration. It was an interesting feeling, like, “Welp, if we’ve been exposed we’ve been exposed.”

Going back to the land of arid, polluted, thin mountain air, I expect to wake up for the next couple weeks feeling like hell anyway. I’m not worried about me, but I work in a hospital setting; I’m nobody’s hypochondriac but I can overthink just about any set of confounders.
posted by armeowda at 10:55 AM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got sick on Feb 23rd, a couple of days of dry coughing, and then what seemed to be symptoms of a regular cold. I rarely get sick, it has been years since I had a cold or flu. And I am fine now. But a few days ago I learned about the Oregon case, someone who lives in a suburb of my city and whose symptoms first showed up Feb 19th. And of course, now, I am wondering, did I just have a very mild case of the coronavirus? There is no way to know.
posted by nanook at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I didn't realize there is an open CV thread on the blue, and one of the ways I usually 'talk' is through posting links, so I took "let's stick to actual news" as an invitation to post some of what I've been reading lately. I also don't discuss my location, but I wouldn't have posted here if covid-19 wasn't impacting my daily life. I'm one of your neighbors with a chronic illness, without a lot of means or time to prepare for this, and I'm a frequent flyer at a variety of medical facilities, just trying to remain calm and navigate all of this in my community.
posted by katra at 11:04 AM on March 1, 2020 [20 favorites]

I'm in a metro us area, I've been sick for two weeks. I ran a fever (just barely not high, it abated after two days and I've been wheezing ever sense). I stayed home when I had a fever, 10 days later now I'm on my second round of steriods. I still have a cough. I'm very short of breath. I've seen two doctors, haven't a a flu swab or any blood test of any kind. I do already have asthma so this course isn't atypical for me, in general the advice is just to take it slow, asthma isn't contagious go about my life . I was put in observation for an asthma attack plus tachycardia in august of 2019 with a similar presentation. No one has suggested I stay home from work ( I was out for two days during the fever phase) My wife and daughter both got sick but recovered quickly enough. Nobody has bothered to ask or investigate what I've got as l as I haven't been out of the country. And I got a flu shot. I already have a nebulizer to give myself breathing treatments and have been doing that on the regular at home and work.

I'm not super worried, but I'm not comfortable either. I just feel like the CDC hasn't been paying attention to community transmission possibilities when it should have been but nothing that can be done about that now except start testing people. Most likely I just have some generic boring normal cold that is now just my lungs protesting . I just wish I could know for sure.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:38 AM on March 1, 2020 [13 favorites]

My parents (in Seoul) continue to "attend" church virtually. The church leadership is livestreaming services (I think it's just the minister and a cameraperson in the church, everyone else is viewing from home). They are in self-imposed social isolation. They say they are fine, but gaining weight because they snack all day long and don't go anywhere, when normally they have a ton of social appointments that they take the subway to and walk to the local open-air market.

Small businesses are reeling. A friend from Daegu tells me that Facebook groups popped up for local restaurants to sell their perishable food to residents at a discount. That way the restaurants don't take a total loss on food they already purchased, and people can stock up on food. Oh man, I wonder how the neighborhood market vendors are dealing.

Masks are available for purchase (four per individual) via the Korean postal service's online shopping portal (which is a convenient way to send Chuseok gifts to relatives such as giant boxes of pears, but also makes a handy official distribution network for masks).

My friend just cancelled their wedding because their family includes people with histories of lung disease. They are hoping to be able to have the wedding sometime in the summer, but don't have an actual date.

Another friend bailed on an upcoming work contract that required substantial international travel because their partner also has reduced lung function.

Life for friends and family in Korea seems in suspension.
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:24 PM on March 1, 2020 [22 favorites]

My office is about a mile away from the hospital where the first US death occurred. The nursing home with a cluster of possible SARS-CoV-2 cases is in the same neighborhood. I last visited the hospital a couple of weeks ago for a doctor's appointment and I have close friends who were there a week ago to visit the ER. Another close friend works at the hospital. Oh, and my wife is a teacher in the area and has a health condition that leaves her more susceptible to infection.

I've been operating on the assumption that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating within the local population since at least the beginning of February, so I've been proactive with hand washing, distancing myself from sick folks and avoiding large gatherings for several weeks now. A handful of coworkers have been out sick over the past month and my wife reports that a number of her students have been out as well. My wife had a cold a week or so ago, but has since recovered with no complications. I haven't felt 100% this past week, but that's not atypical for a week or so after my wife has been sick. It's peak cold/flu season, after all.

Otherwise, it's been business as usual up to now.

The next week or so will prove interesting as there will no doubt be an increase in the number of local cases and the cycle of fear, uncertainty, and doubt takes hold. I wouldn't be surprised to see school closures in the near future. My employer has a strong safety culture due to the nature of our business, so I suspect management will recommend that I stay home and work remotely at some point. We dropped by the grocery store yesterday to grab a few things, and it was crowded with people who were very clearly stocking up for... something.

So, no longer business as usual.

All of that said, I'm not fearful of what's to come. Anxious, yes. Taking precautions, yes. Staying informed, yes. Hunkering down for the zombie apocalypse, no. I've often felt that Americans aren't particularly adept at estimating risk. We either overestimate and freak out over worst case scenarios, or we underestimate and assume everything will work out absent any attempts at preparation or mitigation. I expect we'll see this dichotomy play out in the public sphere over the next few weeks as reality sorts itself out.
posted by kilroygbiv at 12:33 PM on March 1, 2020 [14 favorites]

The first two Coronavirus cases have been confirmed here in Iceland, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any further spreading.

My wife is perturbed by the whole thing, as we have an eight month old daughter and my wife has had lung problems in the past. It’s making her generally quite anxious, and it doesn’t help that all four of us in the family have had a mild but persistent cold for over a week now. I’m mostly fairly calm about it, but I’m taking all precautions I can.

The only direct effect so far on me is that I’ll have to cancel a writing retreat later this month (where I was going to attempt to finish a novel manuscript I’ve been working on since 2017) because my son was meant to stay with my parents during that time, but my parents will be traveling in the week beforehand, and none of us want to take any chances.
posted by Kattullus at 1:28 PM on March 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

I had my tonsils out last month and had complications afterwards that has left me still recovering three weeks later. That's been enough to keep me to continue staying in my apartment on the grounds my immune system still probably hasn't recovered and will continue to work from home for the next week or two. I went grocery shopping at 6am yesterday because I was awake and picked up a bunch of shelf stable pantry items (soup, dry beans, etc) that I'd go through anyway. I realized I really enjoyed that experience and will probably continue that even after I feel comfortable being around larger groups of people.

I had a long call with my 76 year old aunt in Shoreline, WA yesterday about getting me instructions on how to take care of her dogs and who in her neighborhood could check in on them if she were to fall ill and have to go to the ER. More because someone like her would try to tough it out because she'd be worried about her dogs more than herself.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:46 PM on March 1, 2020 [8 favorites]

We dropped by the grocery store yesterday to grab a few things, and it was crowded with people who were very clearly stocking up for... something.

I was expecting to see more panic buying (like when it snows...) but the only thing that I noticed at the store yesterday was that every can of every brand of chicken noodle soup was sold out. Plenty of other soups available, just not that kind.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:01 PM on March 1, 2020 [9 favorites]

Was traveling last couple of weeks in January (ORD/ NYC / DFW / PDX), got sick 2nd week of February, felt like a flu for a couple of weeks and now it seems to be chest congestion / cough that won't go away. Saw a doc early on, he wasn't concerned unless I'd been traveling in Asia, but now it seems pretty clear that the bug's been stateside for some time. COVID? Random flu? Something else entirely? Who knows. Luckily I'm otherwise in fair health and I don't get out much anyway, so I'll be fine I'm sure. Getting real tired of this cough though.

I'm seeing pics and chat on Portland social media about big crowds at Costco and other places as people try to stock up. Lot of people grabbing bottled water, which is... weird? Portland tap water is great and as far as I know not a transmission vector, but okay. I guess potential emergency = stock up on bottled water for a lot of folks.

Mostly I worry for my friends' parents, I'm estranged from my own but several friends have parents in their 60s-70s who aren't in the best of health to begin with. Much love to our older Mefites, take good care of yourselves please and stay in as much as possible.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:32 PM on March 1, 2020 [11 favorites]

We have a big trip planned this summer. We've gotten travel insurance in the past, but this time we got the more expensive "cancel for any reason" insurance (which only covers 75% of costs).
posted by ShooBoo at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Over the last 36-48 hours this has blown up in the Pacific NW newspapers from "Oh yeah, that thing that's going on over in Asia" to "HOLY CRAP DEFCON 1 STOCKPILE WATER AND CANNED GOODS," without seeming to ever, like, pause at a middle point. (As Two unicycles points out above, I'm *really* not seeing the issue with water, but can't hurt to have that on hand for earthquakes in any event.)

I'm really not worried for myself--though I'm over 65, I have a robust immune system and no health problems--but I *am* concerned about being a pre- or asymptomatic disease vector and transmitter. Especially because Monday I begin training for my new job as a paratransit van driver here in Portland, which means in a couple of weeks I'll be spending significant amounts of time in an enclosed space with elderly folks, people with major health problems, etc. I just hope that my new employer has some plan in place for this, or is developing one, because getting sick myself, eh, whatever, but if I unwittingly gave someone else a virus that killed them -- I don't know how I'd deal with that.
posted by Kat Allison at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2020 [21 favorites]

I have had a lingering cold for a while now; really nothing more than a runny nose and congestion. One of my coworkers has had what appears to be a bad cold, but nobody else is showing any symptoms. I’m supposed to fly to visit my elderly mother soon, and I am considering canceling the trip. Not quite sure what to do.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:45 PM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Well "good" news is that somebody who is sneezing and has a runny nose almost certainly has a cold, since that's not a typical presentation of covid-19! But that obviously doesn't make your decision easier.
posted by Justinian at 3:58 PM on March 1, 2020 [8 favorites]

I am honestly more worried about flu exposure at the moment, Since that’s way more likely, and the vaccine doesn’t seem to be working super well this season. At least my mother is excited about my upcoming visit, and her residence home hasn’t told her to keep visitors away (which has happened in the past).
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:09 PM on March 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

I feel everyone who has had some kind of cough or cold like they might this time of year anyway and then you have to wonder... Early last week started getting super wheezy with my usual pollen allergies this time of year. They were really bad, so I'm walking around coughing, red eyes, and sniffly and wanted to make a sign that said, "It's just allergies. Like everyone usually complains about this time of year."

But then the allergy stuffiness turned to sinus infection (as it does) so that definitely put an end to a work trip I had been looking forward to. I was supposed to visit our partner university program in Danang, Vietnam. This was a big opportunity for me to make some connections there that could develop in the next few years. But, maybe later in the year. They hope I can come back "when everything settles down." Work did not cancel my trip; I did. But we're still waffling about graduation. At this point it seems sure that it will be canceled, but no announcement yet. It's supposed to be March 20.

It's been very frustrating to see how slow and inept the Japanese government and health system has been compared to our neighbors in Korea. Korea: quick drivethru testing. Japan: we'll get to it in a couple weeks and it'll cost you. (It won't cost much though, we do have a national healthcare system.) The Abe administration has been worse than useless and others had to try something in the absence of leadership. The governor of Hokkaido went out on a limb and declared a state of emergency on Friday at around 6pm. SOE here isn't like a declaration in the US; it doesn't trigger funding etc. It just made everybody go into panic mode.

Mrs Gotanda was supposed to lead a tour group to Hokkaido this week and another next week. Most customers were sticking with the tours, but the SOE meant venues all canceled at once. So, cancel and pretty major financial hit for her business. But we'll be OK with that. It's more the disappointment. She'd been working on these tours for over a year and the first of the three went wonderfully a couple weeks ago.

I ran into a former student and we chatted a little bit about the virus etc. She asked if I was nervous and I said no, but that Mrs G has some respiratory issues so we do have to look out. She said she was part of a vulnerable group too. It's really heartbreaking. Her mother is scheduled for surgery for cancer in a few weeks. If her mom or anyone in the household gets sick they will cancel. So, right at the time she wants to be closest with her mom she's afraid to bring contagion to her. If only it was easy to get tested.
posted by Gotanda at 4:14 PM on March 1, 2020 [13 favorites]

My family stocked up with two week's worth of food today in case we end up quarantined. I went to Costco in Woodinville yesterday to get a new set of tires, because they were the only Costco that had the kind I needed in stock and I didn't feel like waiting for them to be ordered, and it was a ZOO. They'd sold out of toilet paper by noon after the news about the new Coronavirus patients had come out. And all the stores I've been to have sold out of bottled water, too, which I don't really understand? Anyone have an explanation for that?

But we got all of our groceries, and dog food and all that jazz. We have a basic plan for quarantine in place. It'll suck for me to be out of work for a few weeks but given the nature of my job that seems like it'll be inevitable either way.
posted by mollywas at 4:38 PM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

People know "stock up on bottled water in case of disasters" and don't pause to think about why that is; physical damage to infrastructure, which is somewhat less likely with microscopic virus.
posted by Justinian at 4:42 PM on March 1, 2020 [11 favorites]

cargo cult disaster prep
posted by Justinian at 4:42 PM on March 1, 2020 [17 favorites]

Yeah, I did a big shop this weekend - we have someone in poor health in the house and I want to minimize my contact with crowds in the near future. Hand sanitizer was out - I'd gotten some already - lysol wipes were selling briskly, the Bob's Red Mill grains were all out except coarse cornmeal (???) which was a bummer since I really like to cook with them. Nyquil-ish cough and cold liquids were mostly out, but I had some left over from an earlier round of illness.

As to water - I haven't really bothered since I'm not really expecting water or power to go out (knock on wood). I mean, if most youngish healthyish people don't get that sick, there will be enough personnel to keep that stuff running; the crisis will be having enough hospital beds for the seriously ill. But I have found that I'm getting nervous because everyone is buying water and now I'm all, "should I get some, what about just fifteen gallons or so" although where I'll put 15 gallons of water I do not know since we've got a bunch of toilet paper, paper towels, cat litter and a month of canned/dried/shelf stable food taking up all the space.
posted by Frowner at 4:50 PM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

As Two unicycles points out above, I'm *really* not seeing the issue with water, but can't hurt to have that on hand for earthquakes in any event.

I think that's exactly it. When my spouse and I were figuring out which cold and flu meds to restock and considering what shelf-stable food we eat and could maybe keep a larger supply of, we thought about emergency supplies in general. And I asked how we were on water in case of an earthquake. I don't think I'm the only one who thought it made sense to check all emergency supplies and restock anything low.
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:16 PM on March 1, 2020 [12 favorites]

I think some of the water buyers are stocking up because they prefer bottled to tap, so it’s the same idea as stocking up on toilet paper, rather than thinking the water system is going down.

A good friend of mine works in the fashion industry in New York and said a lot of people in her office came back from Milan Fashion Week and have been working in the office as normal without any precautions. Seems like things could get very bad very quickly.
posted by sallybrown at 5:20 PM on March 1, 2020 [6 favorites]

Rice and canned beans were cleared out at my local Target yesterday and at grocery stores today here in Santa Clara county where there are 7 confirmed cases. I'm not worried yet but thins could definitely take a very sudden turn and everyone could get told to stay home, so I guess people are semi-panic buying. Honestly here in earthquake country you'd think more people would have emergency supplies on hand.
posted by GuyZero at 5:28 PM on March 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Earthquakes and hurricanes can affect availability of water, also, every emergency preparedness site says you need water. The previous thread made it pretty clear that water & electricity have not been interrupted by quarantines-in-place; I have a few liters stashed away from general just-in-case efforts, but not planning more.

There's good information as well as a lot of lack of common sense on social media. Maine's governor and public health workers are smart and competent. It kind of feels like living in earthquake country and getting a warning of a big one coming. You can use common sense and prepare, but the level of *noise* is ramped way up and feeds uncertainty.
posted by theora55 at 5:33 PM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I haven't seen a lot of water buying although I guess some people are doing it. I don't think water supplies are likely to be interrupted, but my comment is just that even if you already had water, that alone isn't going to help you for very long so people should already have a few days of rice and beans etc on hand.

My guess is that stores will have it all stocked back up in a week or so and then no one will buy it for a while because they'll all have too much.

Apparently Mountain House is having a big run on dehydrated camping food and I have to admit that I ordered some myself with the justification that I wanted to go camping this summer anyway. I figure our house could last a week on lockdown but past that I (and everyone else) are going to want to get out to get fresh produce.

Very surprising that Santa Clara announced three more cases just today, with two of those cases coming via Egypt of all places.
posted by GuyZero at 5:44 PM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Gotta admit, I bought 26 meals worth of Mountain House stuff, but in my defense I'm in earthquake country and should have done this years ago. I wonder how much of the buying behavior is driven by this sort of "oh crap I should have done this ages ago!" type of realization, without specific reference to virus threats.
posted by aramaic at 6:12 PM on March 1, 2020 [14 favorites]

Yeah I bought a whole bunch of stuff... but I live in the middle of Los Angeles and had basically no earthquake supplies. This is, shall we say, not the recommended practice here.
posted by Justinian at 6:34 PM on March 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

aramaic, I am in the same boat - I live in earthquake country and until this weekend had absolutely no preparatory supplies. The fears of coronavirus prompted a big buying binge in my household, but much of it was to buy things I should have bought a long time ago. Anecdotally, many of the fellow Bay Area folks I've talked with about coronavirus are having the exact same "Oh shit, I am so unprepared for any type of emergency..." response. (Still need to put in an order at REI for a few more specific-to-earthquake emergency supplies that I've been reluctant to spend the money on before now...)
posted by rogerroger at 8:27 PM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was so impressed by how Singapore is handling things. They seemed to marry common sense and government support for the necessary steps in a way which compared to Hong Kong seems awesome.

We have our first two official cases. I'm just gradually expanding my pantry so I can self quarantine for two weeks if I need it. A friend tried to get tested at the "official" hospital in Jakarta and was told they're having trouble getting licenses to bring the testing reagent into the country, which is just so Indonesia somehow.

I'm headed to London for my best friend's birthday in two weeks. Fingers crossed I can still travel.
posted by frumiousb at 9:28 PM on March 1, 2020 [6 favorites]

I’m in Seattle and do unrelated work for the county health department, so I have a front row seat without having to be in charge of anything. A few schools around here have already closed for precautionary cleaning, and my daughter’s pre-K closes if the school district closes. We have plenty of provisions, including some overwintered vegetables in the garden, but I don’t have enough glitter glue to get a five-year-old through a quarantine. All the parents I know are stocking up on art supplies just in case.

I have had a cold that definitely isn’t this virus for a week, and I probably have to work from home tomorrow so the lingering cough doesn’t freak people out.
posted by centrifugal at 9:37 PM on March 1, 2020 [6 favorites]

In NYC my water-related worry is that there will be some kind of technological failure of the water delivery system, either in the city or in my particular building (recently multiple pipes burst on the UWS, for example) and that there will be limited or no personnel available to fix it quickly. No desire to go even a day without water if I'm sick.

Also, I mean, water is up there in terms of "better safe than sorry," so I think it's ok if people are just being impulsive.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:08 PM on March 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was talking to a Chinese-born colleague here (in Japan) about her parents in Fujian; she was saying that they're fine, they're not sick, people around them are fine, but the endless ongoing tension is so awful. I'm getting a sense of what she means; nothing has happened here in terms of actual illness that's even as bad as the usual seasonal flu, but not knowing how bad it will get is the worst.
Right now everyone is mostly struggling because the schools are closed, thank you, decision made by male politicians who have never taken responsibility for looking after their own or anyone else's children in their lives.
Anecdotally, I'm another person stocking up on canned goods and water that we should have had anyway for earthquakes (also batteries), but as of yesterday the supermarkets were well stocked with everything; people don't seem to be reacting the way they do when, say, there's a major earthquake in another region. Knock wood.
posted by huimangm at 10:14 PM on March 1, 2020 [13 favorites]

In Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. My book and library loving husband came home the other day looking dejected because the staff at the local library made it clear they didn’t want him in the library without a mask. Which, a. we’re not sick and we don’t need them b. there’s not a lot of masks out there and c. If you’re going to die on a hill, ask people to use hand sanitizer at the door instead? Check to see if all the public restrooms in the area actually have soap?
I’ll go unearth a mainly symbolic mask or two from somewhere in my closet in case he wants to go back. The town we moved to is kind of terrible and did a bad job during last year’s typhoon, which the mayor still doesn’t appear to understand. (My favorite is a recent article where he throws shade at residents for not properly sorting their typhoon debris. Maybe they were just trying to clean out their homes before winter came and the mold started and don’t deserve blame?) We should say something but I ran out of squeaky wheel energy getting them to finally mail us the municipal newsletter.
Lots of events getting cancelled. I know there’s a reason for it, but it reminds me of post 3.11 when everything fun I was looking forward to was canceled because of the tragedy.
I’m glad to hear people are stocking up on things. A couple days supply is better than nothing. Anything is better than nothing!
The sudden widespread interest in working from home here is nice too. I know it’s not feasible for everyone but hopefully some workplaces will notice it might be a good fit in the future.
posted by sacchan at 11:41 PM on March 1, 2020 [9 favorites]

My wife finally acknowledged today that maybe we should stock up on stuff, so I went out for a bit of a shop. The following stocks were a little low: name-brand full-cream UHT milk, toilet paper. Didn't really notice a run on anything much else. This was at a local supermarket in the Perth (Australia) metro area, not Coles or Woolies. Coles and Woolies typically don't have anything we want even when they're fully stocked.
posted by krisjohn at 11:58 PM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm in Seattle, and for the past week, I've been battling sneezing, a dry cough, and a lowish fever. So - aside from a couple of dinners out with friends (stupid in retrospect), an errand, and a sleep study, I've been self-quarantined. I did cancel going to a party, however, and also going to some events at my spiritual center, Sakya Monastery. No use in infecting a significant chunk of the Tibetan Buddhist community in Seattle with whatever I have.

As far as my life? It hasn't changed that significantly. I work and study from home, and generally a homebody anyways. I'm monitoring my fever until I'm at least 24 hours completely fever free before leaving my abode. I'm grateful for Fortnite, work, dancing in my kitchen, Pluralsight courses, podcasts, and books in staving away the boredom. I probably *could* leave, but I am asthmatic, so I'm worried about that flaring up. I'm also volunteering this weekend - if that doesn't get cancelled first.

I have been watching NHK World lately, and I had a hunch that when this hits the USA, it's going to be a disaster - so I put in an order for supplies both on Amazon and Costco *last* weekend - so I'm OK on that end. I just miss hanging out at the coffee shops.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:03 AM on March 2, 2020 [6 favorites]

I also don't currently meet the criteria to be tested, and it's a mild illness, so I'm just staying at home. If it wasn't for this COVID-19 scare, I'd probably power through and be outside more.

Medical facilities have requested that we *don't* come in, unless it's severe, to not clog the UCs and ERs.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:05 AM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Financial Times published a fairly scathing article on Bali's preparedness recently: inadequate isolation rooms, lack of protective clothing for hospital workers, and releasing patients once they recovered, who potentially fit the disease profile but without testing to be certain. 20% of visitors last year were from mainland China. Airport arrivals were down last month but it's just really, really hard to get accurate information. I mean, the Health Minister said we'd all be okay because the every day heat and humidity (NOAA heat index regularly in the Danger range) would kill the virus and there's much less air conditioning.

Meanwhile the stash of masks I found in the hair accessories section of Delta last week is gone but I did find hand gel in the Dettol aisle after the pharmacy denied they had any.

Still, very, very few people wearing masks, no more than the usual pollution or I-have-a-cold ones.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:20 AM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

- Went to renew my driver's licence at the Transport Department here in Hong Kong today as some civil servants are back in the office. Appointments only (I'd made one on Friday for today); no walk-ins. Mandatory temperature checks and mandatory hand sanitizer (that one was new to me!) before they'd let you in. This being HK, the entire appointment was done in five minutes.

- Kids won't be back at school until April 20th at the earliest [PDF]. I haven't actually seen a school-aged child on the street at all today, which is wild.

- I've seen more people than anytime since the crisis began not wearing masks - maybe upwards of 5% of train passengers unmasked this morning, whereas I was the only person without a mask on the train a week ago. A small sample, to be sure, but I'm hopeful this number will grow. Irritatingly, the government is still not explicitly saying that asymptomatic people should leave masks for the truly ill, and says we should wear them on public transport and in crowded places - but also that N95 masks are difficult to fit and may "ironically" increase the risk of infection. (But of course, after the last few months, I don't think anyone here is expecting good communications from the government.)

- Our largest local airlines, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, are on life support - 3/4 of their flights are cancelled, over 100 of their planes are parked, and 3/4 of their 20,000+ employees have taken unpaid leave. Over 78,000 Hong Kongers - fully 2% of the entire workforce - work at the airport.

- The dean of Hong Kong University's medical school says we aren't at the peak of the virus yet, but also says Hong Kong and Singapore are world leaders in epidemic management.

- The economic impact of the virus in Hong Kong is grave. There were huge problems here already in wages not keeping pace with costs, but now every industry is suffering. Last week's promise of a USD 1200 cash handout to every permanent resident will help, but the government's lack of leadership through the last few months has led to some skepticism that they have the vision to spend our thankfully-massive cash reserves in the right way.

- Our political problems continue, with 6 months now having passed since whatever happened in Prince Edward station on August 31st.
posted by mdonley at 2:37 AM on March 2, 2020 [14 favorites]

We just had our first case in Scotland. I haven't seen much change in supermarkets other than slightly less toilet roll than usual. We've stocked up on a couple of weeks of supplies but we just don't have enough storage space for much more. In general, people are pretty sanguine here and while Edinburgh is a compact city, it doesn't have quite the same level of density as, say, London or Paris, so I'm hoping that'll slow down the inevitable transmission.

No masks so far! Probably aren't many around even if you wanted to buy them.
posted by adrianhon at 3:35 AM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Abe's school closures are affecting elementary through high school, but I work at a preschool/kindergarten and we're still open. However, around 20% of our teachers are moms with elementary age children, so while we've got nearly full classes, we're short staffed.

School management was hoping more kids would stay at home, but while we're open we can only encourage parents to keep their kids and Head Office hasn't said anything about a tuition refund, which means it probably won't happen, which means we'll continue to run at near capacity.

Graduation ceremony and goodbye parties have been canceled.

And I'm watching the news nervously because I finally decided earlier this year to leave teaching and get a job in.... Kyoto tourism.
posted by emmling at 4:27 AM on March 2, 2020 [6 favorites]

I live in Beijing. Things are ok.
posted by krautland at 6:03 AM on March 2, 2020 [14 favorites]

I'm located a couple miles from the old folks home where all of the US deaths can be traced, and 2/3 kids are coughing and sneezing right now. Ordinarily I'd send them to school anyway, they aren't in bad shape, but I've had colds for more than half of 2020 so far and I'm scared if I get coronavirus it'll exacerbate lingering inflammation from those and make me really, really sick. I'm still nursing a baby and don't have any backup if I get really ill, so we're keeping the kids home and watching the news. We may not send them back to school for a while.
posted by potrzebie at 10:57 AM on March 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

Here in the Chicago area we've known since January that there were two individuals in Chicago who had contracted the virus after the wife returned from a trip to China (they've since recovered.) Now there are two more people identified in a suburb north of me, husband and wife. He is hospitalized in isolation and she is quarantined at home. According to NBC Chicago News, staff members and their children at several schools in the suburb may have been exposed to the virus via a babysitter whose relative is a nurse and was exposed to the hospitalized patient. So now those schools have been closed and the staff and students are "self-monitoring".

I haven't seen or heard much in the way of panicking around here, but that may be about to ramp up as the above are breaking stories at the moment. Because of this thread I decided it might be a good idea to lay in a few supplies just in case, so I went to the Jewel on my lunch hour. The store is currently fully stocked, plenty of bread, milk, meat, canned food. I didn't see anyone else who was noticeably stocking up on anything. The store was completely out of hand sanitizer though. Luckily I've got at least one big bottle and several regular bottles at home already, and carry a small bottle in my purse to wipe the shopping cart handle since the "complementary wipes" station at the stores seem to be empty a lot more often than they usually are.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:13 AM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

My boss tried to buy hand sanitizer for our library on Amazon today (we normally keep a dispenser on the desk next to the tissues and ear plugs) and she said you could watch the price tick up while she had it in her cart and then it went out of stock.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:09 PM on March 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

My bus in to work is usually half full and today had two other people on it. The bus stop on campus usually merits it's three side by side bus shelters and today was almost deserted. It was a little eerie. (Campus seems as full as usual, so I think people are just driving. It's like they read the Seattle Times article that stated Metro deep cleans/disinfects their buses once a month.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:20 PM on March 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

Canada here. We've been on covid watch for a few days now at work - a person came back from one of the newly affected areas and started showing flu-like symptoms a few days later. We're still waiting for test results to confirm/deny if it is covid (which are taking a really long time and is concerning in its own right). We've had a work travel ban for over a week, and for a couple days now everyone in this location can work from home if they would prefer until we know for sure what the status is. Plus the usual "if you feel sick stay at home" message multiplied by a factor of 10. We normally have 2000-2500 people around and I'd say were in the mid-hundreds today at best. Our cafeteria is basically closed because there's no one here to eat the food and no one to serve it.
posted by cgg at 1:48 PM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

The largest tech industry conference that I participate in every year, PyCon North America, is scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA in about six weeks. PyCon has just made an announcement saying that they're monitoring the situation and discussing the current advice from Pennsylvania health authorities, a lenient refund policy, and when we'll get another update (this Friday, March 6th). I asked another convention I attend whether they'll be putting out a similar update, and they said the PyCon announcement was a useful model to emulate. So I feel like I've been a tiny bit useful to my colleagues and distant neighbors.

I live in New York City. The first case in New York has now been reported. I am glad that I listened to the siderea "here's how to prepare" posts that said: here is how to get into the right mindset to prep in such a way that you won't regret it even if the whole thing blows over. We shopped this past weekend for some additional food, and shelves seemed well-stocked; the local pharmacy was all out of hand sanitizer, but fine regarding everything else.
posted by brainwane at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

I live in coastal Oregon, right on the Washington border, two hours from Portland and three hours from Seattle, so we're going to get it if we haven't already - we're a favorite weekend destination for both cities. I am in the middle of a completely unrelated health emergency (gallstones, a pulmonary embolism) and the doctor said this morning, well, we should probably try to get you scheduled for surgery sooner rather than later, because if the hospital fills up with coronavirus it may be a while before they can fit you in. It was sobering. I've been sort of low level concerned that I've been spending this much time in the ER and doctor's offices (with a lot more to come in the next few weeks) and now I'm like, yikes, here we are and this is a bit too real. I was sitting at the doctor's thinking, just don't touch anything, come on, you can do it. I discreetly used the sleeve of my raincoat to open the doors which I am sure is a fairly useless gesture. Costco was jammed on Sunday but I thought it was just the beginning of the month; now, I don't think so.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2020 [8 favorites]

I'm in Seattle and, a little awkwardly, just topped up my earthquake kit/camping meals stash, so I'm well set for food. Still going out to do a weekly shop tomorrow, so we'll see what the grocery store looks like then. Also my CEO said we're all allowed to work from home as much as we like, which I am planning to take shameless advantage of. (And, to be fair, the building we work in has a lot of people sharing a single bathroom that has extremely questionable cleanliness and soap levels, so staying home honestly might be safer.)
My mother, bless her, called spontaneously on Saturday and did cover a topic other than COVID-19, before not very casually bringing it up. Dad's usually a few days behind, so I look forward to that e-mail. Genuinely the thing I'm worried most about is that I tend to turn into a hermit and never leave my apartment, which is not awesome for my mental health, but is sort of...encouraged right now.
posted by kalimac at 5:44 PM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Another Seattleite here who topped up the earthquake food supply this weekend, and also did a quick check of our other emergency kits for good measure. (First aid, fire extinguishers, etc) Even if it turns out not to be needed, it’s a good exercise.

I’m a full time remote worker already, and my company has just canceled our regular annual gathering due to virus fears. I’ve also been fighting what I think is a garden variety cold the past few days, and don’t want to expose anyone to my sniffles and sneezes. So... I suppose I’m an indoor creature for the near term future.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 6:01 PM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty surprised we haven't detected community spread yet here in L.A. County. I assume its just a matter of time. But every day counts so thats good so far!
posted by Justinian at 7:29 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oregonian here and vaguely nervous. We are pretty healthy but husband takes an immune suppressant med and I’m assuming he’s more at risk. Teen daughter and I went to our first Timbers game last night which may not have been a fabulous idea, but it was an activity for her team and I would’ve felt bad and maybe over-reactive saying no. But today we have gone to three cases in Oregon and I’m trying to decide if I should skip my meeting Thursday-it’s a tribal event and important but all those people in a small space....
posted by purenitrous at 8:08 PM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seattleite and my immune system is shit. But the worst bit for me has been second guessing. I have a headache - what does it mean? What should I do at this stage? What should I do about planned trips to other states? What does this state of emergency even mean?
posted by corb at 8:19 PM on March 2, 2020 [10 favorites]

1. From what I can tell, the States of Emergency mean that Federal funds can be used easily, in case they are needed. Same with the WA State National Guard.

2. I'm asthmatic, and I'm pretty sure I just have a cold. I've been working from home/staying in until I feel better, because there's no use in me going to a doctor unless I get more severe symptoms - like breathing problems. However, with me not feeling at 100%, I'm just staying at home. Just washing my hands a lot, even though I'm home 100% of the time.

3. I did stock up on non-perishable, easily cookable food, TP, and soap. I didn't bother with masks, bleach, Purell, etc., because either I don't need it (masks, bleach), or I already have it (Purell).

4. Keeping abreast of news sites, without obsessively refreshing Facebook or Twitter for every new grain of info about the virus.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:56 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Sydney, Inner West, reporting: there is panicky hoarding. Rice and toilet paper are gone in several locations including Costco. It is fascinating to see which are the true favorites to the usually price-sensitive Sydney-sider. I am going to call this the Gresham's Law of Hoarding.

I and fellow Mefite, Taff, went shopping since she has a car and rice is heavy. I am flying out this week to California and was planning a large shop anyway for the family while I am gone. The buying has not gone to a panic level where the more expensive staples have been bought or all the spam is all gone, but people are expecting to hunker down a bit.

Of course, all the hand sanitizer is gone. But to be honest, the thing people should be stocking up on are booze, candy and caffeine. You definitely don't want to be going through caffeine withdrawal if things get kinda long and weird. I am now off to the doctor to get a renewal on meds.
posted by jadepearl at 9:07 PM on March 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

i am not far from washington dc, where there are as yet (per lancet/johns hopkins CSSE tracker at 12:13 am) no reported cases. a migraineur whose triggers include breathing fragrances, i have routinely worn a surgical mask (bought in a box from walgreens long before novel coronavirus was a thing) while on public transport or in the workplace, for some years. until recently this has usually caused people to recoil from me, often securing me a seat alone on the train; occasionally another person wearing such a mask can be seen in the same train car. no one ever initiates conversation with me. until last week, when the number of other masked persons started ticking up, and people began approaching me in the office or the street to ask where i got it. on thursday some among management asked me who the manufacturer is, but it is not clear from product info online or packaging (made in taiwan, though). when i provided some market reporting on mask manufacturers, it turned out that those management parties were trying to figure out whose stock to buy, although a few among them were concerned enough to accept masks from the supply i carry with me when i offered (first one's free). on saturday, president horrorshow mentioned encouraging 3M (among top five reported manufacturers) to make a greater supply available during the press conference (where an inordinate amount of time was spent talking about afghanistan).

today nobody else on the train was wearing one. several coworkers -- including identified sources of overweening workplace fragrance -- helpfully told me that the attorney general said i shouldn't be wearing a mask. i think they meant surgeon general, but, this misministration being what it is, attorney general is just as likely. i said "it's not for coronavirus but to mitigate fragrance exposure." (it is information i do not generally share unsolicited with my coworkers because we're a pathalogically-hostile and inconsiderate group of children in adult bodies, as a class.) "no," one replied, "it is for coronavirus." "this mask," i insisted, "i wear so that breathing fragrances doesn't make me sick and unable to work." we all laughed (an attentive interlocutor can see my eyes crinkle when i smile, i'm told): pronouns are imprecise. i figure next time i'll just start coughing rather than try to explain myself. i too have had a runny nose and headache for some weeks. no fever though. i wash my hands frequently, and try not to touch much more than i have to. if nothing else, i figure the mask decreases the likelihood that i'll be the vector by which someone else catches my cold.

the messaging in the u.s. has been abysmal; it is worse with the president involved. i can take an expert epidemiologist explaining that the elderly and immune-compromised are at greatest risk because that is true and a refrain we hear in the context of the flu every year. but not when he's standing next to president horrorshow who's crowing about how everything's okay and our response has been unprecedentedly perfect: it's not ok for those elderly, infirm and immune-compromised; that they may not recover is no goddamn comfort nor an index of everything being fine. it is not okay for their loved ones and communities. stop smiling.

last week, when centers for disease control stated we should prepare for community transmission, i accosted several representatives of the management: "the cdc encourages me, in preparation for community transmission, to ask you about telework opportunities." those management representatives looked thoughtful and replied, "hmm," (before inquiring where i got the mask). some days later an email was received encouraging us to, out of consideration for our coworkers during cold/flu season, cover our sputum-holes while coughing and sneezing, providing instructions as to how to wash our hands, and encouraging us to apply the heavily-scented sanitary wipes to our workplaces. i wrote back: please provide fragrance-free wipes. my very own canister of "fresh scent" wipes were quickly brought to me by a sympathetic staffer who had been given incomplete instructions, and promptly, abashedly, taken away when i pointed to that part of the label.

my best wishes to those closer to known infection clusters, and where no cases are reported. be well, y'all.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:16 PM on March 2, 2020 [21 favorites]

Another Sydneysider. There's a potential case at my work, so the people in that building have been told to work from home while they disinfect the building and wait for test results.

I imagine this will become more common, and I'm glad my work is super conservative about this stuff. Also glad that I have almost 800 hours of sick leave, as does pretty much everyone I work with.
posted by kjs4 at 9:30 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm in Seattle and my coworkers are generally amused that people know about Kirkland outside of the context of Costco. The office is still charging for parking because the county has not declared public transit unsafe to use, and I am super glad. I am still meeting people socially.

On the other hand, we're telling people to not travel internationally and those abroad to go home. Our managers have promised that if we have to work from home for an extended time and we are not as effective at home due to circumstances outside our control (does my cat count?), that it will be taken into account come review time. We have been reminded to take our laptops home every night, as the office might not be accessible (due to containment orders or a shutdown of public transit or what) the following day.

Basically, if Dow Constantine (our county executive) or the office lead tells me to stay at home, I will, but barring that, I will go about business as usual.

Why do people stock up on toilet paper? If you're washing your hands anyway, why not fill a bottle with water and rinse / towel?
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:12 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

(Seattle) The stocking up on paper goods is to enable having 21 days of paper goods for a household of N persons under quarantine. I gather that local-area healthcare workers are being prepped for a 14-day quarantine cycle but the 21-day planning horizon became predominant in social discourse for some reason, possibly due to area forecasts regarding service and transportation disruption for the next Big One. I’m maybe shy on propane and I question my water storage solution from an architectural standpoint but in terms of basic King County disaster prep I feel like I’m hitting my marks.

I hit Costco midweek, just ahead of the craziness, roughly prompted to do so by both needing to do our six-month run sometime in the next four weeks and by the stock market response to an obvious federal clown-show response to what, even last Wednesday, was forecast to be an historic pandemic.

We don’t have kids. Our parents, who live far from us, are elderly and ailing. My wife and I are immuno-compromised. The numbers do not appear to be on our side in the case of such a pandemic.
posted by mwhybark at 11:58 PM on March 2, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh, and use soap. Hand sanitizer is not nearly as effective. Amusingly, I have hundreds of bars hand from an old business venture.
posted by mwhybark at 12:00 AM on March 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

Well, I'm starting to have clients cancel on me for the foreseeable future (I'm a dog walker/sitter). Everyone is either working from home, or canceling travel plans, or has to stay home with their kids because schools are closed. Except for the ones who work at hospitals, of course! My mom fell and cut herself tonight, and she's getting stitches right now at Evergreen, which has us all very worried even though I'm sure they're sanitizing the hell out of the place.
posted by mollywas at 12:07 AM on March 3, 2020 [6 favorites]

I know someone who does one-to-one tutoring and all of their clients have canceled as well. The economic effect will be very uneven. Hope work picks up again soon and your mom's OK, mollywas.
posted by Gotanda at 1:57 AM on March 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

Here outside Sydney where the bushfires only recently abated, things are pretty grim in my tourist town.
A Chinese friend whose business involves primarily cultural tours from Chinese students reports booking cancellations were 80% after the fires, but are now 100%.
Amusingly, he told me to avoid Chinatown, next to my city job, and assured me he was. Walking around there, I was struck that restaurant numbers were well down at lunch, but the remaining patrons were largely westerners. I think there is a stronger cultural wariness of epidemic if you grew up in Hong Kong or Beijing, compared to suburban Sydney - which is understandable. I do feel there is a section of the media/twitter who is looking for a story about anti-Chinese racism, but I don't think there is any genuine animosity (except in people who already harboured it).

Sydney had such bad particulate pollution that many people were wearing masks in January. So there are plenty around, but fewer now than then.
My work is involved with emergency response, so we have been burning the midnight oil for months, and recently had severe rainstorms, following the fires, so this is just another on the list. Our work travel warnings are reasonably conservative - work from home for 14 days if you have had any contact with a growing list of virus hotspots. Again, our business has stuff in place so this is not a big inconvenience.

My spouse works in healthcare, and they seem a bit behind the zeitgeist. Some of it is the reality that the small number of actual clinical cases in Australia has not yet caused any particular burden - and healthcare is always busy.

My own 'prepping' is pretty modest. We tend to have a pretty full chest freezer of food bought at a discount, and we have a big dry goods pantry, a water tank, and methods to deal with power and travel disruptions that happen more often out here on the end of utilities lines than in the inner suburbs. I did check we had a bunch of paracetemol and ibuprofen to manage fevers and aches. I bought a pack of nicotine gum for the smoker in the house, as if they were legitimately kept from replenishing their smokes I would like to avoid their mood.

Of more concern are my elderly parents, who would be vulnerable to severe consequences if they did get sick. Happily, they are sensibly cautious, and prepared to spend some indoor time if community transmission becomes common.

Interestingly, thinking about the wide range of considerations just in my family gave a hint that dealing with a modern day pandemic becomes very different to even a few decades ago:
- my adult daughter studies at a uni with a large number of international students (financially diabolical for the universities bottom line, incredibly disrupting for those foreign students who have organised their lives around attending, and a potential infection vector for locals, given the uni are funding foreign students to skirt travel bans by quarantining in 3rd countries) and also works retail. There is a fair chance her studies might be disrupted too if half the class can't attend. And I would hate to be working in retail if community transmission becomes widespread.
- my spouse works in maternity, so both has contract with health workers with a higher risk of potential infection, and must consider her clients at a heightened risk in pregnancy.
- my son volunteers for the local fire service, who provide manpower if people are needed to organise/respond to community issues/emergencies.
- both my daughter and I commute 100km, so we are regularly part of widely spaced communities.
- just looking at my calendar, and I could be some "super spreader" you read about in the newspaper as I go to work, do community volunteer work, visit shops, schools and hospitals in a usual week.

Compared to say, 1970, which I was talking to my Dad today, he rarely had contact with anybody who had travelled more than 10km and definitely not overseas, compared to my own rare week I would not meet an international traveller.
So I am very aware of the challenges public health faces, and stepping up my hand washing and general vigilance.

I'm hoping sick people will stay home or go to the hospital if necessary, and I'll be doing my part to encourage that, especially to be a loud voice in an office where sometimes people "work through" sickness because of deadlines.
posted by bystander at 3:51 AM on March 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

(Appreciate all the firsthand reports and people talking from their own experiences. Just wanted to note, we've had a post about anti-Asian racism in the wake of the coronavirus in which Mefites talk about their own experiences, let's be conscious not to downplay or dismiss those incidents. Especially if you aren't someone who's subject to that kind of racism, it's not necessarily going to happen when you're there to see it.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:57 AM on March 3, 2020 [25 favorites]

Oh hi, my wife and I are doctors here in Seattle (I guess maybe that's common knowledge?). My wife is infectious disease at the county hospital and I do homeless outreach and urgent care/ER work. It's been a busy few days, but I'll give my check in.

I think most people know, but what happened over the weekend isn't so much new spread of COVID19, but increased recognition of cases that have been here for a while, as a result of testing becoming widely available due to new criteria for testing and increased capacity. Ideally, this is testing that should have been up and ready to go at least a month ago, you make your own inference about why this might not have happened. I don't want to be accused of politicizing anything, but you decide whether it's a fair political topic.

Washington State and King County in particular has a very robust public health infrastructure relative to the population here and I suspect there are other hot spots around the country that just haven't self-identified YET. At any given time in any metro area, there are hundreds of people in the hospital with fever and respiratory symptoms without a known pathogen which we simply presume are "Community Acquired Pneumonia." What happened is that a lot of these folks got tested for coronavirus and low and behold a lot of them have it. Some of the cases have been in the hospital for weeks with only basic respiratory precautions. The molecular genetics study that came out late Saturday showed that the "new" cases were identical to the first identified case more than 6 weeks ago and with best estimated transmission rates based on information from China (which has been spotty and no one here believes it is as high a quality as it COULD be if for instance a world health leader nation had been engaged in this pandemic from the beginning -- again the reader is advised to make their own political inferences about this), the R0, pronounced R-naught, an estimate for how many people may get infected by each index case, is 1.4-2.5, and the presumed incubation period is 14 days. Using some modeling techniques, that means there are 1000-2000 people in the PNW from the single index case. That's if you assume no other entry to the country which seems impossible to me. It is wise to plan as if this is much more widespread already. Yes, it is possible there are people on Metafilter who may have had this and recovered already.

So over the weekend, the medical community I think pretty rapidly understood that this is already out there in the schools, hospitals, shopping centers, etc and we are beyond quarantine and contain. So, oh shit, from a public health standpoint what does that mean?

I have to say, that our state health officer and our director of county public health (Kathy Lofy, Jeff Duchin) along with Governor Inslee have been providing pretty responsible leadership. No one has sugar coated anything and I do think we are close to needing to shut down big public gatherings. There has been a lot of action on the ground creating a response in each hospital and ED on how to triage and assess people, who needs testing, how to isolate, etc. My wife is on conference calls twice a day with updates.

I was called to work in the ED down in south King County where there have been some cases because they are having a dedicated extra physician for a "fever/respiratory" pathway. I turned it down because I need to figure out what to do with this clinic for homeless people who use heroin I'm running. Without getting all blamey and discriminatory, there is special fear about people without a home in King County. Most don't use shelters (which obviously are going to require intense monitoring for symptoms and even so if there's a 14 day incubation where transmission *might* occur without symptoms -- I don't want to think about it), but it is difficult for these people to self-quarantine, most live communally and take advantage of services communally, most have several health problems, and they hate going to the hospital where they get treated like shit. There's not a lot of guidance for what to do here and that's where I am spending my efforts. Oh yeah, and treating their heroin addiction and mental illness and unrelated physical complaints.

We made it through SARS and H1N1 and MERS. On the ground, this feels a lot different and people are much more activated. In reality, this is more like H1N1 than anything, but this is the first time I've been personally a little worried. (It's also the first time I've had school age children getting on the bus and going around picking their noses and licking door knobs and whatever.) I am trying to separate hysteria and news media hype from the reality but since it is all unfolding rapidly without any national response (reader please continue to infer political implications) I want to be prepared. I had a couple hours yesterday where I was able to go to the store and stock up for a couple weeks' of food, medication, etc. We personally plan to avoid crowds for now (we should have skipped the Sounders game Sunday and will skip this coming weekend), washing hands frequently, eating well, getting enough sleep, and generally staying as healthy as we can and be reassured that the vast majority of people who get this simply get sick and recover.

For everyone, if you are generally healthy and have a fever, cough, muscle aches, etc and you are holding your own YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET TESTED. Please allow your doctor, ER, urgent care the capacity to treat those who would benefit from things like oxygen, fluids, etc. People with chronic diseases, particularly lung diseases and immunosuppression, who develop these symptoms, yes, you should get assessed but call or check your provider's website first because they likely have a special system in place to deal with this and avoid exposing healthcare workers and other patients. If you show signs of SEVERE illness -- shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion, then yes you too need to be assessed. If you yourself are otherwise healthy but have flu symptoms and you are a close contact of someone with chronic health problems you should do everything to avoid contact and if you cannot, then you should consider getting assessed.

I'm actually more concerned about the population's response to this pandemic than I am the virus itself. The school district already sent out an email saying they've had reports of anti-Asian harassment and to cut that shit out. Fucking nice. Someone's going to get mad at a place like Lifecare in Kirkland for not containing the infection, someone's going to get into a fight over the last box of frozen chicken nuggets at Kroger. Here's where some actual leadership would make a huge difference. If the British could continue to have tea through the fucking Blitz, we can stay calm and care for each other through a nasty virus.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2020 [143 favorites]

Amusingly, I have hundreds of bars hand from an old business venture.

This is my favorite mwhybark fact. Were you in Fight Club?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:50 AM on March 3, 2020 [20 favorites]

The first rule of Arbitraging Remaindered Inventory From A Defunct Prior Business Venture Club is

Portland continues to feel like it’s glancing around trying to decide whether to start getting worried; there’s a case in Washington County, one county over, but between PDX as the major travel hub for NW Oregon and SW Washington and the amount of commuter travel between Multnomah and Washington Counties I don’t think anybody really expects that a confirmed case next door means Portland actually skipped anything. The long incubation is really a huge whammy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on March 3, 2020 [9 favorites]

My spouse works in a hospital and has to fly to Arizona (From BC) at the end of the month to meet up with her elderly mother (who winters there) and ten drive back to BC. MIL can only stay in the US till the end of the month but isn't able to manage the long drive on her own. Not that a travel ban from Canada is likely but it should be an interesting trip.

Did our weekly shop on Sunday that includes Costco and things didn't seem any busier than usual; maybe even slightly down. No shortages noticeable. Of course there also aren't any confirmed local cases (just Vancouver) so maybe that is tempering the panic. I'll probably end up spending ahead a bit next week on stuff like peanut butter, rice, beans, lentils and flour just in case the worst happens but generally we have a month or more of food stuffs on hand between dry goods, canning and freezer normally. And if the disaster can hold out another month early garden will start coming in. Planting extra rows of lettuce and early peas as a hedge.
posted by Mitheral at 9:28 AM on March 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Dashboards/Data Dumps/Tracking for Coronavirus

Johns Hopkins (


Setting it up this way so that it turns up quickly in a site search if I look for 'dashboards'
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 AM on March 3, 2020 [8 favorites]

I think most people know, but what happened over the weekend isn't so much new spread of COVID19, but increased recognition of cases that have been here for a while, as a result of testing becoming widely available due to new criteria for testing and increased capacity.

So most of the relevant numbers related to COVID19 are subject to change in the United States?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:59 AM on March 3, 2020

the hopkins tracker showed a u.s. increase of 20 cases, or 23%, yesterday, ZeusHumms.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:31 AM on March 3, 2020

Point taken.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:42 AM on March 3, 2020

Especially if you aren't someone who's subject to that kind of racism, it's not necessarily going to happen when you're there to see it.

French TV channel Canal+ was made to apologise very pronto for their (pretty gross, apart from the cultural slur...) video riffing on Italy being the current European infection hub.
posted by progosk at 10:43 AM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

So most of the relevant numbers related to COVID19 are subject to change in the United States?

Our health department is already telling people based on symptoms over the phone that they likely have it without testing and if they are doing ok to stay home. The "official" count reflects confirmed positive tests. There are certainly many more people with it than the 108 (at last check) who tested positive.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:03 PM on March 3, 2020 [12 favorites]

Just went to my doctor's office / clinic here in Portland for a followup on my tonsillectomy. At checkin was asked if I had any symptoms, had been around anyone with symptoms, or had traveled internationally. They still had n95 masks to hand out and hand sanitizer as well.

Glad I had an early appointment because I was the only one in the waiting area for the most of the time (and their layout is lots of small waiting areas along a big open corridor so you're not shoulder to shoulder with a sick person). Now waiting to hear back if my blood work shows I'm healthy enough to risk travel (would like to go see my fiancé in Belfast this April) but otherwise recommended I continue to work from home / self quarantine as an at risk person.

Taught my Doc the foot tap greeting and I'm gonna be pleased if that becomes a thing at their office now.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'm in Boston, work for a fairly large multi-site company. We got an e-mail last week suggesting that we bring our laptops home with us daily in the event of an office shutdown, in addition to canceling all business travel. We already had hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes as routine items in our generic office supply cache, but around the same time a bunch of hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes appeared in all the common areas as well. This week, there are masks in the office supply cache as well and all gatherings of 50 people or more have been canceled, company-wide.

In blatant defiance of both reasonable, sensible advice and unfounded mass panic, people are still coming into the office coughing all over the place and not wearing masks. Fucking pick-me motherfuckers.

As for myself, I already wash my hands regularly throughout the day, but I started applying hand sanitizer every time I return to my desk from elsewhere in the office or when returning from lunch as well, just as an extra precaution. Given the fact that, as mentioned above, people are coming in to work while blatantly sick, I'm probably just going to work from home for the foreseeable future, especially now that there are confirmed cases in Greater Boston.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2020 [9 favorites]

This is my favorite mwhybark fact. Were you in Fight Club?

Lol, no, although I do have some of the same sort of trousers sported by Mr. Pitt in said film.

Regarding the soaps, see this comment.

They are such excellent soaps. I still have a bunch of the really badly damaged bars too. Would your clinic be able to use some as a takeaway, or is hand sanitizer gonna be best for the rough sleepers you serve?
posted by mwhybark at 2:27 PM on March 3, 2020 [9 favorites]

A Chinese coworker of mine went home for the holidays and has been stuck there for over a month at this point. He can't work remotely due to security concerns. We had to get our CFO to step in to force HR to count this as time covered by his "Extended Illness" paid leave bank (even though it's not his illness) or he wouldn't be getting paid.

One of my direct reports cancelled his 2-week trip to Japan to visit a friend that was supposed to start last Saturday. Almost certainly the right call, but he's understandably bummed about it.

My fiance had a sore throat Saturday night that late Sunday turned into sore throat + chest pain + deep cough + fatigue but no fever. She went to urgent care yesterday -- it wasn't coronavirus since no fever, but they diagnosed her with parainfluenza, which I had never heard of before. I'm working from home at the moment to look after her.

We stocked up on non-perishables on Saturday, and I stocked up on pet supplies yesterday. Debating whether or not I should do a big grocery run tonight so we have more fresh food in case I get sick too. I feel fine but don't know if I'm already carrying that parainfluenza or not.
posted by bassooner at 2:51 PM on March 3, 2020 [6 favorites]

Big conferences are being cancelled, large non-work-essential work gathering are being cancelled, it's just a matter of time before all meetings are cancelled.

posted by GuyZero at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2020 [14 favorites]

Starry Bartfast, thanks for the health department shoutouts! My work there isn’t on this outbreak (not yet anyway), but I’m super appreciating our communications team’s smart and careful messaging on this. There ARE some things being done to support unhoused folks who come down with this - they’re apparently installing the first modular isolation unit for people who need a place to be isolated right now in White Center, and there’s discussion of how to keep it from spreading in overnight shelters - there should be more about this in evening news today.
posted by centrifugal at 3:44 PM on March 3, 2020 [9 favorites]

I'm going to Grand Canyon soon. It'll be curious to see what the visitor numbers look like; normally you can't swing a cat without hitting a group of Asian tourists during high season, or European (particularly German and Dutch.) I shouldn't be spending much time at all in the high traffic areas; we're going there, setting up camp, and then going in via a non-corridor trail the next morning. Once we descend I doubt we'll see more than 10 people in the next three days. It's only a six hour drive for me, so it's not like a massive undertaking, but this is probably the spot in the state that sees the most traffic from overseas. When I'm there, I'm always cognizant of washing my hands, not touching my face, etc, because flu bugs and colds can spread quickly among tourist groups. This certainly heightens awareness, though.
posted by azpenguin at 4:17 PM on March 3, 2020 [5 favorites]

Did our weekly shop on Sunday that includes Costco and things didn't seem any busier than usual; maybe even slightly down. No shortages noticeable. Of course there also aren't any confirmed local cases (just Vancouver) so maybe that is tempering the panic.

Hoo boy, the Arizona Costcos are a completely different story. Selling bottled water as fast as they can stock it. Lots and lots of dry goods being bought and they've even run out of a couple of types (dammit I wanted my 20lb bag of Basmati rice...)
posted by azpenguin at 4:19 PM on March 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

One of my direct reports cancelled his 2-week trip to Japan to visit a friend that was supposed to start last Saturday. Almost certainly the right call, but he's understandably bummed about it.

I'm supposed to fly (domestic, not that it matters now with a bunch of US cases being confirmed this week) home for a wedding at the end of the month. I've got a bit before I need to think about canceling, but at this rate I probably will have to. We'll see.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:31 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been signing off all the video conference calls I've been on with "wash your hands" instead of "have a good day / afternoon / evening"
posted by mrzarquon at 5:41 PM on March 3, 2020 [5 favorites]

> mwhybark: Amusingly, I have hundreds of bars hand from an old business venture.

Are you herrdoktor?
posted by theora55 at 5:55 PM on March 3, 2020 [5 favorites]

Broadway QFC and Ballard Fred Meyer were out of Purell but not rubbing alcohol and bottles of glycerin were 2 for 1 at the latter. I guessed correctly I could make my own therefrom and bought accordingly. My mantra for the week has been wash my hands for two choruses of Happy Birthday and never touch my face with fingers unwrapped in a Clorox wipe.

Currently working at the new Burke Museum and getting totally OCD about wiping down everything touchable on the hour. And not missing the crowds.

By the way, the Tufts-Love T-Rex skull is one of the most complete such of all the 30 in the world.

Interestingly, Tyrannosaurs had the same straight ahead field of binocular vision as do hummingbirds, so you can stand in front of the Tufts-Love skull aka Elvira and get the Lunch Eye View. Which is all kinds of awesome.

And remember your mantra: Wash your hands, don't touch your face.
posted by y2karl at 8:44 PM on March 3, 2020 [6 favorites]

They are such excellent soaps. I still have a bunch of the really badly damaged bars too.

just as an aside if you had an etsy store called Fucked Up Soaps or something i would prolly buy a bunch, i buy soap scraps by the pound on a regular basis
posted by poffin boffin at 9:24 PM on March 3, 2020 [17 favorites]

Where my wife works, at a university with a medical campus (in a state where the virus hasn't been reported yet) they sent around an email about their coronavirus plans, including setting up a quarantine facility to use if the need arises. Where I work, they've announced that business-related air travel anywhere now requires approval from a senior vice president or above.

I and the majority of the people I work with all have the ability to work remotely, so so I'm bracing for that announcement.

My wife and I have air travel plans to two different states coming up in April, and I'm wondering if we'll have to reevaluate in the next few weeks.
posted by emelenjr at 4:05 AM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm a nail/finger biter and have two slobbery kids (6 and 3) and, despite being geographically nearly as far away from the west coast in the US as is possible, I fully anticipate that containment efforts, while laudable and necessary as dictated by smarter folks than me, have failed and that my family and I will inevitability be exposed. Hell, I'm scheduled for a trip out of the country next week to Central America and just going to an airport terminal (let alone 3 of them, and the same three in a week when we return) is a helluva indication that exposure is likely if not guaranteed. I'll do all the hand washing and try to keep my hands out of my face but here's hoping that solid medical care and our infrastructure here keeps holding up because I feel like this is going global whether we like it or not and now it's just a matter of degrees and management of the same.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:57 AM on March 4, 2020

As I don't drive, I find myself taking what is now the public petri dish to work. Coming home, the number of people wearing latex gloves and high end C95 masks was two. It's only going to inch up. Especially annoying was the lady who sneezed on her hand held a full six inches away from her nose. JFHC, the urge to kill was palpable among the seats surrounding. I did not breathe for two blocks.
posted by y2karl at 8:22 AM on March 4, 2020 [6 favorites]

The LQA Met Market yesterday was a bit busy, though admittedly it was lunch rush. There was someone wiping down spoon handles at all the bars, but they weren't particularly noticeably out of anything that I saw. Maybe some of the peanut butters and a few brands of toilet paper? I chatted a bit with people at checkout and the woman ringing up my stuff commented that it was like last year's snowpocalypse, and there were definitely people noticeably stocking up. I bought basically a regular grocery shop and am hoping for the best.

(I didn't check for hand sanitizer, but did buy a few more bars of soap. I still touch my face 2938743 times a day, but I live alone, work from home nearly full-time, and am generally something of a hermit anyways. Also I will take literally any excuse to buy their fancy soap.)

just as an aside if you had an etsy store called Fucked Up Soaps or something i would prolly buy a bunch, i buy soap scraps by the pound on a regular basis
Just wanted to second this. see above in re: my soap habit.

posted by kalimac at 8:25 AM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

This morning my building in downtown Chicago had a janitor washing down the elevator buttons before you got in the cab. Don't think I've ever seen that before.
posted by hwyengr at 8:41 AM on March 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

My building in downtown Boston has the staff clean the elevator buttons and most of the door handles at least twice a day as a matter of course. I haven't noticed whether they've increased the frequency of cleaning, although I also made the decision to work from home for the week anyway.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:16 AM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Well, my discovery this morning is that apparently 'round here the local health authorities are refusing to test anyone that isn't hospitalized, regardless of symptoms or risk factors. I guess that kinda makes sense in view of the ongoing test-fuckup, but is sort of not encouraging? There's a guy in my neighborhood that's been sick for two weeks now (people have been leaving food on his doorstep) and he can't get anyone to even take down his info in case policies change as he's not "sick enough".

...which sort of implies that community transmission can't be (or won't be) tracked in non-emergency cases? I guess I was naively thinking there'd be some sort of vaguely organized tracking for potential cases.

If anyone here cares to become famous, making a "I may have Covid19" website that anonymously tracks cases (maybe by postal code? Add in approximate travel reporting?) would probably garner roughly eighty billion clicks.
posted by aramaic at 9:52 AM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]

> This morning my building in downtown Chicago had a janitor washing down the elevator buttons before you got in the cab. Don't think I've ever seen that before.

I've been wiping down the elevator panels in my apartment atleast once a day when i ride them - the elevator is next to my apartment door so I grab a bleach wipe on the way out and wipe the panel down as I descend.

I'm already working from home and staying in, so now it's just a task to keep me busy (since when I do this, no one else really appears to be around anyway).
posted by mrzarquon at 9:53 AM on March 4, 2020 [6 favorites]

In re elevators: I read this on here but am posting it again - you can use an old ballpoint to make an elevator button-pusher. If you have a dried up one, simply keep the cap on the end and take the cap off to push the buttons, then recap. Otherwise, you can glue a spare cap over the ballpoint part so that you have two caps but only one comes off.

My hands are all kinds of messed up from all this hand-washing. In the past, I've been a regular but not totally-CDC-standard washer for precisely this reason - scrubbing your hands thoroughly and drying vigorously four or five times a day every day is very hard on the skin, no matter how much lotion you use.
posted by Frowner at 10:08 AM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]

i mean?? i just push buttons with my elbow? same for pushing open doors, or door handles? bc it's physically impossible to touch your elbow to your face. and if i'm using it to touch someone else's face it's for A Reason.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:23 AM on March 4, 2020 [33 favorites]

I absolutely hate myself for it, but I’ve had to resort to using disposable latex gloves a lot. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and we’re doing a shitload of cleaning, painting, and DIY getting our house ready for sale, and my hands were just getting raw from all the washing, even with frequent use of lotion.

We’ve had two cases of Covid-19 turn up on Merseyside in the last 24 hours; both related to the Italian outbreak, and a few quarantinees diagnosed in the days before that, so it’s definitely here. I miraculously found a couple of bottles of hand sanitizer, which we use only when there are no hand washing options when we’re out. I am so very thankful my husband has been on sabbatical since Xmas, and doesn’t go back until mid-April, and that he’s likely able to work from home if it gets really bad.

I am just so livid that it takes something like this to make too many people understand how fucked up our zero hours/inadequate sick pay culture is.
posted by skybluepink at 10:39 AM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

bc it's physically impossible to touch your elbow to your face. and if i'm using it to touch someone else's face it's for A Reason.

Bad news: I think they are declaring a moratorium on street brawling for the duration. You’ll have to text elbow icons at people so they can punch themselves.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:00 AM on March 4, 2020 [23 favorites]

I'm pretty surprised we haven't detected community spread yet here in L.A. County.

WaPo: "Los Angeles County declared a local health emergency Wednesday, as officials confirmed six new cases of coronavirus.
Four new cases were also confirmed in New York on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) announced, as the virus continues to spread in the United States. American workers face increasing disruptions to their routines as companies, schools and local governments implement precautions to curb the outbreak, with many firms restricting travel or weighing work-from-home arrangements.

Meanwhile, the outbreak appeared to be relenting in China. Far more new cases were reported outside the country than within, suggesting Chinese authorities’ draconian efforts to curb transmission may be paying off at home even as the casualty count mounts elsewhere. The World Health Organization said Tuesday that covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed about 3.4 percent of those diagnosed with the illness — a higher rate than experts previously estimated.
Personally, I've noticed that I haven't heard back from my primary care doctor's office in slightly more than a week, which is unusual, considering my typical and recent circumstances. My informed guess, based on local news, is that they may be overwhelmed by patients with concerns related to covid-19 symptoms. In related news, WaPo published this overview yesterday: Should I get tested for coronavirus? Here’s when to stay home or see a doctor.
“This is much more widely spread than people realize,” said Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “The events in Washington state really show that this has established itself in our communities and will continue to do so.”

[...] It’s a good idea to call your primary-care doctor if you have both a fever and a cough, said Maria Raven, chief of emergency medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. And if you have shortness of breath, unremitting fever, weakness or lethargy, it’s definitely time to get in touch with a health-care professional, according to Adalja. [...] Wherever you go, Adalja said, you should call ahead and tell them that you’re experiencing respiratory symptoms. That enables them to be ready to protect other patients when you arrive, such as by quickly outfitting you with a face mask or directing you to a separate section of the waiting room.
posted by katra at 11:22 AM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

A lot of comics people on my timeline agonizing over whether to do ECCC in Seattle and a lot have pulled out already. I think ReedPOP probably needs to just cancel or postpone it but they are reluctant because of money and do are fence sitting. If the county or state does step in that may give them that may be the push they need.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

Mod note: Friendly reminder, let's keep the general news updates and resources over in the current general coronavirus post on the blue and keep this check-in thread for personal check-ins from affected people/ people in affected areas.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

In Minnesota, I've had bronchitis with a nasty cough for a couple weeks now following a cold, and even though we've had no confirmed cases in the state and no reason to think I've been exposed, I feel like everyone is afraid of me when I cough in public. Co-workers are keeping their distance and making weird comments, and in the grocery store this morning, I coughed a bit and the lady next to me gave me a horrified look and hurried away. People are scared even here.
posted by beandip at 11:43 AM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

Heh. I've been the same. Cough due to having had a cold for a week. Keep getting those looks from people. Never has a snotty nose been so reassuring.

Good news today was that the chap I know two streets over who was under home quarantine (after returning unwell from N. Italy) has been tested and is all clear.
posted by pipeski at 1:18 PM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Had a co-worker come in last Wed. with the actual diagnosed flu, thankfully I didn't get it. Some of the earliest cases are a 90-minute drive away, but things are pretty normal. Superbowl busy at Costco but nothing unprecedented. Have gone to a Taiwanese bakery, Shanghaiese restaurant, and a sushi restaurant in the last week and saw the usual amount and makeup of patrons, though the Shanghai restaurant had equipped all the staff with individual sneeze guards. My company is banning travel to a few countries and cancelling all but "essential" travel to other ones. I'm thinking of booking a spring break trip on a plane, but skipping the sporting event I'd normally attend.
posted by wnissen at 1:55 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm on another deserted Seattle bus and I've never wanted to touch my face more. I don't know why everything started itching when I left the house, but what the hell. Also, as far as I can tell commuters are still riding the buses at peak times, but people are limiting other trips. And probably a lot of seniors aren't going out during the day. Which is probably sensible, if difficult. I mean, a lot of seniors are, not my mom, of course. They came to stay in Seattle this week, are taking the bus every day, and are going to take the train across the country in a few weeks. All I can really do is offer hand sanitizer, encourage them when they feel inclined to wear rubber gloves, and hope for the best. Coming of age protesting the Vietnam War apparently doesn't lead one to being terribly risk averse.

I can mostly keep myself from touching my face, except for my glasses. Do glasses count? I hope not, just let myself have that one thing and wash them when I get home each day.
posted by Margalo Epps at 2:01 PM on March 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm in New Orleans, and so far there are no reported cases in Louisiana. However, we just got done having a huge party where 1 or 2 million guests showed up (Mardi Gras), and we are a pretty big cruise port, so the general feeling is that it's here and we just don't know it yet.
posted by tryniti at 3:51 PM on March 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

I just got the news that our church is eliminating hand-shaking, holy water, and the wine in an attempt to limit coronavirus. I'm having a lot of emotional feels about it, even though I know we have an elderly population who can't afford it. But I still feel a sense of loss all the same.
posted by corb at 3:51 PM on March 4, 2020 [13 favorites]

I hear you, corb.

My sangha (Sakya Monastery) is cancelling all public services and events for the rest of March, effective immediately. The resident monks are essentially self-isolating for the month, and will still do daily prayers and chanting. And there was an event I wanted to go to tonight, our monthly Tsok Offering.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:33 PM on March 4, 2020 [8 favorites]

It is very weird catching myself instinctively reaching to shake people's hands or hug or high-five and, just the nano-second before contact, both of us realizing we shouldn't and then trying to gracefully recover to something more acceptable. So far, elbow touches end up being the mutually accepted gesture over pretend fist bumps by 60-40.

Trying not to touch your face...forget about it. Especially in the five minutes after someone says you shouldn't touch your face.

It is completely crazy they haven't canceled Emerald City Comic Con. There's a tiny link to a statement on the website about COVID-19 and they will refund your ticket if you are "uncomfortable" attending. I'm not an alarmist and we are beyond containment and you gotta live your life yadda yadda, but seriously people, don't plan on coming to Comic Con. It may well be cancelled at the last minute anyway and, if not, there *will* be coronavirus spread there.

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:24 PM on March 4, 2020 [15 favorites]

I'm heading out to the US tomorrow to be part of a group spoken word tour, right into the West Coast. At this point I'm mainly going to recoup costs (I don't think they'll reimburse my travel costs as agreed to if I don't show) but it's concerning me that I haven't heard a peep from the organisers about whether the tour's changed at all given the situation. I'm bracing myself for the possibility that the moment I arrive they announce that the tour is cancelled (wholly or partially) and then I'm stranded in California for a little while. I could probably finagle a flight back to Australia if need be, though that's not going to be cheap.

(and that's not counting all the other potential bullshit that might hold me up at the border)

I'm still not sure what happens if they test me at LAX and find that I have COVID19. Do they quarantine me somewhere for a while? Do they send me back to Australia (where I might end up being quarantined in Darwin)? What if halfway through the trip they find that someone else on my flight had it an now all of us need to get tested - where do I go? How much would it cost me, especially if my travel insurance won't cover it? If anyone has any idea about this let me know.
posted by divabat at 6:54 PM on March 4, 2020 [6 favorites]

We went to Costco to stock up, and found: no flour, no dry beans, no toilet paper, no paper towels, no basic hand soap (but some fancy stuff), no jasmine rice, and no regular sliced bread.

We spent a long time wandering, because surely--surely!--Costco isn't out of flour!
posted by meese at 7:10 PM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]


Guidance for people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness
Public Health recommends that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible. This includes public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. This includes concert venues, conventions, sporting events, and crowded social gatherings.

People at higher risk include people:

Over 60 years of age
With underlying health conditions including include heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
With weakened immune systems
Who are pregnant


As as asthmatic and a sports lover, this destroys both soccer and baseball seasons for me. I also just bowed out of volunteering at two different conventions that were going on this month, including ECCC.

(And I *just* bought my March ORCA card, too. WELP.)
posted by spinifex23 at 7:11 PM on March 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm still not sure what happens if they test me at LAX and find that I have COVID19. Do they quarantine me somewhere for a while? Do they send me back to Australia (where I might end up being quarantined in Darwin)? What if halfway through the trip they find that someone else on my flight had it an now all of us need to get tested - where do I go? How much would it cost me, especially if my travel insurance won't cover it? If anyone has any idea about this let me know.

The Guardian is reporting news from Australia on their live blog, including a report yesterday about their protocol for suspected cases on planes. There is also news about the situation in America, including the availability of tests, in the current general coronavirus post on the blue. Also, according to the California Department of Public Health:
The Public Health Department is working closely with the CDC to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. Screening of incoming passengers at two California airports -- Los Angeles International (LAX) and San Francisco International (SFO) -- is ongoing. This is to identify people who have symptoms that could be due to COVID-19 so that they can receive appropriate assessment and care.
And from (Mar. 3, 2020):
As of now, the two authorized testing agencies aren’t billing patients for the tests. Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Health, told us by email that the state is paying for testing and a fact sheet from America’s Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance trade association, reported that the CDC isn’t currently charging patients. That could change, though.
posted by katra at 8:03 PM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

We went to Costco to stock up, and found: no flour, no dry beans, no toilet paper, no paper towels, no basic hand soap (but some fancy stuff), no jasmine rice, and no regular sliced bread.

I was at Costco on Monday. Most things were in stock and it wasn't much busier than usual, though the canned goods had been hit hard and there were some gaps. However, the bread section was completely wiped out. Like, people are stockpiling bread, of all things? (Bottled water was out as well, which at least makes some sense to stockpile and doesn't grow mold.)

But I also went to the regular supermarket today, just a few miles from one of the outbreak hotspots, and everything was in stock. Canned foods, hand soap, TP, etc. were all there. I didn't think to look at hand sanitizer, but I wouldn't be surprised if that had been picked clean.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:10 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Bread keeps for months in the freezer. It goes stale but if the choices are
  • no bread
  • moldy bread
  • bread that needs to be toasted because it is frozen and stale
I know what I'm going for.

Actually we make most of our own bread and routinely put half the loaf in the freezer so it doesn't go moldy before we can use it.
posted by Mitheral at 8:58 PM on March 4, 2020 [7 favorites]


Both Uwajimaya and Viet-Wah have plenty of rice (white and brown), as well as other non perishable staples, readily in stock. And the ID Uwajimaya was especially barren when I went this evening, at 8pm. (I didn't check for hand sanitizer or toilet paper.)

I got 4 kinds of Chinese chili sauce; I'm now set to tuck in for self-isolation if needed.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:45 PM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]

Our local grocery store was sold out of oatmeal. Cleaned right out!

The school district that the nursing home is in, in Kirkland, just announced they are closing for at least 2 weeks.

My kids’ school hasn’t made any announcements yet but I’m thinking we’ve got about ten days.

We’re skipping everything indoors with other people that’s even borderline optional.

It’s depressing and frustrating and I can’t help wondering how long this will last. Weeks? Months?

That’s not even considering the people in my family who are medically fragile who I’m worried about.
posted by bq at 10:21 PM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Tour organisers got back to me - tour's still on but they're keeping an eye on things.

Katra: unfortunately none of those links answer my questions. They just recommend that airports do something useful but they don't actually say what the process IS if you're a traveler caught up in this. And just because the test won't cost Americans anything doesn't mean it would be free for travellers to - if anything we're not usually entitled to free or subsidised medical testing, that's what the mandatory travel insurance is for.
posted by divabat at 1:38 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

I work in southern Westchester County NY and one of the local public schools is closed for the rest of the week as well as two private schools a bit south of us in the Bronx. The community center which has our office is bleaching door knobs etc frequently. Talked to my boss about contingency plans and he was delightfully vague.

I’m honestly a bit freaked out if my four year old’s school closes as he’s super high energy and being cooped up in the house may drive us all crazy.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:22 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

One of the Toronto cases is married to a student at a school a block from where I work. There's a food court in the basement here and I figure I could already have been exposed. I'm pretty much ready for self-quarantine, but I'm worried about work operations, because we're the head office.

And the people I love who work in food service and stuff.

I know that the chief public health officer here is sensible (I was married to her brother! ask me whether we're awesome friends, but I do trust her judgment here) and won't close everything down unless it is 100% necessary, but the loss of a couple weeks' pay could cost a lot of people around here their housing.
posted by wellred at 5:04 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Someone in a synagogue in Westchester was diagnosed with it a few days ago -- and there was both a bat mitzvah and a funeral that weekend. Everyone who attended any of the services is on quarantine for 8 days. Which led to Yeshiva University and one of the local middle / high schools being closed through next Wednesday. Someone who was at the synagogue hung out with my stepson for a few hours a while after being there (but before the quarantine was announced) -- no one says that there's enough of a risk for us to worry, but we're all a bit tense.
posted by Mchelly at 5:21 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Dashboards/Data Dumps/Tracking for Coronavirus
Johns Hopkins (

i like this JH dashboard, thank you for linking to it. can i just say that I really hate web mercator projections though? greenland in reality is like 1/20 the size of Africa, but on that map it's like 1.1 Africas, and like 3x Australias. yowza.

posted by lazaruslong at 6:59 AM on March 5, 2020 [5 favorites]

See also this askme: Best sources for info about COVID-19

posted by ZeusHumms at 7:31 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Katra: unfortunately none of those links answer my questions. They just recommend that airports do something useful but they don't actually say what the process IS if you're a traveler caught up in this.

It's a government agency website that says the airports will be screening for symptoms, not necessarily administering tests. There currently are not a lot of tests available, so unless you have serious symptoms, it seems unlikely that you will get a test. The tests also take time to process at a lab, so unless you have symptoms, it looks like you will walk out of the airport after having your temperature checked and being asked screening questions about symptoms. I assume the airport will tell you whether to self-quarantine, and when to seek medical help, and it may look like the guidelines in the WaPo article linked above. According to the California government website, only a small group of travellers are currently subject to immediate quarantine.

Also, I think it is impressive that Australia is tracking flights, so that seemed like at least a partial answer to what happens halfway through your trip - "a list of the flight numbers and the rows of concern would be published on the NSW health ministry’s website, with advice for travellers," which currently includes "self-quarantine at home for 14 days of the flight, and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms are present."

However, procedures do seem to be changing on a daily or near daily basis, and even the cost of the test, according to a factchecking website, may change. I had also started looking into travel insurance issues for you as well, but then realized that there are so many variations in policies, it is likely best for you to make sure that you have the appropriate coverage with your own insurance provider.

Basically, I was trying to respond with information about the current availability of tests, and the level of containment currently being implemented. I think you have a logical idea about what containment could look like, but I have not yet found credible sources to support that is actually happening at this time. I'll continue to post news in the current covid thread on the blue, and I have found the Guardian to be pretty good at keeping up with international covid news.
posted by katra at 9:09 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

maryland is rated a "low-level risk" state (per report of governor hogan's statement). fewer than 20 patients have been tested (with no cases resulting) and 14 more await results. the interesting part is that the governor announced tuesday that the "the Maryland State Public Health Laboratory has been approved to test for the virus, meaning test results will no longer need to be sent to Atlanta," so results should come quicker.

i infer that those states whose public health laboratories have not be so approved must _all_ be sending test kits to CDC labs in atlanta, as maryland had.

it is not clear from department of health statements who is being tested, but the implication of the FAQ and low reported test numbers is that the set is limited by travel to hot regions or contact with known cases.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:35 AM on March 5, 2020 [5 favorites]

Checking in from DC! My org has a big national conference starting here that amazingly has not been cancelled, but federal agencies are starting to roll out plans keeping their staff out of large gatherings and off all travel. It differs by every single agency, adding to the headache. I have no idea what the next week will look like, but lots of people around me have nasty coughs that they are bringing to the office, and I'm expecting bad news to break here any day. We've been gradually stocking up at home in anticipation of being stuck one way or another, and finally had to cancel our spring break vacation, per spousal company orders. It's going to get weird, y'all.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 9:55 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Of course this is happening when I'm planning to move internationally in 1-1.5 months. Ugh.
posted by wires at 10:13 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

A personal HK update:

- we are slowly ramping up online teaching at my office; various vendors and stakeholders outside the city seem surprised that we still care about little things like “safeguarding”, “working hours” and “lesson quality”

- food and toilet paper supplies are fine but bleach and masks remain impossible to obtain

- civil servants are back at work for the most part but schools are still out; child care remains an issue

- Japan has banned HKSAR/BNO passport holders from visa-free entry and Thailand says that Hong Kongers will need to self-isolate for 14 days; for perspective Hong Kong sends a million visitors to Thailand a year and probably more than that to Japan

- I am posting this at 3:19 am because not sleeping well is apparently just a thing I am dealing with now
posted by mdonley at 11:20 AM on March 5, 2020 [10 favorites]

hi there. so I thought this is the best place to give an update on how we are doing. We live five miles from the first COVID19 hospital death (kirkland), my BIL was on the team that helped treat the first COVID19 patient (everett), and we also live close to the assisted living center where they took out several elderly patients who were infected. Our school district, Northshore, closed several single schools due to staff going under quarantine last week. Yesterday they closed school today and UP TO 14 MORE DAYS. The entire district is closed. they supposedly are setting up remote learning classrooms, and handing out technology (computers and hotspots) to families in need. (cloud learning starts on monday - so far, only half of my kids' teachers have checked in with classrooms) Free/reduce lunch is still being served at the YMCA. BUT ALL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS ARE STILL ON (ok, whyyyyyyyyyyyy my kid still has to go to high school soccer practice?) Our district straddles both counties which had COVID19 cases and deaths. I believe they are being cautious and closing the school buildings for "deep cleaning" because PEOPLE ARE STUPID. A parent volunteer at an elementary school, who had recently been hospitalized and then tested for COVID19 virus, went BACK to the elementary school to volunteer, before they got results from their test. The results were positive, so that class was told and put on quarantine. The district is doing this because people shouldn't have to be told, HEY if you were in the hospital, DO NOT COME TO YOUR KID'S SCHOOL TO VOLUNTEER. Where I live, all the stores are out of toilet paper and bananas. Several companies like Kirkland Google campus and Microsoft had employees that had to go through quarantine, and thus implemented a work from home mandate. This morning, i went to costco, and this lady was having a full on meltdown that there was no toilet paper. It's madness. There were a TON of surgical face masks though. Downtown Seattle, which is about 20 minutes away. It is totally fine there - the downtown Nordstrom also has mandated WFH for its corporate employees, but that is about it. Still lots of crowds, tourists, etc. if anyone has questions, I'm happy to answer.
posted by alathia at 11:48 AM on March 5, 2020 [19 favorites]

It was a week ago, but I came into LAX late last Saturday night from London and as far as I could tell there was no interest in my health status. I think they were only concerned with flights from Asia, Iran or Italy. Good luck
posted by Duffington at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

BUT ALL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS ARE STILL ON (ok, whyyyyyyyyyyyy my kid still has to go to high school soccer practice?)

hooWHAAAT?!?!?! This would cause my head to fly right off my neck. Can you contact the other soccer parents and together agree to ditch this idiotic plan so no one kid gets docked for behaving like a sentient being? Insane in the membrane. (Assuming it's actually the plan and not just the coaching staff having been told to drop everything to bleach the bleachers and thus not having had time to update the website to tell kids to stay home which let us pray it is that because otherwise I despair, for real.)

Meanwhile, there are cases in Tampa and Sarasota, and it's spring break.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:54 PM on March 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

I doubled my grocery shops for the past 3 weeks to progressively stock up, and have otherwise been holed up in my cabin in Tennessee. No signs of shortages, everyone is blase. On Monday I watched the cashier cough into his hand and immediately reach into a bundle of parsely to read the code. First case announced in Tennesee today.

While mostly concerned about my elderly family members, I have a comorbidity that could bump me up an age bracket or two in the statistics, and though the condition is controlled, I can't find any information about what that might mean to my risk. Trips to Boston and Canada coming up in a week for conferences, theoretically.
posted by joeyh at 5:10 PM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Very early stages here in Brazil. 8 confirmed cases which will multiply.
Cancelled a meeting to an Italian shipyard and had an 8 hr conferance call instead.
Hand sanitizer doesnt seem to exist.
Drinking water could get a problem as mains water in Rio is contaminated. It all depends how the supply chains hang together.
Girlfriends daughter was flying to Manila on Air China who cancelled the flight. She purchased direct from airline online and now they wont talk to her.
The potential for total chaos seems to be a little bit more than usual.
Such is life.
posted by adamvasco at 5:40 PM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been wiping down the elevator panels in my apartment atleast once a day when i ride them...

Me, too:

A good Scout leaves the camp site cleaner than he found it.

A useful dictum from a crypto-fascist paramilitary to which I once belonged as a child.

As for the current ubiquity of squirt bottles of Purell, I mean, really, we should started doing this years ago.
posted by y2karl at 5:47 PM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Ugh my band is supposed to go on tour in like 2 weeks. Full US tour starting in LA. I just bought my plane ticket a few weeks ago. Lots of shows are sold out already. 5k to 8k venues. I don’t care about the plane ticket, I just don’t want to be sick on a 3 week US tour. (We are opening for 2 big bands, we are not big enough to sell out these venues no way.). I wonder if the tour will be cancelled? I’m sure some shows will be, I imagine...gah I have no idea how this actually works. Non-contact hugs to y’all from Baltimore. <3
posted by capnsue at 6:21 PM on March 5, 2020 [9 favorites]

Second update: now it's in our county just outside DC. That escalated quickly! I suspect things will really pick up - the officials noted that the unlucky people weren't near any school-aged kids, but people here already have zero chill so the next week will be a madhouse. I'll be interested to see how much of the cherry blossom festival proceeds as normal now. On the bright side, I bet the Metro's about to get a lot less crowded.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 8:50 PM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

governor hogan tonight announced three confirmed cases in the state of maryland, two people in their 70's and one in their 50's, residents of montgomery county all, who returned from unspecified foreign travel feb. 20, learned of their "situation" on tuesday, march 3, were tested wednesday and received their results today. all reported flu-like symptoms, and are safely quarantined in their homes. it was not clear from the reporting what situation they learned of on tuesday, but presumably it would be brushes with confirmed cases or potential exposure wherever they were traveling. the governor has declared a state of emergency but encourages county and state residents (who are not medical personnel) to go about their business as normal.

so now we get a little red dot on that map. yay?
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:56 PM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

New travel restrictions seem to be going into place across the region. One of my (very foolish) coworkers hid from us that she was going to South Korea for a long weekend and we're all waiting to see how that will play out with Indonesia customs.

Work isn't trying to stop anyone's travel plans, but there is a risk with every trip that a home quarantine will be implemented. I'm going to London in a week and I'm just going to need to hope things stay calm until I return.

Indonesia is under huge pressure (much like the US) to start testing more. Seeing the emotional and chaotic response to the two confirmed cases, I kind of understand their position, but they won't be able to get away with this much longer and I guess we all know that it is more widely spread than it now appears.

Meanwhile it appears our mask shortage may have been artificially induced by profiteers. Good times.
posted by frumiousb at 9:49 PM on March 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

Also, I keep trying to stop touching my face and I think I need one of those cones like they make my dogs wear after surgery.
posted by frumiousb at 9:50 PM on March 5, 2020 [30 favorites]

I'm thinking of chilies under the fingernails.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:17 AM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

For face touching I’m thinking of what was called a motoring veil a hundred years ago. Kind of like a bee veil, but prettier.
posted by clew at 12:21 AM on March 6, 2020 [9 favorites]

there's also this:
posted by progosk at 1:22 AM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Nowanights I lay awake until the wee hours listening to the BBC Overnight and toss and turn in sweaty fear listening to the very good bad news between dipping a bored toe into the intellectual -- almost always -- and moral -- apart from the occasional nearly credible UFOlogist and assorted high woo, always -- cesspool of Coast to Coast AM where George Noory has Trumpier than Trump pooh poohed Coronavirus all nitely every night thus far during his intros. As far as I can tell. Then toss and turn in sweaty disgust.

And flip back to the very fine cabinetry of BBC ON.

And so on. Until I drift off around six.

Then get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head and go to work in the interdimensional tesseract of COVID petri dishery of a museum complete with the vector of all vectors: grade school field trips. And me in the least desirable demographic of High Hey, Boomer of most dead by decade.

Plus Hell hath no certainty like a six year old boy on the subject of prehistory life...

-- Look, look, look, mom! That's a mosasaur!


...well, no-o-o, it's a Baird's Beaked Whale, there's a sign on that I-beam over there. They are really very interesting...

--No, that's a mosasaur!

Said with *Ten megatons wrapped in six inches of cobalt of Look That Could Kill.*

A look surrounded by very large bold italic high serif squiggly lines of flashing HATE.

I lie in sweaty terror at night and wrap my hands in Clorox hand wipes by day and find myself arguing with arrogantly assured six year old boys.

Then I think of myself at the same age.

Oh. My. God.

How am I still alive?

Well, the good news right now is the Bewick's wrens are singing in the morning -- and they have fourteen songs, mind you -- the robins are warming up, the house finches are waiting in wings in the wings. Crocuses and daffodils are abloom. While the iris leaf out from their rhizomes.

From certain perspectives, the best is yet to come.

And time is short. One can still breathe the air and smell the flowers. Right now here there are cherry trees blooming that honey the air at dusk, they are so sweet and so rich. So, there is that.


It's spring.

It's a living.

It's a life.

So far.

Immediately it is as if nothing that much has changed that much.

But it will.

My apartment is a mess -- hey, yet another reason to live!

So, I wash my hands to two verses of Rubber Ducky because, hey, Happy Birthday is copyrighted still, amirite? Not to mention the whole Oh, the inanity! factor of the latter...

As I said, How am I still alive ?

And you ?
posted by y2karl at 1:46 AM on March 6, 2020 [22 favorites]

Ciao progosk!

With all schools and universities closed, in theory starting next week my oldest kid (elementary school) will have some sort of tele-lessons through the online portal where we normally get their report cards and grades; we'll see in exactly what form come Monday. Dance and swim lessons are cancelled.

My tourism sector employed friends are having a rough go. For example, all those tour agencies who do group tours of the Colosseum just got screwed, as group ticket availability for the next quarter had just opened up and all the agencies pre-buy tickets. My tour guide friend in the know calculates that if an agency offered just one Colosseum tour a day, with 25 people per group at €24 a ticket, they would have shelled out €54,000 for the coming quarter, just for that one tour.

The agency that runs the Colosseum ticketing is not giving any refunds.

So now agencies are stuck with non-refundable, non-changeable tickets and a whole shitload of cancellations.

Domino effect is that a couple of the larger agencies have banded together to tell their freelancing tour guides that they won't pay more than X per 3 hour tour. The guides know this because the agencies were stupid enough to WhatsApp message all the guides at the exact same time, with near-identical messages. In theory, this should run afoul of anti-cartel laws but, eh, I'm not a lawyer.

It goes without saying that any private tours guides have gotten are also being cancelled. Accommodation structures are also fairing badly, which results in staff being put on part time or enforced "holidays."

Same goes for restaurant or bar staff - shifts are getting reduced, workers are getting shafted.

The center was ironically lovely yesterday though; I don't think I've ever seen it so tranquil in the 20+ years I've lived here.
posted by romakimmy at 2:14 AM on March 6, 2020 [12 favorites]

Poland only just got its first confirmed case on Wednesday, though people were stocking up already late last week. No masks or hand sanitiser anywhere, and public buildings are starting to set up sanitising stations. Public transport turned off the "push button to open" function to air out buses and trams more. I'm more worried about hospitals limiting visitors, because a loved one's surgery was just moved forward to Tuesday.

EU institutions are starting to cancel meetings requiring travel, so definitely taking it seriously.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:15 AM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Massachusetts had its first COVID-19 related school closing yesterday. The school has had no detected cases of the disease.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:07 AM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

HIMSS20, a huge medical industry conference with almost 50,000 people that was scheduled for next week in Orlando has been cancelled at the last minute. Ironically, this is only three days after they'd announced that Trump would be giving a speech there on the topic of medical system interoperability.
posted by octothorpe at 4:27 AM on March 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

Ciao romakimmy!

starting next week my oldest kid (elementary school) will have some sort of tele-lessons through the online portal where we normally get their report cards and grades; we'll see in exactly what form come Monday.

Our two kids are in the last and second-to-last years in two different public high schools in the center of town, so it's interesting to see the similar-yet-different responses on the part of their respective principals. For one the plan, as of tomorrow, is teachers and students keeping pace with work, links and chats via the online "registro" portal, and also optionally via "any other platform of the teachers' choosing"... hello, digital/on-line jungle! Their final exams currently still scheduled to happen in early summer, but I expect there to be some sort of news on that front in the near future, too. (We've yet to hear the other liceo's specific plans, there's a teacher's meeting scheduled today.)

Parent WhatsApp chats have been lighting up both with debunkable junk (which we participate in debunking with some restraint - the social pressures are already showing some strains) and with sound collective reasoning. It feels like we're all in some sort of reality show...

I just caught up with Gaslit Nations first COVID-19 episode - always neatly sobering :-\
posted by progosk at 4:31 AM on March 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Mine has her first INVALSI this year; dunno how that will shake out. Her teachers sent them home with every book they have and has relayed their homework through our class rep so far. We'll see what shows up on the Nuvola portal.

Luckily my parent WhatsApp chats have been suuurprisingly restrained in sending around bunk. I am still sort of surprised about that, to be honest. A few acquaintances have sent around the junk science of "drink hot things to kill the virus" and I promptly send back links (with no further commentary) to and Adnkronos to debunk them. Blessed silence follows, so I've got that going for me.

But you are totally on point about feeling like we are living in a reality show; in my worst daydreams, Covid19 inoculates people against the oncoming zombie apocalypse to follow, and the human race is left with no-vaxers who don't wash their hands and sneeze all over everything. And Grande Fratello contestants.
posted by romakimmy at 5:28 AM on March 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

I’m scheduled to attend a huge conference in Southern California next week. I’m very worried about traveling and hanging out in a convention center filled with thousands of people from all over the US and the world. But I don’t feel like I can bail out, as I’m scheduled to give multiple presentations.

So far, both the conference organizers and my company are pointing to the CDC’s assessment of ”low immediate risk” to the general US population and no widespread community transmission, and saying “see, business as usual.”

I’m a scientist, though not an epidemiologist — so this isn’t my field — and I’m used to accepting CDC guidance as generally authoritative. But this time I’m starting to worry that their messaging is being shaped by political considerations, given the Trump administration’s clear desire to insist that there is no problem. I hate having that thought, but my trust is wavering. I don’t know enough to know if most public health experts agree that large events need not be canceled and domestic travel is fine. Is there a consensus on that?

Company has clarified that they won’t make us travel if we’re not comfortable doing so — but I still think I’d look like I was overreacting and/or slacking if I canceled without a very clear reason, more than just “I’m worried about traveling right now.”

Meanwhile, I developed cold symptoms on Wednesday afternoon. Worked from home yesterday, and will again today. I have no fever and only a mild cough, so I really do think it is just a cold. But I still pinged my (small) office to give them a heads-up to wipe down the office kitchen surfaces with disinfectant, since I used the kitchen on Wednesday before getting sick. Just as well to reduce common cold transmission anyway.
posted by snowmentality at 5:39 AM on March 6, 2020 [10 favorites]

Everything is in limbo. We're supposed to start the new school year April 1. One week of orientation and classes start April 8. At faculty meeting today the trial balloon went up of "Maybe we'll postpone the start of classes a week or two, but we can't roll back the end of term which has already been brought forward because of the Olympics, so we'll just make up the difference with extra classes on Saturdays...." I'm supposed to be planning placement testing and a buncha other stuff for said orientation week, but went in an talked with the administrative staff and we agreed no meetings, discussion, or planning until after March 16 because that's the next meeting of the higher ups. Nothing we can do in the decision void. We do have some contingency plans, but we'll pretty much just seat of the pants it week by week until god knows when.

Was thinking about using this deadzone of institutional inertia to maybe make a quick trip home to visit my parents and an aunt and uncle. But at the rate things are going I might not make it out of JFK and definitely not into the hospital to visit my aunt.

On the positive side, Mrs G has mostly cleaned up the aftermath of her canceled tours. One to start March 19th is still on the fence about coming???? We went out for dinner tonight and had amaaaaaaazing okonomiyaki. Tomorrow we take the train down to visit her mom, steal her car, and drive up to Nagano for some hot springs. We expect it to be blissfully quiet. We're going to look on the bright side and try to gear up for a long spring-summer. Keep washing those hands.
posted by Gotanda at 5:53 AM on March 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

But this time I’m starting to worry that their messaging is being shaped by political considerations, given the Trump administration’s clear desire to insist that there is no problem.

Yes, I agree. The more Trump insists it's business as usual, the more I think we're going to be hit bad in the next couple of weeks. And if we are, that'll be largely because he keeps insisting it's business as usual.

Fact is, given that the symptoms are very similar to the flu and there's so little testing going on, I suspect that there are a lot more cases in the US than have actually been diagnosed. Which wouldn't be a big issue if we were taking this seriously and clamping down on travel and conferences, but we aren't doing that, aside from a few tech companies in heavily-affected areas taking action on their own initiative.

At the moment, I'm heavily leaning towards canceling my trip for my brother's wedding, though I'm going to wait another week or two to make the final decision. My flight routes through SFO, and the Bay Area is one of the places in the country with multiple confirmed cases. We're getting more cases popping up in Boston, too, and while I've mostly been working from home there's a chance I could pick up something at the airport or on the plane and incubate it while traveling. Not to mention the general petri dish effect of mixing up a bunch of people in an enclosed space for several hours and the immuno-supressant effect of travel exhaustion.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:02 AM on March 6, 2020 [8 favorites]

i live in the midwest and have a very special trip to las vegas planned at the end of the month. i'm uncompromising. i'm not worried about being in vegas, but about the flights there. i really don't know what i should do.

and i work for a place that is running a 6,000 person conference in dc in may and we're currently spending our days figuring out how to gaslight members into thinking there's no cause for concern, which is just shitty and gross.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:16 AM on March 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

misanthropicsarah, if it helps, the thing about recycled air on planes spreading germs is a myth, so the only real cause for concern about a flight is being unlucky enough to be seated next to someone who has it.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:22 AM on March 6, 2020 [9 favorites]

Ragged Richard! Thank you so much! I did not know this, and I love knowing this. You are a good citizen.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:25 AM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Updates, updates, updates from the front lines in Seattle...

1. I am sort of pissed off at the number of medical clinics that have closed. I mean, I get in theory that maybe a visit with a dermatologist or a knee specialist could be postponed for a couple weeks, but the optics of medical professionals locking their doors in the midst of a health crisis just feels ethically dubious. There I go applying ethics to health care again...

2. One of the organizations who sends me a paycheck just decided to close system-wide for all "non-essential" health care starting Monday. I was sitting there trying to wrap my head around "What is 'non-essential' health care?'" when I was asked by a manager to define whether I personally am "essential" or "non-essential." I mean, I'm absolutely thrilled that my boss doesn't know what I do enough to tell me if I'm essential or not, but it seems like the only rational answer to someone higher up the chain is "You bet I'm essential!" I mean, heroin addicts going without their medicine seems pretty critical, right? Besides the fact that most of what I am doing this week is counseling and primary care to people who don't have housing and doctors, as well as supporting the organizations that work with them on their infection control plan. Sure would be nice to have a few extra hands out here in the field, but if you think it's better to be at home...

3. Organization #2 who sends me a paycheck, after hours upon hours of meetings has their airtight infection control plan down. Immediate nurse triage for anyone with fever and respiratory symptoms. Isolation rooms in the clinic and ER, separate entrances and waiting areas, masks, etc. Goal is generally to get healthy people with flu symptoms to stay home and unhealthy people who might need testing to go to the ER. Yesterday I saw a half dozen with flu symptoms get totally missed by like 4 people in front of me (phone desk, front desk, check in, medical assistant) and there I am standing in front of someone who sat in the waiting room coughing, sat in a normal exam room coughing, and no one wearing personal protective equipment. Management, who are all non-clinical, literally sent a self congratulatory email out last night about their response to all this. My wife's clinic at the county hospital had a similar sort of plan except someone made the decision to not disable their on-line self scheduling service so they also had a bunch of sick people walk in the front door and sit down in a big public area.

So anyway, yeah, we are not containing this. Also, very important to have front line people with clinical expertise help design your response to things like this.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:34 AM on March 6, 2020 [45 favorites]

Traveled in Arizona for the last week, and the last day of my trip I started to feeling a light cough. I'm home now, and have had full-blown flu symptoms (phlegmy/chesty rattly cough, body aches, mild fever) for the last few days and trying not to freak out. I've been in touch with my doctor, and for now I'm planning to hang out at home through the weekend and hope I improve. If not, I did pre-emptively schedule an appointment for Monday.

YANMD, but should I be doing anything else besides just resting at home, staying hydrated, and taking it easy? I got a flu shot this year, and am generally an otherwise healthy person in my 30s.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:59 AM on March 6, 2020

YANMD, but should I be doing anything else besides just resting at home, staying hydrated, and taking it easy? I got a flu shot this year, and am generally an otherwise healthy person in my 30s.

Nope, just self-isolate for two weeks (if you have to go out, wear a mask) unless your symptoms worsen. That's all that's necessary for people without a pre-existing respiratory condition or a compromised immune system.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:04 AM on March 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

your perspective & work sound essential to me, Slarty Bartfast.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2020 [8 favorites]

I have a flight from the UK to Chicago two weeks on Monday. Wondering how likely that is to go ahead as people here in London seem to be panicking. It doesn't look as though it's a risk area, but given the issues on the West Coast airlines might worry about flying into O'Hare.
posted by mippy at 9:33 AM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Every single store here is sold out of hand sanitiser.
posted by mippy at 9:36 AM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Romakimmy: starting next week my oldest kid (elementary school) will have some sort of tele-lessons through the online portal where we normally get their report cards and grades; we'll see in exactly what form come Monday

A message for anyone whose children might end up in Coronavirus-related "online lessons" from someone teaching kids who have already been home for six weeks and will be home for six more:

As a teacher on the other end of this equation, it's really hard to do online teaching well for a group of children without serious training and experience under your belt. I've been teaching for 15 years and any online teaching I need to do requires an outrageous amount of planning and organisation on my part, as well as the total adaptation of any and all materials I might need. I want to help your child, but there remain only 40 hours in my week for which I am being paid; there simply isn't time to do online teaching as much more than a few-week-long stopgap or as more of a workshop or coaching/instructional setup.

For example, something as simple as having a child come to the board and draw a picture is both eminently doable in every online-class software I've ever seen and a task which varies in the number of steps, shape of icon, or level of complexity required in every online-class software I've ever seen. None of my students, for example, are using the same school software as we use internally; also, our interface isn't in their first language. This leads to very teacher-centred lessons!

Connectivity is often an issue as well; whether the teacher is working from home or at school, is their internet good enough to support what is functionally a web chat for 30 people? And what about breaks, discipline, abusive behaviour, bullying, even exposure to other people at home who wouldn't normally be in a classroom (like parents working from home)? Many of my students' own schools may be fine with them exchanging phone numbers and WhatsApping each other, but we aren't and have strict safeguarding rules that are simple in a classroom but very hard to apply at home.

So far, with our online lessons, we've found...

- even with a pair of teachers in the same classroom, it is hard to generate creativity and interaction

- kids show up to lessons in pyjamas and not really showered, fed or ready for school in the mornings at all - the whole morning routine is out the window

- children cannot type very well, or very accurately, and have hands too small for the keyboard on their parents' computers which they are using at home; ditto for the ergonomics of the home office

- children really need something to DO every three or four minutes but it's hard to get out of the adult "conference call" mentality and stop talking long enough to listen to them

- parents are home and interfere in the lesson, want to talk to you, or want to talk to their child's friend about the book they borrowed at the last playdate

- students who are a bit older will have ten other tabs open, switch off their camera, mute their microphone and just walk away for a while, and there is nothing you can do to bring them back short of getting the school to ring their parents

- students won't have been outside in hours or even days before our lessons and so are very poorly behaved, antsy and just generally disruptive - we can deal with this but it's quite aggravating

- while some of our students are helpful to each other ("Aaaaanson! ANSON. Dude, unmute your microphone! The group can't hear your part of the presentation!" was a favourite student-to-student groan this week), many others are in classes with students they usually wouldn't be for Reasons, and the software we use allows teachers to randomise groupings at the click of a button, leading to quite a lot of social awkwardness!

- homework is done at weird times, obviously copied from Wikipedia or just not done to any mark-able standard and formatting has also been a mess: we've been sent photos of iPads (not screenshots!) which we then have to print out and mark "because I don't know how to type on Dad's computer"

- our teen students have missed socialising and want to spend most of the class catching up on each other's news rather than be instructed, per se

- no one wants to spend much more than an hour at a time on screen, and people generally are over screen time - when we ask kids what they're doing after the lesson, the responses are (happily!) along the lines of "play outside", "eat something" or "hang out with my brother/sister"

I would just make sure that your child knows that this is new for everyone, won't be perfect, and that there's no real expectation that they master the material being taught in this time. We are finding it hard to stay motivated ourselves! Don't expect miracles, but do expect your child to do a lot of hands-on ICT work that will push the boundaries of their competence and independence. We're proud of how our students have risen to the challenges of doing this at least somewhat well and we're throwing everything we have at keeping them happy and learning.

So: Good luck to all the MeFi school-age-kid-raising families out there about to go through this! Time to take chances, make mistakes, get messy!
posted by mdonley at 9:43 AM on March 6, 2020 [28 favorites]

Hey rather be jorting, I’m so sorry to hear that.
posted by sallybrown at 9:54 AM on March 6, 2020

Stores in the US are still receiving shipments of sanitizer, but the demand is so high that they sell out in an hour or two. It might be worthwhile finding out when a store expects more. Maybe they'd even reserve some for you, if you asked. My wife wanted me out patrolling for the stuff, but I said doing that was making me use up the supply we have, since every time I came out of a store, I had to use some more.

I did find zinc lozenges at a CVS yesterday.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:57 AM on March 6, 2020

There are now over 600 cases in Germany. I am in Berlin, which has 19 confirmed cases. We are only a week or two behind what is happening in Italy, and that is really scary stuff!

I am pretty concerned of a few things. First, I commute on public transit to and from work to an open office every day. For more than a week, I have had a colleague sitting near me with a very bad dry cough. This is precisely how the first Berlin patient started spreading here - going to work in an open office for TWO WEEKS coughing and infecting his colleagues!

Second, I have a young son in pre school, and there is a pretty high chance the daycares and schools could close once this really gets going. That means I won't be able to go into work if he is at home. After several requests at setting up work from home, I FINALLY got permission to remote office if there is a childcare situation. It took a confirmed case in Berlin before that happened.

And last, my work has a ridiculous sick note after 1 day policy. Again, I have asked about if this will be modified in light of the outbreak. Because if you have cold or flu like symptoms, but don't need medical attention, you should be staying at home. Not dragging yourself into work on the subway, or to a clinic for a sick note. In the best case, it's a strain on already strained resources. At worst, you're spreading coronavirus around in the train, office or waiting room.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 10:38 AM on March 6, 2020 [12 favorites]

Does anyone know at what point you can tell it’s coronavirus rather than generic crud? My family has fevers and headaches but no coughing and I’m trying not to worry but this all has me worrying a lot.
posted by corb at 10:54 AM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

corb, I've seen medical professionals saying that if you develop respiratory symptoms (short of breath, etc.) along with general cold/flu symptoms, you should seek medical attention. This is also what my PCP's office said today in a voicemail that went out.
posted by Automocar at 11:02 AM on March 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm on my 3rd WFH day. It's very, very hard to concentrate on sales system development when you sense things falling apart around you. We're as stocked up as you can reasonably be, but we're ordering out/picking up for as long as that's possible. Don't want to get at that freezer/pantry stuff until we have to!

Also, my intense interest in the 2020 Democratic primaries have evaporated. I'm so worried how this will effect the upcoming election. Washington, California, and OR are all mail-in, but we're the exception. Also, having the 3 people in line for the most powerful job in the world all be 70+ in the time of a pandemic is... not great!

The SO and I don't have any kids, I cannot fathom how much of a nightmare that would be.
posted by lattiboy at 12:03 PM on March 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

Seattle here. I left the house yesterday to do some on-site work (all future work will be off site, at my insistence), and I've been taking to throwing one or two 16 oz thermoses in my work backpack now, whenever I go out, so I can stock up on more Cold Brew coffee. (I do have coffee beans at home, so I can start making some next week or so.). Last night at 9pm, it was so dead on Broadway and John that the one person singing had their song echo off the buildings. This intersection is normally packed with traffic of all kinds.

King County Public Health is now recommending that those who have to go out, and are high risk, stay at least 6 feet from everyone else now. Considering I don't drive, that's pretty much impossible on public transportation. At least absolutely everywhere I need to go is within walking distance/has late hours, so I can avoid people to the best of my ability. I've also basically cancelled all of my Spring/Summer travel plans over all of this. Luckily I haven't purchased any tickets yet.

Also ordered some nice colored pencils, another pencil set, and a sketch pad, for some sort of creative outlet during all of this. Also - live kabaddi on YouTube.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:39 PM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's been fascinating watching the communication we've gotten over the past week at my Seattle area office:

Monday: No official communication. Unofficial communication is "Everyone is overreacting. It's not that bad. Business as usual!"

Tuesday: Official communication is "Please let us know if you've been to China lately." Unofficial communication is "Everyone is overreacting. It's not that bad. Why are you so worried? Business as usual!"

Wednesday: Official communication is "We're not going to tell you to cancel non-essential travel, but the CDC thinks it's a good idea" Unofficial communication is "Seriously, everyone is overreacting. It's not that bad. And why did you cancel that business trip? Business as usual!"

Thursday: Official communication is "We're not going to tell you to cancel face to face meetings, but the CDC thinks it's a good idea." Unofficial communication is "Seriously, everyone is overreacting. It's not that bad. Also, we expect you at the team meeting this afternoon. Business as usual!"

Friday: "Everyone needs to work from home for the rest of the month."
posted by kilroygbiv at 12:51 PM on March 6, 2020 [35 favorites]

...we're ordering out/picking up for as long as that's possible...

Considering that restaurant staff don't get sick leave, are not well-paid, and can often lose their jobs for staying out sick, I do not think eating takeout is a good policy if you don't want to get what they have besides food. Nor is eating in restaurants a good policy, for that matter.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:14 PM on March 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

We Are All Irrational Panic Shoppers

In part, because we are all grasping at straws. I am sorry for the stress unearned blame causes anyone but truth be told we are not all Irrational haters and blamers. But I know this: I am not blaming anyone for what pandemic was bound to happen eventually. And here it is. This I know: Tarring everyone of one demographic requires a very wide brush. I will not do it. Panic and persecution and the fear of inexorable unpreventable Death certainly does not bring out the best in us.
posted by y2karl at 1:28 PM on March 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Question about symptoms:
Over and over again I've been reading that the symptoms are fever, dry cough and breathing difficulties. Which makes me think that we would be able to differentiate it from the flu if someone has congestion and sore throat.
But the WHO says this: "The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea."
Hopkins says "fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea".

I'm asking because someone I have physical contact with told me he has a sore throat. We'll see what it progresses to, but now I'm confused and unclear about whether or not we should be self-quarantining. The first case in our area appeared this afternoon. Thoughts?
posted by 8dot3 at 1:43 PM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

You know how drug side effect lists are miles long because literally anything adverse that anybody in the trial experiences while on the drug, regardless of whether there's a causal relationship, is required to be listed as a potential side effect? It's kind of like that. If anybody with COVID-19 gets a sore throat, technically that needs to be listed as a potential symptom, even if only 8% of people with COVID-19 have sore throats and even if the sore throat was caused by something else coincidental to the fact that they had COVID-19.

I can't find where I saw this, but I saw a breakdown of symptoms by how many people with COVID-19 had that symptom. Fever, fatigue, and coughing were all above 80% of cases. Everything else listed by WHO was below 15% of cases.

The takeaway message is that you can't really rule out COVID-19 just because you're having one of the rarer symptoms; however, if you or someone else have a sore throat without fever, cough, and fatigue, you probably don't have COVID-19.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:03 PM on March 6, 2020 [14 favorites]

it is not clear 8dot3. the WHO report on their joint mission to china at the end of february listed at pp 11-12 "typical" symptoms reported/observed among 55,924 confirmed cases, along with percentages reflecting, i guess, the proportion of patients among those cases exhibiting the noted symptom. i posted it, and a different list of symptoms (from a NEJMletter noting confirmed cases among individuals asymptomatic as to detailed screening) in the Modeling 2019 outbreak thread, but will paste them below, too:

WHO report:
fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), myalgia or arthralgia (14.8%), chills (11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).
NEJM letter:
Each passenger was asked to report current symptoms of fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, and diarrhea, and each one was screened for signs of infection in the nose and throat.
i am neither an expert at anything nor a health professional, and, like others have expressed above, increasingly incredulous of statements issued by CDC, u.s. government organs or their stenographers and boosters. i have seen no better nor more credible information than that WHO report, which does note, repeatedly, that a major symptom among observed critical cases was labored breathing with frequency higher than 30 breaths per minute.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:07 PM on March 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

Yesterday, work sent out a campus-wide request for help testing the resiliency of the VPN, asking people whose roles allow it to work from home on Monday. It's not a mandatory work from home order, but many campus services like cafeterias and shuttle buses won't be operating that day, so that's all the more incentive to stay home. There still aren't any confirmed cases in Virginia, but on Monday I plan to Do My Part and stay home.
posted by emelenjr at 2:15 PM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Tobascodagama, your med side effects analogy is awesome, I totally get what you are saying.
And 20 year lurk, thank you for the WHO report with the symptom percentages.
I love data. It just makes so much more sense than words like 'most' or 'sometimes'.
posted by 8dot3 at 2:16 PM on March 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

i value the data too, but one does wonder about that 0.1% with both a dry cough and sputum production.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:19 PM on March 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

Welp, one kid and I are nauseous today so we're self-quarantining. So many video games and naps!
posted by bq at 2:20 PM on March 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

New Jersey now has 3 presumptive positive cases. Two are in Bergen County: #1, male, 30s, is hospitalized. #2, female, 30s, has mild symptoms and is self-isolating at home. #3 is in Camden County, male, 60s, at Jefferson Hospital in Cherry Hill. Eleven people are under investigation pending testing in NJ labs. All updates via NJ's amazing NJGov Twitter account.

I live in Cherry Hill, so it is! Camden County is right across the river from Philadelphia so it's really just a matter of time before it makes its way across the bridge. I work in Philadelphia, and today our VP of IT told us all to work from home one day next week just to make sure we can connect to all of our services properly. I feel like a "go remote until we call you back" call is imminent.
posted by kimberussell at 4:00 PM on March 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

And just like that, it's four cases in NJ. #4 is also in Bergen County.
posted by kimberussell at 4:10 PM on March 6, 2020

There are currently no cases in my surrounding area. I'm concerned about potential hits to my income because one job has no opportunity to work solo because it requires software that I do not have. The other job is fairly easily done from home but I cannot justifiably afford installing internet lines and whatnot plus service fees for a month's use. The retail job will continue to ignore the potential problem until I become sick. None of my workplaces considers the virus to be a concern.

I live alone and have enough food for me and critters but nobody to care for me if problems develop. And if I become sick I will not be able to look after my mom. That's when things will become more interestingly difficult.

I am still unsure if this is any more of a potential problem than any other sickness....

It's like preparing for a hurricane that has a very wide cone of potential impact and who's path may divert at any time.
posted by mightshould at 4:33 PM on March 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Does anyone know at what point you can tell it’s coronavirus rather than generic crud? My family has fevers and headaches but no coughing and I’m trying not to worry but this all has me worrying a lot.
posted by corb at 10:54 AM on March 6 [+] [!]

corb, I've seen medical professionals saying that if you develop respiratory symptoms (short of breath, etc.) along with general cold/flu symptoms, you should seek medical attention. This is also what my PCP's office said today in a voicemail that went out.
posted by Automocar at 11:02 AM on March 6 [2 favorites +] [!]

Hi corb! Basically around here one should assume coronavirus until proven otherwise out of the proverbial abundance of caution everyone's talking about. Most clinics are trying to push people to stay home and self care -- tylenol, drink lots of fluids, lots of rest and chicken soup, what you would do for any cold/flu. Don't overwhelm the system, we can't and shouldn't test everyone and being in an ER or clinic when you'd be just as fine at home only exposes you to more risk. Be reassured that the vast, vast majority of people recover normally. The reason to seek medical attention is not that you may need to be tested, or that there is some magic treatment, the only reason would be if you need some additional supportive care -- if you're short of breath and may need oxygen, or dizzy/dehydrated/or have low blood pressure which might prompt a need for fluids or evaluation for systemic organ involvement. If someone has asthma, that would include increasing reliance on rescue inhalers. In King County, the county public health department has advice ( /depts /health /communicable-diseases /disease-control/ novel-coronavirus.aspx) and they are operating a hotline for providers that has been really helpful for getting advice out. They would prefer people contact their own physicians and have the physicians in contact with King County Health so as to not get overwhelmed. You are in Pierce County I think, right? Looks like Pierce County Health has a similar set up, but I can't speak to how well it is working: healthy-people/ human-coronavirus . There is no requirement for 14 day quarantine or whatever unless a confirmatory test was positive, I don't get the rationale for this if we are also assuming that people with fever staying at home may also have COVID, but just be smart about not exposing folks when you are or may be sick. What I am hearing is staying isolated until 48 hours after the fever has broken. If you've got people in your home with immunocompromise or chronic heart or lung conditions, the advice is kind of the same thing, except realize that they are at higher risk of getting more severe illness, watch them more carefully, and maybe seek medical care a little earlier if some of that shortness of breath or dizziness/confusion sets in.

I just had the conversation last night with my 8 year old who cried himself to sleep worried that he was going to die from coronavirus (he's not sick) and I know how scary it is out there. Worry a little and take care of yourself, but worrying a lot is counter productive, and it probably isn't even warranted for most people. Good luck, love your people, and wash your hands!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:57 PM on March 6, 2020 [31 favorites]

I run a health department program that promotes safe gun storage in partnership with gun shops and shooting ranges. I am trying to craft an email to them about infection control, since we’re in the King County virus hotspot and lots and lots of their customers and staff are men over sixty. I’m not sure I ever imagined I’d be advising people on how to clean viruses off the triggers of rental guns and target hanger thingies, but here we are. Luckily, most of them already aggressively encourage hand washing because of lead exposure.

I’m telecommuting for at least the near future and am going to spend the weekend deep-cleaning the house and removing my kid’s art supplies from my desk. I already had enough toilet paper to build a fortress because of a recent trip to Costco. So my main weekend priority is stocking up on Girl Scout cookies before the Girl Scouts have to stop selling them in public.
posted by centrifugal at 5:29 PM on March 6, 2020 [10 favorites]

> Now waiting to hear back if my blood work shows I'm healthy enough to risk travel (would like to go see my fiancé in Belfast this April) but otherwise recommended I continue to work from home / self quarantine as an at risk person.

Self isolation continues for me as in part I'm just paranoid (surgery had complications which landed me in the ER a few days after and I really don't want to revisit that) and also because my blood work shows me as anemic (apparently replacing blood cells takes a while) so commuting to work is exhausting already. Since there's no technical reason for me to leave the apartment and subject myself to big crowds and other things, I'm just setting up video chats with friends and fiancé on the other side of the globe and annoying my cat.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:36 PM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm in based Seattle and travel back and forth to the Bay Area a lot—so from one COVID-19 area to another with plenty of airport/airplane time, yay! My local Philz Coffee in Palo Alto was packed with a line out the door, everyone seemed happy and unperturbed... but the hardware store nearby was sold out of masks and my flight home on Monday was more than half empty, surprising for a weekday "nerd bird" flight like that. I'm currently self-isolating with symptoms of a mild upper-respiratory illness because whether or not it's anything "interesting", going out in public with something like this feels like a real social faux pas right now. I'll likely miss a dear friend's birthday party as a result :(

My employer has suspended business travel, instituted mandatory work-from-home for some teams, and "strongly encouraged" WFH for everyone else. I feel very fortunate that we're in a position to telecommute, but it's been disruptive for my team and people are feeling unsettled and anxious.

Slarty Bartfast, thank you for sharing your view into the situation in Seattle/King County.
posted by 4rtemis at 6:35 PM on March 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

My boss had a quiet word to me the other day- "you share an office space with X, right?" "Yeah? " "Well, he's just let me know that his sister recently returned from Singapore and is being tested for Corona Virus." Boss let me know because I am pregnant. He made it clear that he didn't tell me this, and wanted to avoid over reaction and panic. AKA keep it secret. (X worked from home the next day. )
Thankfully it wasn't covid, just tonsilitis.

We're in the grips of NAPLAN prep at the moment and we were wondering what impact school closures would have on that!

We live in a rural town that isn't too worried about it, although this week suddenly there was a panic buy on toilet paper, of all things. Supermarkets seem busier than usual. The first sign of corona concern was last week when we were asked if we had a fever when checking in for a prenatal appointment, and signs saying to call ahead if you think you have it, not just walk in.

The irony of this will be if the oncoming winter flu season is less deadly because people actually self isolate and wash their hands properly.
posted by freethefeet at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

Rather be jorting, that fucking sucks. I'm sorry.
posted by unicorn chaser at 6:41 PM on March 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have a persistent grunky cough but no fever so honestly it could be nothing or something. But I'm not in a risk group so I doubt they'd test me. It's very hard to know how cautious to be. If I have it I've likely spread it. But I have no idea so I try to keep distant and not touch things.
posted by emjaybee at 7:00 PM on March 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

rather be jorting, I am so sorry you are having to deal with that BS.
posted by 4rtemis at 7:15 PM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm currently self-isolating with symptoms of a mild upper-respiratory illness because whether or not it's anything "interesting", going out in public with something like this feels like a real social faux pas right now.

I have a chronic cough due to asthma and postnasal drip, so I carried a mask with me on the T today in case I had an asthmatic coughing fit. Like you say, more because coughing in public feels like a faux pas than because I might be carrying something. (I don't have a fever, and as it turned out today was a particularly mild asthma day -- ironically, probably because fear of the virus is causing people to stay home and avoid public areas. Usually, I can't walk ten feet without getting a face full of second-hand smoke.)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:00 PM on March 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

43% increase in confirmed cases in u.s. since this morning (233 to 336 per hopkins tracker), likely reflecting more, faster testing rather than increased community transmission. but.

maryland health authorities have shared some information on what our three patients were doing between their return from a nile river cruise feb. 20 and getting tested march 4.
One patient attended a school event in the Philadelphia area. As a precaution, the Central Bucks Schools District closed five schools Friday.

Another patient attended an event at the Village at Rockville retirement community Feb. 28. The Maryland Department of Health determined the time period of risk of exposure is from noon to 6 p.m.
that retirement community is about a mile from my parents' home. mom & pop have lately been visiting some such facilities seeking activities/support/services related to pop's developing dementia, so i sent mom the article and asked whether she'd been there, and read on. the article continues
"The facility there has a workforce staff that they will be looking after, monitoring to make sure that those health care workers do not develop symptoms. They also are very cooperative in making sure that residents that may have been exposed only at that one gathering, that one day, that one gathering, if those residents have any symptoms," said Fran Phillips, of the Maryland Department of Health.

The MDH recommended that members of the public who attended the event should monitor themselves for symptoms of a respiratory infection, including fever, cold-like symptoms, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, until March 13.
the article followed with the phone number of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency call center. but i was stuck on "the residents that may have been exposed only at that one gathering, that one day," because transmission occurs from fomites -- objects or surfaces capable of carrying/transmitting infectious agents -- not just being present in the same space, and i've been to retirement communities and assess it as doubtful they've been routinely sterilizing all the surfaces in that facility since february 28. mom wrote back
We've been to the Village several times in the last few weeks -- that's where [friend & spouse] and [person whom my parents routinely drive to medical appointments] were!
when pressed on timing, mom said they'd been there feb. 4, 18 and "maybe one other time." she learned from the emergency management call center that the event between noon and 6 pm on feb. 28 was a funeral: "I KNOW we didn't do that!" it was late, so i have been unable to grill her on her use of the past tense referring to her friends' residency there (pretty sure [friend & spouse] have recently transferred to a more acute-care setting, but thought the chauffeuring was ongoing). anyway, that there were cases in montgomery county was striking; to learn that it is that close, physically and socially to my parents, is somewhat more distressing.

i imagine those three patients bought groceries and attended some sort of community religious observations, perhaps visited libraries, coffee shops or gyms nearby. i have some faith the state health department includes such considerations in contact tracing, though that paragraph above about that one 6-hour window of risk does not foster a great deal of confidence on that score.

meanwhile, little lurk seems to have the flu. babymama & i have been trying to elicit descriptions of symptoms (beyond coughing in our faces, vomiting in our dinner, sneezing everywhere & running a fever, which are patent) without tipping off little lurk we're probing for covid symptoms. but little lurk is pretty savvy and just as scared of the flu. babymama thinks they shouldn't visit weekly at grandparents', as is their wont, due to that possible, if attenuated, exposure risk; i'm not certain they should bring flu into that home (though g'parents got their flu shots). also, they're expecting a houseguest from hawaii who will be transiting LAX on sunday, and then staying for several weeks and meeting clients in their home. mom reports he's "going to bring masks and Clorox wipes."

ray of hope: that oft' cited WHO report notes very low proportion of cases among persons younger than 18 years observed in surveyed population, and lower proportion of critical cases, though it drew no conclusions.

i appreciate all y'all's sharing, sympathize with your anxieties and frustrations. thanks for the space to share my own. -- risk factory'd in rockville (reported u.s. cases rose by two while i was writing).
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:08 PM on March 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Someone online gave me a hard time for cancelling a trip I had scheduled to Milwaukee for 4 months from now, because I don't know what going to happen - and I'm at high risk for this virus.

They mention that 4 months is a long time, and you don't know what's gonna happen in that time. You're right - 4 months ago, I never would have imagined that some mystery corona virus would crop up, and make Seattle an Epicenter for this stuff. So, I'm annoyed at it all. In 4 months it may be fine, in 4 months it may be horrible. But financially and for health reasons, I'd rather cancel. This is one thing I *can* control.

(My friends that I was going to cat sit for during this time period are completely understanding, thanked me for giving them ample notice, and are getting another cat sitter.)
posted by spinifex23 at 12:24 AM on March 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

I live in nyc with my 67 yr old mother who has several high risk conditions, including respiratory issues from 9/11. I convinced her to stop working part time and volunteering in schools (she was doing both) at the end of February, and I stopped going to the gym or yoga classes just before then. I already work from home. My hands hurt from all the washing / sanitizing. I have no idea how else to mitigate risk. We are basically hunkered down already, but that is also...entirely crazy making.

My one gesture towards normal life is seeing the lady I’m seeing, who is also higher risk because of an autoimmune disease, but like...should I do that? Is that dumb?

And then just...the scale of the oncoming suffering. My mother really isn’t handling the stress well, but I’m more just...sad. Pre-grieving what will surely be a disaster for many, many people, knowing our government is run by delusional fools, and there’s nothing I can do about any of it. Like it’s not just getting sick. It’s all the small businesses that will close, all the jobs that will be lost, all the people who live paycheck to paycheck who will no longer get w paycheck because much of the economy will come to a screeching halt. It’s like watching an oncoming tsunami get closer and closer to shore.

posted by schadenfrau at 2:17 AM on March 7, 2020 [16 favorites]

Welp, we here in NYC are bracing. We just had a new case and suspected family transmission on the upper west side where I work. That’s been traced to the lawyer from New Rochelle, who is sort of NYC’s patient zero.

I have a weekly bar gig in a New Rochelle. This week the bar was still open but almost no one is going out.

Getting ready to hunker down at our place in the woods if necessary and planning to move an elderly parent and another immunocompromised relative there if necessary. I was already sort of a prepper but have been stocking up that basement and freezer for the last few weeks.

Like almost all universities, the one where I work is banning most businesses travel and making plans to shut down and teach the balance of the semester online, which as director of undergraduate studies for my department will be partly my problem to solve. Yay.
posted by spitbull at 4:37 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

The number of politicians testing positive (handshaking being pretty much one of their principal modus operandi, I guess) is pretty irking/ominous - here in Italy the head of the main government party has just flagged he’s been confirmed infected (though doing fine, so far)...
posted by progosk at 4:42 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

My one gesture towards normal life is seeing the lady I’m seeing, who is also higher risk because of an autoimmune disease, but like...should I do that? Is that dumb?

i was always nervous about that when it involved seeing my mom who was immunocompromised from cancer, and i was taking the subway and then the LIRR to see her at the height of flu seasons, but the only time i ever decided it would be best to completely avoid it was when someone in my office was disgustingly, wetly sick (and they selfishly, stupidly refused to work from home despite being told that doing so would not affect their PTO), and when i had weird rash of uncertain origin.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:42 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

The number of politicians testing positive (handshaking being pretty much one of their principal modus operandi, I guess) is pretty irking/ominous

It is election season here in the US (the worst season), and every time I see coverage of a political rally with thousands of attendees in a small space where they’re all fucking screaming and cheering, my eye starts twitching.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:32 AM on March 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

meanwhile, little lurk seems to have the flu. babymama & i have been trying to elicit descriptions of symptoms (beyond coughing in our faces, vomiting in our dinner, sneezing everywhere & running a fever, which are patent) without tipping off little lurk we're probing for covid symptoms.

Recent reports seem to suggest that having nasal symptoms is a sign that you don't have COVID-19, as it rarely causes those, unlike the common cold or flu where its much more common. In addition, young children are less likely to get the disease, and much less likely to die from it. There's some data on it here.

So, back here in Singapore, it's been more than a month, and we're up to 100+ cases. However, the period of panic seems to have somewhat subsided, and I think most people believe things are under control. A lot of comments I see from people in the US remind me of where we were a month ago, when the virus first hit. So one one hand that kind of makes me want to tell everybody that you can calm down a bit, it won't be that bad*, but on the other hand the reason why we have things under control here is because we have a proper public healthcare system (well, and also also a survellience state that makes contact tracing easier, and we also have the advantage of being a small island nation with easily controllable borders).

* and by that I don't mean that it's not going to be bad at all, as it is very dangerous for people in the at-risk categories. But a lot of the initial panic people here were having over COVID-19 last month, was overblown, and not helpful... wash your hands, stay away from crowds, stay home if you're sick, but don't cause a shortage of essential medical supplies hospitals need for healthcare workers to stay safe.
posted by destrius at 6:41 AM on March 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

20 year lurk, I'm in Rockville too! Small world.

I'm working a conference this weekend/early next week here in DC that has gone "handshake free," but a) I don't know how well we'll get people to adhere to that, given that this is a group of incredibly extroverted people who hug and kiss strangers and near strangers routinely and for whom handshakes are practically reflex, and b) I am real worried we're going to crop up in the news in a week if it turns out someone was already sick when they got here and spread it around widely.

I've been talking to bowties spouse about maybe skipping an event with family in a couple of weeks. Folks there have health conditions and it's hard to know I'm not carrying something, given the number of politicians and public figures I work with. Not to mention my open office that people have been nasty-coughing in all week because they feel like they can't take time off before a big conference. Ugh.

I was supposed to go on a scouting trip in a couple weeks to prep for DNC/RNC, but I don't know if that will go on at this point. I guess it depends on how our bosses are feeling.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:49 AM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m in the Tampa area, where only one case has been reported but I strongly suspect there are more. We’re supposed to host two other couples next weekend for a game night and I’m conflicted on whether to cancel. One is a first responder, the other three work in busy offices. I trust them to be hygienic but they can’t know if they’ve been exposed or not. Meanwhile, we’ll be passing cards and tokens back and forth across the game board while nibbling appetizers and, well...

Thoughts on whether we should cancel?
posted by _Mona_ at 7:04 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I would cancel, especially if you regularly come into contact with many people or anyone who is at high risk of serious complications. It’s not necessarily about protecting yourself so much as doing what you can to protect others by slowing the spread.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:09 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm basically canceling everything optional now. We have one confirmed case in MN but plausible reporting about others (college student came back from Italy sick, was not allowed to be tested; family came back from FL sick, ditto - and I'm sure there are more of the same kind).

My thought is that I'm trying to build habits now before things get worse - facetiming friends, staying off transit, avoiding crowds, etc. There's not going to be a bright line where we know that every interaction becomes risky; risk is building over time.
posted by Frowner at 7:45 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Maybe you could arrange an online virtual board game night with a group chat or Skype component? I'm sure an AskMe would generate tons of helpful advice!
posted by Tsuga at 7:47 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

The reason to seek medical attention is not that you may need to be tested, or that there is some magic treatment, the only reason would be if you need some additional supportive care

Thanks, Slarty. I think the thing that's been hard for me is not knowing how rapid the onset is from 'feeling kind of bad' to 'hospitalized and unable to function'. Having clear guidelines for 'if this happens, go in' is incredibly helpful for me and I very much appreciate it.
posted by corb at 7:56 AM on March 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

I have a sudden sore throat with coughing and tonight at a small dinner, was draining water bottles to stop my coughing and then in the cab home, had to get out onto the curb at a red light to cough frantically into my elbow because it felt so wildly inappropriate to cough inside a closed space. I’m hoping it’s just too much chili or I’ll have to stay home tomorrow and warm a friend at the party with a high risk parent.

On the bright side for someone who hates small talk, this does mean a near inexhaustible topic for everyone to discuss at parties.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:04 AM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I am in the Bay Area near Silicon Valley, in a county that is directly between counties with multiple confirmed cases and at least one confirmed case from community spread. The county has declared a 'pre-emptive' state of emergency because, well, we're going to get it. Do we have it already? No testing so there's no way to be sure; my guess is probably yes.

My nesting partner and I are pretty near broke, but I'm frugal to a fault and regularly hit food pantries. I have a minor dragon's hoard of food/toiletries as a rule, so we're low on some essentials--shelf stable milk, kleenex--for a whole month but otherwise we'd be fine, food wise. Basically I don't really need to 'prep' so much as ... accept.

Partner did some domestic travel 2 weeks ago and brought back what's probably influenza (we've had nasal drip as our main symptom) but I'm really not enjoying this new anxiety trigger. His work is at an event center and if events keep getting cancelled, he might not get full time which means we couldn't pay rent. That's what I'm scared most about.
posted by saveyoursanity at 8:14 AM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

that's a real good look at the WHO, and some other, data, destrius. thanks. in general thanks: don't know where i'd turn for information, perspective and breadth-of-experience without this and the blue thread.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:58 AM on March 7, 2020

> I’m hoping it’s just too much chili or I’ll have to stay home tomorrow and warm a friend at the party with a high risk parent.

Can you take your temp to see if you also have a fever? What's the problem of warning someone that you've developed a cough and they should be careful and continue to wash their hands? Waiting to see if you get worse symptoms before you tell anyone you're thinking you might be sick is one reason this spreads so easily.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:27 AM on March 7, 2020

I'm not sure exactly what our government could have done to stop it.

Well, the best thing would have been to have taken public health seriously all this time we've been howling for them to do that. That way we'd've had a functioning system. And to have acted before now to ensure US workplaces were safe and US workers could stay home and get care when sick. However, those problems are decades old, so, assuming the current federal government, assuming near term:

They could have listened when they were told that firing all the federal pandemic response people was a dumbass move and they could have rehired them.

Barring that, they could have rehired them when news first hit of the virus in China.

Barring even that, they could have rehired them when news first hit of the virus in the USA.

They could have reacted immediately when news first hit of the virus in China (or later, when it first hit here) and thrown barges full of money at solving the not enough tests problem, solving the not enough masks problem, solving the not enough beds problem, and solving the rest of the many many many too-many-to-count false scarcity problems deliberately created in order to price gauge the poor and middle class to feed the gargantuan 1%-enriching busted Kafkaesque vampire machine that is the US "health care system."

They could have refrained from appearing several times in front of cameras and actively spreading misinformation about the virus.

For starters.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:53 AM on March 7, 2020 [27 favorites]

Mod note: One deleted because of a derail onto general public health and specifically obesity; that's not relevant to coronavirus, and it's a weird thing to bring up here. This thread's for sharing experiences with this coronavirus from affected people/people in affected areas.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:54 AM on March 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

I don't fear the virus, but I fear the panic the virus is causing.

I know what you mean. I do fear the virus a little and I think it is a reasonable concern and it's worth the precautions being taken. But we USians aren't exactly the most calm and logical people generally, and we have King Paranoid Idiot in charge and it's an election year.

Today's kind of the first time I've not been too busy to stop and watch the city around me and there's like this palpable tension that feels ready to bubble up. I live less than a mile from the University of Washington (and work and go to school there) and less than a mile from most of Amazon's buildings. That, plus Microsoft is also largely closed, most private schools in town are closed with Seattle Public Schools seeming poised to do the same, countless businesses telling people to stay home, most gatherings cancelled. There's literally hundreds of thousands fewer people out and about than there were a week ago and it is eerie.

I am trying to not think about what might be possible with a stock market crash or some other source of widespread panic...

Thoughts on whether we should cancel?

I get this, but consider the fact that lots of people are feeling isolated and tense right now. They aren't going to planned events, they might not be going to work or school. Small home gatherings seem like low medical risk/high emotional benefit right now. We have to stay sane, share news, help each other out.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:56 AM on March 7, 2020 [11 favorites]

Chicago’s sixth positive case, a passenger on the Grand Princess, came home and worked for a week afterward. At a school two miles from my house. Given just how many people we know got it from that cruise already, it feels foolish to think that there isn’t a fresh cluster starting right over there.

I’m still going to work, but at least I bicycle-commute and otherwise have very little social life. If I get it, it will probably be from work. Even introverts have to hold down jobs.
posted by notoriety public at 10:03 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m glad this thread is here, I appreciate hearing how everyone’s handling things.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:07 AM on March 7, 2020 [9 favorites]

Checking in from Germany, where the infected is reaching 800. My city currently has 29 cases.

I went out shopping again today to stock up, and obviously so did everyone else. Some sections of the shops look normal. Other shelves, like pasta, cereals, flour, and hand soap are 70%-80% empty. No hand sanitiser anywhere. People are buying bulk amounts of toilet paper, baby formula, and pet food.

I'm getting very nervous for what's coming up as I see what is happening in Italy. Strangely, no deaths here yet even with the high infection rate.

I keep checking my work email hoping that we will be notified not to come in next week. So far nothing. That means a Monday commute on the packed subway, who knows what the infection rate will be by then...
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 10:22 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I feel like I'm just getting over it, or something very like it. 90% chest, mostly dry cough, very mild fever, some snot but I always get snot.

I keep a health log so I can note accurately the first symptoms were Mar 1, some pretty icky post nasal drip and related nausea. Mar 2 the coughing started and has been kind of obnoxious since then. Yesterday and the day before there were several naps, but today seems better so I think I'm on the rebound. Mostly treated it with OTC stuff and herbal teas. And, of course, not going to the many public/social events that I had otherwise planned for the week, damnit.

I'm not at all surprised to get it, I mean, this is in Toronto and the thing is... this is frigging Toronto. Everyone comes here or passes through here, and takes the transit, and touches everything. We have documented cases of people riding the transit around in late February and being diagnosed with it a week later.

I feel like I'll mostly be over it by Monday/Tuesday but we'll see how it goes. (If this isn't it, it sure seems like it from the description.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seattle here, and I work in Bellevue. A lot of my students just vanished this week in advance of the school finally moving to online only Thursday, to great panic and dismay all over the faculty email list. Everyone’s scared, and sniping at each other, and scrambling to figure out whether we should prepare to be off-campus next quarter too.
I’ve lived in Seattle my entire life, and it’s really quite shocking to see traffic (foot and cars) be this low. I5 looks like the mid 90s again. My parents own a restaurant downtown and are in serious panic mode about the literally 15-20 people a day they’re getting in. Everything feels like a strange quiet dream, and I woke up sneezing with a monstrous tension headache, now not knowing if I should quarantine myself and get my grading done or try to go relax at the Frye or something.
posted by zinful at 10:41 AM on March 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

I went out shopping again today to stock up, and obviously so did everyone else. Some sections of the shops look normal. Other shelves, like pasta, cereals, flour, and hand soap are 70%-80% empty. No hand sanitiser anywhere. People are buying bulk amounts of toilet paper, baby formula, and pet food.
I'm getting very nervous for what's coming up as I see what is happening in Italy

So here in Rome (not a red or yellow zone yet, but maybe just still getting there...) shops are still very normally stocked, the only thing that's really nowhere to be found is hand sanitizer (but regarding that: Don't make your own hand sanitizer - basically: soap's the thing!) The one thing we're starting to see is folks avoiding handshakes, some people wearing their scarves pulled up, and outside a butchers' which would normally just be crowded, a line of evenly distanced waiting customers - which felt an oddly British thing to see around here.

Positive party chief Zingaretti's daughter is at our son's school, but as schools were already shut anyway, it doesn't look like that's really going to change anything (though there's a WhatsApp parent group debate whether their 100-days-to-exams weekend retreat should go ahead as planned...)

One little statistic that caught my eye here: 98% of the 233 Italian Covid-19 deaths so far had other previous underlying conditions, 80% had more than two, and 66% had more than three. (Their average age is currently at 81, and the majority are male.)
posted by progosk at 11:15 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

My son & daughter collected daughter's boyfriend from Brisbane airport yesterday after he flew back from Korea. There were people in hazmat suits on the tarmac measuring temperatures and handing out masks, and he is going to work from home the next two weeks. On the gold coast, my flatmate was shopping and he met a man who was taking pictures of the empty shelves where there is usually toilet rolls and laughing at people's stupidity. Apparently, he had just returned home from a trip to Japan & Korea the previous day. I developed bronchitis (with mucus) at Christmas, and when it didn't shift after a week, went to the dr who prescribed antibiotics. Eventually the cough turned dry, my asthma stayed bad, my chest hurt and after 3 courses of antibiotics and some steriods, my dr did a blood test and treated me with an intense course of different antibiotics because it was pneumonia (something like micoplasma/walking pneumonia). I'm still coughing and wheezing and fatigued and thinking this is my new normal. I work at the university (which has international students) that is across the road from the hospital that has treated a couple of cases. Given the dates, I don't think I had the virus, but I feel at risk of it. I can work from home most of the time which is good, but not working in January ad February meant not getting paid. I worry.
posted by b33j at 12:33 PM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have conferences in LA and Denver in mid-April and the end of May. These will be big groups of biological anthropologists coming from all over the world. I am baffled that, in a discipline full of people who study human ecology, disease and stress, evolutionary medicine, biocultural interactions, etc. neither of our major associations have decided to cancel our meeting. I think (I hope) pressure is mounting on both associations to cancel. I have interviews and am supposed to be organizing workshops and panels for both meetings, but honestly it feels deeply irresponsible to be planning to fly across the country through LAX and back right now. 3/4 of the people I'm sharing a hotel room with for the LA conference are leaning towards cancelling. I'm not going to get reimbursed for anything, which will hurt. Now that Harvard and MIT have prohibited domestic non-emergency university related travel, I'm hoping my employer (who aspires to peer institution status) will follow suit in the next week. It's spring break, so who knows what will come back to campus.

I had a quick but obnoxious cold Thursday into this morning, and last night my boyfriend went out to get me some sudafed. He went to a Target and three CVSes that were completely empty of cold and flu meds before finding something in a Walgreens in Framingham.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:52 PM on March 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

> most private schools in town are closed with Seattle Public Schools seeming poised to do the same

Shoreline schools, on the other hand, seem determined to stay open. A parent spent time in one of the elementary schools last week for conferences and was later diagnosed with COVID-19; the district is closing that particular school for one day for extra cleaning, and that's it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:47 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cambridge, Massachusetts here. There's an organization I volunteer with that collects overflow food and turns it into free meals. It operates out of a big biotech office - that company just restricted use of its building to enessential personnel only, so my org is closed for the rest of March, and possibly longer, unless we can find a new space to use. I get it, but it really sucks. That's hundreds of meals that won't get distributed to the hungry in my city this month.
posted by prewar lemonade at 2:03 PM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Slarty, where did you hear that Seattle Public Schools were likely to close? My former spouse is an elementary teacher and says she doesn’t feel like they’re on the brink yet.
posted by centrifugal at 2:08 PM on March 7, 2020

Our local schools have announced that they won’t be closing unless they hear that a community member (student or family member) is positive. Seattle area.
posted by bq at 2:19 PM on March 7, 2020

what's probably influenza (we've had nasal drip as our main symptom

Relax that anxiety, that’s not influenza, without fever at least.
posted by spitbull at 2:27 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

My mother is in this hospital, which is allegedly refusing to (or more accurately, not being allowed to) test people who are suspected of having coronavirus. I'm not sure how freaked out I should be about that. Probably pretty freaked out, but I'm already so freaked out about the things that are causing my mother to be in the hospital that I can't calibrate how I should be reacting.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:56 PM on March 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

North Seattle checking in. We've been going full tilt boogie at work to get our work from home infrastructure up on its feet. I'm in IT for a small credit union. Fortunately we had a bit of a head start as it was a project started last year that had been back burner'd to focus on another big project. On the down side, we're trying to cram a couple months worth of work into a couple weeks.

Someone came in to the Fred Meyer's where Mrs. Calamari works and bought all of the hand sanitizer, then came back later in the day after the shelves have been restocked and cleared them out again. I'm guessing it'll all show up on Ebay.

Fortunately I procured this years stock of Thin Mints and Samoas last week as the Girl Scouts have disappeared from the local Safeway.
posted by calamari kid at 3:28 PM on March 7, 2020 [9 favorites]

Good planning, calamari kid. There are some Girl Scouts still out there at their booths, but Girl Scouts of Western Washington encouraged the leaders " to consider whether to continue participating in this public phase of the Cookie Sale," and said we could return unsold cookies if we decided to call it off early. They also recommended canceling troop meetings and other activities.

We have our big competitive camping event next month, with Girl Scouts from all over the state and sometimes beyond. It's my troop's big focus for the winter and spring, and what we spend our cookie money on. Here's hoping it doesn't get canceled.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:50 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Calamari kid (and others in the area), the Girl Scouts of White Center and Burien are not engaging in social distancing yet, and I bought cookies from some fearless girls at the White Center Safeway this afternoon!

Meanwhile, my kid has suddenly come down with a cough and low fever, while with my ex at her not-in-great-health grandma’s house. It is very unlikely that it’s COVID-19, but I’m telecommuting with a sick kid this week no matter what it is. Ugh.
posted by centrifugal at 3:52 PM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Im feeling myself in a bit of an existential dread tailspin today. This is a new feeling for me and I am exceedingly poor at handling it. I’ve lost all interest in work. Podcasts and books seem almost like artifacts to me. It is deeply unpleasant!

Anyway, I’m just hanging at home with my wife and the injured dog sending all possible good vibes, prayers, and luck to the people out there fighting this thing.
posted by lattiboy at 4:13 PM on March 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

I should say that I’m also scared more for the people that will be effected by this then by my personal exposure. I’m under 40 and don’t have any respiratory issues, so I’m aware the vast likelihood is a flu, which I’ve had multiple times.

I’m just worried about the knock on effects and the lack of global redundancy. Previous crisis outside of world war have been localized. This is a worldwide phenomenon and I am concerned how our supply chains are going to keep moving.
posted by lattiboy at 4:18 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Slarty, where did you hear that Seattle Public Schools were likely to close? My former spouse is an elementary teacher and says she doesn’t feel like they’re on the brink yet.

Last week the messaging was that they would stay open for equity reasons. Yesterday the message changed; they are now looking at how to keep equity if they close. They are looking into how they would get school lunches to kids who eat them and how to get school work to kids without computers/internet. It's just one step closer to closing then we were.
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:28 PM on March 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

It's really confusing and frustrating as an emergency room nurse right now because I feel although the CDC is updating it's testing criteria constantly it's not up to date enough. So I'm basically going to work for 12 hours and going home to sleep in my basement. Rinse and repeat because I don't want to expose my family and I don't know if I've been exposed. It's really draining and exhausting. Sorry to rant but I'm shouting into an echo chamber at work.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:13 PM on March 7, 2020 [31 favorites]

Mod note: One deleted for catastrophizing
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:06 PM on March 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Got the news yesterday that the first case here in Connecticut was an employee of Danbury Hospital. Where my mother and I spent 6 hours a week ago (in the ER) due to her heart issues. Mom has been very anxious about the coronavirus for the past couple of weeks anyway and this new news has not helped.
My brother, who lives in Kitsap County, WA, was scheduled to come here for a visit in 2 weeks, and is likely to cancel his trip.
I work at a children's museum in CT and we had our 20th anniversary day today. It was crowded but we definitely did not get the numbers we would have under normal circumstances.
posted by sundrop at 7:16 PM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Boston University has a proportionally quite large population of Chinese and South Korean students.

Boston University's spring break is this week so everyone left campus last night and today.

Boston University announced about an hour ago that students returning from Japan, South Korea, China, Italy, and Iran should self-quarantine for two weeks when they get back to the United States, and that they will not be allowed back in on-campus housing.

This is just spectacular timing and leaves a lot of potentially vulnerable students with the direction "If you are unable to return to your permanent residence, contact Student Health Services."

I am livid.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:20 PM on March 7, 2020 [19 favorites]

Relax that anxiety, that’s not influenza, without fever at least. Ah, yes, sorry, I was quite unclear. All the other influenza/COVID19 symptoms have been there: duration and severity of illness, fever (with which I always get muscle aches, thanks fibromyalgia), and cough. But the additional runny nose was the "main symptom" that made me think "oh, this is not coronavirus."
posted by saveyoursanity at 8:17 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Slarty, where did you hear that Seattle Public Schools were likely to close?

Teachers at our elementary school are talking about contingencies such as home study materials and online resources. Yes, their argument is staying open for equity but that was Wednesday and since then UW closed and just about all the private schools closed. My kids each reported about 50% attendance on Friday and I am hearing more from parents who are putting pressure on to close.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:25 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have a feeling, if you're living in the States, that the chances of you having COVID-19 compared to a cold/flu are really low, unless you have been in direct contact with a known case. For example, in the past few weeks, there have been 3 confirmed cases within 500 metres from my house. But so far it doesn't seem like everybody in my neighbourhood have gotten the virus. Of course it could be that the tropical weather here is helping prevent the virus from spreading as much, but we're a very dense country where most people take buses and trains daily. So the virus, while quite contagious, isn't that contagious, and will still take a while to spread.

Alternatively, it could be that it is very contagious, and many people have already been infected. For whatever reason, it seems like a lot of people I know (including me) have been having cold-like symptoms recently, and some of us are speculating maybe everybody is already infected with COVID-19; we just don't know it because we've not been tested. But if that is the case, then that would mean COVID-19 is far less dangerous than what current statistics say, since it would mean a far greater number of people are infected but with pretty mild symptoms. So we would have even less to worry about. But more likely than not it's more of a case of confirmation bias; people have colds all the time, but usually don't think much of it.
posted by destrius at 9:32 PM on March 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

travel update: LAX didn't ask me a damn thing about COVID-19 but they did detain me for other bullshit reasons and honestly I would have greatly preferred being screened and quarantined for coronavirus
posted by divabat at 10:33 PM on March 7, 2020 [18 favorites]

In Seattle, in Capitol Hill.

Just got done talking to the doctor on Kaiser's Chat Feature, after 3 days of a fever, dry cough, and having to take way more Albuterol than I normally do. I just got some Prednisone for the asthma flareup. Yes, these are symptoms of COVID-19. No, I can't initially get tested through KP, as my fever isn't high enough. I don't know if I have a bunk thermometer or not. (It reads my normal temp as 96.7, and I had a fever of 99.3 today. If I had either a decent thermometer and/or a body that has a base temp of 98.6, I would have been above the 101 point easily.)

In normal times, the doc would have me in to get checked out, but this isn't normal times - so he's throwing Prednisone at me, and having me stay in until I feel completely better - and I have no idea what - or when - this is. The goal is to keep me out of the Urgent Care, as it's completely over packed with sick people. So, I put on a mask and nitrile gloves, headed out to the only pharmacy that's open, warned them of what was going on, and as soon as I got my Prednisone, I headed home and they broke out the industrial disinfectant wipes to scrub everything down.

I'm OK with provisions and things to do, I ordered some colored pencils and a sketchbook to stave off the boredom, and I work from home, so I'll be OK. I may try to call UW or someone on Monday to see if I actually qualify for testing. In the meantime, I'm self-quarantining.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:50 PM on March 7, 2020 [12 favorites]

Also - I'm not freaking out about this, because I know that'll just make things worse. Instead, I'm just kind of resigned to wait this out, and am annoyed that my wheezing distracted me from my No-SQL Database Class. I would have finished it tonight, if it wasn't for those meddling lungs! *shakes fist*

I'm also supremely grateful that Kaiser Permanente has a chat system set up to handle and triage all of the calls they are getting about this; I did have to wait a little bit, but when a doc did start the chat, it was both prompt and thorough. These were the main screening questions they had at the beginning of the call:

- Have you been in China, Iran, Italy, South Korea in the past 14 days? (for me, no)
- Have you had contact with a known COVID-19 patient in the past 14 days? (for me, no)
- Are you immunocompromised, are over 60, and/or have an underlying heart, lung, or other condition? (for me, yes, asthma)

I think saying 'yes' to question 3 and reporting asthma symptoms got me to a doc quicker.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:12 PM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seattle person here. I got a cold on Feb 9. I flew SEA-SJC and my coworker who was also on the flight also felt sick the week after. We're both in our 20s. Unfortunately I had to chair a large event the following weekend and got no fewer than two people sick. We don't have contingency plans for people getting sick, and a lot of the work in chairing this event is moving literal chairs. Something for next year, I guess.

Based on my Feb 9 cold, my partner jokes that I brought the coronavirus to Seattle. It's probably not true.

We're both working from home; for his company it's mandatory and for me it's highly recommended. I don't know how well this is going to work out because he is a manager and thus, talking to people all day, whereas I am used to a blessedly quiet office. We have 700 sqft for the two of us, and this means one of us sometimes takes a meeting in the bedroom closet. I'm trying to keep up my HIIT workouts on Tuesday and Thursday, but I don't think I am trying nearly as hard when exercising alone vs. in a group, as I had been so good about doing this year.

I gave blood last Friday, though; my office usually hosts a bloodmobile every 8 weeks because we have a nice large parking spot and lots of qualifying adults, but we're being told to cancel our next one at the end of March due to our current 'no visitors' rule. So instead of waiting to donate at work, I went to a bloodmobile at a local university.

It's funny: I'm an enthusiastic but often unsuccessful blood donor -- once I didn't have enough of a pulse, a few years back I used to be too anemic, and once I was doing just fine until apparently the blood was getting foamy(?!). That time, the phlebotomist withdrew the needle and a little blood explosion came out. My chair had to be declared a biohazard. Despite this though, I keep trying because I think it's terribly neat that blood donations are even possible! Like, my redundant blood can be helpful? AND we can safely transfer it to other people? Let's do it!

Uh, point being; if you can give blood, consider doing so, as blood drives are getting cancelled but people still need blood / blood products.
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:02 AM on March 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

How’s blood donation working? I’d be super nervous if I was in that business about introducing Coronavirus into the blood supply. Already you can’t give blood if you’re sick, or if you’ve been any number of places where you might have been exposed to BSE (I can’t give my nice O negative blood because I lived in England in the 1980s and might have mad cow prions!). Are blood samples being tested?

Just curious.
posted by spitbull at 3:54 AM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

i am banned for life from giving blood so if they want mine they have to come and get it themselves
posted by poffin boffin at 3:56 AM on March 8, 2020 [12 favorites]

but regarding that: Don't make your own hand sanitizer - basically: soap's the thing!)

So I read that link and all it says is “don’t make your own because you might mess up the proportions (of two ingredients!) and then it won’t work.” The proportions are *dead simple,* however. I fail to see the downside of making your own as long as you measure correctly.

I mean there are many situations where soap and water are not an option, and that’s why they make hand sanitizer. It’s basic and simple stuff.
posted by spitbull at 4:33 AM on March 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

So I'm not in any way medical trained and I might be wrong about this, but I don't think COVID-19 can spread through blood; it goes through the respiratory system.
posted by destrius at 5:37 AM on March 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Destrius, so I checked and there have been no reported cases of blood borne transmission of Novel Coronavirus 2019. The data are very preliminary but you appear to be correct so far. Virus RNA does appear in blood samples from infected patients but is probably not communicable via transfusion.

But it’s early to be sure.
posted by spitbull at 6:07 AM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

> Based on my Feb 9 cold, my partner jokes that I brought the coronavirus to Seattle. It's probably not true.

Sorry, I had a fever and cough here in late January, dibs on being Patient Zero.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:15 AM on March 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

Here in the Netherlands, we now have 265 cases and three deceased. All three were over 80, and two out of three had previously existing medical conditions.

So far, we're not doing horribly.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:56 AM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

My mom, sister, and niece have a Hawaii vacation scheduled, their flight is on March 20. My mom is 70 years old. And she is. Refusing. To. Cancel. I guess it really depends on the way it pans out in the next week and a half out here in Chicago (and of course Hawaii). I am caught between the awkward positions of hoping it gets bad enough that it gets canceled FOR her due to official travel restrictions, or else having to go over there that day and personally preventing her from leaving the house. Because she’s gonna go unless somebody forces her not to.

My stepdad isn’t going, but he’s only slightly younger than her and diabetic, so he’s a serious risk factor if she does go and brings it home. I pointed that out to her, but it didn’t make any difference.

This. This is why we can’t have nice civilizations.
posted by notoriety public at 8:32 AM on March 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

I just want to say that beyond the concerns about catching the virus and how that would play with a couple underlying medical variables, I’m currently trying to scrape together that 30 day hunker-down supply closet/pantry in addition to this month’s rations as advised by my local authorities. I don’t own a vehicle and there aren’t secure delivery options to my actual place of residence and therefore use a PO Box, so in addition to the fact that 30 days of groceries and necessities in advance is just as unpleasant to deal with on a lower income as they say it is (thankfully I have good enough credit I can swing an emergency expense between paychecks, like buying 2 months of groceries instead of one at a time), a lot of physical schlepping is involved. (My work schedule is such right now that it doesn’t mesh well with anyone who could offer me a ride, and Uber isn’t in the budget.) it’s made me mindful that while people living more comfortably are panicking, those of us in the lower tax brackets are facing this with a much different toolset. As always.

On commuter trains and the local city buses I depend upon, I’m newly aware of just how many people (mostly men) don’t bother covering their mouths during their repeated wet coughing fits, or else do the hand 4” from the face thing, or else turn away from their neighbor, at least, but openly cough on a frequently touched surface again.

It’s just a matter of time before we have a “cough rage” incident on mass transit I think.
posted by blue suede stockings at 9:44 AM on March 8, 2020 [9 favorites]

I'm not going to church today, because I'm not sure if I'm sick or not, and the parish is mostly elderly. I have had a lot of feelings about it (what will people think? am I wrong? should I go if I'm not 100% sure I'm sick) but ultimately I think the chance of preserving people is best, especially since I've visited Kirkland recently.
posted by corb at 9:54 AM on March 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

I am scheduled to fly from LAX through Vancouver to teach a hands-on class to massage therapists in Alberta next weekend and I am healthy and I know I will be fine, but the germophobe neurotic side of me is slightly alarmed that it hasn't been postponed or canceled by the association that set it up. I also don't want to get trapped for 14 days out of the country or end up missing that much work. I traveled last week to Utah to hike in National Parks and didn't think twice about it...but this trip feels different. However, did Utah just get its first confirmed case today. So yay for false mental equivalencies on my part, I guess?

I am sure all will be fine, but thanks for giving me a place to tell my inner thoughts. Also, as a chiro/bodyworker I have always been an avid hand washer, but now I have also become a sanitizing hand spray addict.
posted by doktorj at 10:01 AM on March 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, I’ve come around the bend from my catastrophizing! Had a number of very good, weepy talks with my small family and my best friend.

I don’t know the outcome of all of this, and I’m sure it’s going to be not great, but the cliche about hard times showing you what is important hit me like a ton of bricks last night. I’m honestly more emotional than I’ve been in years and am dropping my generally cool and controlled demeanor. This is a good thing.

What brought me around was the fact that there are millions of highly trained professionals and researchers all over the world working to their limits to come up with something to mitigate this. In the meantime, all us normals can do is help. Help your neighbors and your family, go donate blood if you’re healthy, go volunteer places where people need help and everybody is too scared to go, just be a good person. Oh, and wash your hands!

PS For all the horseshit this place can dish out, I’m not writing my thoughts out anywhere else. Thanks MetaFilter.
posted by lattiboy at 11:01 AM on March 8, 2020 [18 favorites]

IDPH is only updating their statistics on their public facing site MWF,so the Chicago area after having the news on Friday of the teachers aide with it hasn't updated its testing stats, which doesn't make me feel comfortable especially with how fast things have been changing in other places. Not that it changes things much, but other places have been providing daily updates and is there a reason not to be? And that only 241 people have been screened IN ILLINOIS. Which includes a major international airport? Mind is boggled.

I did see a difference in verbal screening questions at my local physicians offices when I went to an appointment on Friday, which was different than what they were doing earlier in the week.

Because I work in healthcare settings I'm at greater risk of being asking to self quarantine, so I went and stocked up a little bit. The stores weren't too bad, but Costco did but in max item purchases on some goods.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:07 AM on March 8, 2020

Today was fine (except for the breaking up of a protest related to the location of a coronavirus clinic in Tai Po yesterday). Friends in Milan woke up to quite a surprise today and have had to cancel some weekends away.

The worst part of today, and this is so stupid, was this long and exhausting conversation with another non-local colleague who said it was CULTURAL IMPERIALISM (I swear to God, he actually said this) to not wear masks when "everyone else" is wearing them because "it's like we're saying we're better than them".

I had only walked over to my shelf to grab a tea bag and so I tried to de-escalate this line of thinking while escaping toward the water cooler: But surely you don't take advice from your neighbours on other health matters? And yet I got roped in. Some highlights:

"But people will look at me on the train!" I don't care what people do on the train and I'm looking at my phone most of the time and have no idea what other people are doing anyway.

"But isn't it rude?" We live in a giant city and I don't owe random other people I don't know politeness or a coherent visual experience that fits their worldview.

"But don't you think it's a better-safe-than-sorry thing?" No, because they don't stop you inhaling other people's droplets and just concentrate them ON YOUR FACE.

"It's disrespectful to their culture." Paranoia isn't culture. And I've lived here long enough to become a permanent resident - it's my culture too.

"I feel bad when our local colleagues are wearing them in the office and I'm not." OK, that's on you. I'm not wearing a mask.

"But what will the students think? Isn't there an obligation to our customers to respect them?" How is it disrespectful to students to not give in to paranoia? If I'm sick, I'll stay home.

"So you think they won't care?" I...don't care if they care?

"But what if they ask you about it? What if they refuse to participate in the lesson?!" I'll let them go and they can try to seek a refund from the customer services team.

Unlike many, many other educational institutions here, we're working our full hours, will all still be going to have our full vacations, and are earning our full salaries. We've rolled out online teaching incredibly quickly and we are all a liiiiiiiittle frazzled by the situation. I did not have time to be this patient with my maskmanic colleague and yet here we are. Gah.

Finally, I've shifted my Milan vacation at Easter to Turkey. I'll pack a few extra changes of clothes and my computer in case I get stuck there for a few weeks or something, but I'm optimistic. Turkey has somehow reported no cases of the virus (though that seems impossible) and I'll be in rural areas exploring the coast and national parks most of the time in a rental car, which feels safe-ish, or at least safe-adjacent. Fingers crossed I get an actual vacation before the damn summer holidays in August - I'm very ready to be somewhere else...
posted by mdonley at 11:13 AM on March 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

Something I've noticed in Brooklyn is that people seem to be doing their panic hoarding at the big name stores, at least so far. I keep seeing pictures of Costco and Trader Joe's having huge crowds and empty shelves, but the regular grocery stores in my neighborhood are completely normal.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:09 PM on March 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

Went out for a bike ride this morning -- even for early(ish) on a then-drizzly Sunday, there were plenty of people at the Locks, but I also see that Cascade's Bike Swap has been rescheduled for June. Traffic even still seems about usual in my neck of the woods, although I may actually go into my office on Tuesday, so I'm curious to see what Alaskan Way is like during morning rush hour.

(Also, aw. I haven't ridden in hail since I lived in Wales, so that was....a end my ride.)

It's funny how different people are dealing -- my mother has already called me twice in a panic, because she's incapable of risk assessments. I am, frankly, probably more of a danger to others than in danger myself; I'm young(ish?), no immune or lung issues, and pretty hardy all told, in addition to being one of nature's own hermits. I'm honestly more afraid of being an asymptomatic carrier, and accidentally making someone else sick. I talked to my sister who lives in DC after Panicked Call #2 and she was interested in what Seattle's doing, and telling me about the memes her boyfriend's finding, etc. And then I wound up chatting with a friend in Bristol, since I'm due to fly to the UK for two weeks in late May/early June and I don't think I quite got across to him that flights might legit be grounded still/I might be quarantined/he might be quarantined. He seemed...kind of unaware of it all?

Anyway, I thought the contrasts were interesting.
posted by kalimac at 12:57 PM on March 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

My parents (in Korea) remain in mostly good spirits. They just sent a video of them singing along to the hymn portion of the livestreamed Sunday service. Friends in Korea, depending on their lung health/pre-existing conditions, range from calm to mask-obsessed. People are standing in line still for hours.

I'm sending around this "Why does soap work so well on the SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus and indeed most viruses?" twitter thread by a chemistry professor to help underscore the relative value of handwashing-with-soap versus mask-wearing, so people who don't have a lot of masks will hopefully feel less panicked...
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:24 PM on March 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

Family member just arrived at LAX today from Japan. At LAX she received no screening.
posted by wobumingbai at 1:43 PM on March 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

All the performing artists I know are freaking out - not in fear of getting sick, for once, just afraid of losing our incomes. Some folks have been hit with cancellations already. My spouse and I are preemptively tightening our belts - she stands to lose about a third of her yearly fees if her next gig cancels performances. I’m on a weekly fee right now, thank goodness, but missing weeks would be a huge blow. The joys of Force Majeure.

Love and solidarity to all y’all, no matter how this is affecting you and your loved ones.
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 3:06 PM on March 8, 2020 [9 favorites]

NYC here. My employer has instituted work from home. YANME (you are not my epidemiologist), but I'm seriously considering driving up to my parents' place (suburban house) in the GTA and waiting it out there for the next two months.

I'm in my 20s with no underlying health conditions. I live by myself. I also don't need to take public transport to buy necessities. But I'm not confident in the US response to the coronavirus so far, and I'm worried it'll get to Wuhan levels of bad here within a few weeks. If I do catch something and end up as one of the unlucky cases needing hospitalization, or have some other health issue, I'm concerned we won't have capacity at that point.

On the other hand, is Canada going to deal with this much better? I think generally, people are in better health because healthcare is free, we have the knowhow from SARS last time, and we've been doing waaaay more testing, but even here, doctors are warning that we won't have enough beds at hospitals, and clinics are already rationing PPE.

IDK, really. Well, at least I'm fortunate to even have this choice.
posted by airmail at 3:08 PM on March 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Toilet paper now out at Costco and SuperStore. Costco's regular shipment this morning apparently sold out in like 20 minutes. I imagine hand sanitizer is the same though because I need neither I don't know (the empty toilet peper isle is obvious just passing by). Don't know if this is an increase in actual demand or lack of supply because of demand elsewhere.

Number of shoppers both places appeared to be down. Avoiding the busiest times or shopped earlier?
posted by Mitheral at 5:27 PM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

The mister is in self-quarantine because of possible exposure during a recent trip. Despite my best efforts to keep my distance from him at home, we both are coming down with something. I am high-risk so I'm trying to not get upset about this.
posted by Ruki at 7:38 PM on March 8, 2020 [11 favorites]

Flew into Fiji on Friday. Extra health declarations and taking of temperature while going through international transfer desk. No international passengers were allowed to leave the airport. The food options in the airport are grim.
posted by jadepearl at 7:44 PM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I suggested to partner we pick up toilet paper this week despite not needing it yet because I'd read about the panic buying, so that was my contribution to the run on it. When we got to Costco almost every person had it in their cart. We got a giant pack and there looked like there was plenty more, but it was before 10. At Safeway this afternoon they were running low, same with bottled water.

I've been throwing a extra shelf stable item in my cart every trip for the past week, figure it can't hurt and it's all stuff we'll eat anyway.

What was the most disturbing to me though was that the excellent Japanese bakery we decided to go on a breakfast date too this morning had no other customers. I've never not waited in line, last month when I went it was about 10 minutes and they ran out of half of what I wanted. This time they had everything, we even got the smooth paste red bean buns which I'm able to get maybe one out of every ten visits because they sell out so fast. I don't know if it's xenophobia or people not wanting to go out, but I am so worried about the local restaurants.
posted by lepus at 9:31 PM on March 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

I went out for dim sum in downtown SF this morning with friends; the high-end restaurant was 3/4 empty. I figured it's a combination of racism/fear of coronavirus/DaylightSavingsTime. But it was kind of unsettling.

OTOH, the dim sum was very good.

San Francisco has cancelled the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the poor people on the cruise ship off the coast are going to be unloaded at the Port of Oakland, probably tomorrow -- Oakland has more room to isolate and manage people than the SF cruise ship terminal does.
posted by suelac at 9:49 PM on March 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have hit the "What does THIS button do on the rice cooker?!" level of boredom with being sick. But I also got my Seattle Flu Study kit in the mail; I did the nose swabs and sent it back later in the day.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:55 AM on March 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

I may actually be able to perfect congee, which would be amazing.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:55 AM on March 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

NYC - my son had a half day of school today (Jewish holiday starting tonight) - we got an email at 4:45 am saying they've "received important information from the Department of Health" and that school was closed until further notice. No update yet. We're supposed to have 13 people for dinner tomorrow (all family, coming in from parts of NJ, all except two driving)... so we're cooking and pretending this isn't happening, because...?
posted by Mchelly at 5:20 AM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

We've just gotten our first 2 assumed cases in my area (which honestly took longer than I expected) and I'm mildly stressed about it but I just found out today that my boss' boss came back sick from their trip to the Philippines and HAS BEEN WORKING IN THE OFFICE. AND TRAVELING TO OTHER BIG MEETINGS. Also he is planning on attending a conference we're holding soon? I mean I know there are other pressures at work but I am SO MAD.
posted by brilliantine at 5:57 AM on March 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

No cases in our area yet, but I'm pushing my manager to start surfacing concerns about childcare and expectations around productivity if we're told to work from home all the time. I already work remotely full time, but the rest of my office doesn't and my partner doesn't. And if they're told to work from home, well, what do we do about our two young kids?

If daycare stays open and we keep sending them, it feels like that defeats the point of working from home. Our biggest disease vector window is wide open? I know that engaging in some social distancing is better than none, but I really hope that we get leeway to keep our kids home if work closes, despite the productivity hit.

I know we are exceptionally lucky to even be in the part of the population that can do remote work. I also feel guilty for wishing for daycare to close if cases start popping up here. I know there are many people who can't reasonably work from home or take the hit to their income that such a closing might cause (including the daycare workers themselves). But we're in a time of imperfect solutions.
posted by celare at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

It hasn't been too bad yet here in Frankfurt, we've only had a few confirmed cases so far, and they've mostly been mild. (Which is actually a bit surprising considering the airport, and the amount of meetings and trade fairs that take place here.)

Work is trying out a "What happens if everyone in the office tries to work from home" day tomorrow to do a stress test of both the systems, and people's ability to use their VPN. We're lucky enough that working from home is an option that just leads to a bit of inefficiency rather than a complete impossibility.
posted by scorbet at 8:27 AM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

If you're healthy and are in Seattle, please consider donating blood. It's needed urgently!
posted by spinifex23 at 9:09 AM on March 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

My Fortune 500 employer instituted mandatory work from home for all employees who are able to do so starting today, until further notice. And this isn't Seattle or Boston, they are headquartered in a midwestern city which has not been a major hub of COVID-19 so far (3 confirmed cases in the metro area).

Reading between the lines of management communication, it seems like they believe we're past containment now and this is about slowing the spread, not stopping it. As in, it's inevitable that some employees will contract the virus, but we're trying to prevent large numbers of employees from getting it all at once and crippling operations.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:25 AM on March 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Well my boss has decided that there is nothing to worry about and this is just rehearsal for a "real" pandemic and nobody is actually going to get sick and if they are, it's not that bad, just a cold, so I should stop being such a debbie downer. God, it's not like it's ebola or something. In other words, full steam ahead, let's plan a whole bunch of public events and fundraisers for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April.) Whoop whoop, keep rearranging those deck chairs.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:38 AM on March 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

NJ has 11 cases now, up from 6 yesterday. Thankfully, the state has really gotten on the ball and rolled out with extensive testing. As of yesterday we've tested... *checks notes*...37 people.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

All the performing artists I know are freaking out - not in fear of getting sick, for once, just afraid of losing our incomes. Some folks have been hit with cancellations already.

I'm in the same boat—jobs I have contracts for as far out as June are canceling (altogether 5 different jobs across 3 clients = 5 weeks income). I'm self employed working face-to-face collaborative meetings which require me to fly 90% of the time so... yeah. Looking at 1/3 -1/2 income loss depending on how long this goes on. Oddly, my meeting next week in Atlanta hasn't canceled yet but I still am holding off buying the plane ticket for another day or so.
posted by Bunglegirl at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Well, I just wrote my GP asking for a COVID-19 test. The only thing they can do is say 'no'.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:22 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am in Houston. I went to the grocery storm Sunday morning for my regular shopping. It was absolutely normal. There was lots of food. There were happy shoppers. The staff was cheerful. The sanitizer and rubbing alcohol were out, as well as several types of vitamins. Plenty of water, bread, canned goods, snacks, milk. I left with the feeling that things are not going to be so bad.

I work at a tiny bank. We have determined that most of us can work from home if necessary. One function that cannot be done remotely is the wire room. They handle billions every day, and it is perfectly understandable that the system has to be protected from any kind of remote access. We shall see how this works out.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:56 PM on March 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

All of Italy is now on lockdown. Whee. And a hearty fuck you to the supposed journalists who leaked Sunday's decree, leading to a mass exodus Saturday night.
posted by romakimmy at 2:00 PM on March 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

Germany is reporting 1100+ cases - in my city there are 48 cases.

The health minister is recommending working from home if possible, avoiding public transit if possible, and staying home if you have any kind of minor cold or flu symptoms.

I would have expected by now that my work, a typical mid-sized open office tech company, would have addressed the issue by now. The outbreak has now reached a scale (IMO) where work from home should have been actively put in place, and relaxing rules about sick notes from doctors (even for a cold). At the very least, the company's plans should be communicated as to what precautions are being taken as schools, businesses, cities close in all the countries surrounding us.

Instead, the only official communication so far is an email today about how to avoid getting sick, full of jokey emoticons - wash your hands! Cover your mouth when you cough! Open the window and let fresh air clear out the germs! Really??? How about not forcing employees to come into work on public transit, then sit with coughing and sneezing colleagues in an open office all day, and encouraging people to stay home even without a doctor's note.

We are at the point that I forsee school and daycare closures coming in the next week, which means I will be staying home with my kid no matter how many times I open the window or wash my hands.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 2:00 PM on March 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

I went to the grocery storm

Saving this … conjunction of letters for future use, thanks.

Otherwise, one of my social media contacts has a picture of a grocery store self-serve donut cabinet where each donut has been placed in its own little bag.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:03 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

The cruise ship that's about to dock in Oakland docked in Hilo on the 29th. For the past few days, the daily update from the DoH has been that they're investigating, and will let us know what they find.

Which I think we can all agree will be far too late to meaningfully act on any information they find. Many cruise ship passengers go to the Walmart, so I'm basically assuming it's in general circulation in Hilo, at least, if not up and down the wet side coast (because Saturday is when you go to town to go to the store), if not across the island.

They're also telling people to go to the doctor if they have cold/flu symptoms, rather than to deal with mild symptoms at home. Also that you "avoid contact with others" because those aren't mutually exclusive at all.

I am filled with a great deal of confidence. Wait. No. It's not that, it's the other thing, the opposite.
posted by DebetEsse at 2:26 PM on March 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm visiting my father tomorrow. He's got several risk factors going on at the same time: over 80, diabetic, heart disease and cancer. He asked me to avoid the train and come by car instead.
Sure thing, dad. Good thinking.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:38 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm a consultant and writer in the US. I get about 60% of my income through face to face speaking gigs, consulting, workshops, and facilitation. Already two gigs have fallen through.

Now I'm pivoting hard to online. I'm already massively online, from doing a weekly live video show to extensive social media etc.; I'm doubling down by expanding video offerings. And I'm terrified that it won't be enough. (Single income for family here, and in a US not exactly known for public services)

My job is the future of higher education. So I've made a couple of web resources: a spreadsheet charting college and university closures/migrations online and a list of resources for tracking COVID-2019, including libguides, selected social media, open access scholarly content, etc.

More directly, we just moved to the Washington, DC area. One person came down with the coronavirus a couple of blocks from where I teach. My household is battening down the hatches.
posted by doctornemo at 3:16 PM on March 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

New Jersey just declared a state of emergency. My work urged, starting this morning that all meetings that would put large groups of people in close proximity to each other be canceled. Just waiting for the call to work from home at this point.
posted by bridgebury at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

How are folks dealing with planned trips a month or two off? I've put off purchasing tickets, but am now starting to really wonder about it.
posted by corb at 3:32 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ive purchased tickets, but am now starting to really wonder about it. It's a trip to Australia around half April... who knows whether it's going to be possible at all? Not me...
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:36 PM on March 9, 2020

I've got a family vacation in early April, with a connection at SeaTac. I'm not canceling yet, but still waiting to see how this all goes.
posted by bajema at 3:44 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've got a long weekend away booked in about two weeks, and still planning to go on that. It's about 2 hrs of bus and ferry rides, so will be putting my not-touching-my-face skills to good use I guess?

I booked an international trip in late May/early June ages ago. I haven't booked any accommodations yet (other than plans to stay with friends), and am doing the wait and see at least through this month. I'm going to fly to the UK again at some point, so I'm fine with just getting credit back if I have to cancel, or re-booking for later in the year if for some reason flights are grounded.

(Disclaimer: I am in a pretty low-risk group, and despite jokes about being essentially a feral raccoon of a person, I think I'm pretty good about hand-washing, social isolation, etc. I am extremely privileged along health and ability axes, and most of my energy is going towards not accidentally infecting others and also not becoming unhealthily shut in, as is my natural wont.)
posted by kalimac at 3:51 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

My parents, in their mid-80s, are in North Carolina; I am in Seattle. I am in a high-risk band, so is my wife, and so are all of our parents. Hers are older than mine. One each has a likely exacerbating risk factor. I cancelled a play and two doctor appointments locally and had an in-depth risk-analysis call with my parents. The upshot is: I am no longer vaguely planning to visit them in March, no matter how cheap the tickets get, and if they get sick, I am staying in Seattle, no matter what the outcome, including death. My wife and I tried to have a similar conversation regarding her parents in California, and it did not go well, and she has not had a similar conversation with her family down there.
posted by mwhybark at 4:01 PM on March 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

So I'm in Santa Clara which is probably the hardest hit US county in terms of # of cases - my wife is a high school teacher and her school is not yet closed unlike other schools in the area. We're not super worries about exposure per se but if they close the school that will probably push back the start of summer and... we already have travel booked. Ugh. You think you can make plans and that school dates are set in stone, but nope. Not exactly life threatening for us but a worrysome drag.
posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

at press conference mike pence keeps waving around a piece of paper he describes as providing common-sense things we can all do. he urges journalists to make sure that it is widely distributed and says, over and over, to go to so far there is no, the page just forwards to the cdc coronavirus pages. i did not immediately find a rumpled page of slides there.

little lurk had the flu and now i do. bedridden yesterday, fevered and weak with coruscating chills. stayed home today and will tomorrow.

today received communications from employer and from little lurk's nursery school. both would like us to let them know if we've been in contact with anyone who has covid or who has contacted anyone with covid. leaving aside the question of how we'd know of that contact at second remove, it is encouraging. the nursery school is "spritzing" the legos with "the recommended bleach solution" and encouraging more-frequent handwashing. they ask that any sick kid be kept home until 24 hours with no fever.

employer requires us to inform them of any travel within last 30 days, and states:
effective immediately, if you have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus, or who has been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus, you must quarantine yourself for two weeks prior to resuming work....
so i guess that answers that question, from two weeks ago (?), about telework opportunities.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:31 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Apparently my workplace has been instructed to come up with plans for what happens if we're shut down for the summer, which would be a pain in the ass, and for the Fall semester, which is kind of unimaginable. I don't have the kind of job where I can easily work from home, and I don't think my internet is up to teleconferencing. At least, it gets really slow at peak times, and every time is going to be a peak time if everyone is working from home. This is definitely going to be interesting.

I made and froze a bunch of meatballs last night. Not sure how long I want to subsist on meatballs, though.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:08 PM on March 9, 2020

My (distribution, retail, sales, non-tech) company has a VERY robust new WFH policy, but it is obviously untenable for more than a few weeks. At a certain point you need people physically doing things on site. If your policy is as soon as anybody sneezes, has a cough, or has a temperature they go home for 14 days with pay.... well, hope you are staffed entirely by saints and have a whole lot of redundant employees laying around! Otherwise everything breaks down in probably a week or two.

Again, I work for a very, very good family owned operation with a huge amount of loyal multi-decade employees. The problem is this pandemic is so far beyond what any single organization can deal with. The current and future environment just won’t work for 99% of companies and organizations.

I really am unable to imagine how this all shakes out in any recognizable way. I am ALL for a full revision of our broken, unfair system. The issue is this should happen through political change and generational change. I’m petrified of people realizing the old world is just gone in two weeks or so. I think the cancellation of the Olympics will be a real inflection point for people who think this is all overblown.

Anybody have a legit possible “best case” scenario for the US? I’m struggling to see one that doesn’t involve a completely reshaping of society!
posted by lattiboy at 5:12 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think the best case scenario for the US is that this turns out to be a seasonal disease, as respiratory viruses often are, and either it goes away and doesn't come back or it goes away for a few months, which buys us some time to come up with a better response. Of course, that assumes that our current government is capable of coming up with an effective response.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:22 PM on March 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Reading this thread...

So many things. Living in Seattle, epicenter in the US, stores stripped of essentials, in-laws in Portland were going to come up and do some work on our house, but, she's high risk, so, nope, the city seems deserted, things feel wierd, and they are only going to get weirder. My son is in school in Santa Clara...

But school is still happening, my indoor soccer place hasn't cancelled games yet, my son's athletics are still happening.
posted by Windopaene at 5:28 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Not sure if this has been posted anywhere yet:

Flattening the curve is the best answer as to what we should be doing now, worldwide. The danger of COVID-19 isn't in the symptoms, it's in the capacity of the healthcare system to respond. Yes, we're beyond the point where we can stop the virus. But we can still delay it, and that makes everybody safer.
posted by destrius at 5:53 PM on March 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

We now have 19 cases officially in Indonesia, though everyone knows it is quite likely more. Maybe because this is a place where Dengue and Typhoid both regularly kill, people are careful and watchful, but still mostly going about their daily lives. The government keeps encouraging everyone to pray and eat chilies, but they have at least implemented the WHO guidelines for the airports, and are able to track victims and clusters. So far a lot of foreigners among the positive, but I suspect this is because they are the ones insisting on getting tested...
posted by frumiousb at 5:56 PM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

So I've also noticed a lot of complaints about the lack of testing in the US, which I can empathize with, but could the underlying reason for that be the lack of capacity to handle very large numbers of tests? Hence they're reserving that capacity for people with more severe symptoms, as it should be.

Even over here in Singapore, if you go to the clinic with a cough and fever, you generally won't get tested; you will be told you might have COVID-19, and you should stay home, but unless your symptoms get worse there's nothing else to be done; i.e. there's no point in testing you.
posted by destrius at 6:07 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

In some small good news: Independence Blue Cross (health insurance co) "will cover and waive cost-sharing (such as co-pays and coinsurance) for the COVID-19 test when performed at a hospital or an approved laboratory. This includes members enrolled in our fully insured plans, employer-sponsored plans, Medicare Advantage and the individual and family plans available through the Affordable Care Act. Self-funded plans will be able to opt-out of this program." They also "lifted prescription refill restrictions, such as the “refill too soon” limit, for members in states that have declared a state of emergency because of the virus." I'm doubting they are a uniquely generous insurance company, so others may be doing similar things.

And also Philadelphia has a law mandating paid sick time for many employers, and unpaid sick time for others. "If you work for an employer with more than nine employees, you’re entitled to paid sick days. If you work for an employer with fewer than 10 employees, you’re entitled to unpaid sick days. Chains with more than 14 locations worldwide also must provide paid sick leave, no matter how many employees work at one location." "Your immigration status does not affect your ability to get paid sick leave." "You can use your paid sick days if your child is sick, and you are not." The article also includes resources to contact if you aren't getting the sick leave you are due.
posted by sepviva at 6:17 PM on March 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Not sure if this has been posted anywhere yet:

And also the more cynical XKCD take.

I went into the office today because I had an errand to run nearby anyway, and it was like a holiday crew, so people are taking this seriously... except for one guy who has had a dry cough for two weeks straight but keeps insisting on coming in anyway. Back to working from home for me.

Still hemming and hawing about whether to cancel my flight home for my brother's wedding. I think the airlines are taking this fairly seriously, but I absolutely do not want to get stuck if the situation gets bad enough that cities start with non-voluntary quarantines. I can feel in my bones that things are going to start getting a lot worse very quickly in the US, but I'm having a lot of anxiety over when it'll happen. I really want shit to boil over in the next two weeks so I can gracefully cancel travel plans instead of either going through with my plans and having shit boil over while I'm away or having to cancel on my own initiative and look like an asshole.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:45 PM on March 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have a phone visit with a doctor tomorrow because I'm still slightly short of breath even on Prednisone, and my fever isn't being touched by Tylenol. I already talked to a dial a nurse, and she thinks I can just chill at home, and take Ventolin when needed.

I'm so glad that phone doctor visits are a thing.

Also, REALLY thankful I went through and got my NEXUS card late last year. I couldn't imagine trying to do that now, with with the in person interview and all.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:55 PM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

> Living in Seattle... the city seems deserted

The weird thing about being in a suburb of Seattle is that it felt more crowded today, presumably from all the people who didn't go into work but couldn't handle actually avoiding human contact. When I went for a walk today I saw a ton more people than I usually do. I went out for a late breakfast with friends and there were more people than I'd expect in a restaurant at that hour on a weekday. The library had fewer patrons than usual, it felt like, but other than that there were people everywhere.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:58 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was supposed to fly across the country (Boston to Portland, OR) for a work trip next week, and this morning emailed and said "I am not going to do that." (they'd previously told us they were monitoring. I got a nice email from one of the lead people saying "Thank you for tipping me over into cancelling, I had been trying to figure out whether that was the right thing.")

I have chronic asthma and a chronic cough (so I wouldn't want to be sitting next to me on an airplane even if I'm not contagious with anything) and I really didn't want to get sick away from home, or be stuck on the wrong side of the country.

I work in a building where there are medically fragile kids, I and one of my coworkers are at high risk, and so there are noises about when we go to working from home. (We've already been encouraged to stay home if actually sick, it's the interim limbo that's still unclear.)

I was hoping to make a trip (by train, east coast, and I could drive if I had to) for a convention in mid-April. I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that, but I'm waiting to make the final call on it until closer to then. Things are changing so fast.
posted by jenettsilver at 6:59 PM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Amazing photos...

This is just going to trash so many people's lives. Venice with no tourists? That's about all the economy they have.

Wash your hands everyone
posted by Windopaene at 8:17 PM on March 9, 2020

having to cancel on my own initiative and look like an asshole.

As someone who is supposed to get married in two weeks— I think your brother is likely to be more concerned with your health than anything else. That’s our perspective, for sure.

We are considering cancelling ourselves but are unlikely to do so unless we are personally affected, or if a sizeable cluster starts in our area (so far all the known cases near our site are still traceable). We might send out a missive to our guests explaining that there will be no hard feelings whatsoever if they decide not to come, as their health comes first.

And one thing that would be useful for us to know is how many people are considering cancelling. We have no grandparents, so the risky people are going to be the immune compromised or people who are caring for a grandparent or immune compromised person— and we have no idea how many of those there are among our guests. So— might be worth bringing it up, they may want to get it out in the open anyhow. (Ybmv, of course).
posted by nat at 9:27 PM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

NYC. I have a cough and I just got sent home from work with my laptop - sick day today, but they said be prepared to be out all week and work from home if I'm still coughing. I only started a month ago and I'm irrationally worried of looking like a malingerer. That's America for you I guess.

Most of my coworkers who are still coming in are delaying their start times to avoid rush hour subways.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:51 AM on March 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

This is gonna sound twisted, but... on some level, I've been feeling oddly relieved to have the news dominated by something besides Fucking Trump. I mean it's been YEARS since that was the case. It's almost refreshing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:48 AM on March 10, 2020 [10 favorites]

My companies has a few offices spread throughout N. America (we're based primarily in Toronto though) and they made the decision to make work-from-home mandatory until further notice. Thankfully, our company had already transitioned to everyone having work-laptops within the last few years, so it's not been as stressful as it might be for some other companies that aren't set up for that kind of work.

I've been work-from-home the last few months anyways, but this still makes the virus even more real. It's a bit overwhelming to think how much power this virus has and it's still early days.
posted by Fizz at 7:53 AM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

My parents (late 50s-early 60s who visit weekly with both sets of my grandparents who are late 70s-early 80s) are supposed to fly into NJ (from a midwest state with 2 cases atm) to visit me for their spring break in two weeks, and when I finally brought up the possibility of them potentially not coming at that time if things get worse (and because NJ has declared a state of emergency!) they said that they refused to "borrow tomorrow's worry," and were surprised that NJ had declared a state of emergency since it wasn't that serious. Basically said that they weren't going to cancel their trip until there's a government mandate limiting travel. This does *not* make me feel better about them coming to visit, and makes me hope that something, anything, forces them to cancel, and soon.
posted by bridgebury at 8:02 AM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

we are living a pretty restricted life as hubby is an ITU Dr, so plan is delay and mitigate. No current cases here in Hastings UK, but getting into the habits and cancelling birthday visit to granny in her dementia care home in Hamburg this weekend in an abundance of caution. We've stopped going out except in really necessary trips, pharmacy for drugs, supermarket, but even there I spray the supermarket trolly and wipe down the packages and bottles when I get home having shopped with gloves. No masks around here yet but plenty in the airport when I came back from Germany a month ago. Our problem is that Granny's dementia is progressing and worst case scenario we'll only be able to go to Hamburg in the summer and she may not recognise us at that stage.
I'm worried as 30 yr old daughter in Madrid severly impacted by school closures tomorrow. She rang in floods of tears last night because her company International House is already teetering and this may cause layoffs. We had a serious discussion and I hated when hubby advised that Spain has more ITU beds and a better infrastructure than the NHS right now. He's expecting to get infected as are many of the ITU staff so on balance our family will be in different countries going through this pandemic. While 7% of healthcare staff are becoming infected this is across ll professions and the frontline are expecting to be disproportionately affected. add the staff who will have to self isolate even with mild symptoms and you have a recipe for disasters as exhaustion covering double shifts, teaching the orthos how to medic will all cause forced errors.
we've made as many preparations as possible and are taking as many measures as possible to delay the peak but we're really angry the Government won't close down large venues and schools more to deley the peak.
posted by Wilder at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2020 [10 favorites]

apols to all orthos out there, it's a bit of black humour we're using to keep our spirits. He reports all the ITU staff have this kind of dread combined with let's get it over all ready weird combo attitude. Son works in admin booking elective surgeries but he's likely to be cancelling them all shortly as the use theatres as ITU beds and start cohort nursing the COVID cases on general wards. They have 10 ITU beds and two isolation wards that will become overwhelmed within days of the surge. They have been advised that the "Three Wise Men" protocol will be activated for thos cases which could have been saved had there been more ventilators but basically will be triaged as in a war zone, only those healthy enough to survived will get the ventilators. In italy I was struck by the images from their ITU in Cremona where patients were clearly young men with good muscle tone so they've already age and co-morbidity capped the beds. I'm angry at the contention thaat it's like a bad cold or flu, it's not, it's worse and here in the UK we are expecting 100,000 excess deaths from this.
posted by Wilder at 8:17 AM on March 10, 2020 [11 favorites]

it's great having asthma bc even knowing that i have had a mere 2 (specifically environmentally triggered) attacks in the past 15 years does not help when it feels weird breathing after reading ~200 words of any news article this week

also it was 71 degrees out yesterday which was fucking disgusting
posted by poffin boffin at 8:29 AM on March 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

My fiance is supposed to be going on an Australian cruise with his 75-year-old mother in a few weeks, and neither of them is inclined to cancel yet, even though the CDC has been very explicit that older adults (and most travelers) should avoid cruises in general. She is in good health with no underlying conditions (thank god) but I'm very nervous at the thought that they could be quarantined or otherwise stuck on a cruise while halfway around the world. I am just hoping that in two weeks the situation will be even clearer and they'll have no choice but to postpone the trip. I've been so happy for them to go on this trip of a lifetime but things are getting scary and it's not helping my anxiety disorder any.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 8:48 AM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

NYC: Spouse, who uses subway, reports "plague making commute much less crowded. streets quiet too. v shawn of the dead"

NYU, Columbia, Princeton, Fordham and St. John's University have all canceled in-person classes for at least 2 weeks and are moving online.
posted by lalochezia at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

fucking cuny won't cancel and it's gonna be a problem for the 500,000 students who all have to take at least 1 train to get to class
posted by poffin boffin at 9:57 AM on March 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

poffin boffin, my niece goes to a CUNY and she said that the class she's in right now has 30 students out of 120 attending. I am wondering if enough students just decide on their own not to go to classes that they'll have no choice but to cancel. I understand the logistical challenges but if people start getting sick it'll spread through the CUNYs like wildfire.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 10:01 AM on March 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

attendance is automatically part of your final grade throughout CUNY and while plenty of profs are forgiving in general and right now most are willing to work with you, there are still a not insignificant number who are huge fucking dicks about it. if you miss more class hours than the class meets per week they can drop you a full letter grade.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:14 AM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

That's going to be a disability accommodation nightmare. Lots of students who don't ordinarily need accommodations are going to have a good argument that they need attendance accommodations in this circumstance.

Having said that, there are really big issues with canceling classes, especially at campuses with a lot of low-income students. I honestly have no idea what the right solution is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:17 AM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

it would be less of a nightmare if we had our spring break at the same time as the rest of the country, aka right now, but it's always much later to accommodate the jewish holidays, which are systemwide CUNY/nyc school district mandated holidays.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:22 AM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Our first cases have shown up in St. Louis, with the alleged patients zero and one breaking quarantine to go to a father-daughter dance. Which is a totally cool thing to do. Right now my job is putting measures in place in case we have to shut down, which is nice to see, but I'm hourly and I have virtually no PTO. My boss has told me we'd probably get paid the way we would if things were canceled because of snow or power outages, but there's no official word yet.

I haven't ventured out to Costco yet, but I will have to eventually for medication. Target was totally out of anything sanitizer related on Sunday though. It's almost comical.
posted by gc at 10:27 AM on March 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

MN: My niece was going home to Washington state over spring break but cancelled her trip and will stay with us instead. We're delighted we get to see her, but everyone in WA is sad and worried. We're planning a video conference party so we can all hang out together for awhile. Her college has threatened to close if they get a confirmed case and she's supposed to graduate this spring. Just a little nerve-racking. We're glad we can at least give her a place to land and cats to spoil.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:30 AM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Our first cases have shown up in St. Louis, with the alleged patients zero and one breaking quarantine to go to a father-daughter dance.
I think that patient zero has actually been perfectly well-behaved. Her asshole father and sister went to the dance, and her equally-asshole mother broke quarantine to get her nails done. Seriously: they should throw them in jail, except they'd be a threat to the other prisoners.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:30 AM on March 10, 2020

Here in Hong Kong:

- Mandatory quarantines in government-run centres have been put in effect for anyone, irrespective of Hong Kong residence status, who's been to Italy and parts of France, Germany, Spain and Japan in the last 14 days, in addition to the existing quarantine orders on people who've been in Korea and Iran; self-isolation in hotels/at home is not allowed. It seems like these people can still transit the airport, though. All costs will be covered by the government.

- The Centre for Health Protection, our CDC, has said that the "health certificates" which Hong Kong Airlines has requested that somehow certify one's COVID-less status as a precondition for boarding flights don't make sense.

- The poorest Hong Kongers continue to struggle: in one case in this story, a single parent was asked to take no-pay leave from a job that barely pays them enough to live on in the first place to provide child care that their child's closed school can't offer.

- Over the border in China, Hubei will soon allow people with the correct colour label on a mobile app (!) to travel within the province. In my opinion, it's only a matter of time before national travel restrictions are eased inside the Mainland, and Hong Kong will be under pressure to relax its controls on our border crossings with Shenzhen. Hong Kong having some connection with the Mainland is inevitable, but people here are justifiably freaked out by the idea of a return of the hundreds of thousands of crossings a day which we had before the crisis.

It still feels too early to say it's the beginning of things being over, but the number of cases in China and our other neighbours is surprisingly low. That said: people mentally are not prepared for the cancellation of the rest of the school year, or for a second wave after we re-open our borders. I honestly hope that the government maintains travel restrictions on infected areas for a good long while; we are already too crowded and too dense for even one infected person to avoid infecting hundreds of others.

Best of luck to everyone else going through the same fears, anxieties and panic we went through (and are still going through!) - it's awful feeling that there's nothing you can do aside from washing your hands and avoiding others to mitigate getting sick. Stay safe, everyone.
posted by mdonley at 11:03 AM on March 10, 2020 [9 favorites]

Seriously: they should throw them in jail

no alcohol-based sanitizers in (many us) prisons, per this morning's democracynow! and the marshall project.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Here in North Carolina we are up to 7 cases. I'm in Wake County (Raleigh - capital). Local updates:

* 1 person who went to visit someone in the Washington state care facility that's been in the news
* 5 people who went to a Biogen (biotech firm) conference in Boston last month and have since tested positive
* an Indiana resident who was here last week in Raleigh and Durham while presenting symptoms (also from Biogen)
* a private school in Raleigh is closed after a parent tested positive.
* Gov. Cooper has declared a state of emergency.

I am working form home today and probably tomorrow. I was downtown yesterday and my regular Indian lunch spot was mostly empty at 12:30. I asked the owner if he thought it was fear/xenophobia but he said the problem is that everyone's working from home, so there are just a lot fewer people downtown. Raleigh downtown business are heavily dependent on the commuter crowd. The only other people down there are millenials who can somehow afford $2000/mo. for a 1-bedroom condo (much more than my large house in the suburbs).
posted by freecellwizard at 11:38 AM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Rutgers added to the list of schools closing (state university of nj, baby!)
posted by armacy at 12:05 PM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Traffic was definitely sparser this morning going down Alaskan Way. There was way less traffic going onto/coming off of the ferry, and the sidewalks were noticeably less crowded. (It is also grey and cold out, so that might be helping.) About the same number of cycle commuters I'd expect, though, which was interesting.
A fair number of people in the office today, but there's a definite air of this might be the last time we're in for awhile, especially since nearly everyone can just as easily work from home. None of us are part of a vulnerable population, but we're all a bit terrified of accidentally spreading illness to others, so WFH for the foreseeable future it is, I think.
posted by kalimac at 12:19 PM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just as a small marker of hindsight from within Italy, it felt to me there was one story making the rounds the other day that specifically coincided with the government's finally taking the nationwide-lockdown-plunge: the notion that due to insufficient medical personnel and intensive care beds/equipment in some of the worst-hit areas, in certain cases doctors would necessarily start resorting to utilitarian criteria in assigning patient priority for respirators, meaning that those with more years to look forward to in case of survival would be prioritized. It wouldn't surprise me that the prospect of the potentially ensuing outrage is what ultimately tipped Conte to the point of announcing Sunday's national restricting decree.

I can't see how any country can really avoid ultimately resorting to a similar major lockdown strategy - especially now that, like those from Hubei and South Korea, the declining incidence numbers showing in the early (Feb 21st) lockdown areas in northern Italy seem to confirm that it's a strategy that can work.

(On a side note, it occurred to me that Italy's pretty damn lucky it's Conte-bis, in a center-left coalition now, heading all this - I shudder to think what wannabe-fascist Salvini would have been tempted to do with this whole dire scenario...)
posted by progosk at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm in the SF Bay Area working for a public transit agency. I can see the cruise ship at dock in the Port of Oakland from the office kitchen window. Work has been wild as we try to respond to the increased cleaning needed in our trains and stations--we are doing as much as we can, but we're also having a hard time sourcing extra cleaning supplies, having our staff work overtime to clean more, and dealing with a drop in revenue to pay for it all because of the drop in ridership (about 9% so far)--but fewer riders means the trains/stations don't get filthy as quickly so who knows? I'm not a frontline employee so I can work from home (and already do, one day a week).

Personally, I am washing my hands more thoroughly, wiping down surfaces in my office more frequently, etc. My commute has been much easier (I drive--I know--but there isn't a good transit alternative from my home to Oakland). I am "at risk" I guess as a 60-year-old with asthma, etc. I've stocked some extra canned food for me and the kitties. I have enough of all my medications so I'm as prepared as I think I need to be if we have to stay home for a couple of weeks. Beyond that, well, it will be pretty awful all the way around so I'm trying to not dwell on that.
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:44 PM on March 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Had a talk with my mom last night, mentioned that I was thinking of canceling my trip. She seemed ok with it. And then today Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts as the number of cases literally doubled overnight. So, yeah, I'm definitely going to have to miss that wedding. I'm really bummed about it, even though I don't normally like going home. Still, it's the right thing to do.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:26 PM on March 10, 2020

A great-grandmother I know, the center of a huge extended family, needs medical care she would normally get in Seattle - and she can’t yet schedule it. (I don’t know if they’re out of appropriate beds or feel bringing her closer to our outbreaks is too much risk or what.)

So the disaster hasn’t happened yet for this family but it’s so close.
posted by clew at 2:31 PM on March 10, 2020

little lurk's nursery school says a community member has been exposed, elsewhere, but has self-quarantined, so the school is not exposed via that member. employer distributed three cdc posters and a policy requiring that anyone with a fever stay home until 24-hours post-fever, the guideline i understand conscientious persons already follow anyway (though we're precarious employees and not high on the consideration-for-others axis, as a rule). and mom reports, via a friend who visits a loved-one there daily, that that nursing home, noted for being visited by one of maryland's first three confirmed cases, screens all visitors for fever before allowing them to enter.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:44 PM on March 10, 2020

Two of those Biogen people in Boston came down to a party in Princeton, and now the university has two staff members who may have been exposed and are in self-quarantine. I don't work for the university, but my company is located on the campus, so this is way close. One of my officemates has gone remote because her mother is in the age-related danger zone; for myself, I'm dithering about it. I'm basically a hermit outside of work and don't have contact with any at-risk people, but I wonder if I'd have less anxiety or more if I bunkered down.

I have never in my life been so acutely conscious of Things Other People Touch. And I was going to fly to an out-of-town gathering at the beginning of April. The likelihood of that is going down....

On the brighter (?) side, I made a big pot of delicious chicken soup and froze some of it, so if I do get sick (and just miserably sick instead of critically sick), I'll have some easy prep meals.
posted by velvet_n_purrs at 3:28 PM on March 10, 2020

In Milwaukee, WI. I am in school at UW-Milwaukee as of this past fall. We aren't canceled yet, but the university just sent out a notice that spring break is going to be extended a week while they prepare to shift classes online, and there is an employee that's being watch/tested because they are sick and have possible exposure by way of someone returning from one of the badly affected countries.

There had been a relative uneasiness on campus all day that you could just kind of feel. I am also working part time in one of the offices and we laughed about it but it was the kind of joking that people do when everyone wants to talk about being afraid without saying they're afraid.

For most of last week/the weekend and yesterday, there really wasn't much about coronavirus OTHER than related to travel for spring break, and the cases where they said students would have to self-quarantine if coming back from certain countries. There definitely seemed to be an uneasiness in the air on campus. And a lot of classes where sparsely attended. I work part time in one of the offices too, and there was a lot of joking. But surprisingly little said from the university itself until a couple classes this afternoon where teachers talked a bit about moving online, and the notice about break being extended that came out about an hour ago.

I'm genuinely freaked out about this. I'm one of those low income students. I have no buffer. I work part time on campus. I live alone, so if I get really sick, I'm on my own. I'm estranged from family so no family to check in. And I do have friends I talk to, but I worry once shit hits the fan, they'll be more worried about their kids and parents. I have been trying to figure out what if anything I can stock up on and I'm not sure that I can. Thinking of seeing if there are any food pantries tomorrow I can get food from. Not sure how many other people might be doing that.

I mean, I'm only just sort of getting back on my feet, and it seems like every time I sort of get a handle on things, something else unexpected and unforeseen happens. For a while, I thought it was me. Like how am I not seeing these potential problems? But this one? I don't feel bad not seeing a pandemic coming.

On the other hand, of all the shit life has thrown at me the last few years, I've somehow made it through. And I am approximately a block and a half from a hospital, so I guess worst case scenario, I can drag myself there should it get bad.

But it doesn't feel great.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:00 PM on March 10, 2020 [13 favorites]

I feel like there are several people on their own here who may take some comfort in reliable check-ins from other MeFites. I don’t know how to set that up logistically but will do it if anyone has any ideas on how to safely match people. I’m the meantime, I offer to be a check-in for anyone who wants it. No need to even exchange personal info, we could use throwaway gmail accounts.
posted by _Mona_ at 5:20 PM on March 10, 2020 [19 favorites]

Iiiiii would like that a lot.
posted by bridgebury at 5:36 PM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

So FWIW, our (Singapore) government's official stand is that the virus is unlikely to spread via public transit. So far there have been no cases here linked to public transit, and as a city where the majority of people take the train daily, that might suggest they are right. You'd need prolonged close contact with a carrier to get infected, hence all the cases have been due to events like meetings, dinners, etc.

I still take public transport, and I just try very hard to avoid touching anything and making sure I wash my hands once I reach my destination. I also came up with a little trick: I've designated my left hand my "clean" hand, and I only use it to hold my phone (I type with one hand) or touch any part of my face. My right hand is the dirty hand and is used to touch everything else, like handle bars and doors.
posted by destrius at 5:37 PM on March 10, 2020 [13 favorites]

There was a case at my college and now it's closed. Which means no part-time job either. And one of my teachers just cancelled the final. So that's all a bit weird. My daughter says that now I'll be home whenever her school gets cancelled.

In good news, though, I've been able to convince my mom how serious this is and they cancelled their train tickets. May even stay home more instead of being with friends constantly. We'll see.
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:44 PM on March 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Today was the last day I could return some things to Nordstrom Rack (and I needed alterations on some other things), so I girded the loins and went to the store south of me, bringing my lone precious canister of Clorox wipes and my teeny half-empty bottle of hand sanitizer. It was a bit less crowded than the last time I was there, also a weekday, which was weird, and I was annoyed by people not observing social distance. Much handling of paperwork and cards and terminals and I was constantly trying to touch things as little as possible, but it was hard.

Their side of the parking lot had lots of cars, but the Petco and the Kohl's nearby were like ghost lots or something. The McDonald's parking lot was full, though, as were a number of other eateries, though I didn't go to the actual mall so I wasn't sure if that's got tumbleweeds blowing through or not.

With the possibility of enforced quarantine looming, I figured I should stop at Safeway to get some things I can't get at my regular grocery, and that was...not the best idea. Old dudes crowding into my space in the interminable line, so many people stockpiling necessities, though no panic buying, everyone was kind of resigned. The parking lot wasn't nearly as nuts as it usually is. But of course, in line, my throat got so dry and sticky (thanks, fucking hot flashes!) that I started to cough, and while I could cough into my elbow, I needed to really cough, like loud and long. So I tried to swallow it down and ended up looking like my cat when he's heaving up on the carpet. It was so awful, just awful.

By the time the insanely slow checker (like, I really didn't want to think ill of her, she's doing her best, but my god, I've never seen anyone that slow who wasn't a trainee, it was like watching a movie at half speed) got me out of there, I stuffed my things in the car and sprinted over to Starbucks, where the barista gave me a nice big cup of water when I told her how hard it was not to cough, while I waited for my chai. Everyone there seemed completely casual, no one seemed fussed at all about things.

I try to clean as much stuff as possible, can't really sanitize bags, and while I can wipe down things like toilet paper packages that have plastic on them, I can't really do that to a lot of things I'm bringing in. Even if I take shoes off at the door, which I can't easily when I'm carrying stuff, that'd still bring virus in if they're contaminated. It feels so weirdly hopeless, and it's hard to stop touching my face because I have itchy sutures from surgery. I can't get more than 30 days of my meds, so I'm fucked if we are forced to stay inside.

It's just so weird here in Seattle. Just so weird.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 5:50 PM on March 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

So weird...

You need med deliveries, something will spring up to help.

EDIT: We Will Survive!
posted by Windopaene at 6:23 PM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hey, just wanted to note that I'm happy to be a check-in person for other Mefites. Bonus: if you want, I'll send you pictures of my cats being cute or something.
posted by kalimac at 6:25 PM on March 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Do they like chips?

However, Biden crushing, but, POTUS still having a rally on the 19th, so...?

It's chaos... be kind
posted by Windopaene at 6:28 PM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, if someone wants a check-in metafriend (MeFri?) for notes or occasional venting, I'm up for it. Drop me a DM or find me on Mastodon, etc. I have pancake recipes.
posted by introp at 6:30 PM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Harvard is asking their students to move out - I don’t know/think it’s a requirement, but... god. Within the next 5 days.

Where are they supposed to go?
posted by 8dot3 at 7:10 PM on March 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Indonesia is reporting (admitting) its first community spread case. Businesses are mostly implementing Singapore-type controls of checking temperatures at the entrances. Which is great! But without the Singapore style government support for testing if someone comes up with a fever. They are actively prosecuting users on social media who spread rumours and cause panic.

The private schools mostly seem to be closing, although there seems to be some government mechanism that doesn't allow them all to close.

What worries me is the huge swathes of the population who are essentially self employed-- the old men who control traffic, the sellers, the vendors, the Warung. How long can they live without work?
posted by frumiousb at 7:16 PM on March 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

My partner works at Harvard. Students who can go home are being asked to do so. In-person classes end on Friday, officially. Everyone's learning Zoom, quickly. There is a triage level of who can stay in the dorms and from what I have heard they are going to (hopefully? maybe?) spread the remaining people out for social distancing (i.e. the adults who live there as employees) do not have to move. I am not affiliated with any of this, this is just what I've gleaned. I'm sure there will be news reporting about it by tomorrow. This all came down today.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 7:36 PM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Just heard this from another Harvard employee (a prof): "students can apply to stay, if they can't or shouldn't go home (if they're Italian, for example, or homeless), although the application process was malfunctioning pretty badly this morning."
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 7:39 PM on March 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Thank you, Jessamyn, for the info.
It looks like MIT is doing the same thing as well.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

And it appears WA Governor Inslee is going to ban all events over 250 people.

But Seattle Public High Schools are still happening. Though one is closed tomorrow for a secondary contact.
posted by Windopaene at 8:23 PM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

sorry to keep commenting here, but this is a document that's being used by Harvard's international students to coordinate and explains a little bit more what's being done for them.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 8:48 PM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn's summary looks pretty accurate! Here's Harvard's FAQ for undergrads (part of a broader info site covering other bits of the university) and MIT's plan's pretty similar. Looks like some other local universities like Tufts are also following suit.

It's unsurprisingly a bit of a clusterfuck. The email* literally just showed up this morning, and professors and TAs are now frantically trying to figure out how to put their classes online, while students who weren't traveling for spring break are frantically trying to figure out how to get home. That said, the Harvard plan looks like it's trying to address most of the obvious issues (financial constraints, visa issues, internet access at home, home is quarantined), and like it's trying to spread remaining students across dorms. What grad students and postdocs in fields that involve benchwork are supposed to do is mostly much less clear, so my lab's preparing for everything from business as usual to a total shutdown. Fun!

*Between MIT and Harvard and random businesses my inboxes have been about 50% COVID-19 logistics today. Add in planning for possible lab exigencies and talking with my undergrad researchers about what we can do online, and a lot of my non-computer time was COVID-19-related too. Not great for my - or anyone's! - anxiety levels.
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 10:15 PM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

I haven't gotten officially tested, but at my doctor's televisit today, she thinks I pretty much have the Coronavirus. The testing isn't mandatory for me, because I work and study from home. So I barely leave anyways. I could have insisted on it...but that would have had me expose more people to my ick, and it wouldn't really change my healing trajectory at all.

So. I'm on mandatory quarantine until 7 days after all symptoms are gone. I have food and TP and entertainment and work, so I will be OK.

I was to also notify anyone I have hung out with in the past 7 days, to let them know to watch out for the next 14 days for symptoms, and I just did that this evening.

So far, one of the highlights is waking up at 9:30 am to watch the Grand Sumo highlights on NHK World, and sipping on homemade cold brew while plotting out food and work for the day.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:31 PM on March 10, 2020 [16 favorites]

I'm happy to check in on anyone and if you're in DFW area I might be able to bring you stuff and leave it on your porch if you need something. I stocked up pretty well and we're all healthy at the moment.
posted by emjaybee at 11:34 PM on March 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yet another college here. They just canceled in-person finals and are having everything online next week. Our technology not gonna be up for this, I suspect. Officially I haven't heard anything about officially canceling classes this week other than "try to do things online if you can," but I was hanging out with friends at a bar tonight and one of them said she heard from a friend that the dorms are being closed TOMORROW. I can't find any confirmation on that one yet, though.

I still wonder if my work is going to be closed. I am betting they shut EVERYONE down and force the entire town into quarantine or something before Friday. We realllllllly are not at all set up to work from home (and weren't able to during the great smokeout of 2018), our remote work technology just doesn't work for shit other than checking email, and there's the grading strike going on in California as well to boot. They have no plans as to how to deal with that one, either.

And yet, as of today, people were still milling around like normal. They're out of thermometers at the CVS but are well stocked on cold medications and I was able to get more toilet paper and dish soap and gas, so everything hasn't shut down yet. Hell, I don't know if I have enough food around here to be quarantined for weeks or months even though I have been shopping.

I will point out that we still only have one diagnosed local case so far and illness in general still does not seem to be going around. I have been the only one sick recently (dumb common head cold that lasted two weeks, but had no fever so I'm sure it wasn't coronavirus) and I am not looking forward to being locked up again because after that I just want to bust out and do things.

I went out to see friends tonight and felt like this was the last time I was going to see anyone in person or get to go out at all, somehow. I am really hoping they don't cancel all events here that aren't starting until April/May/even later than that. It seems bizarre that people are debating canceling (as in canceling it right now) things that aren't until July. Seriously everyone thinks it's going to last that long already?!

I know one girl who is going to Hawaii anyway and another who is going to New York anyway. Good luck there. I did not know what to say to those people when they announced that . My therapist is in New York. I'm feeling sad and wondering if just literally every single thing is going to be canceled now no matter what it is. And that I will go stir crazy stuck in here for a month or worse since my threshold for staying in the house all day is about three days.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:46 PM on March 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that one of my coworkers WENT TO SEATTLE TO SEE HER GRANDSON FOR HIS BIRTHDAY ANYWAY and is now back here. I really wanted to say something about THAT but she has more power than me and obviously I cannot do a damn thing if she wants to risk everyone for "grandson's birthday." Of course I have a meeting with her in close quarters tomorrow.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:57 PM on March 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Following Amherst, Harvard, and MIT, there's a cascade of colleges going to online-only, including Tufts. UMass-Amherst has not joined the trend yet. The Boston ST. Patrick's Day parade is cancelled, and there's speculation about the Marathon. I expect lots of sporting events will be affected.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:30 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

jenfullmoon, would it be more job-risky to go to that meeting in mask & gloves than it would be health-risky to go without? That this is even a choice is rotten.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:33 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Just found out from my supervisor that because our particular department is important to keeping the school running, even though classes are going to online-only, and there's potential COVID-19 cases on campus, we probably won't be going to work from home until someone in our 8-person department gets COVID-19. Guess I'm going to be dodging people on my way in and out of work (and praying that no one sick walks in when I'm covering reception for the receptionists lunch break!) every day until there's a possibility that I've already been exposed.
posted by bridgebury at 4:16 AM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have a family member who was on a European road-trip through France-Italy-Sicily and then a ferry on foot to Malta. Around the time Lombardy was quarantined they hadn't got to Sicily yet and I wish I'd more strong advised they turn around and head north. Instead, they carried on and were in Malta when the whole of Italy was locked down. They can't get the ferry back to Sicily to retrieve their car and so have to leave it there until who-knows-when while they fly back to the UK.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:20 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

They can't get the ferry back to Sicily

Is Malta not letting them get on the ferry back? (Or is it that they don't want to re-enter Italy so as not to then get stuck there - or saddled with self-quarantining when they get to the UK?)
posted by progosk at 4:26 AM on March 11, 2020

It sounds like the Italian authorities wouldn't let them on the ferry to Sicily unless they could persuade the Italian authorities that their travel was "necessary". They're already 100% going to self-isolate when they get home either way.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:45 AM on March 11, 2020

That sounds... slightly odd: the latest decree doesn't seem to say anything about border entry. It does specify that in order to then move within the country, in case of police controls you need to self-certify your reason for not staying in, with the three reasons that were explicitly mentioned in the decree being for work, for health measures, or for "necessity", with this last category open to a certain amount of interpretation (for example, to include grocery shopping).
posted by progosk at 5:19 AM on March 11, 2020

In Poland, announcements are coming out. So far:
  • All schools (nurseries to universities) are closing for two weeks. Teachers will be at work until the end of the week just to give us time to arrange care for little kids, but school is otherwise out.
  • Crowd events are being canceled. Museums and cinemas are closed. Churches remain open...
  • People are stocking up on stuff. Stores have run out of hand sanitizers and so on.
  • At the borders, they are checking temperatures and quarantining people who have a fever.
  • At my job, most people are still here, I think, but they are preparing for us to work from home, including telling us to take our laptops home every night in case we aren't coming back to work the next day.
posted by pracowity at 5:20 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seems like Poland and Greece are trying to get ahead of the curve, considering the low number of cases reported there so far...
posted by progosk at 5:29 AM on March 11, 2020

This is possibly unfair, but can I tell you how it grates on my very last nerve that people look to Italy as though this was the first place the virus hit, and don't want to consider lessons already learned in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China.
posted by frumiousb at 5:38 AM on March 11, 2020 [23 favorites]

I should probably get off social media for the night.
posted by frumiousb at 5:42 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Is anyone else having a really hard time finding non-baby thermometers right now?
posted by corb at 5:49 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Frumiousb- from your previous posts I am inferring that you are either in Indonesia or closely involved with it. I’m not, but I have been closely watching, and it is INFURIATING, even from this social distance. I’m so sorry. You have a lot of justification for your emotions.
posted by notoriety public at 5:51 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

FWIW, my impression is that because South Korea, Taiwain, and Singapore, especially, were on top of their shit, they're not good models for the criminally hapless US response, especially. Italy, which seemed really slow to respond and then had the issue of people leaving Milan ahead of the announced quarantine, is a much better predictor of the totally clueless response we continue to see here...
posted by TwoStride at 5:55 AM on March 11, 2020 [9 favorites]

First death reported on Bali, a British woman with underlying conditions "who contracted it elsewhere". This is actually the first Covid-19 death in all of Indonesia.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:55 AM on March 11, 2020

frumiousb: Same.

Of course I feel terrible for people in the US and Europe just going through what we went through here in those first few weeks of uncertainty; it was a two- or three-week period I never wish to repeat. But I share everyone else's fears that the US and Europe will not take necessary steps and millions of people will die.

Morbidly, maybe, I hope this crisis helps solidify support for Medicare for All and a much broader safety net for Americans of limited resources and means. No one should have to die in the street in the richest society the world has ever seen, but they're about to, and the hundreds of local departments of health are not going to be able to do much without a massive, Apollo-program level response.
posted by mdonley at 6:00 AM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

frumiousb: Same!
posted by unicorn chaser at 6:04 AM on March 11, 2020

Thermometers are sold out here.

jenfullmoon, would it be more job-risky to go to that meeting in mask & gloves than it would be health-risky to go without? That this is even a choice is rotten.

It would absolutely be more job-risky to do that. But also, I don't have a mask and gloves anyway. But since she's already here, going to meetings and hanging out in the hall, I think it's too late if she's infected anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:47 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am incandescently angry about things in DC right now. Also: don't touch your politicians. We brought thousands of (plurality over-60) public officials from all over the country to DC and today we're taking them lobbying on the Hill. I will be SHOCKED if we're not responsible for someone's death. A lot of elected officials, including Speaker Pelosi, have been overly lax about public Access to them and handshaking. I realize they don't want the appearance of hiding from the public but look what happened in Iran and Europe! I am so so worried and am sure I am carrying something. I always get sick after this event. We're avoiding elderly family for awhile.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:49 AM on March 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

I talked to my boss this morning. Our organization is planning on how people will work from home in a much more urgent way than a few days ago. I predict it's two to three weeks down the line. My boss is over in our closed door office working on getting hundreds of laptops with webcams working so people can Zoom in.

The big issue here is that I and my coworkers are hourly, and if suddenly we're all not here and our job -- tech support -- kind of disappears, what do we do? My boss is pushing for answers from the higher ups, but man is it worrying.

I'm skipping taking public transit to work, which is killing my soul. But also there's a part of me that's paranoid that someone will have something and I'll pick it up. It's easier to not take that chance.
posted by gc at 7:21 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Our local Costco still had boxes of gloves yesterday. I've started wearing them in stores, because it seems more effective than a mask. Put them on before going in the store or handling a cart or basket, throw them away after leaving. Don't touch anything I'm not going to buy. A couple of people wore masks, but only the store staff and me had gloves on.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:30 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Is anyone else having a really hard time finding non-baby thermometers right now?

I needed a thermometer a few weeks ago, and ended up getting an ear thermometer, with kids on the package, but also assurances that it would work on adults. It worked great. If all that's left are baby thermometers, one of them might still work for an adult.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:32 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

> Morbidly, maybe, I hope this crisis helps solidify support for Medicare for All and a much broader safety net for Americans of limited resources and means.

One of the reasons schools aren't closing is because if people have to stay home to look after their little kids, they won't be able to go to work -- including at, say, hospitals. So yup, this is really pointing a big finger at how terrible our safety net is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:17 AM on March 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

I live and work in NYC - take 3 packed subway trains each way. Me and my coworkers are scared.

We begged, BEGGED our bosses yesterday to let us work from home. We're an office. We can do 99% of our job from home. We can remote log-in. We can forward calls to our cell phones. The ONLY reason someone needs to be here is to process the mail each day. I suggested each of us come in one day a week and whoever is in just does mail and nothing else, wearing gloves. She said no. They will not budge. I'm so frustrated I could scream.
posted by silverstatue at 8:38 AM on March 11, 2020 [13 favorites]

We begged, BEGGED our bosses yesterday to let us work from home. We're an office. We can do 99% of our job from home. We can remote log-in. We can forward calls to our cell phones. The ONLY reason someone needs to be here is to process the mail each day. I suggested each of us come in one day a week and whoever is in just does mail and nothing else, wearing gloves. She said no. They will not budge. I'm so frustrated I could scream.

Anonymously forward this to the media. Name and shame these companies and managers.
posted by lalochezia at 8:41 AM on March 11, 2020 [18 favorites]

progosk: looks like the issue is that Malta had banned travel to and from Italy (so the block was on the Malta end not Italian).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:43 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm in North Carolina but my company is global with > 15,000 employees. We are getting regular missives about this and I feel like our leadership is doing a good job. They are encouraging work from home when needed and have cancelled some big conferences and final job interview rounds are now via video chat (no in-office interviews). Managers had to all certify that their team members have successfully worked remotely within the last 30 days and don't need some kind of first-time VPN setup. Then in the next week we are doing a full load test where 50% of the whole firm works from home one day, then a few days later the other half. That's to be sure VPN and other IT/network resources can handle mass WFH.

It feels inevitable that at least one or two major offices will have to close before this is over. Like others mentioned, I feel bad for people whose jobs require physical presence.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:54 AM on March 11, 2020 [6 favorites]

Twin Cities - I work at the U of MN and they are doing prep to switch to remote soon. It sounds like as soon as there is a diagnosis on campus (it's a huge campus) or a few in the metro, they'll change over to working from home and online instruction. My department is offering training over the next few days on how to use the VPN, Zoom conferencing, etc. and we've been told to start taking our laptops home at the end of each day, just in case.

I just signed up for the Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps; I'm not a licensed professional, but they need admin types too and I used to work in medical transcription. I am still a little hesitant about it - is this just going to expose my family to greater risk? am I going to get thrown into a field hospital with minimal protection because they're desperate for healthy backup? - but it's a volunteer gig and if I don't want to sign up for a shift, I don't have to.
posted by castlebravo at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

This is possibly unfair, but can I tell you how it grates on my very last nerve that people look to Italy as though this was the first place the virus hit, and don't want to consider lessons already learned in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China.

Not sure if that's how the current discourse is being presented elsewhere, definitely here in Italy the Chinese measures are often referenced (as is S. Korea) as the example to follow. (Admittedly, no attention seems to be paid to HK, Taiwan or Japan, in terms ofsetting a precedent.)

Italy, which seemed really slow to respond and then had the issue of people leaving Milan ahead of the announced quarantine, is a much better predictor of the totally clueless response we continue to see here...

Seen from here, clueless is maybe a bit strong for Italy - though definitely there is some serious learning-on-the-job happening; how specifically measures play out locally is inevitably going to be differentiated from country/culture to country/culture, to a certain extent.

looks like the issue is that Malta had banned travel to and from Italy

Just saw that, yes - still kind of wondering about the logic of the "to" part, but... così è, si vi pare!
posted by progosk at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2020

I am trying desperately to get my mother to go stay with a friend outside of Boston, and she is...resisting. Head in sand. It’s not perfect, the friend is a vice principal or something at a private school. But she has an actual house in a suburb where they can self-isolate, as opposed to densest Brooklyn, and Boston’s medical infrastructure is at least as good as New York’s, if not better.

If they don’t cancel the St Paddy’s parade it will be a fucking disaster for the city, and it’s looking like they won’t. I need her somewhere safer before then. Fucking Christ.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:06 AM on March 11, 2020

> If they don’t cancel the St Paddy’s parade it will be a fucking disaster for the city, and it’s looking like they won’t.

Whoa, I presumed you'd missed an article or something, but New York really hasn't canceled yet.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:13 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

It’s fucking criminal, right? I just...
posted by schadenfrau at 10:29 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

They also haven’t cancelled classes at CUNY. New York looked like they were going to have a handle on things, relatively, but they’re choking when it comes to the hard decisions. It’s infuriating.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:30 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

They also haven’t cancelled classes at CUNY. New York looked like they were going to have a handle on things, relatively, but they’re choking when it comes to the hard decisions. It’s infuriating.

Especially since a student at John Jay tested positive! I could almost understand them dragging their feet if there were no cases, but you know if there's one case, there's way more than one. I am worried for the CUNY students!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 11:01 AM on March 11, 2020

Chicago has "postponed" it's three St. Patrick's Day Parades as well as the dyeing of the Chicago River.

While there are currently 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Illinois and the virus isn’t spreading widely here, Lightfoot said she was postponing the events out of an “abundance of caution.”

“God forbid we see a spread or spike based upon this kind of public event; none of us wanted that,” Lightfoot said.

Asked whether people should avoid bars and restaurants over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Lightfoot said: “The reality is, we’re not shutting down the entire city and the state, but we want people to be smart … and exercise common sense.” --Chicago Sun Times

posted by Bunglegirl at 11:07 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I ran into an acquaintance of mine this morning, a professor at a NYC college that had gone online. He didn't like the idea of teaching online, and was floating the idea of contacting his students directly and asking them to meet up off campus. I had to stop him right there on the sidewalk and explain to him what a spectacularly bad idea this was.

There are a lot of otherwise smart people who still do not understand how important it is to mitigate this thing. Please contact folks you know and gently remind them to not be idiots. Every bit helps.

(And the St. Paddy's day parade doesn't worry me as much as the fact that Broadway shows, which are attended by people from all over the world, are still running. That's just madness.)
posted by phooky at 11:09 AM on March 11, 2020 [16 favorites]

University of Oregon has finals next week and is gonna try to make it through. There are still no confirmed cases in our county but we're straight down from PDX so it's gotta be here.

There's a big push to make all spring term classes online-ready but so far a big shruggo on whether and which staff have to report when this thing is officially local.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:12 AM on March 11, 2020

city college president sent out an email at like midnight last night basically saying "fuck it, anyone who wants online classes can have them" so i feel good about that, but i feel shitty for the students who either won't read that email, or who don't feel comfortable asking for accommodations.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

obviously not as good as just CLOSING THE SCHOOLS for fuck's sake
posted by poffin boffin at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2020

I've been texting with my mom every day, keeping them up to date on news without being overwhelming. Recently emailed them the CDC guidelines for people at high risk, which includes everyone over 60. They told me today that she used that to convince a friend to cancel her next three trips, including a cruise. I am so proud. They say they'll be talking to other friends, making sure this is more widely known. (They have a lot of friends, so getting info to them has a bigger impact than it seems.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:31 AM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

My company's Bay Area office has shut down and gone WFH-only. It's only a matter of time before the Boston office does the same. Everyone on my team was working from home today voluntarily.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:34 AM on March 11, 2020

(And the St. Paddy's day parade doesn't worry me as much as the fact that Broadway shows, which are attended by people from all over the world, are still running. That's just madness.)

I go to a lot of theater and the average age of the audience is . . . not young.
posted by Mavri at 11:34 AM on March 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

Broadway shows, which are attended by people from all over the world, are still running

Scott Rudin Slashes Ticket Prices to Hit Broadway Productions Due to Coronavirus (Exclusive) (David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter)
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:34 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Cuomo just deflected a question about the st paddy’s parade by going into a full (and fully terrible) Irish accent

And it worked

Jesus fuck
posted by schadenfrau at 11:35 AM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

University of Minnesota is extending spring break and using the time to move to online classes. Students are encouraged to leave but campus housing/meals will continue to be available for students who need them.

I think this is a very, very good sign - we have five confirmed cases in the state, all with international travel, so while I assume that there are others and some community spread, there can't be that muchyet or we'd have seen something by now. So getting ahead of the curve is a really good choice by the university president. I am reassured that she is taking action before things have totally gone to shit.

Staff are still supposed to come in, although it is possible to request to telecommute if you have a reason - that's what I'm requesting and hopefully getting set up in the next week or so, since my partner has a pre-existing condition.

I've decided to shower upon returning home rather than in the morning going forward and to wash all outside clothes after one wear. I've got gloves, so once I get this telecommuting wheeze set up, I'm going to wear gloves for any outside stuff. We have a small number of masks for unrelated reasons, so when my partner has their next doctor's appointment, we're both going to wear one.
posted by Frowner at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

oh update the gov just tweeted that CUNY is going all online 03/19 until the end of the semester apparently
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

can't wait to see how many ppl get sick in that week
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

HA further update it's all closed starting now

pajama forever
posted by poffin boffin at 12:06 PM on March 11, 2020 [17 favorites]

What I'm finding odd, is that almost all the cases here in King County are happening to elderly folks in nursing homes. So, maybe, older people, especially with preexisting health conditions, seem to become symptomatic quickly, but others do not? That's how you get community spread.

You would expect high-risk groups to have a higher incidence of mortality, but it seems statistically significant that many of the "first reported cases" seem to be elderly people.

Stay safe everyone.
posted by Windopaene at 12:22 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

You would expect high-risk groups to have a higher incidence of mortality, but it seems statistically significant that many of the "first reported cases" seem to be elderly people.

I think it makes sense if you factor in the scarcity of testing. Otherwise young and/or healthy people who are showing symptoms are less likely to be tested than someone in a high-risk group.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 12:36 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

We just got an email that a seventh grader at my son's school tested positive, but has been out of school since Friday. No school through the end of the week while they assess and then they'll tell us if it's safe for kids to go back / whether we need to quarantine the kids. I didn't think the circle would tighten so quickly, but I guess that's how it works.
posted by Mchelly at 12:36 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

NYC, working from home for two days and counting due to a gross phlegmy cough that started a few days ago and is not improving. If my roommate's crappy thermometer is to be believed, I also have a "low-grade fever" (aka in the 99F range). And the constant coughing is giving me a headache.

I called my clinic's special COVID hotline and they took a history and told me 1) I probably don't have it but 2) I should come in tomorrow. No idea if I'll be tested, but from what the nurse told me, I may be told to self-quarantine.

My employer is kind of scrambling to set up WFH protocols, but luckily this clinic is affiliated with my job, so if they tell me I have to stay home for what seems like an excessive amount of time, my employer will probably listen... I hope...
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:38 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Upstate new york here. Still no cases this far up and west (but who's testing)? Many universities are sending the kids home...not just CUNY but SUNY too. Husband works for a university that is sending the undergraduates away and they're evaluating employees for work from home now. We expect him to be offered work from home soon. My employer is allowing everyone to work from home at will as of today. I'm expecting to pull my kids out of daycare starting on Monday, and I've got Friday off, so just one more day to make it through.

I don't entirely know how we'll manage working from home with two young kids also home but we'll figure something out, and thankfully my employer is willing to work through it with me.
posted by celare at 12:40 PM on March 11, 2020

We told our daughter that she should not go to gymnastics practice for a while. I asked her if she'd seen any sterilizing of the apparatus. She said that a cleaning crew comes in after practice, but my wife says they just sweep up. To make it safe, they really should clean all the apparatus with sterilizing wipes after each use. Maybe if enough parents keep their kids away, they'll do that, but I'm not confident in either of those things happening. The gym draws kids from all over.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:47 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Is there any medical consensus yet on what constitutes actual fever, for the purpose of reporting to your doctor? Allergy season is starting up, which triggers dry cough and low key elevated temperatures in many people.
posted by blue suede stockings at 1:15 PM on March 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

Some good news, it looks like Seattle will not be doing any utility shut offs for nonpayment for the duration of the crisis.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on March 11, 2020 [21 favorites]

NYC here; I've not been checking in here because in my head we're not affected "yet", and today realized that this is head-in-the-sand ostrich thinking.

Largely this is because I have had what is apparently one of the biggest lucky breaks of my life, in that I started a new job on March 2nd that is only five blocks' walk from my house. It's a tech business that's in a tech-oriented officesharing hub, where they invested in copious hand sanitizers and such for every desk. I also am working in my own office with a door I can close and everything. But I was already enjoying the fact that I am able to walk ten minutes as my daily commute - and this further ensures that I am spared the MTA petri dish that is the subway.

I do have an annoying slight cough, but I know from experience that it is from the post-nasal drip that plagues me when the seasons change. I took my temperature just to be sure, and it was normal. I still took the head of HR aside (she works across the hall) to let her know that "you may hear me cough or sneeze occasionally, and I promise you that it is just spring allergies." She laughed and thanked me. Everyone's taking the disease seriously still - the company caters lunch three days a week, and we switched to having pre-made grab-and-go boxes instead of things served on steam trays. We also invested in hand sanitizer and some little bottles to hand out to everyone (complete with little bottles we could stick a company logo on).

My roommate also is able to walk to work and is similarly thrilled about that. He's been monitoring his health as well - he invested in a thermometer and aspirin yesterday, and felt compelled to tell the cashier that "I promise I feel fine, I'm just trying to be prepared!". A few months back he also ended up with a gallon of Purell due to some weird mix-up with an Amazon order; he ended up just keeping it on the principle that "well, I use it and it won't go bad." He has now told people in his office that if they run out "come bring me your bottles, I can share".

I've got a perpetually overstuffed pantry, and my roommate and I have been joking that if there is a quarantine it may be a blessing in disguise ("maybe we'll get some room back in the damn freezer"). I'll be picking up a couple of things this weekend anyway, and will add some paper products to the cart just for safety's sake; everything else we should be fine with.

The thing I'm most uncertain about is that I have a wedding in mid-April; my cousin is getting married in California, and we've all already gotten our plane tickets. I'm still planning on attending, but my parents called me this weekend to say that they'd decided to drop out; Dad takes an immunosuppressant for his arthritis, and Mom's Lyme disease is flaring up again. They realized that a pair of adults in their 70s, both with compromised immune systems, trying to fly across the country with this going on was probably going to be seriously bad. Of course they feel guilty, but I told them it makes total sense for them to do that and I feel more sad for them that they're going to miss out.

There was a moment during lunch in the office here when someone down the hall was apparently teasing a co-worker about something; all we heard was their voice carrying loud and clear down the hallway, "yeah, next thing you'll be saying is you've got Coronoavirus!"

The tone in his voice was clearly lighthearted; but still, I and five other people where I sit all froze, some of us with forks halfway to our mouths, regarding each other. Finally one of us muttered, ", it's too soon," and we all cracked up and went about our business.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Is there any medical consensus yet on what constitutes actual fever, for the purpose of reporting to your doctor? Allergy season is starting up, which triggers dry cough and low key elevated temperatures in many people.

Though technically anything above normal is a fever, you've "officially" got a fever at 100.4F/38C (aka, one full degree Celsius above the normal average of 98.6F/37C). That's the accepted medical definition and has been for about as long as they've has the ability to test body temperatures. AFAIK there's no change to that criteria for COVID.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

ask.metafilter is high-key reminding me of this classic comment right now
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:27 PM on March 11, 2020 [21 favorites]

Otherwise young and/or healthy people who are showing symptoms are less likely to be tested than someone in a high-risk group.

Right. Everyone really needs to understand this. Hardly anyone is being tested, even if they have the exact symptoms of coronavirus. A friend of mine was told by her doctor to quarantine herself for two weeks a couple days ago, and yet she didn't meet the official CDC criteria to be tested, which relies on whether or not you've knowingly been in contact with someone else with a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis. She is feeling feverish, coughing a lot, and has shortness of breath, but still no test.

Obviously, if hardly anyone is being tested, hardly anyone is going to get the diagnosis, which will only lead to more and more cases not being tested because they don't meet this very restrictive criteria.
posted by wondermouse at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2020 [16 favorites]

A recent study seems to show that average normal body temperature has fallen significantly below 98.6 over the last couple of centuries in the US:
The new study shows that this ideal temperature sought by the human physiology may have shifted away from 98.6 F. In fact, since the 19th century, the average American has had a steady drop in the body temperature by about 0.05 F (0.02 C) per decade. Thus, for those who were born in the early years of the 21st century, the average body temperature is about 1.06 F (0.58 C) lower than those in the corresponding years of the 19th century. For women, the gap is about 0.58 F (0.32 C).
posted by jamjam at 1:32 PM on March 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

That is also true, but as of now there's been no change to the official criteria for what temperature constitutes a fever.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:35 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

R.e. allergies and other things that aren't covid-19, mrs. freecell (nurse) reminded me of this scenario:

* I have covid-19 but my immune system is fighting it off so I don't have a fever or the cough/droplet stuff going on
* but, I have pollen allergies or cat allergies or whatever and I sneeze all over you
* you get covid-19 from me

That seems like a pretty plausible scenario, right? If I'm carrying the virus, it doesn't really matter *why* I'm coughing if I cough on you. As another example, I tend to cough and get runny nose when I eat spicy food.

posted by freecellwizard at 1:46 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Mr Nat and I are between somewhat and very likely to postpone our wedding (late March) at this point. We have to make a decision in the next two days. The wedding itself is not in a currently high risk area, but we’d like to keep it that way.

Accordingly we looked into cancellation policies for airlines and such, for the very many guests coming from out of town. It seems Delta, United, and American are all waving change fees through April at this point. Southwest always has no change fee. We aren’t sure about smaller carriers.

Airbnb is the bad actor here; at the moment they are still only enforcing refunds for cancellations involving Italy, China, South Korea, or if there’s a local authority restriction travel. Oh, or if you actually get diagnosed with coronavirus .

Not that I expect Airbnb to be a good corporate citizen, but now is the not the time to show the corporate greed.
posted by nat at 1:47 PM on March 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

And Seattle Public Schools are now shut down for a minimum of two weeks.
posted by Windopaene at 1:51 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

So apparently the elbow bump is off the table now too, according to WHO’s Director General.

This is the most trivial of concerns, and I am on board with and need to be practicing social distancing for the sake of my own health and that of several much more vulnerable people I have regular contact with both personally and professionally....but it hit me last week that I’m going to/already miss hugs, as someone currently single and living alone. There was even a twinge of sadness at the realization that, for the first time I can recall, a handshake was (obviously) not exchanged earlier this week when meeting with a new medical specialist for the first time. I can make all the jokes I want about how social distancing is just giving my closeted introvert self carte blanche and a cover story but man do I already miss my social hugs.
posted by blue suede stockings at 3:08 PM on March 11, 2020 [10 favorites]

Re: fever - Either I have a temperature that is unusually low, or a broken thermometer.

What I did was tell my doctor on the telemedicine call that a. the thermometer isn't giving correct temps, b. this is my normal baseline temp, and c. this is the feverish temp that I'm getting now. It's three degrees F between the two.

Even though the actual temp registered is only 99.3 degrees F, she agreed that I do indeed have a fever - especially with all of the other symptoms I reported. It felt good to get that validated, because that thermometer is never gonna register above 101 unless I'm REALLY ill, and in Seattle? There's no other thermometers to be had.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sacramento has given up on 14 day quarantines and is saying to self isolate only if you show symptoms of the respiratory virus. They are officially going the mitigation route.

My office in SF has had a liberal work from home policy the last few days and I expect we're going to go WFH only any minute now. UC Berkeley has gone online only. My local grocery has been crazy.
posted by ladyriffraff at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2020

okay. Um.

My roommate just came home looking a little tense and said that two people in his office were sent home from work because they were coughing.

Neither works closely with him and neither were obvious risk factors. One travels to Manhattan a lot (his office is in Brooklyn) and the other flew this weekend, to somewhere in the Midwest.

Odds are very great that these two people had something other than Coronavirus. But it's disconcerting.

He's doing some grocery stocking-up for safety's sake. We discussed the situation, and the reasonable odds are that this was an abundance-of-caution situation, but we're still going to monitor our own healths closely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:44 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

chiming in as having a baseline temp below 98.6, below 98 even. hadn't thought to correct fever readings for the difference though. so, thanks.

have just received word that little lurk's nursery school will be closed for two weeks, with reassessment planned as that period elapses.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:53 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

My father's assisted living facility (southwest Ohio) has just instituted 1 visitor per day per resident and will be screening everyone for health issues before they can enter. All Ohio polls located in nursing homes and AL facilities are being moved before next week's primary.
posted by mostly vowels at 4:04 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Here in Europe, the temperature where you get sent home right now is 37.2 celcius, which the internet tells me is 98.96 fahrenheit. Since it is very clear to everyone that the Trump administration isn't doing this right, it might be worth looking at how other countries are dealing with it for your own and your families' sakes.
One of the problems with coronavirus is that a lot of people have no or very light symptoms, so they carry the disease to more vulnerable people unknowingly. As I understand it, that is one of the reasons even a light fever is taken very seriously here.
posted by mumimor at 4:13 PM on March 11, 2020 [12 favorites]

Obviously, if hardly anyone is being tested, hardly anyone is going to get the diagnosis, which will only lead to more and more cases not being tested because they don't meet this very restrictive criteria.

Washington has 7 million people, has had 366 cases confirmed out of 3600 tests.
Florida is 21 million people, has 23 cases confirmed out of 300 tests.
(Most other states I checked - NY, CA, MA - don't have statistics reported that I could find; the CDC has a total of around 11000 nationwide, although that is out of date and the total is at least 15000 if not higher).

Across the border here in Canada:
British Columbia (5 million, 39 cases): 2000 tests
Alberta (4 million, 19 cases): 2600 tests
Ontario (14 million, 41 cases): 3400 tests
It's nearly an order of magnitude difference; around 1 in 80 tests positive in Canada vs maybe 1 in 12 in the US. Of course, the highest risk people are being tested first, so there aren't 6 times as many not showing up because of the limited testing, but it's not zero, either.

On the personal front, I was a little freaked out when I found out unexpectedly that a colleague's wife was here in the office today, since she normally lives in Wuhan, but it turns out she spent two weeks in quarantine at a Canadian Forces airbase already, so I suppose she's actually the safest person in the office. As of last night, the only thing cleared out of the grocery stores was wipes.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:43 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I am going stir crazy here. WFH is good and all but it turns out I really value my time away from family to recharge and now we are just always there 24:7 and it is absolutely wearing on me.

I don’t anticipate it’s going to get better.
posted by corb at 5:02 PM on March 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

This may seem like it's not about the virus but it is. I was at a long meeting at work today about how to deal with the virus, so I got home late. Sometimes when I get home late, the dog will have stolen something from the kitchen counter in anger. Today, he had stolen a bag of flour. Because I had a fever, I didn't clean it up immediately. Big mistake. He kept on snacking on it and then puking heavily on the sofas and the Oriental carpets. So I had to clean up with a fever and an already oversensitive nose.
The thing is, the reason there even was a bag of flour on the countertop (and not in a sealed jar) was in preparation for a lockdown. While I was relaxing after work and trying to pull myself together the lockdown arrived. People started hoarding. I went to the store and everything I needed was sold out. So now, I have no idea when I can get the sterilizing remedies for cleaning up an ocean of dog-puke all over my apartment, but mostly on textiles. And the smell... I want to just throw everything out.
posted by mumimor at 6:19 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

(mumimor, sending you memail soon)
posted by gudrun at 6:36 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Tried to tell my parents they shouldn't fly through New York to try and visit me in NJ next weekend and my mom acted like I was being unreasonable and somehow the conversation devolved into her complaining about how washing your hands for 20 seconds takes too long.

I want to scream.
posted by bridgebury at 6:40 PM on March 11, 2020 [6 favorites]

So I think that I've mentioned elsewhere that my mom was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. There were complications with the biopsy, and she has pretty serious motor impairments. She's in acute rehab, and she's scheduled to get out next week. I was planning to fly to my parents' house this weekend for our spring break, because my father is completely overwhelmed, and there's a lot of work to do to get the house ready before she gets out of the hospital. And holy fuck is the coronavirus fucking things up. For one thing, my mom's best friend is at catastrophically high risk, and she can't visit my mom in the hospital, so my dad is having to be there almost all day but also trying to do all the other things that go along with having a newly-disabled spouse with a newly-diagnosed terminal illness. And I really don't know if I can responsibly fly there and then visit my mom, who is already in not-great shape and will presumably be starting chemo and/or radiation soon. But I also truly must go, because my parents really need my help. And I really don't want to drive, because I'm not a great driver, and that's a hell of a long drive. I'm not sure what to do. I'm pretty sure that if I asked responsible people, they would tell me not to go, but I really need to go.

The good news is that my campus is going remote, and I'm authorized to work from home until at least April 3rd, so once I'm there, I can stay for longer than would otherwise have been possible. But getting there is going to be interesting.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:54 PM on March 11, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh my goodness, mumimor, I hope you feel better soon and can get the supplies you need!
posted by mbrubeck at 6:55 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

India has closed the borders to everyone for a month. Rumor has it the Indonesian government will be making a statement this morning. I've got coworkers down with the flu, and it probably is just the flu but I would like to tell them to stay home for 14 days but I need to wait on official approval for that.
posted by frumiousb at 6:57 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

posted by frumiousb at 7:00 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Pretty much every university in the DMV has shifted to online classes, which is going to make my life pretty shitty for the next couple weeks, and potentially really fuck up a lot of our students. Also, um, Trump maybe just suspended travel from Europe? Low-level panic is about to become high-level for a big chunk of our student body.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:14 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

A fun thing about working at a university is that I've had about 15 students ask me today how an online chemistry lab is going to work, and I have to be like "nobody knows! It's going to be a big adventure!"
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:26 PM on March 11, 2020 [18 favorites]

Oh shit! I've got family visiting India from here in the UK right now. With it being about entry I hope/assume they'll be able to leave on their own terms as planned at the weekend (or sooner or whatever, just no friction, fingers-crossed). No reason to worry, Blue, they're probably more OK than you are.

Got multiple British-Indian and Indian managers/colleagues at work too. Hope this doesn't cause them grief or worry either. Shit!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:52 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

My grandfather died today. It wasn't due to the coronavirus and it wasn't unexpected. Although I'm in good health as far as I know, I had been delaying visiting him for fear that I might unwittingly carry the virus and be a source of infection to him or the other elderly residents in the nursing home. Now it's too late.

I'll need to travel from NYC to a small town in Minnesota for the funeral in the coming days, but I'm not sure if I should book a flight or rent a car and drive alone. I'm also trying to decide if it's better to avoid adding any risk to the health of the many older folks (including my parents) who'll be there and just not go at all.
posted by theory at 8:00 PM on March 11, 2020 [15 favorites]

I'm someone else struggling with stubborn, highly-vulnerable parents who are refusing to take this seriously. Well, one parent is; the other parent is not, and doesn't seem to think that their actions will endanger the other person they drive/live/eat/sleep next to. AUGH.

Work is in completely uncharted territory (the embrace of online education I never really wanted, yay) and I'm trying really hard to strike a sensible balance between precautions and too much Chlorox wiping of all packaging I bring into the house... It's gonna be a rough ride for the foreseeable future.
posted by TwoStride at 8:59 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

it hit me last week that I’m going to/already miss hugs,

Oh god, yes. I saw friends last night and still hugged anyway (fuck it, I'll risk it), but how the hell am I going to be after feeling like total Cootie Girl for weeks or months on end because we can't even get near anybody? Having the love language of touch sucks. Am also bummed that I won't be seeing said friends again for what, months, most likely, when literally everything is shut down? Our county has shut down every group event in March, apparently. No birthday celebrations this week after all...hell, mine's at the end of next month and I guess literally everything is going to be canceled through what, summer now? This is insane.

The only thing not being canceled is theater shows, apparently. One mailing list I'm on talked a lot about all the sanitizing going on at their theater and theater email blasts are still going on. I keep expecting the theater company I perform with to shut everything down (they have a play opening this weekend that I have friends in). but so far, not yet. I still want to see the show and it's not like they get enormous amounts of people there and it's a large space so they could probably spread everyone out, but I will probably just walk in and buy a ticket at the last minute just to see if it's still going.

We didn't have any major bombs dropped at work today, but they're still just going to wait around and see what happens, and there's no plans to work from home at all, of course. The coworker who went to Washington at least said she drove rather than flying, so I guess there's...that.

I'm probably still going to take risks like leaving my house and going to the bookstore and maybe that theater show. I will have to go out for work anyway and I can't avoid risk at my job whatsoever, but also for my own sanity. I will try to enjoy myself while I still can, but I expect everyone to be forcibly quarantined or whatever within days at the rate we're going.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:26 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I work at a multi season resort. Usually business declines significantly between end of ski season and beginning of camping season (may long weekendish depending on snow levels). But I'm worried that school districts will cancel K-12 classes but the province won't force my sort of employer to close. And, well, doesn't a forced WFH/closed schools situation just scream an ideal time for a quasi paid vacation ways from the big city? Believe me, working here has shown me that at least some of the public is exactly that stupid.

I wear work gloves 90% of the time anyways but I've added compulsive hand washing to that behavior practically any time I take them off.
posted by Mitheral at 9:31 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

While my son was at team weightlifting (at a cross fit gym)/water polo practice, the NBA cancelled their season. Thinking it may be the last practice for a while...
posted by Windopaene at 10:27 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not sure how far a drive it is, but I'd do that in a minute...

Full disclosure: I drive from Seattle to Atlanta every summer because it's awesome.

Socially distance yourself at the funeral. All I got.
posted by Windopaene at 10:30 PM on March 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I told my wife to shut down her university classes on Tuesday and do it online from here on out (she can -quarter system and its the final week) so she did. Today all the uni's in Chicago announced they were going online only (Though weirdly her school is still running classes tomorrow and Friday - not the brightest bulbs!) Then NBA announced it was shutting down and it all just became extremely real to me.

I already work from home and I've low key stealth stockpiled for the past few weeks because I could see what was coming but didn't want to agitate my wife by going full prepper. So we're pretty well stocked up and can easily manage precautionary social isolation and distancing (it's kind of my thing even in normal circumstances like so many of us here) but I am low key freaked out because I tend to get hit really hard by respiratory infections (we both had a bad one already this winter) and my parent's in Canada are almost 80 and have what they are calling comorbidities and my older brother had a spontaneous lung collapse this winter.

I'm shaving my beard off tomorrow because it is something I do once every couple of years anyway but it will be handy if I need to wear a mask and I can stop manually checking to see if peanut butter leaked through the holes in my toasted sourdough bread.

it hit me last week that I’m going to/already miss hugs

The only upside for me! I don't have to turn slightly sideways and awkwardly say "Sorry, not a hugger" for while

Get yourselves into the best position you can for this folks. It's probably going to be a bumpy ride.
posted by srboisvert at 10:33 PM on March 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

My boss's office is next to mine and all day I could hear her arguing with our (mostly 60+!) leadership about why we need a fucking plan for work from home/ etc. Our servers were highly stressed two years ago during an ice storm when lots of us worked from home. We're more cloud-based now but honestly we don't know if there will be issues. We won't have a choice if bans on large gatherings happen though....
posted by emjaybee at 11:01 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

jfk Trump! closing US borders to European flights "tomorrow".

(sent from departure lounge at FRA)
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:12 PM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

make that JFC
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:19 PM on March 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

Sunday morning I started down a trail heading deep into the Grand Canyon. 72 hours with no cell service. (I highly recommend that, btw.) This morning I made it back up to the rim. One of the first texts that came through now that I had signal was “Don’t bother coming out. Just stay down there.”

I noticed while I was there that I saw very few foreign tourists, especially Asians. Normally they are all over the place, often traveling by the busload with companies that specialize in taking Asian (particularly Chinese) tourists around the area. Heard a lot fewer people speaking Dutch and German as well. Plenty of rooms available.
posted by azpenguin at 11:23 PM on March 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

Been trying to journal a bit about it, since I'm in an epicenter in Seattle: runup to March 3rd, March 4th to 8th, March 9th to today. You can see how quickly things escalate once they get rolling. Today it really escalated, like everybody above was mentioning--no events over 250, public schools closed. Notification after notification in my email inbox, the Aquarium's closed, the Zoo is closed, the Pacific Science Center, MoPop. Apparently it's gotten into 10 nursing homes in this area, but I think that since it's something everybody's looking for in nursing homes that it probably won't end up as devastating as Life Care Center was. Life Care Center does a press release every day lately at 1PM (like this one) but I don't know how long they'll feel the need to keep it up as it explodes everywhere and the Sauron's eye of attention's no longer on them.

Other Mefits on DW also are making journal entries that mention the pandemic and entries that don't, and anybody that might like to keep a journal there is welcome to join us..
posted by foxfirefey at 12:17 AM on March 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

Denmark has officially been shut down—all non-essential public workers have been directed to stay home for two weeks, and public gatherings over 100 persons are discouraged. We have, right now, 615 infected.
My university has cancelled all activities, so I’m personally relieved that I held the last lecture in my current course this Monday, and that my TAs held the last classes yesterday. Many of my colleagues are of course not so lucky.
A bit dismayed to see that (many) people are not heeding the government as well as the supermarkets’ assurances that we have plenty of food, and there is no reason to hoard supplies. I suspect that this anti-social nonsense will abate after a few days.
posted by bouvin at 2:23 AM on March 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

when I can get the sterilizing remedies for cleaning up an ocean of dog-puke

If you have vinegar and dish soap, you can mix up something effective.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:50 AM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

The dog is completely flat now, after a night of puking and also trips down to the street because of diarrhea. I'm flat too, but the apartment stinks and I'm heading out to find some cleaning stuff.
posted by mumimor at 3:53 AM on March 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

I am sharing this observations partly as a cranky complaint, and partly because I hope it may give some of you a chuckle because it is kinda funny -

When there is a contagion loose in the world that gives its sufferers fevers and a cough, and you are a person who has seasonal allergies that can cause post-nasal drip and you are also a menopausal woman who still occasionally gets hot flashes, it can super mess with your head, dammit.

I've checked my temperature three times in the past two days. It is consistently normal. Damn hot flashes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:00 AM on March 12, 2020 [30 favorites]

....Also, my roommate amused himself during his panic grocery run by getting about six cans of peaches, inspired by Deadwood.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 AM on March 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

My experience is that canned fruit makes a lousy emergency-food component. When I tried to stockpile food some years back, every one of the cans of fruit wound up bulging, and a couple of them actually burst. If you know you're going to eat it soon, that's fine, but don't hope for it to last years.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:49 AM on March 12, 2020

EmpressCallipygos: Can confirm. Every time I have to fling the duvet off myself in the night, I mumble “hot flash” to the spouse.
posted by skybluepink at 5:51 AM on March 12, 2020

Kirth: he had to explain the reference to me, so I'll do the same; there's a running gag in Deadwood where whenever there's a town meeting, the mayor (or whoever) puts out canned food for people to help themselves from, and the worse the news, the better and more valuable the food. Peaches were the most prized, so they only got brought out when news was REALLY bad.

He said that as he was shopping, a line from one of the episodes popped into his head, where the mayor was telling his assistant to prepare for such a meeting: "Plague's coming to town. Get some fuckin' peaches." And with that he bought six cans.

We're apartment dwellers with limited shelf space, so we likely will indeed be eating it soon.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 AM on March 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

Things are escalating quickly here, and it's a little scary. I woke up to an email from a client of my band, starting the conversation about rescheduling an April event. I predict that will happen more often, although an event we're playing on Saturday is still on.

Then I heard from my dad, who said he took my mom to the emergency room yesterday for a persistent cough and breathing problems. They admitted her and have her in a tented room, apparently, and they sent my dad home to self-quarantine. No test results, so this could all be out of an abundance of caution for now. But I'm on deck to deliver some essentials to the hospital later today, assuming they'll let me in. My parents haven't traveled out of the country, much less out of the state, so any virus exposure might have come from previous trips to the hospital for my mom, who hasn't been in great health for a while anyway.

Work From Home day one is off to an interesting start.
posted by emelenjr at 6:16 AM on March 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

Checking in from NYC...

I've been feeling like I'm fighting off a cold for this entire week. Mostly fatigue and chills at the beginning--thankfully no fever, no coughing, no sneezing. Considering that I'm a healthy young adult with very mild symptoms, there's little to no chance I can be tested.

I need to buy groceries, do laundry, go the gym, and would like to do regular social things. I feel fine but I'm so paranoid that I could be unintentionally spreading the virus around. This is such a frustrating situation.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 6:17 AM on March 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

I had a fun experience today. I had to go shopping for vinegar to clean up the dog puke with, and toilet paper because we have run out of it in a totally normal manner, no hoarding. But apparently our local store is the worst hit by hoarders. I didn't know I was surrounded by irrational people who don't trust our authorities or the experts.
So I thought I'd drive up to a supermarket near the tech university where I work, which is always really abundant (and expensive). It was a quite scary ride, because of a storm called Laura.
But when I arrived, the parking lot was completely full, you had to wait for a spot. And inside, the supermarket was filled with middle-aged white men, hoarding. I've never seen so many men in a supermarket, even on a Saturday morning, let alone a Thursday, and there were almost no women apart from the staff. Each and everyone of the men had a list, these were engineers doing irrational hoarding. But it was still irrational hoarding. Some were obviously talking with their wives on the phone has they filled huge carts with toilet paper. The supermarket had tons of goods and the workers were running around and stacking the shelves as fast as the men could take them down. In the porch in front of the supermarket entry, there was a whole wall built of toilet paper, I guess as a sign of abundance. It was like a surreal movie.
posted by mumimor at 6:20 AM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

I've been feeling like I'm fighting off a cold for this entire week.
. . .
I feel fine but ...

I feel like you should rethink your need to go to the gym and desire to socialize. That you only feel mild cold symptoms is not evidence you're not carrying something serious.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:27 AM on March 12, 2020 [15 favorites]

I feel like you should rethink your need to go to the gym and desire to socialize. That you only feel mild cold symptoms is not evidence you're not carrying something serious.

I'm trying to stay inside except to buy groceries/food. I think I'm going to be the first person in my department to officially WFH all of next week. I am tired of waiting for the e-mail that says someone in the building tested positive and they're asking everyone to work remote.

For what it's worth I realize I'm in an exceptionally privileged situation with remote work options and enough income to order food delivery. The uncertainty is just so frustrating.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 6:34 AM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I just came from a conversation with a couple of my colleagues; they're considering working from home soon, but not because they're sick themselves or have been exposed. Rather, they have young children, and they're getting uneasy about the risk from their kids being in day care. One said that he was waiting for the city Department of Education to say something about school closures, but admitted that "that's an awfully big step to take" because it would have a massive ripple effect.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

My son does lighting for concerts and conventions and late winter is usually his down season but things usually pick up around this time of year. Things are starting to get cancelled and because of the time of year, he doesn't have a lot of reserves to spare. I told him to call me if he was in danger of missing a car payment or rent check but it's going to be a lean time for him for a while.
posted by octothorpe at 6:43 AM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Getting more nervous here in the PNW. More cases diagnosed in Oregon yesterday and universities are starting to close and events are being cancelled. We are in a privileged situation-ample sick leave, both could work from home, youngest kid is 10 so we can leave them at home if needed, pantry stocked, good health insurance. But my husband is immune suppressed. And I supervise workers that perform a critical function-child protection-and I have no idea how we will continue. Kids are more vulnerable when schools close, not just due to reduced access to food but also because there are fewer eyes on them and many parents will not be able to stay home, leading to children being in precarious situations. And many of my staff are understandably nervous about being out in the field. I want to support them. And the work has to be done. Argh.
posted by purenitrous at 6:54 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm currently in work in the UK awaiting the cobra meeting results which will likely be underwhelming. Johnson and his closest have already expressed that they don't really care if it spreads now. Ireland have closed all schools and I'm hoping they'll make similar measures here. My girlfriend is a teacher and we both use public transport and live in a touristy city so if we don't have it yet we will very soon if decisive measures aren't taken.
posted by Chaffinch at 7:04 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sorry for the double post-I have a routine appointment at the hospital tomorrow morning and I'm wondering if I should cancel and reschedule, what do people think?
posted by Chaffinch at 7:14 AM on March 12, 2020

Things are indeed escalating quickly. I'm supposed to go to a meeting/training that includes bail court tonight and I'm considering not going. And I have plans to go to the movies tomorrow and that just seems like a bad idea right now.

I have had a trip to Japan planned and booked for April 2-17 and 2 days ago I was on the fence about going but now with everything going on, weirdly, I want to go more. Japan seems to have a better handle on things: they closed all schools nationwide, museums and such are all closed, and large events have been canceled left and right. But it's hard to find any news about Japan because the focus has shifted to Europe. I feel like it'll be less likely for me to catch the virus in Japan, but I will definitely be changing my plan to have my 63-year-old mother pick me up at the airport. I'll just take the bus home.
posted by Automocar at 7:15 AM on March 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

My son does lighting for concerts and conventions and late winter is usually his down season but things usually pick up around this time of year. Things are starting to get cancelled and because of the time of year, he doesn't have a lot of reserves to spare.

octothorpe - yup. This is what the (tiny) company I work for does, plus sound and stages. There is no such thing as "Work From Home" in my industry.

In the last 72 hours we have had 90% of our work for March & early April disappear. A lot of this is because right now most of our clientele are universities and schools, who have - sensibly - decided that they will essentially extend spring break, encourage/require students to stay home, cancel events, & move to online teaching. (There has apparently actually been a small riot @ University of Dayton, who announced they were closing the dorms without having a plan for what to do with students who would have no place to live otherwise.)

The loss of business is - maybe - not quite as grim as it sounds; we had a serious reorganization in late '18/early '19 that put us on a more stable footing, and a better-than-average February, and we plan for slow winters in the first place, but if things don't stabilize by mid-late April we could be in real trouble.

in one of the "politics" MetaFilter threads someone posted a link about how Repubs are at this point ideologically incapable of dealing with this, because they just can't comprehend that dealing with stuff like this is exactly why we need robust government. To drive the point home the piece quoted some Congresscritter saying something like, "well, we're not just gonna throw money at the problem."

The NBA game suspension should be the wakeup call that THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED TO DO THROW ACTUAL CASH MONEY AT THE PROBLEM. There are so many people who rely on things like major sporting events for work (directly or indirectly) - bartenders, security guards, parking attendants, camerapersons, sound and lighting technicians, etc etc etc etc, and lots and lots and lots of them are part-time or independent contractors or contractors of contractors - "tax breaks" will do fuck all to keep a roof over their heads. If we want to head off or mitigate a recession, the Feds & states need to start, like, issuing $2000 checks directly to people making less than $75/100K a year, and the SBA should start issuing .1% interest loans no questions asked and all of this should start, like, MONDAY.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:24 AM on March 12, 2020 [22 favorites]

Sorry for the double post-I have a routine appointment at the hospital tomorrow morning and I'm wondering if I should cancel and reschedule, what do people think?

I think it's worth at least calling your doctor and asking their take on whether you should reschedule. I've seen people saying that any wellness checkups and routine exams and tests should be rescheduled, but your own doctor would know for certain whether there are other factors that would require you to go ahead after all.

…My doctor sent me an email last week that first wished me a happy 50th Birthday, and then telling me "and now that you're 50, here are two tests you need to start taking!....." My health insurance doesn't kick in until April 1st, so I asked if I was okay postponing them until then - she said I should be fine. This may delay my MyFirstColonoscopy (tm) even further, and I have to admit I'm kind of seeing that as a silver lining.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:25 AM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I feel like it'll be less likely for me to catch the virus in Japan,

It's the plane ride that I'd worry about.
posted by hwyengr at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

Definitely feeling more serious here in Providence-- partner's college classes have moved online only, and I feel like it's only a matter of time until his hourly work up in Boston starts to dry up. Luckily we're pretty financially stable so I'm not so worried about us but starting to think about how to support folks in my life who work in restaurants, hourly work in schools, etc. I'm also in the process of trying to leave my current job-- started my job hunt back in February and it was clearly pretty awful timing for that.

Non-citizen friend of ours is visiting his parents in Spain (probably an ill advised trip, but...) and was due to come back on Monday, with the travel ban seems like he'll be stuck over there. Trying to decide if I should reach out to his girlfriend who is still in the US or if it will be just one more thing to overwhelm her right now. :/
posted by geegollygosh at 7:37 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think it's worth at least calling your doctor and asking their take on whether you should reschedule.

I just called any rescheduled. It's basically a "hello how are you" I have to do every 3 months so on balance I think I'm best staying away from a busy hospital. Hope you get yours sorted soon though!
posted by Chaffinch at 7:45 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I feel really terrible for anyone working in food service and retail right now. It's already bad that people can be bankrupted by getting sick, but the fact that taking sensible precautions means people who aren't sick will also be bankrupted due to lost wages is just cruel.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:47 AM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

It's the plane ride that I'd worry about.

I hear that, but planes don't use recycled air anymore, and health officials are saying unless you're seated very near someone that's ill the risk should be acceptable.
posted by Automocar at 7:48 AM on March 12, 2020

We told our daughter that she should not go to gymnastics practice for a while.

My 12yo does Trampoline & Tumbling, and he self-decided to stay home from practice for awhile. Last week he brought home a cruddy head cold. Those apparatuses are great germ transmitters.

We're in Michigan, so things are just getting started here, virus-wise. As a family we're erring on the side of caution, but there's not a lot of news yet. We live near East Lansing, and Michigan State is going to online classes, and lots of community events have been cancelled or postponed. School districts are still open, last I heard.
posted by Orlop at 7:53 AM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

unless you're seated very near someone

That's the risky proposition. I don't think you can pay the airline an upgrade fee to not be seated next to a virus carrier.
posted by hwyengr at 7:55 AM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

ask.metafilter is high-key reminding me of this classic comment right now

showbiz liz, I've been thinking the same thing all week.
posted by Orlop at 7:56 AM on March 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

So my wife has been home with flu-like symptoms for a couple of days now, and we just learned this morning that someone at her workplace has been exposed to someone with Covid 19. So...yeah.
posted by nubs at 8:08 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh, man, no, God, no, don't go to the movies. That's, like, the easiest call in history. The one benefit of all this for me is that I finally have a solid excuse to not go to weekly Trivia Night at the local bullshit sportsbar and feel no guilt about it. I hate it with the force of tenthousand suns; the food is execrable; the noise level is insane; last time I caught a cold. I've been gamely tagging along for years because the upside (tiny chance to win bad bar food) was only... trivially smaller than the downside. Now the downside is DEATH. So sorry, we will have to hand off the wins to team Mount Thrustmore. (Actual team name. They win all the time. Yet another reason I hate trivia night.)

Cracker Barrel sent my boyfriend (who is one of their rewards members because he's everybody's rewards member because he's a lifelong lover of corporate schlockfood) an e-mail assuring him they've discontinued the golf-tee games on the tables and the chess and checkers on the porch (okay, fine) and they've hired more labor to swab shit down (haaaaaaaaaahahahahaaaaaa! So, then, you're going to pack MORE underpaid people with no paid sick leave into the enclosed space? Thank you for the heads up!).
posted by Don Pepino at 8:10 AM on March 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

I spent a ton on family tickets to the touring production of Les Miz (Durham, NC) this Saturday. It's been planned as our big fun event for early 2020 and 3 of us have never seen any Broadway musical (NY or touring). Now I'm thinking we maybe shouldn't go.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:15 AM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Oh actually they have updated info about this. Looks like the show is still on but they have stepped up cleaning and are asking sick people to not come: DPAC Official Site | COVID-19.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:17 AM on March 12, 2020

My boss just stopped by the desks of everyone in our immediate office suite and said that we were free to work from home from now on if we felt more comfortable doing so. I'm probably going to continue to come in to the office anyway for the time being, because it's only a few blocks and my commute is a stroll that puts me at low risk, and my boss is also going to keep coming in himself. No one where I work has shown any symptoms at all of any kind of illness whatsoever, so I'm going to stay normal as possible for now.

….I'm actually flashing back to the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when I was working with a theater company just a few blocks from where I lived, and during the first week post-attack they blocked access to everywhere south of 14th Street; so effectively I was the only one with the company who could even get to the place, and they asked me to stop by once a day, update the answering machine, and check the voicemail. For a week I was pretty much the default company manager. I'm having a feeling that a lot of other admin staff and officers are going to start working from home, but my boss is committed to keeping coming in as long as he's healthy and can, and so am I, so I may get "default admin" status for a short bit.

….Since I'm just starting out here, this is bound to reflect well on my permanent record...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Chaos is a ladder!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:27 AM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

….I'm making a big sign over my desk, however, reminding me not to be too much like Hermione Granger and that my health takes priority.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

A thing:
This is an education I've been going through personally because I was supposed to go to Italy and have a dear Italian friend, and now we as a country (Denmark) are going through the same repetitions on TV and in all other media: if you are a young and healthy person, this is not about you. You are not in danger. Actually you may be the danger, because it is possible to carry the disease with no or light symptoms and it is extremely contagious. We are locked down because the most important thing for any country or state is to keep the spread of the virus at a level the hospitals can deal with.
The first patient whose infection could not be traced to Italy or China was found yesterday morning in a large provincial town. Last night, the whole country was locked down. Because the authorities know that there are not enough respirators to handle a fast spread of the virus. Even though only 1-2 % of the population may need that intensive care, if 10 % of the population are infected within a couple of weeks, that will still be 5-10 thousands. While there are still patients who need intensive care for "normal" reasons.
It's like with vaccines and herd immunity: you may not be in danger if you contract the measles, but vulnerable people are.
So, if you are in a country where the government is not taking the risks seriously, you can support your community by doing the right things, the best you can. You can pressure politicians to wake up.

Don't do stuff that can compromise older or vulnerable members of your community if you can in any way avoid it. See if you can help. Here, facebook groups are offering help with shopping for senior citizens. Right now the private sector is not closed here, but everyone who can work from home are doing it, and businesses are doing what they can to contribute to the collective health.

Regardless of what a government does, there will be a big blow to the economy. It's terrible on every level. But if we disregard the advice of the people who know what we are doing, the blow will be bigger and there will be more fatalities.
posted by mumimor at 8:53 AM on March 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

In less than 48 hours Dad's assisted living facility went from "please use common sense if you visit" to "1 visitor per day" to "no visitors, period, indefinitely, we have no other information at this time"
posted by mostly vowels at 8:54 AM on March 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

Do not go into work if you can work from home. Do not go on mass transit if you can avoid it. You might be asymptomatic, or in the early, most contagious stages of an infection which for you will be mild, but in that time you can infect many, many others, who will in turn infect others, and some of those people will not be so lucky.

If you are able to, stay the fuck home, not just for yourself, but to protect people who can’t.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:56 AM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

Actually you may be the danger, because it is possible to carry the disease with no or light symptoms and it is extremely contagious. We are locked down because the most important thing for any country or state is to keep the spread of the virus at a level the hospitals can deal with.

Yeah... and it's wise to take that into consideration when thinking about the lack of testing too. At this stage, testing of people with minor symptoms doesn't really matter anymore. If you're sick, you should stay home, period. Even if you're just having a flu, you have a non-zero chance of spreading that flu to somebody who might end up needing to go to the hospital and further strain the healthcare system. The most important thing right now is for governments to make sure sick people can stay home, through things like mandatory sick leave policies, covering the person's pay for the period they are to stay home, etc.
posted by destrius at 8:59 AM on March 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

My SIL, who is an independent travel agent (specializing in cruises!) has nothing other than cancellations. She's decided to hang it up and retire early.

Meanwhile, here in Eastern NC, my three different employers are paying no heed.

Especially irksome is the big box retailer who's policy is that if you call out without proper authorization for three times; it's a firing offense. I'm caregiver for my 89 y.o. mother and I'm scheduled for long hours this weekend because it's our busy time.
posted by mightshould at 9:02 AM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I wish everyone well & I hope that -- while fear and uncertainty grow -- everyone continues to find occasions for solace and laughter, as we deal with this together.
posted by dmh at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

My husband’s boss, despite the company encouraging WFH, has decided the pandemic is a hoax and is scheduling in person meetings to make everyone come in to “show them how silly this is”.

This is the end point of encouraging conspiracy theories! *screams*
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2020 [19 favorites]

My university just suspended in-person classes and will be moving classes online. Students aren't being allowed to return to dorms. It hasn't been decided whether or not the clinics will close, though. I would understand if they decide to do so, but I'm really worried about my clients if we do decide to close. This is exactly the time people need mental health treatment. And even if we don't close, the portion of my clients who are students don't live anywhere near campus, so they can't come in anyway.

I'm lucky in that I have a fellowship that doesn't require any TA/RA hours, and my part-time campus job can be done online (and indeed will probably involve MORE hours, since it entails coaching/guiding students who struggle with uncertainty and change). So unless the university goes fully offline and payroll doesn't go through, as a chronically ill person this is honestly way better for me. And my chronically ill partner, who is home alone all day, is thrilled to have me. But I'm worried about... pretty much everyone else.
posted by brook horse at 9:45 AM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

corb, I hope your hubby shows up and manages to cough the whole time during the meeting.
posted by mightshould at 9:56 AM on March 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

I have a history of pneumonia and respiratory illnesses, plus asthma. My parents are elderly and my father is in hospice with lung cancer (plus COPD, emphysema; my mother probably has congestive heart failure...). My doctor recommended social distancing last week, which I have been practicing. My daughter's university just decided to go all online and is sending all the students home by next Wednesday. My workplace just decided to have us all work from home, starting tomorrow mid-day. We already did an extra-large grocery trip recently, got a lot of stuff to freeze, so I think we're okay there. My husband can run errands as needed. I'm going to miss seeing my friends for the next however long, but I know this is the best thing to do.

Hang in there, everyone.
posted by cooker girl at 10:04 AM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I just got the email that my workplace is mandating work-from-home until further notice. We had an impromptu trial run for that on Monday when the building lost fresh water for the day, and it went well, so it looks like I won't have to worry about what happens if my job implodes. Hooray for that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:21 AM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

My husband’s boss, despite the company encouraging WFH, has decided the pandemic is a hoax and is scheduling in person meetings to make everyone come in to “show them how silly this is."

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:44 AM on March 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

I'm in touch with or follow a lot of people who work with incarcerated people. If you're the praying type, please say a prayer for the millions of people who are incarcerated right now. They have spotty, at best, access to health care and literally can't help themselves if they get sick.

If you are looking for something to do, consider looking for local organizations that stay in touch with people in prisons or jails. See if they know what local incarcerated people need right now, and get on their email lists in case there is an urgent situation later on. Sometimes the only thing standing between incarcerated people and horrific living conditions is having people on the outside willing to call the relevant officials and make a fuss.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:50 AM on March 12, 2020 [16 favorites]

I rarely post, but I just want to say that reading everyone's stories has been really helpful. To see how other people are dealing with things, it helps with getting out of my own head and gaining perspective.

For the past few days, I've been second-guessing whether to withdraw a paper from a conference in Quebec next month. My travel funding went away, but I kept wondering, "Gosh are the organizers going to think I'm ridiculous because the event is still a month out and things are better in Canada as opposed to where I am in the U.S.?"

Actually you may be the danger, because it is possible to carry the disease with no or light symptoms and it is extremely contagious.

This is what I had on my mind while I was trying to decide what to do. Withdrawing from a conference is a little thing, but I've never had to do it under such circumstances before, and two nights ago I gave in to a bout of stress eating after wondering all day if it was too early to cancel, am I just making excuses, what if I get sick from the part of my travel that's in the U.S., what if I pass it on while I'm up there, what if I pass it on to my more vulnerable family member when I come home, and how do I deal with this nonrefundable plane ticket that I bought when February was still new and I thought, "Well, of course I'm going, why wouldn't I? Besides there are five different institutional funds I can apply for..."

Anyway, I sent the email in the middle of the night, figuring that at the very least it would be a financial no-go. Short and sweet, but ultimately a sad combination of "It's me, not you" and a (more-apologetic-than-threatening) "Nice place you've got...shame if something happened to it (while I'm traipsing through various petri dishes on my way there)."

Wishing the best to everybody here and their loved ones. I hope you all keep safe (and keep posting because it's dawned on me how MeFi has been a helpful constant in my life through a few hard spots over the years - sorry for taking you all for granted).
posted by neitherly at 10:56 AM on March 12, 2020 [14 favorites]

Denver area here! I'm glad our governor is taking a proactive stance in an effort to get testing and other mitigation efforts. Yesterday, the CO health department set up a drive-through test site that has been swamped (and you still need a doctor's referral to get tested), so we're likely to see our numbers jump up now that we're testing hundreds of people a day.

My workplace is cancelling all of our afterschool programs and workshops for the rest of the semester, as well as the workshops that we take to schools. Health is the primary concern right now so mitigating contact with hundreds of K-12 students is very important. However, we're a non-profit with an educational mission so we're a bit disheartened, even though we know we're making the right call.

We still have a major event scheduled in July (which generally brings in over 100,000 people) that we're cautiously keeping an eye on. It's our biggest fundraiser and basically pays for everything that we can do the rest of the year, so while we will definitely take the public health seriously, we're still keeping it on the books in the hopes that things will be better in a few months.

The support staff in the office haven't started to WFH (although a lot of them do at least once a week, anyway), but we're all prepared for that and there won't be too many hiccups on the admin side if we do. But there will still be twiddling thumbs since so much of what we do will be on hold.

As for me personally, I've convinced my mum to go through our pantry and freezer to really figure out what we've got. My father unexpectedly passed away a few months ago, so my mum and I bought a house together in my city (she was living overseas) and we've been haphazardly figuring out how to smash two full households into one, so the pantry is chaotic and we have very different grocery shopping styles.

We definitely have enough food right now to get us through if we need to self-quarantine, but the meals would be, uh, interesting (lots of rice and ramen!), so it'll be nice to see what kind of gaps we can fill this weekend. I'm thankful that a month ago when Mum went to Costco, she bought some toilet paper thinking we were low (we were not), so there's a weird relief I never thought I'd experience -- feeling confident we have enough toilet paper to see us through the year.

I also discovered when I was packing up my apartment a couple months ago that I have a crazy amount of soap (bar and liquid). I was kind of embarrassed about it back then, but now I'm figuring we'll gradually go through it since we're washing our hands much more often. Oh, and the 4 large 30oz bottles of hand sanitizer I accidentally ordered a couple of years ago and had since barely made a dent in even one bottle, have now made me seem like a super hero since I took two of them to work.

I'm trying not to get too worried (or at least keep my worries to myself) even though my mum is in her sixties and was recently diagnosed with diabetes, but last night she got a call that test results from some post-menopause stuff show she's precancerous for uterine cancer.

Which, yay, it's not actually cancer, but this does mean she'll need to get it treated, sooner rather than later, likely with a hysterectomy. Now is not the time I'd want my 60-something diabetic mother in the hospital undergoing a serious surgery -- we're not even sure when she'll be able to schedule it, if hospitals and clinics need to make space and grab all the doctors they can get. She has a blood test and CT scan scheduled today to see where we go from here, and while I'd normally be concerned, I'm extra concerned because of how other countries have been stretched medically, and assume it will shortly be the same here.

I'm just grateful that my job is super, super understanding and that money won't be an issue if quarantine does happen, and that both mum and I have health insurance (whatever that means these days), and that we have each other.

Thanks to you all sharing your stories and making me feel not so alone in my worries and concerns.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:23 AM on March 12, 2020 [7 favorites] “show them how silly this is”.

I believe that was the point that the basketball player was trying to make by touching all kinds of things. You know, before he tested positive and ended the NBA season.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:28 AM on March 12, 2020 [21 favorites]

Christ, what an asshole
posted by Windopaene at 11:41 AM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Santa Clara County here, work in Alameda County. No WFH yet, officially, but we're being asked not to get closer than 6ft to coworkers and not to work together in collaboration rooms (but big meetings in conference rooms with similar people-densities are OK??).

Since I can do my job mostly via remote anyway and several other people on my team are WFH for various reasons, I'm WFH today. Call it a dry-run. Boss is not happy, since the company hasn't approved it, but, eh, I felt a little under the weather this morning, I guess!

I've got an appointment to see a doctor in a couple of weeks about a thing (yeah, that was my anonymous ask a couple of weeks ago). I hope it's nothing, and I won't be setting myself up for worse outcomes if I have to wait because people without known medical conditions are being asked to stay away from doctors' offices. Sigh.

My long-distance girlfriend had plane tickets to come visit me this weekend. She still wants to, but I've asked her not to since there's so many possible downsides and very little upside. I miss her but I think hunkering down for the duration is the smart play...
posted by Alterscape at 11:57 AM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

(Reporting from Seattle)

One of my coworkers injured his foot so he went to the clinic to get an x-ray. They were screening people at the front entry... by just asking them if they had any cough or other symptoms and then giving them a piece of paper saying "screened for corona virus" to carry around. No one taking temperatures or anything. Just, like, strongly worded signage.

Another team member just returned from a trip to Mexico and said that there did not appear to be any kind of screening at SEA airport for people coming back into the US. Border control officers aren't wearing any PPE and are visibly coughing and sneezing into their hands.

Our office moves to mandatory remote work on Friday, but most of us have been working from home for the last week. I am very thankful that my work and employer are remote-friendly, also thankful that my house is comfortable and well supplied. I am also starting to feel pretty isolated without regular in-person social contact and generally avoiding going out in public except for essential trips. I'm new to the area, my year got off to a terrible start due to an unexpected death in the family, and I was looking forward to getting out again—going to some arts events, maybe taking a class, etc. Looks like that won't happen for a while.

I had planned to go visit my girlfriend in London in early April. That may not be a good idea. Alas.
posted by 4rtemis at 12:24 PM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm north of San Francisco. I just sent this "California Advises Against Even Small Social Gatherings" link to the assistant pastor at my church. It advises that gatherings of high-risk people should be limited to under 10 people.

My choir's average age is 78+ and the service we sing for has a congregation that's between 60s and 80s. I wrote, "Given the significant risk to older church members, and the potential consequences of rapid transmission at a church gathering, we think that our service and choir rehearsal should be cancelled. Have you been reading about Italy?"

I emailed a couple of my older church friends the following: "Test rationing (due to CDC being underfunded & overwhelmed, Trumpian ideology, and RNA reagent shortages) means MDs don't know where the clusters are and have no accurate idea how much community spread there is. Upping social distancing by cancelling or avoiding church buys time, for hospitals and for tests to come online. Please think about it."

In the Modelling nCOV thread, I posted an exposure risk predictive tool for orgs, and rhetoric guidance for how to talk to people panicking vs people in denial. And here's a guidance that those risk communication specialists posted this morning: Strange COVID-19 Bedfellows: Gnawing Anxiety and Under-Reaction (They're addressing public health officials, but I'm using the principles in my circles.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:30 PM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

From SE Portland: my local H-Mart seemed to be keeping up but they're starting to show some conspicuous gaps on the shelves around the non-perishable stuff (canned food, instant soups, &c). Which coincidentally is what I was there for, so I only picked up a couple things to leave more for people who genuinely need to shelter-in-place and this is their only option to stock up.

I met a friend for lunch yesterday and we went to a Chinese restaurant thinking that they could probably use the support. It was enjoyable but as I sat there in the half-full dining room, wincing a bit every time anyone coughed and feeling mortified when I coughed myself (it was just a hot pepper! I swear!)... I don't know. I think that might be the last time I sit anywhere in public (around other people at least) for a while.

I don't know if they're local or national initiatives, but some delivery services out here are offering leave-it-at-my-door-and-back-away-slowly as delivery options. (Well, "leave it at my door" at least, I am editorializing a bit.) It sounded a little silly at first but now I'm thinking, well. It's one less possible infection for me, one less possible infection for the delivery person (who already is at high risk), so yeah, I'll probably opt for this with any deliveries in the next few weeks. I have mixed feelings about even ordering stuff for delivery, and I might end up deciding the other way, but for now I think I'm going to keep doing it as long as restaurants and services are offering it. To my mind that's income for the restaurant/store and income for the delivery people, both of which would not be operating if they didn't need the money.

It's been so excruciating to watch this develop in the United States. Pretty clear since January that this was coming, but to see federal and local governments fail, over and over again, at every opportunity to mitigate the crisis, and to see leaders and politicians continuing or even doubling down on misinformation and partisan attacks... it's unreal. It's one thing to sit around and think, man, those other guys are horrible people, they lie about everything, I can't wait until they're gone, and then it's something else entirely to watch those horrible people saying and doing things that will literally kill people, and see other horrible people cheering them on.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:54 PM on March 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

When I tried to stockpile food some years back, every one of the cans of fruit wound up bulging, and a couple of them actually burst.

This is very a-typical. Canned food of all types should last years (it may not be very palatable with long storage but it shouldn't be dangerous). Obviously don't use bulging, rusted, leaking, or deeply dented cans. Even the home canning I do lasts a minimum two years.
posted by Mitheral at 1:04 PM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have it on good authority that jessamyn intentionally mostly only buys dented can food
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:05 PM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

Mmmmmm..... delicious delicious botulism.
posted by 8dot3 at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2020

Things are beginning to shut down where we are, but the schools are still hanging on by their fingernails. I understand the economic and social reasons for keeping schools open, but our personal setup is that our kid doesn't need to go to school right now to be okay. Kiddo is pretty much recovered from their cold, and I find myself facing a choice: do I keep them out of school? Is it not morally imperative for me to do that, despite insistence from the district that it is not time?

From their latest update: "In our county, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has this authority and is the lead agency in managing the county’s response to this threat. We have been assured by public health officials that school closures are unwarranted at this time and could create unintended consequences that would hurt their efforts to protect our community."

Should I fight the school on this? What happens if/when things drag on? Our kid missed two months of school fairly recently, so there's that working against us, too.
posted by moira at 1:32 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ohio schools are closing for three weeks starting Monday. The Governor has banned all public gatherings of 100 or more people. My musician friend was going to go on tour next week with his band and as of yesterday the tour was still on; they've decided to cancel, thank goodness.
posted by cooker girl at 1:33 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have it on good authority that jessamyn intentionally mostly only buys dented can food

Truth, or on deep discount. Was coming here to say what Mitheral said: canned fruit is generally good for a while.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 1:49 PM on March 12, 2020

Mmmmmm..... delicious delicious botulism.

I had the absolute fear of god put into me as a child about botulism as the inevitable and fatal result of any kind of distortion of a can of food, by my mom who I think in turn got it from her dad who I gather in turn got it from the army c. Korea. Dent = you will die, throw it out.

In retrospect that was kind of a stupid overgeneralization of what was otherwise a worthwhile thing to be aware of. I think it was honestly talking about it a dozen fucking times with Jess on the podcast that got me to stop and reevaluate the causality and context of the whole thing. I will never criticize someone for choosing not to engage with a dented can of food out of an abundance of caution, but I recognize now that there's an element of risk assessment involved and that e.g. dented can != bulging, horrific can contents.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:58 PM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Y'know, I've been thinking a lot about careless language under the conditions of stress, so I want to say that my use of "stupid" up there was sloppy and unintentionally unkind. I was thinking about my own experience, but I was responding to someone else and that could read as a slam on them. It was, I think it's better to say, an somewhat unreflective overgeneralization that I made as a kid, not a stupid one. Avoiding a dangerous thing isn't a stupid move, even if it can be done bluntly or overly cautiously.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:05 PM on March 12, 2020 [15 favorites]

Update on the idiot boss: so apparently someone else at the company did the same thing this morning, and someone with severe flu symptoms crawled in because what was he going to do, get fired, and so the long and the short is the entire office is now shut down entirely specifically because people can’t stop themselves from playing chicken with a pandemic.

Also an update from Seattle: mass is suspended for the entirety of the Seattle Archdiocese. And school is now closed for a month and a half instead of a month.
posted by corb at 2:33 PM on March 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

I found this post from risk communication specialists on anxiety useful for reducing my anxiety
Just about everybody is feeling the anxiety – perhaps even the naysayers like Dr. Marc Siegel, whose anxiety leaks out around his scoffing.
Just about everybody wonders if they’re overreacting – except the “preppers” who have been predicting this moment for years.
As a result of #1 and #2, just about everybody is a bit frozen in place with self-doubt.
The self-doubt and the frozen-in-place feeling are exacerbated by conflicting messages from government and media.
They’re also exacerbated by our totally understandable fear of being mocked as alarmist.
The not-very-satisfying solution: We have to bear it all – not just the pandemic itself, not just the anxiety, but also the self-doubt, the mixed messages, and the fear of being mocked.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:39 PM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

If you have a little headache and possibly a mild tickle in your chest, don’t take your temp after a long, hot shower or you’re liable to freak out a little (ask me how I know).
posted by Fritzle at 2:54 PM on March 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

So everything here is shutting down, including other joints like the one I work for. Mine has preliminarily decided (as of tonight at least) we’ll be that joint that stays open, and will “let people decide for themselves” whether to risk showing up. Except as the staff member whose particular position makes me the least able to practice even 3’ of social distancing, I don’t get to decide for myself whether it’s too risky to show up as long as we’re open, as long as I want to keep food in the house and sleep inside. I voiced what I could, and I’m at the mercy of whatever gets decided. I’ve probably already disclosed too much but I am having a tough night.
posted by blue suede stockings at 3:01 PM on March 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

Can't give details really but HOO BOY did I pick the wrong month to start working for a hotel union. It's looking increasingly like 10-12 hour days for the forseeable.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:07 PM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I see different small biz and vulnerable populations support ideas on Twitter aimed at people who DO have some flexibility in their spending. I saw a complaint that these kinds of suggestions are showing privilege, but of course they are? They also are consideration of how you can help small biz while also practicing social distancing.

buttpraxis suggests becoming a Patreon for DNA Lounge in SF to help the venue get through weeks of no shows

A friend on Facebook just suggested going online and buying a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant or store to help them out while no one is shopping or eating out. You can use the gift card after this all passes. I liked that idea. Help small business!
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:24 PM on March 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

I'm sick. I'm also at work. I almost certainly only have a bad cold - it's 90% in my head, haven't had any fever, the cough only started last night which is par for the course for a cold for me - but yeah, I should probably be home. Unfortunately, work from home is not an option for me (although there's no real reason it couldn't be but, oh well: the boss has spoken and we're all overreacting.) Not going to the store was not an option for me either last night because it was the only way I could pick up my prescriptions - insurance, the pharmacy, the doctor, etc., will not let me have more than 30 days. I do have paid time off, even though I'm burning through it way too fast with this cold and I need to have surgery sometime soon. If I'm out of PTO when that happens I don't know what I will do. So I'm sorry. I am out and about with this cold and there's really not much I can do about it except hope it's just a cold and everybody else has already had it. I have a little bottle of hand sanitizer. I have bleach wipes. I'm trying to stay in my corner and I just wiped years accumulation of dust off the printer.

I don't want to be here but I keep remembering working retail and how I am now one of the lucky ones. It's all very well to say, everyone stay home! Don't go anywhere! But that's just not realistic if you live paycheck to paycheck and if you don't work you don't get paid. It's barely realistic if you're an underpaid office worker like me. I will have to go to the grocery store this weekend. I can't afford to stock up on a month's worth of dog food; there's no way. I shop when I get paid. My friends and relatives who work retail and food service are even worse off. So yeah, we would all like to be home but we can't and so we are doing our best.

Anyway, I was scheduled to meet with a surgeon yesterday to talk about my gall bladder removal but they would not see me with cold symptoms, so that's been moved off at least a week. I would really really really like that to happen sooner rather than later because eating 0 fat is hard and not fun but the consequences of eating any fat at all are very much less fun - so here I am with my smoothie and my sad bare wasa. I was also scheduled for a very overdue dermatologist checkup today - skin cancer is something I am at high risk for and the bleeding, itching mole on my back is making me unhappy - but they won't see me with cold symptoms either, so that's a month out now. I understand why this is all happening but man, my gall bladder deciding to go kaput and this cold appearing out of the blue right now is . . . not optimal timing.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:29 PM on March 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

The roommate came home with an update - one of the two co-workers has been cleared of coronavirus, it's just a cold. The other - the one who was in the office the least amount of time, to boot - is still being tested, but signs look like she also has something routine as well. His office has still made the move to declare themselves an "everyone work from home now" establishment.

My own office has already declared that those who want to work from home may. My boss is also looking into other options, like opening up an extra space we own in another building as additional office space if anyone wants to do "social distancing" (It's a big huge cavernous loft, and you could put people in there on laptops sitting all ten feet from each other or something) and figuring out what we'll do if the shared-work space we're in says that THEY'RE closing. I'm going in tomorrow, and probably will Monday; this is a rapidly changing situation, and I'm playing it by ear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:32 PM on March 12, 2020

corb, I'm glad the higher-ups at your job came to their senses, even if your boss doesn't have any.

My daughter was going to take the SAT test on Saturday. Now it's canceled. A lot of other sites are also canceling. Here's the College Board webpage with state lists of cancellations. Note that the lists are not completely up to date; my daughter's school is not on it, even though we learned of it at Noon. It updated within the last hour, but they're not caught up.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:39 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

My wife’s a nurse in an NYC hospital, and her unit was selected for COVID isolation; they have at least one person with established exposure already, and respiratory problems. Apparently the patient is developmentally challenged (is that the right phrase?) and needed Beyoncé to feel better so apparently my wife and the patient were belting ‘Halo’ at some point. Laughed a lot visualizing that.

Other than that apparently it’s insane, won’t go into too much detail but anyone else out there who’s got loved ones that are healthcare workers and working with COVID patients? How are things?
posted by bxvr at 4:40 PM on March 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

I am finding it very difficult to concentrate on anything.

My father died a couple of weeks ago and I’m actually glad that he went before the virus really began spreading here. He had multiple health issues and would undoubtedly have been at increased risk. He lived in aged care; I would hate not being able to go in and visit him as he would effectively have been totally isolated from family (he wasn’t good answering the phone, or hearing people when he did). Were he still alive, I would be constantly anxious about him, and about whether I should visit or not.

The university I work at (in Melbourne, Australia) banned all international business travel a few weeks ago, which is fine by me because the conference I was booked to attend in Singapore next month has been cancelled by the organisers. Now the financial impact is beginning to bite. My university is less badly impacted than others but we’ve just frozen all hires, all new projects that haven’t already commenced and all non-core functions like training, workshops and forums. My area was already undergoing restructure and severely understaffed, and it looks as if that’s going to continue for a while. But at least as of today I still have a job. They’re also going to pay from central resources for every staff member, including casuals, to be vaccinated for the flu – which is something. It's the very start of the academic year here, so lots of people around, and campus has not been closed but I would not be surprised if that order comes through in the next week or so.

At home, we’re down to our second last toilet roll, but we managed to buy two emergency low-budget single ply rolls which I’m hoping will do us until hoarding subsides. There are lots of empty shelves at the supermarket, though – not just toilet paper but pasta and tinned tomatoes and soap. We’ve bought a few extra supplies here and there and I plan to do more of that tonight.

I'm off to give blood shortly, as that will be a need that doesn't go away but there might be fewer people able to do it in the near future.
posted by andraste at 5:02 PM on March 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

Watching all of the universities around the world go to online only is fascinating. I wonder about the long term effects of that. When administrations see that you don't need to pay for all those fancy lecture halls...

None of that is happening at universities here in Japan. I met with our faculty's dean the other day and gave him a brief pitch on us going all online for 2nd-4th year students. We could do it since we have a BYOD program, Moodle, etc. and all students (and most faculty) are now pretty experienced with those tools. It would still be a huge lift to make it work well, and the incoming first years would need some serious training up for at least a while. Probably not going to happen. There will be a university-wide policy and we will follow it. The rest of the university is very much paper-based and bums in seats lectures.

Not public knowledge yet, but we will likely postpone the start of term two weeks. I reckon that will put us just that much further up the curve that things will start looking really bad and even the Trumpesque, head in the sand, Abe administration will have to face facts. Which they will be happy to do as an excuse for emergency powers. So, push back further, but then we come up against the Olympics which won't be canceled until late May. I've pretty much written off the whole first semester already.

March is usually Mrs Gotanda's busiest time, but inbound travel and tours are off. So, we went on our "Corona Virus Tour" for four days earlier this week. No hotel reservations for Saturday night? Fine. Just call 20 minutes before arrival so they can get a room ready. It was a beautiful peaceful trip in the mountains with lots of fresh air and no people around. We visited her mom at the start and end of the trip. She's elderly and has multiple risk factors, so that might seem unwise. But to be honest, we went out for a delicious lunch and beautiful sunny afternoon in the park and down by the shore. We stopped by where she used to go fishing as a child and she reminisced. It was wonderful. And, one of those risk factors is likely to be terminal soon anyway, so we just enjoyed the time together and hell with the consequences.

Spoke with my folks back in the States and the escalation from "It's like the flu" to "Stay home and hunker down for a bumpy ride" is in full effect. Dad is just about ready to stop going to the gym and will cancel his chess club. At 80, he's one of the younger members. That's his only exposure other than limited grocery shopping. Mom on the other hand is insisting on going to the goddamn DMV to renew her DL that she shouldn't even have any more anyway and having her book group meeting. Her group members hate her because she chose a book about the 1918 flu a couple of months ago so they all know enough to be terrified. We had a pretty somber talk about the fact that I very likely will not be able to fly back for a visit as usual this summer.

No known cases around me, but there almost certainly are. Just going to wait and see.

No TP in any of the shops around here, but in that classic "Only in Japan" way, when I went in the public toilet at the convenience store they had about a dozen rolls unsecured in the cabinet over the toilet even though none on the shelves. And, nobody had taken them.
posted by Gotanda at 5:31 PM on March 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

I'm in Portland, OR, metro area and I went to the doctor earlier today for a visit that I’ve had scheduled for a long time and didn’t want to cancel. The nurse let me know I had a fever when taking vitals and gave me a mask. I am trying not to panic because I just spent nearly a week with my friend who has terminal cancer when she was in the hospital. So, I’m not exactly surprised that after a lot of stress, very little sleep, and 4 plane rides in a week I might not be well but I am worried that I passed it to my friend and now she will die even faster. I was taking my temperature everyday to make sure it was safe for me to spend time with her and it’s been normal, but I still worry.

This week has been awful. What with the friend finding out the cancer had spread everywhere after what we hoped would be a curative surgery and it being the 10 year anniversary of my dad's death (who died of cancer shortly after being told his cancer had spread everywhere during a surgery we hoped would prolong his the same hospital my friend was at) and the second year anniversary of my heart dog's death, and this is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Oddly enough the doctor told me not to worry about self-quarantining since I didn't have any symptoms (though now that I'm home I am feeling symptoms of a head cold). I think that's irresponsible but he was really insistent that I shouldn’t be overly worried about it as long as I stayed away from any vulnerable populations. I disagree with him — he’s not right, is he? I have a long overdue haircut appointment on Saturday and a therapy appointment on Tuesday, both of which I plan on cancelling, because I read that Newsweek article like most of us here admonishing otherwise healthy people to take this seriously.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 5:39 PM on March 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

Seattle Symphony will be livestreaming, for free, all of their future concerts.

These will be streamed on their FaceBook and YouTube pages.

I need this so much.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:18 PM on March 12, 2020 [26 favorites]

Gotanda, glad you got some R&R. For me there is something I am still sorting out about this unfolding here in the PNW in a season that overlaps the earthquake anniversary over there.
posted by mwhybark at 6:18 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

> Seattle Symphony will be livestreaming, for free, all of their future concerts.

This is great news, my 75 year old aunt was just mentioning how she wouldn't be able to attend the symphonies.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:21 PM on March 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

I disagree with him — he’s not right, is he?

No, your doctor is wrong, and you're right. Thank you for doing the right thing.

Also, anybody who is set for money and provisions right now, I would strongly encourage you to donate money to your local food bank. Between layoffs, and children losing free meals from school closures, a lot of people need food right now.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:28 PM on March 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

My local UU church just suspended all services and religious education. They'll be livestreaming instead. So glad they made that decision, the majority of our congregation is quite old.
posted by brook horse at 7:08 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

And Seattle has now shut down the public libraries and city pools starting at 6pm Friday.
posted by Windopaene at 7:23 PM on March 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm just scared, at this point. I know I'm not unique in that, and I probably have less reason to be than many, but I'm scared. I don't guess anyone can do anything about that, and we're just here for the ride. Heh.
posted by Alterscape at 9:17 PM on March 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

Yup, pretty much.

It's ironic that I was around far more people and could not social distance while stocking up at the grocery store tonight. Well, hopefully now I have enough for a month's siege.

My therapist is in NYC, just had two relatives die of other causes, and isn't sure whether or not to come back here and leave her 97-year-old mother alone. I think she's going to have to stay or else she can never come back and never see her mother again. I think I was the therapist today.

I think literally every single thing is going to be canceled. Except my work, apparently.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:23 PM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is perfectly reasonable and 10 is howard hughes and his tissues, how normal is it that i'm disinfecting cans of soda from the deli before putting them in my fridge
posted by poffin boffin at 9:32 PM on March 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

interesting question. Is there some form of self-checkout or did the deli person touch the cans before you took them out of the store?
posted by Justinian at 9:41 PM on March 12, 2020

he was still wearing the gloves he put on to make my smoothie when he bagged the cans, but whoever put them in the display case probably wasn't gloved, right? presumably.

anyway they are very clean now
posted by poffin boffin at 9:53 PM on March 12, 2020

First time on MeTa, checking in from the live event business in metro DC. The DC mayor (wisely) pulled the plug on any decent sized events in town, the venues in all the other outlying areas did the same, and suddenly no one has any work for the foreseeable future. The district relies heavily on tourist and event business, so everyone is hopeful that we’ll be able to get through a few weeks of shutdown and then they’ll start the events back up and running and we’ll see much of that revenue come back. Only one place you can lobby your Congresscritters face to face as a group, and only one place with the monuments and museums, so I’m optimistic.

This is the beginning of busy season so there are a LOT of very highly stressed stagehands and AV techs in town. Luckily I married up and the spouse has a good job with good bennies, plus my busy season started earlier than most of my coworkers this year, so we should be able to weather the storm okay. I’ve been prodding event producers to pitch video options to their clients who were going to be hosting or attending those vanished meetings, since commerce will surely be moving forward regardless of the virus, and I might see some replacement gigs out of that effort. We’ll see.

I’m grateful for MetaFilter as a resource. Thank you all for making these crazy times a little easier to handle.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 9:54 PM on March 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago has suspended in-person worship indefinitely. I'm really glad. I had already told our altar guild director I needed a hiatus as I was not planning to come to church for a few weeks due to being high-risk. I feel much less like an asshole about that decision now.

My husband started coughing, which was only slightly alarming yesterday since he had no fever. As of late this afternoon he does have one and we are going to call the doctor tomorrow. We keep hearing that it is hard to get tested so I don't know what will happen from that. He worked from home today but I did not. He started coughing late on Wednesday while at work so he's been around people. He of course let his work know he was coughing and will inform them of whatever he finds out from the doctor. I normally work from home on Friday and Monday anyway so we will see what happens over the weekend. If we don't get the all clear it would not be difficult for me to begin WFH daily for a while. Meanwhile, NOBODY at his office wants him to come back any time soon.

I went to pick him up another digital thermometer this morning before work because the one we have is old and I have no idea if they lose accuracy over time. The thermometers were all sold out, except for one rectal one which I went ahead and purchased because supposedly rectal is the most accurate. This led to the following scenario:

Me: Hey come in the bedroom, we're doing butt stuff
Him: laughs, assumes position on the bed
Me: (Inserts thermometer, begins timing)
Three minutes is a long time, I get bored, I poke him in the scrotum for fun. He yelps, laughs, coughs. I tell him if he shoots the thermometer out and across the room, we have to start over. We continue in silence.
Me at 2 minute point: Are you getting a boner?
Him: hahaha... no
Me: Can I give you one?
Him: NO!
Him: (Pulls up his pants grumbling) worst nurse ever

Gotta take our fun where we can get it in these dark times.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:32 PM on March 12, 2020 [40 favorites]

Back in the same place as Mr. nat. Well, the future Mr. Nat, anyhow, since we just postponed our wedding, which was supposed to be in two weeks. 140 people from all over the country and from a few other countries too shouldn’t be getting together right now.
posted by nat at 2:16 AM on March 13, 2020 [11 favorites]

My mother is now quarantined in her nursing home. She's alcoholic, and will now be cut off completely from alcohol. I need to talk with the management to ensure she gets appropriate treatment. But it's a bit like the bigger issue of global warming where we are suddenly using much less fossil fuels for a while. Coronavirus is bad, but there might a silver lining.
posted by mumimor at 2:36 AM on March 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

4 cases have just turned up in Ulster County NY - urgh

fun fact tho, it's the only Ulster County in the US
posted by kokaku at 4:44 AM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Just remembered that the woman who leads my book club is with the NYC health department; I'll drop her a note today asking how she's holding up.

Ironically, it is a book club that specializes in post-apocalyptic literature.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on March 13, 2020 [10 favorites]

God, finally! University of Pennsylvania is officially recommending remote work for employees.
This after they unleashed the "don't come back from spring break we will pack up your stuff and ship it to you" on the students on Wednesday.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:57 AM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Welp, our ridership was down by 45% yesterday (BART, SF Bay Area)--60% of our fare box revenue goes toward our Operating expenses (high for a transit agency) so we are starting to hurt financially. I'm still coming into work because I do customer communications and we're all hands on deck to keep our website, social, etc. up-to-date. I'm currently making signs to post in our stations if the situation changes (reducing service/closing). Right now, our management team has committed to staying open unless ordered to close by some outside authority.

I've told my boss that if they start reducing staff because of the revenue loss that I would be willing to burn through vacation I've stored up (when I had my hip replacement I wanted to have plenty of leave to use). I've got a bunch...I have coworkers who are too new or have had family illnesses to deal with who have little or no leave accrued who are worried about being forced into unpaid leave--we can do most of our work from home, so there is that option, but if our revenue keeps dropping we may be looking at layoffs, etc. We just received an email saying we had to use our own leave if we needed to be out--no offer of "advancing" leave to anyone. The Unions are in talks with them so we'll see if that changes.
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:56 AM on March 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

Took the coughing husband to the doctor this morning after he spiked a high fever last night and this morning. They were able to test him for the flu right in the office and he tested positive for influenza type A. It feels very strange to consider that good news. So he'll be off or working from home for a while, which is also good.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:32 AM on March 13, 2020 [8 favorites]

(without meaning to throw cold water on Serene Empress Dork's, or anybody else's; i have been meaning to ask) is there any evidence or other reason to believe that a person could not simultaneously have both influenza and coronavirus?
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:38 AM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, we just got an email that my son's entire middle school is in quarantine through the 25th. And he's already punchy from just being home the last few days. The email also includes all the requirements for self-quarantine/isolation when (not if) (!) symptoms develop... most of which are impossible with an 11 year old so I guess we're all in it together now.

I'm sorry to all of you who are grieving and in far worse circumstances than we are.
posted by Mchelly at 10:41 AM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's really incredible to see how fast the virus moves on.
Today the Danish government is recommending no travel at all. And postponing all non-essential surgery (like hip replacements). Nursing homes are shut down.
It was interesting to learn that they expect to be able to find enough ventilators through re-commissioning old machines and using military ware, but that educated staff were the challenge. Obviously, anesthesiologists and anesthesiologist nurses are the best qualified to be rapidly upgraded to intensive care staff, which is why all not-life-saving surgery is put on hold. They are sent to school.

There is also a huge economic package which it turns out the Danish state always has ready for catastrophic situations, but I'm not going to make you even sadder by posting that.

One thing I was reminded of today is the situation in the refugee camps in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. And also other places in the region, and in Bangladesh. When this hits them it will be terrible, and who is going to help? I'm going to donate more than I already do to Medicins sans Frontiers.
posted by mumimor at 10:43 AM on March 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

Dropping a note here to thank the Metafilter community for...everything. We just had a big (videoconference) check-in at work, and I'm shocked at the number of my co-workers who think everything's just fine and they don't have to change anything. WE ARE IN SEATTLE. No social distancing, no being careful to not spread the virus, just...everything's fine, apparently. I am quietly starting to feed Anne Helen Petersen articles into work slack to maybe suggest that possibly perhaps we have a duty of care to everyone around us because we live in a society. At least the person who lives with an immuno-compromised parent is taking precautions.

Anyway. Thank you all for the education and keeping me on track thinking about people other than myself. (And a reminder that I am here to be an internet check-in buddy if anybody wants one!)

Also, thank fuck the Wales v Scotland game was put off tomorrow. 70k people in a stadium is really not needed right now, for all that I'll miss waking up to rugby over coffee.
posted by kalimac at 10:53 AM on March 13, 2020 [12 favorites]

So here's a question: if you are told to quarantine, and you live in a detached house that has a yard, are you allowed to go outside if you stay in the yard?
What about things like taking out the trash? Are you allowed to do that?

I am not being snarky, I am genuinely wondering what quarantine means.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:59 AM on March 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

8dot3, that depends entirely on where you are, and you will get instructions from the authorities.
posted by mumimor at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have been interpreting it as "go out in your yard, but don't have a close up conversation with your neighbor over the fence", but I'd be curious if there's a good one-sheet explainer people are using to help people understand the parameters.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

I agree, cortex. Transmission is mainly via exhaled droplets, so basically avoid situations where you'd be exhaling/coughing directly on people or on things that other people are going to touch. Take out your trash, but maybe wear a mask and gloves while doing it.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:08 AM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

is there any evidence or other reason to believe that a person could not simultaneously have both influenza and coronavirus?

asked doctor-sibling. doctor-sibling's almost immediate, unequivocal answer: no. get tested. (sibling then invited me to colorado for drivethrough testing).
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:10 AM on March 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

OK so the Danish borders are closed from today. The PM says that this is an extraordinary situation and that we can't know exactly what will happen, but she is confident we will make it through.
That will eventually lead to some shortages, but we will have enough pork for all of humanity forever. (OK that was me editorializing but it is also true, no Dane will die of hunger).
posted by mumimor at 11:16 AM on March 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

The quarantine outside question is a good one; I have a bunch of trash/compost/recycling that I need to take out today.

State of me, physically: All of my mystery Corona-esque symptoms are gone! Still really tired, but the fever, cough, etc. are gone. Breathing is also back to normal. Not breaking quarantine for the next 10 days, however, just to be completely on the safe side.

State of me, emotionally: Trying not to constantly lose my shit on FB on a friend whining about it being the END OF THE WORLD I WILL STARVE TO DEATH because they are out of bread and coffee creamer, when I am in a literal quarantine. (I haven't had creamer in weeks. I'm just drinking the coffee black now.) It doesn't help that he's super anxious when things are status quo; genuine emergencies like this just throw him into an absolute spiral of despair.

State of me, mentally: Still taking my programming classes, and making progress on those. Looking forward to a livestream of college baseball later in the day. There's unfounded rumours of the National Guard shutting down WA State, so that's encouraging rushed and panic buying *even more*, and also putting everyone in Seattle even more on edge. However, it was a reminder to buy vitamins and heartburn medication, so I did that online today.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:35 AM on March 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

is there any evidence or other reason to believe that a person could not simultaneously have both influenza and coronavirus?

asked doctor-sibling. doctor-sibling's almost immediate, unequivocal answer: no. get tested.

Well, his doctor-doctor seemed satisfied that he only has the flu, and absent any other risk factors they are not testing people for Covid-19 around here anyway. So unless your doctor-sibling has some special qualifications that make them an expert on what is happening with this particular pandemic maybe it would be best to not "throw cold water on" people who are listening to what their own doctors are telling them.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:38 AM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm in Alberta. I work for a very self-congragulatory health insurance company that, for reasons incomprehensible to me but I suspect might have to do with new management, has yet to make a statement on work-from-home. Our staff is about 1200. A large portion of us are IT and can easily work from home (which I have taken upon myself to do since last Friday).

A woman on my floor who had travelled to Mexico is now being tested for the virus and they sent her entire team home from work (they're not IT, I don't think they can feasibly work from home but I'm not sure). They knew this yesterday - because I got an email this morning saying that they had given my floor an extra deep cleaning last night. But they STILL allowed that news to spread by rumor and while my boss did tell me personally there is still no official communication about it. Another (IT) worker on my floor has been sent home for being sick at work today. Why was that person at work??? Because they aren't providing the messaging that we are allowed and encouraged to work from home. It's ridiculous.

I'm generally very proud of my organization, but I don't know why they are mishandling this so terribly.
posted by kitcat at 11:49 AM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

All of our art museums just announced they're closing until April 3, as well as our museum center. All of the playhouses have canceled or postponed performances. And we now have confirmed cases in Cincinnati. They were obviously already here, but now there's confirmation.
posted by cooker girl at 12:15 PM on March 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

OK so the Danish borders are closed from today. Denmark here also -- a smaller city, though. We have been somewhat affected by panic-buying but not terribly so, and the main supermarket extended its hours. I have an American colleague visiting who was supposed to travel home on the 22nd. We didn't move quickly to try to get her home when the travel ban was announced, because she was flying via Toronto and it was still going to happen -- now she's here for the duration. But she says she'd rather be here than home. She teaches at a university so will be able to teach online from here as easily as anywhere.
posted by profreader at 12:32 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Well, his doctor-doctor seemed satisfied that he only has the flu, and absent any other risk factors they are not testing people for Covid-19 around here anyway. So unless your doctor-sibling has some special qualifications that make them an expert on what is happening with this particular pandemic maybe it would be best to not "throw cold water on" people who are listening to what their own doctors are telling them.

My read was that they were asking for more general information or maybe their own situation. I am glad your husband has good care and hope you both feel 100% soon!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:44 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

I had girded myself for a fight with the school, but woke up this morning to see the district had turned a 180 overnight and is closing down as of Monday.

My husband has been told to work from home for a while.
posted by moira at 12:54 PM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Of course, working from home is fairly impossible with an attention-seeking child underfoot. Weeks of no school, classes, playgroups, etc. feels utterly draining.
posted by mkuhnell at 12:57 PM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also our little kitchen has vomited its contents onto the counters as I try to reorganize and squeeze things in.
posted by moira at 12:58 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Our libraries all closed as well. This is going to be a huge hit to the homeless in the city, who go to the branches every day to be inside away from the elements. Thank goodness the freezing temps are done, but spring is rainy here. Where are they going to go?
posted by cooker girl at 12:59 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

yes. of course, Serene Empress Dork. my apologies for failing to be absolutely clear, or, maybe credible, that my question was parallel- and not in response to or contravention of, your account of your husband's doctor's advice. i am sorry to have failed to be clearer. enjoy that comfort you can find.

it has been standard cant that such-and-such symptoms are presumptively flu in the absence of contact with a known case or contact with a person who has been in contact with a known case. tests for coronavirus have be being routinely denied based on this advice from u.s. public health authorities. i have been home with presumptive flu following my child's presumptive flu (cdc and local medical authorities, contacted by little lurk's mother last weekend both said that it is the flu, over the phone, directed her to a) give the child tylenol and b) hold her at home until 24 hours with no fever, notwithstanding that tylenol will knock down a fever while the illness remains). in parallel, little lurk's school's administrators keep communicating such things as "parent of student was tested for flu and has flu, therefore does not have coronavirus." meanwhile, evidence accrues suggesting that persons may transmit before they are symptomatic and, in an outside case, up to 37 days, and retrospective study (i think from among those NEJM articles) from china suggests patients needing extreme intervention have fever, then recover, and then keel over from pneumonia. like many of us, i'm trying not to kill my elderly parents, immune-compromised friends, coworkers and random strangers crowding the elevator doors.

it is my sincere concern and my genuine curiosity. it never occurred to me to ask doctor-sibling -- who has no relevant specialty, but does have a lot of experience with chemo patients and is, themself, at risk due to underlying conditions -- until i had asked the question here, and seen no answer.

i apologize again for failing to have been clearer.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:01 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

in other news, work from home will be mandatory on my gig starting monday. huzzah!
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:02 PM on March 13, 2020

Work-from-home-as-able announced for my company in Fremont. Hopefully my boss will let me go home after this meeting (which I’m now attending via Teams, from my desk) where they are announcing the new policies.
posted by Alterscape at 1:16 PM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been watching this thread for awhile and it's made it easier to see some things coming, do gradual stocking up of food and medicine and all. It made it easier to see the closing of schools coming (though I'm not sure anything makes 6 weeks of it easier). But when I heard yesterday that the libraries were closing, well, that's when I panicked. I was like, so they're open on Friday, right? How many books can you borrow? If you drive, do you think you can bring back enough books for me and the kid for a month? And he's like, so we're panic-hoarding books now? Yes, yes, all the books.
posted by Margalo Epps at 1:16 PM on March 13, 2020 [18 favorites]

I was finally able to talk to my mom this evening. She’s been in hospital and then rehab, and just got settled into her assisted living home. She’s without her computer/internet connection for now, but her best friend got her landline installed before she got quarantined. It’s evidently a prophylactic quarantine so far, and my dad, whose dementia is getting steadily worse, is likewise in quarantine in his nursing facility, and this is the first direct contact I’ve had in a couple of months.

My physically fragile, immunocompromised mother is actually more worried about my husband and me, here in take-it-on-the-chin England, than she is about herself or my dad. She snapped out of her right wing fog a few years ago, and is an altogether different person from a political perspective than she was for most of my life, which at least means she is taking this pandemic very seriously, and I didn’t have to waste any effort attempting a Boomer reprogramming, for which I am immensely grateful.
posted by skybluepink at 1:31 PM on March 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

> spinifex23: "Seattle Symphony will be livestreaming, for free, all of their future concerts. These will be streamed on their FaceBook and YouTube pages.

Maine reported its 1st case yesterday. Our Governor is very good, had an excellent press conf with the also quite good director of MaineCDC. The contrast between competent caring leadership and the dumpster fire is fierce. 2 more cases reported since then. My trigger for self-isolating was reported case in Maine, so now I'm staying home because Virus, instead of just being boring. Things are getting so real, so fast, which I expected, but the emotional effect is still strong. I have food, beer, wine, dog food and adequate health supplies. Will have to go to the bank for cash and a new ATM card, ensuring that the missing one will appear magically.

Shout out to Slarty, mdonley, cortex, mods and all the MeFites who are providing information and support. It's extraordinarily helpful and appreciated. Noticing > 20 year lurk being super-respectful to Serene Empress Dork and many more examples. Many are staying home to avoid spreading illness. Spreading kindness and care is also necessary. /elbow-bump
posted by theora55 at 1:33 PM on March 13, 2020 [11 favorites]

Also, can I add I am SO grateful Gretchen Whitmer is Michigan’s Governor while this is happening, instead of Rick Fucking Snyder? The thought of my frail parents at Snyder’s mercy and sense of responsibility makes me shudder.
posted by skybluepink at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

I got the call today to go in for my census enumerator training next week. I somehow got promoted without applying for any relevant jobs and I'll be a trainer? So, two weeks in conference rooms in and around Seattle? And then I'm going to go count people who are receiving services in homeless shelters? While my kids, who I thought would be in school, are home making good decisions? There are many question marks in my brain right now?
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2020 [16 favorites]

Also our little kitchen has vomited its contents onto the counters as I try to reorganize and squeeze things in.

This is pretty much going to be my weekend...I'd actually planned on a big bout of Spring Cleaning anyway, since my roommate was ostensibly going to be out of town visiting friends this weekend, but they've cancelled. Which is both a blessing and a curse; a curse because I tend to make big messes in the process of cleaning, and was counting on having the space to myself; also he tends to sleep late and I wouldn't be able to get going that early. But now I may have extra labor.

Part of the cleaning was going to be "okay let's clean out the damn fridge".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:02 PM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Update from Denver, where we now have officially 72 cases in CO with 8 of them in critical condition. We all expected a jump in numbers once we finally started testing, and those numbers will only likely increase once the hundreds of tests taken the past couple of days have their results. On the positive side, so far the majority of those tested "merely" had the flu (or another respiratory disease). But it's going to get worse, so the governor has now done the whole "no large gatherings over over 250 people" rule along with the standard precautions (social distancing, hand washing, etc.).

Our office is officially closed as of today, but there's only a dozen of us and we can pretty much all work remotely, anyway. A couple of us will be popping in sporadically to check on the mail, but most people will be at home with their kids (since all the major school districts in the area have cancelled school or gone online the next two weeks or more).

Mum had some more testing this week regarding the precancereous cells and then Tuesday is a meeting with the doctor to figure out where we go from here. The meeting was originally going to be at the clinic but it has been rescheduled to be a phone call, which we're thankful for. The unnerving thing is the doctor told Mum to block out an hour-and-a-half for the consultation. We are still assuming she'll need surgery, but I don't know what that looks like right now with everything else going on.

But at least I don't have to worry about taking the time off to be with her since I'll likely be home, anyway.

We did make a note of a few things our pantry/freezer could use, so Mum went out to buy those today. Sprouts was pretty decent -- a little crowded, no TP, but still had a lot of things on the shelves and the lines weren't super crazy. But our local King Soopers (the Kroger brand store here) was a madhouse with the self-check-out line wrapping around half the store. There were still a lot of the normal stuff (no TP, disinfectant, etc. of course), but Mum was amused to see that there were no potatoes except a few random loose ones. So no spuds for us.

Overall, I know we are in a good position all things considered (full pantry, paid leave, health insurance), but it's still stressful worrying if everyone else is taking the precautions needed to prevent people like my mother from catching it and potentially dying. I just lost my father a few months ago without warning, I can't lose my mother right now. It feels a bit alarmist to think that way so I've been keeping it to myself, but I think we're all a bit worried at the moment.
posted by paisley sheep at 2:05 PM on March 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

Theaters around America are shuttering en masse, and just like that I’m unemployed until October.

posted by fast ein Maedchen at 2:21 PM on March 13, 2020 [15 favorites]

From the Philly Inquirer today
"New Jersey’s state laboratory is able to test 40 to 60 people per day for the coronavirus, a number that officials say is “enough right now,” despite fears the virus may already be spreading throughout the community undetected. Officials do not believe the state needs to change its guidelines for who gets tested, saying that may tax limited testing resources."

What the actual fuck? Are we not all getting the same information? NJ already has 50 cases. How does that translate to, "When you test individuals indiscriminately … you flood the system with an enormous amount of specimens.”?
posted by 8dot3 at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

I picked my husband up from the airport last night. He had been in New England for work, and his bosses told the team that was sent on the trip not to show back up to the office for 5 days. So they send them off on “essential” work travel and are now half-assing some self-quarantine, fantastic. In the meantime, he doesn’t have VPN access, so... paid staycation? My local government employer sent out the “work from home if you can” email today, but my kid’s school district remains open, so we’ll see how soon our household succumbs.

My community orchestra went on hiatus until May, which is a relief. The school district canceled all after-school extracurriculars and fundraising activities, so that changes a lot of things. I ran to school today to pick up my kid’s extra meds from the nurses office - if the district decides to close sometime in the next couple days, I didn’t want to keep thinking about the extra doses hanging out at school if insurance/supply chain fucks things up for our next refills. The nurse said to bring in meds day-by-day until things [inevitably] close.

Trader Joe’s at 9:30am this morning was terrifying - their supply chain is usually questionable in general, but that plus panic shopping meant half the shelves were empty. Luckily, the only thing on my list that I couldn’t find were gluten-free waffles, so I came out OK. The scene at our local organic food coop was totally normal, except this week the member coupon was 25% off bulk food items, so there were a lot more people scooping oats and rice out of the bulk bins. I think I’ll do more coop shopping in the next couple months, since they have a much better local supply chain and level of community investment.

I started my broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onion seeds last week under grow lights, and they are all sprouting and so hopeful today. Hugs and calming green vegetable vibes to all who need them.
posted by Maarika at 2:53 PM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seattle area- Just got back to our HQ in Redmond after running some hardware for our WFH effort up to our Lynnwood office and people are driving like absolute maniacs.

Be careful out there folks. Don't let the anxiety of it all push you into poor choices in other areas, it won't help things.
posted by calamari kid at 3:16 PM on March 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

and people are driving like absolute maniacs

The drop in traffic is nice, but the number of people driving 90+ mph and weaving between the unusually smoothly flowing traffic is not so good. I get it that it is exciting to see an open road during work hours for the first time in decades, but still...
posted by Dip Flash at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

One of my fave US charities, Modest Needs, is matching donations up to 25K for people whose incomes will be affected by the pandemic. I think it's okay to post a link here? If not, apologies.
posted by moira at 4:34 PM on March 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

Good advice, calamari kid - right now my poor choices in other areas only involve chocolate and saltines, and I'm hoping to stay behind that line in the sand.

My office got behind telework three years ago and I've been WFH ever since, along with about 50% of our staff; as of yesterday our execs made WFH mandatory for 100% of staff for the the duration of the pandemic. By which I mean on Wednesday afternoon, our entire office was told to work from home starting Thursday, and to get anything they needed from the office by EOD today. Permission to come to the office for any reason requires director-level approval in advance. I feel for them - the biggest impact on me from this change will be a lot of people who don't know how to do skype meetings trying to learn it on the fly.

My house has been crazy-prepper-ville since early last week, so we are fully stocked for any eventuality from "14-day-quarantine" to "how much did you learn playing The Last of Us?" Anything you can't find at Costco? It's probably here. I was doing ok anxiety-wise until I started reading r/coronavirus. Now I'm wiping down the yogurt we got at the grocery store before eating it.

(:: salutes poffinboffin:: -- according to my room mates, you are my "soul monkey".) (I think they were trying for "spirit animal" but got lost somewhere along the way.)
posted by invincible summer at 4:36 PM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

In all seriousness, our crazy prepperness only extends to about a 3 week supply of all the stuff we generally use in a week anyway, plus a whooooooole lot of chocolate. So we're not completely off the rails. Our cabinets just sort of look like we are.
posted by invincible summer at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Margalo Epps, I dashed to the library today and my stack of books is very reassuring. (Maybe I will also reread Bad Girls in my time stuck at home; I think it's in the house somewhere!)
posted by ferret branca at 4:58 PM on March 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

About what lockdown including strict social distancing entails, practically, at least the way it’s been defined here in Italy, so far:
- if you must leave your home, you are liable to be police-checked and required to self-certify your ID, contact number, itinerary and reason for being out and about (there’s a preprinted form people now carry with them); there’ve been around 4000 people fined €200 each, so far.
- the only three reasons you may leave your house are for work, for health appointments, or for “necessity”
- the first closer definition of “necessity” that was elicited was, of course, grocery shopping; it was then subsequently further confirmed to include pet-walking, garbage-disposing, and individual sports, as long as in all of these activities you strictly observe social distancing of 1 meter between you and the next person
- only food stores, pharmacies newsstands and tobacconists (longish story) are open, and by tomorrow many cities will also have decided to close public parks
- online shopping and delivery services are obviously seriously in demand for everything else, and the exposure of the deliverers is receiving specific attention in the latest crisis committee discussions (focused on clarifying a lot of unsolved issues for those whose jobs exclude WFH)

Today there was a nationwide appointment at 6 pm, to sing the national anthem from your window; tomorrow the plan is for Paolo Conte’s Azzurro.
posted by progosk at 5:09 PM on March 13, 2020 [29 favorites]

What the actual fuck? Are we not all getting the same information? NJ already has 50 cases. How does that translate to, "When you test individuals indiscriminately … you flood the system with an enormous amount of specimens.”?

IIRC they can only process a very small number of tests per day, so if they didn't focus on the cases deemed most likely to be coronavirus, they might not catch nearly as many active cases.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:19 PM on March 13, 2020

If you’re thinking of going out to see a movie during the CV Era, Celluloid Junkie posts updates on movie theater closings around the world:
Coronavirus Cinema Update – Friday 13 March 2020
Patrick von Sychowski, March 13, 2020 12:22 pm PDT
All Cinema Closed: China (23 Jan), Iran (Feb), Italy, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Qatar, North Macedonia, Greece.
To confirm their current status, call (or visit the website of) specific theaters in your area.

WP has a long List of movie theater chains with corporate links.
posted by cenoxo at 7:51 PM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Anyone else having coronavirus-related nightmares, or just me?
posted by mollywas at 8:07 PM on March 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

I imagine I would be if I were sleeping
posted by schadenfrau at 8:12 PM on March 13, 2020 [12 favorites]

What the actual fuck? Are we not all getting the same information? NJ already has 50 cases. How does that translate to, "When you test individuals indiscriminately … you flood the system with an enormous amount of specimens.”?

IIRC they can only process a very small number of tests per day, so if they didn't focus on the cases deemed most likely to be coronavirus, they might not catch nearly as many active cases.

This being precisely the opposite of what needs to happen. You don't really want to catch people. You want to set them free so they can return to living and working. The people who are sick are already sick and should be isolated and monitored regardless of what bug it is.

The reason for mass testing is to preserve societal functioning. The goal is to clear people who are asymptomatic and not infected and catch people who asymptomatic and infected.
posted by srboisvert at 8:14 PM on March 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I had a dream last night, where I was going to somewhere crowded, and thought, "social distancing..."

So you are not alone.
posted by Windopaene at 8:25 PM on March 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Me and the kids are Entering required self-quarantine tonight. I think I am probably better prepared than most because I already had to do this in China during the SARS epidemic. That time it lasted five months. I certainly hope this time doesn’t last that long. Pretty stressed about it.
posted by wobumingbai at 8:43 PM on March 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

its all hitting me in waves. Tonight was “they’re going to kill a million people.”
posted by schadenfrau at 9:12 PM on March 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I work in a public library. Virtually every library system in the area of my state is closed for the next two weeks—except ours. I work this weekend. We are going to get slammed. I know that we’re a community hub....but I just don’t think this is responsible. I’m hoping that management will rethink this. And if they don’t... then all supervisors and management needs to come in and work along side of us this weekend.
posted by bookmammal at 10:11 PM on March 13, 2020 [11 favorites]

Anyone have suggestions for European news specifically for Europeans? All the googling about travel is only giving results for the US ban.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:47 PM on March 13, 2020

By the way, a suggestion for any people self-quarantining and cooping themselves at home: you can and should occasionally go outdoors. There's little danger of spreading the virus if you're walking alone or with family in the woods, and having that time out in nature will probably make you feel better. Bonus if you live somewhere warm, as the virus doesn't survive well outside at higher temperatures; here in tropical Singapore we've been getting COVID-19 sunburn from playing outside all weekend.
posted by destrius at 11:27 PM on March 13, 2020 [12 favorites]

Anyone have suggestions for European news specifically for Europeans? All the googling about travel is only giving results for the US ban.

The Guardian liveblog is pretty thorough about significant COVID-19 news internationally, if it’s current blow-by-blow you’re looking for. But you mention travel, so maybe the travel-limitation round-up they update every day is more the sort of thing? If there’s specific countries that you need to know the latest about, the respective embassy sites, all of which will have constant local Coronavirus advisory updates are going to be your best bet.

In a nutshell, though, I think you’re going to find that there is basically no traveling in Europe advisable (or even much possible) or for the near future.
posted by progosk at 1:00 AM on March 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

Thanks progosk and roolya_boolya. I live in Germany but am on holiday in Africa and so I’m a bit worried about getting home and I was having trouble finding info about travel restrictions within Europe itself.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:40 AM on March 14, 2020

LizBoBiz, IATA (the association of the world's airlines) has this daily-updated list of restrictions, which is sorted by country.

Germany isn't on today's list as a country with its own restrictions but many countries forbid the entry/transit of people who either are German passport holders or have been there for the last 14 days. If you've been in Africa, though, perhaps that's fine if you're passing through somewhere that cares more about where you've been than what passport you hold? Do a search on the page for "Germany" and you'll see 40-odd hits with varying restrictions in different places.

The German embassy in the country where you are might also do an e-mail blast to anyone on their list (the Italians in Hong Kong do this, for example). Perhaps sign up - or indeed just call them and check?
posted by mdonley at 4:56 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don’t know where you are in Africa, but reading just now that Namibia, having just confirmed its first cases, has “announced that it is suspending travel to and from Qatar, Ethiopia and Germany for 30 days, with immediate effect”, maybe... plan fast.
posted by progosk at 4:59 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

There’s a lot changing quickly in Europe - Poland is shutting off all international air and rail transport tonight at midnight, for example. I would also recommend making plans fast. Not just beacause of various travel restrictions, but because airlines are cancelling a lot too.
posted by scorbet at 5:32 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

My friend is having a wedding planning party today with just a few people(6) at a restaurant but 5 of them use Chicago public transit to get around. I, the one with a car, kindly and calmly asked if they still wanted to do this thing, or move it to another location that didn't require everyone to take the subway and everybody said they wanted to do the original plan. So I, was like ok but I'm not hugging you people.

Im anxious because all my asthma meds aren't refillable until March 16. Thankfully it's a 90 day supply. Otherwise I have no reasons to go outside from work.

In ridiculous news, IDPH still is not testing international arrivals from O'Hare airport or temperature screening (according to the news this morning). And IDPH is still processing less than 100 tests per day.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:34 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just curious, but are any of the private hospitals, clinics and labs (in the US) doing anything amid the crisis?
posted by destrius at 6:16 AM on March 14, 2020

When anyone asks me what I'm doing at the moment I say, "Just flattening the curve man".
posted by night_train at 7:41 AM on March 14, 2020 [22 favorites]

I'm a hemodialysis patient, and this week my clinic has started instituting new safety protocols. We're generally a medically fragile cohort. We receive treatment three days a week, and the whole thing is tricky because my clinic is a big open room with ten patients seated 4-8 feet apart, all receiving treatment at once.

We all had to complete clinic-directed education on coronavirus, social isolation, hygiene, and communicating symptoms to the medical staff. Each day when we arrive, a nurse takes our temperature, asks whether we have any of the list of symptoms, asks whether we've traveled out of the country in the past 30 days, and asks whether we've been in contact with any person known to have the virus. All patients and staff now have to wear masks at all times.

They fully expect some patients to contract the virus, and the plan (in full accordance with CDC recommendations/requirements) is to put those patients on one side of the room with a six-foot barrier between the other seats, and somehow divvy up the tiny, pie-shaped waiting room where patients wait for their transportation to arrive. It all makes me a little nervous because, again, big open room. And there's one small shared patient unisex bathroom (that I avoid in general). And shared automatic sinks and other shared stations, like the scale we have to use. But they're doing what they can with the facility we have.

There's been no talk of testing, or where we might fall in the priority for that.

So that's a possible disease vector three times a week, but for those of us with end stage kidney failure, treatment is necessary to stay alive. We're low on staff already, so my main concern is having enough medical personnel to keep things going at our current pace. I guess they could potentially shorten treatment times in a pinch, but too much of that makes vulnerable patients even more susceptible to hospitalization.

- - -

Yesterday here in southern Colorado, my county had its first coronavirus death. The patient was a woman in her 80s who hadn't been included in our county's number of confirmed cases previously. Stores are getting pretty picked over -- big gaps in frozen food, canned goods, bread, and the usual bare shelves for tp and cleaning supplies. Costco was a warzone yesterday, I'm told, with cart lines stretching around the store and crankiness the rule. People in stores look tired and resigned. All of our schools are closing for at least two weeks starting Monday, and the colleges have already switched to online. Local theatres have cancelled shows. REI sent an email last night that their big garage sale was now off.

Our mayor urges us to go about our daily lives, but most folks I know have already started at least an initial level of isolation. My brother took his kids out of school early. My septuagenarian mother is limiting her trips out of the house and vows no more dining out.

I have 2-3 weeks of food, two big bags of doggy kibble, and at least a month of really nice bubble bath at the ready. I want to do everything possible to avoid the virus and avoid clogging up the healthcare system.
posted by mochapickle at 7:45 AM on March 14, 2020 [21 favorites]

A bit of good news, though: Several area school districts here are providing free grab-and-go meals daily, Monday through Friday, for ANY local child under the age of 18, while schools are closed. Most of the bags will include a breakfast and a lunch.
posted by mochapickle at 7:59 AM on March 14, 2020 [9 favorites]

Just curious, but are any of the private hospitals, clinics and labs (in the US) doing anything amid the crisis?

I'm not sure what you're asking here? Lots of hospitals are technically "private" institutions (as in not government owned or run) but set up as non-profit corporations and there is always a lot of cooperation between them and the government.

So I'm pretty sure most of them are doing lots. The Cleveland Clinic took like a week to fire up an in-house testing lab, so they can get results in hours rather than the days it would normally take from an outside lab, I'm pretty sure they made all testing free before any government suggested/required it, and as of this morning they are cooperating with one of our other big hospital system/health-care providers (University Hospital) and setting up drive- through test sites.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:18 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sending you all the good vibes, mochapickle.
posted by ferret branca at 8:21 AM on March 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure what you're asking here? Lots of hospitals are technically "private" institutions (as in not government owned or run) but set up as non-profit corporations and there is always a lot of cooperation between them and the government.

I'm not really familiar with how the US healthcare system works, beyond the fact that you need insurance for everything... I guess I was thinking in terms of the private/public dichotomy over here in Singapore, where the major hospitals are directly controlled by the government, and there are smaller, private hospitals that charge very high prices and cater to the rich. My impression was that such institutions exist in the US as well, but I really have no idea. Basically I was just wondering if any medical capacity exists that could be tapped but might not be because they're private and unwilling to help.
posted by destrius at 8:29 AM on March 14, 2020

That dichotomy doesn't really exist in the US, because not very many hospitals are directly run by the government. Our system is super confusing, but basically, most hospitals are run by some sort of entity, which could be a religious organization, a secular non-profit, a university, or a for-profit company. There's a big system of VA hospitals, which are run by the Federal government and serve military veterans, and there are local public hospitals that mostly serve really poor uninsured people. But there isn't really a separate system for rich people. There's a system for everyone with insurance, there's a separate system for military veterans, and there are a few deeply crappy alternatives for people who don't qualify for the other two.

There are independent labs, and my very strong sense is that some of them have the capacity to do testing for coronavirus but can't because of government regulations. (I know this because the husband of a friend of mine works at a lab that has a coronavirus test that they currently can't use.) The government could waive the regulations, but the sense is that the Federal government is dragging its feet because it's run by monsters. State governments may bypass the Federal government and start authorizing local and/or private labs to do testing. I don't know if they're legally entitled to do that, but my sense is that some state governments are at the point of doing it and worrying about the legalities later.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:00 AM on March 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

So the advice to spend more time outdoors is great and the weather is finally turning nice where I am! Only... we had a mild winter and the ticks are already really bad and my irrational fear of ticks is still larger than my rational concerns about COVID....
posted by TwoStride at 9:21 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

> But when I heard yesterday that the libraries were closing, well, that's when I panicked. I

I started crying. Somehow that was the final straw. And not just because I'm a corpse in one -- I've always thought of myself as being in a private library in a manor -- it's just so not right.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:02 AM on March 14, 2020 [27 favorites]

But when I heard yesterday that the libraries were closing, well, that's when I panicked.

Dublin City Libraries sent out a lovely and somehow reassuring tweet:
“Don't worry about your library loans being due to be returned during this closure period. There are no late fines anymore and no need to contact us to renew items. We will be delighted to see you and your books back in our branches when the closure period passes.”
posted by scorbet at 10:32 AM on March 14, 2020 [11 favorites]

A late-night local Hong Kong update:

- there's this terrifying story of the virus infecting people multiple floors above/below someone who was a suspected case based on their travel history out in Tai Po today; the vast majority of Hong Kongers live in tower blocks just like this and suddenly this sounds an awful lot like SARS again...

- a local who was on the Diamond Princess tested negative but now has tested positive

- travellers from the Schengen Zone are already banned from entry as of two(?) days ago but experts here want to ban British travellers too; this would be a huge deal given the hundreds of thousands of people here with connections to Britain - but the US just banned British and Irish travellers a few minutes ago, so maybe this should be expected
posted by mdonley at 10:50 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

ArbitraryAndCapricious said:

State governments may bypass the Federal government and start authorizing local and/or private labs to do testing. I don't know if they're legally entitled to do that, but my sense is that some state governments are at the point of doing it and worrying about the legalities later.

I just posted some relevant material about that on the blue (trying to keep most of my comments in this thread about my individual experiences).
posted by brainwane at 11:00 AM on March 14, 2020

Like homo, above, our garden center was insanely busy today due to the trifecta of mulch sale, beautiful weather and the threat of people being at home. I stopped by the grocery next door where I know some of the workers and they were no busier than typical beach tourist season. But one of my friends there said that their warehouse has no more TP.

It's similar to preparing for a hurricane that may or may not hit; except I don't have to come home after work and do all the premises preparation.

And, even though I took allergy meds my throat is scratchy so I am reminding myself that it's perfectly normal...
posted by mightshould at 11:35 AM on March 14, 2020

Canada: Recommends against all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Recommends 14 day self isolation for all travellers returning from outside Canada. PS: for those not up on Canadian Goverment writings this is pretty much "only an idiot would travel internationally now if they could otherwise avoid it". Isolation is mandatory for travelers from Hubei province in China, Iran or Italy and those people must register with local public health athourities within 24 hours of return.

Alberta: Puts in place universal 14 days paid job protection sick leave.

Spouse is supposed to be traveling to the US in a couple weeks to drive back with MIL. While she has 2 weeks quarantine pay available she has only started her current position recently and doesn't want to take time so soon. So we're trying to arrange another option.

SuperStore locally moderately busy with very limited toilet paper supplies. Got the feeling they were only putting out a few cases at a time. 2 package purchase limit.

Costco if anything less busy than normal (gas pumps crazy though as it recently dropped 35% to less than a buck a litre). Two package limit on toilet paper but they don't have any anyways .Completely out of rice except for some super fancy wild rice in small packages. Low quantities of white flour. Everything thing else seems normal and they seem to have stocked up on things like canned tuna.

Local governments recommending getting outside away from crowds but temperatures have plummeted 15 degrees in the last two days; currently sunny but -21 windchill.

MY doctor cancelled my appointment yesterday because he was ill; Only have 10 days of medication left so hopefully back at work next week our I'll have to brave the local walk in for a refill.
posted by Mitheral at 1:04 PM on March 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

If you are isolated for whatever reason during this pandemic, we will send you free e-books to keep you company. Please retweet. (And just DM us the kind of ebook or app you use and which of our anthologies you want!)
posted by adamvasco at 1:19 PM on March 14, 2020 [9 favorites]

In less than 48 hours Dad's assisted living facility went from "please use common sense if you visit" to "1 visitor per day" to "no visitors, period, indefinitely, we have no other information at this time"

Another 48 hours later the residents now have to take meals inside their rooms instead of the communal dining room. I understand why this is happening, but it still breaks my heart. They had to do this a few months ago when there was a gastro issue making the rounds and after only a week my dad said it was like being in a prison cell. He has a table of other old guys he sits with. I have serious worries about both the emotional isolation since I can't visit either due to the visitor ban, as well as the lack of exercise that will affect him as he is already quite feeble and at least going to the dining room 3x a day gave him a reason to maintain some of his mobility.
posted by mostly vowels at 2:53 PM on March 14, 2020 [8 favorites]

I work in a molecular biology core at a large state university. We have the capability, and have had the capability, to test for COVID-19. We even have a clinical arm of our core that is CLIA certified and all that jazz (though obviously, not for this particular test). Even though classes have been cancelled and students have been told not to come back to campus, we are still being asked to come to work to basically sit on our hands. No one is submitting research projects to us, and the clinical tests that we've been certified to perform are not needed, as they are more routine testing that is being put off during the pandemic. It's been so frustrating to me that I can't help with either my capacity as a trained technician in molecular tests, or as a healthy adult who is not high risk, and could be doing something, anything, to protect those who are more vulnerable (besides staying the fuck at home when I'm not at work).

I just wanted to vent my frustrations. If anyone in Tucson is stuck at home due to quarantine, self-imposed or otherwise, please DM me if you need any assistance.

Oh! And I just got back from my poll worker refresher class. AZ is still going ahead with the presidential preference election on Tuesday, and at least in Pima county, with no changes or augmentation. I hope the seniors that I usually work with stay home, but there has been no directive from the county otherwise.
posted by lizjohn at 3:04 PM on March 14, 2020 [11 favorites]

So I walked the dog. Where I live is a rough neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying, so there are both Michelin restaurants and gangsters. And it's Saturday night.
Almost all bars and restaurants are closed or almost empty. The arthouse cinema is closed. The drug-dealing gangsters are incredibly antsy -- borders have been really efficiently closed so they are running out of supplies. I worry that this will lead to some sort of violence soon, and I noticed that the younger guys that I know from when they were at school with my kids weren't out at all.
I saw one younger guy, who is not part of the gang, but I suspect he is a drug user, and he was not doing well either. What happens when lots of addicts can't acces their drugs? Such a weird and unpredicted side-effect. They will also be taking up time and space at the ER.
My kids are working at restaurants that provide take-out, so they are still in work. But I wonder for how long.
posted by mumimor at 3:25 PM on March 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

Seattle. My wife is a childhood-onset insulin dependent diabetic, sometimes termed a Type 1, in good control and using a pump, moving toward continuous monitoring cautiously over a period of years.

I started pestering her about supplies maybe a month ago (her meds, her dosing and testing, and so forth are rightly hers to monitor and administer, and she does know what she is doing) to some stiff resistance, as it was seen as my interfering in her well-established routines and as criticism. Whatever, it’s my job, something I promised her I would do, and so I do it.

Sadly, I have found that I was insufficiently nosy and pestiferous. A daily requirement of her routine is rubbing alcohol to re-prep the temporary port site for her pump. We probably have enough pads and bottled 70% isopropyl alcohol to last through 60 days with no resupply, but after that, it’s not promising.
posted by mwhybark at 3:51 PM on March 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

mwhybark, I just raided my first aid kit and have 20 alcohol pads (70% isopropyl alcohol). (Also 20 iodine pads, if those would work?) You're welcome to them if you want them, and I'll keep an eye out in my neighborhood -- I feel like we're a little less picked-over than other parts of the city, though I also haven't set foot in a drugstore yet.
posted by kalimac at 4:03 PM on March 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

No, we have a half-bottle to hand and about 50 pads. I can wait another week to see hiw things shake out. But thank you!
posted by mwhybark at 4:14 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

No worries, just drop me a MeMail if you wind up needing them!
posted by kalimac at 4:15 PM on March 14, 2020

Oops, went to edit “hiw” and got carried away. this comment supplants the prior.

No, we have a half-bottle to hand and about 50 pads. I can wait another week to see how things shake out. But thank you! She was also taught as a young child, so in the late sixties, that hydrogen peroxide is an acceptable site prep substitute. I have not been able to substantiate that independently and we are working on it. I do have some ship-when-it-arrives orders in at Amazon.

In general, it appears that Amazon’s wild-west indie lister model has set them up to be largely not able to successfully squash specific listings for deprecated products and instead they are delisting entire categories or keywords. No such limitations appear to be in effect on ebay, and as a consequence there are many listings for $15 pints of 70% isopropyl alchohol from new and low-volume listers. The magic of the market at work!
posted by mwhybark at 4:21 PM on March 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

When anyone asks me what I'm doing at the moment I say, "Just flattening the curve man"

old enough to remember when moonshine-smuggling "cousins" with hearts of gold were celebrated in song for "straightening the curves" and "flattening the hills."
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:08 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Went with my friend Susan to Ballard Fred Meyer today where all the 70% alcohol was gone. And, get this, ramen. Except for the Japanese made jumbo packs in the Asian food aisles --- where I stocked up. Other oddities included certain sorts of dry beans missing while cans of same still remained. I grabbed a few along with some straggler cans of chili, so's I can make bachelor chow with the ramen. And I stocked up on bags of coffee. Then came home to my very chilly apartment. The new owners are renovating apartments as people move out and my upstairs neighbor moved to the other courtyard. So, her once warm apartment lacks all heat and the floors are up in her bathroom. I am so glad that I just bought my first electric blanket a month back. OK, back to it for the nonce -- it's going to be in the 30s tonight.
posted by y2karl at 7:11 PM on March 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

By the way, I just cancelled my AirBnB in Port Townsend for later this month, and got a full refund. Message is:

"We are now offering Guests full refunds and Hosts no charge cancellations for reservations booked on or before March 14th with a check in date of April 14th or earlier. Please note this policy will not cover any new bookings."
It looks like this is global (with a special subset for bookings in China), not just regional, in case anyone else needs a little push to cancel.

(Am I still taking the time off work as a staycation? Oh hell yeah.)
posted by kalimac at 7:30 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Other oddities included certain sorts of dry beans missing while cans of same still remained

Dried beans, at least around here, are significantly cheaper than canned and take up less space. Better if you are on a budget or lack space or both.
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Dried beans, at least around here, are significantly cheaper than canned and take up less space. Better if you are on a budget or lack space or both.

As a chronically ill person I'm thankful that people are leaving the canned beans for me. I get upset when I have to pull out a can-opener instead of the can having a little pull tab, imagine having to COOK THE BEANS! Oh to be in a place in life where I could buy a bag of dried beans and have it not languish forever in my pantry.
posted by brook horse at 8:36 PM on March 14, 2020 [5 favorites]

reading latest over at, where, in comments to their own post, author Rayne reports sewing surgical masks of muslin per mother's instructions from "the old days," following which, another user offers the link to "Universal and reusable virus deactivation system for respiratory protection," from january 2017 nature reprint from Scientific Reports:
Here, we report the development of a universal, reusable virus deactivation system by functionalization of the main fibrous filtration unit of surgical mask with sodium chloride salt. The salt coating on the fiber surface dissolves upon exposure to virus aerosols and recrystallizes during drying, destroying the pathogens.
the authors describe coating the polypropyline ply of the mask with a surfactant-containing layer of sodium chloride. in response, Rayne considers soaking current batch of masks in saline solution (and air drying), and attempting a polypropyline layer in future.

i am not qualified to evaluate either the science or Rayne's proposed home-brew incorporation.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:05 PM on March 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

On a flight now to Fiji then to Sydney. Australia has just imposed two week isolation for all international travelers into country. The middle row of my plane is empty except for me. No detailed guidelines from Australian Govt. Oh well.
posted by jadepearl at 10:54 PM on March 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Here is the checkin
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 3:45 AM on March 15, 2020

Just got a text from my boss; the company is trying to transition even more to working from home, and he's gently encouraging me to do the same ("I'll be there in the office, but you don't have to be"). I live so close that I may go in for a couple hours on Monday morning at least, first thing so the place is least-populated.

My roommate is also on a work from home order; we talked about that and both feel like we do better actually going to an office where there aren't as many distractions, and having sparsely-populated offices to go to is even better still. We may each pop into our respective offices a couple times a week, and I may suggest coordinating that to help ease the cabin fever roommate-always-underfoot pressure that might arise from us both being stuck in the same apartment trying to focus on vastly different tasks. He also lives close enough to walk to work, so we are both spared MTA exposure; we've been super-cleaning the apartment, and I found a tub of sanitizing wipes left behind by the last roommate and have given it a front-and-center placement in the living room.

I've gotten up early to do a much-needed load of laundry (there's a 24-hour laundromat near me). After that, I'll be holing up at home and baking pumpkin bread and cookies, and simmering up a pot of pasta sauce and making a big pot of lentils, which can either be eaten on its own or served as a side for some duck breasts I have in the freezer. Some people panic-shop; apparently I panic-cook.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:06 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

... that hydrogen peroxide is an acceptable site prep substitute. I have not been able to substantiate that independently and we are working on it.

H2O2 is on this EPA list of effective disinfectants. Updated this month.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on March 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

My company shut down all of our offices on Friday: Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Seattle. We can go in and grab anything we need to work from home like monitors, keyboards, etc but we're working from home until the all-clear is sent.
posted by octothorpe at 7:54 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

So. Today the uk government proclaims over 75s should self isolate for 4 weeks. On Tuesday, the Cheltenham Races went ahead and here are the pictures. Somebody tell me the british government has any idea what it's doing?

Just published also: I’m an epidemiologist. When I heard about Britain’s ‘herd immunity’ coronavirus plan, I thought it was satire

Justifiably, I've just had a comment deleted from Ask responding to a question about the self-isolation for old people. I didn't answer the question, I sounded off about the practicality of the suggestion and the competence of a government seriously advancing it as a strategy to contain the virus in the absence of infrastructural changes.

But still. Self & spouse are in target population on more than one count so I am thinking seriously about what is our best course of action in the coming months. I'd like to recycle one part of my deleted answer here: I cannot commend enough the comments in this check-in thread from mefites going through quarantine in Singapore, Hong Kong and East Asian countries. Many many thanks to those mefites, their suggestions and their example are much appreciated and form, and will continue to form, the basis of my families response to the crisis.
posted by glasseyes at 9:55 AM on March 15, 2020 [11 favorites]

glasseyes, I've been feeling similarly dismayed at the UK's response – and Singapore feels the same way:
“One concern we have with cases such as U.K. and Switzerland isn’t just about the numbers. It is that these countries have abandoned any measure to contain or restrain the virus,” Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said at a press briefing Sunday. “If there’s no attempt to contain, we estimate the number of cases in these countries to rise significantly in the coming days and weeks.”
I normally don't get into arguments online, let alone on Reddit, but I've been uncharacteristically agitated about just how confident people are in the UK govt's strategy. All criticism of it is illegitimate because the govt's science is the one true science; all other countries' attempts to contain the virus are, in their view, destined for failure as there is no possible way their populace will comply with quarantine.

It as if the UK govt – and much of its citizens – has given up all hope and thinks there is no way to get people to change their behaviour, other than maybe washing their hands a little more. No government requirement to shut down mass gatherings yet, no limits on restaurants or bars or pubs, nothing on social distancing, no recommendation to work from home. Govt communications have been a shambles, with anonymous briefings to journos, articles put up behind paywalls, utter confusion about "herd immunity".

I've never felt more disgusted at this country.
posted by adrianhon at 10:22 AM on March 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

A lot of people are criticizing our government for closing the borders, and I totally understand the sentiment. But when the UK and the US are bungling this so dramatically, it seems to me to be a necessary precaution. I worry so much for my family members, both in the UK and US, (and they would be allowed back home if they could find a plane), but I support the closed borders. All the world needs to get up to standard here.
posted by mumimor at 10:28 AM on March 15, 2020 [9 favorites]

The Danish government just announced, together with representatives from the labour unions and the employers, a plan to compensate companies under duress 75% (up to 23000 DKK, ~US$3400, per month) of the employees’ wages in return of not firing anyone (the employees’ contribution will be five days of vacation). This is unprecedented, but seems a good move in these times.
posted by bouvin at 11:11 AM on March 15, 2020 [13 favorites]

My sister is in quarantine now because several of her friends are likely corona patients. At this point the hospitals only register the seriously ill, but they have all spent time together with a confirmed case. From something abstract and faraway to something very, very close has been a week.
She's a government official supposed to handle important stuff out there, but she can't.
posted by mumimor at 11:24 AM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Here in the Netherlands we are finally getting locked down. Restaurants, bars, coffeeshops, etc., are all to close. You can only send your kids to school if you're in a vital profession (medical staff, firefighters, etc.). Glad we did our hamstering a couple of days ago because the grocery stores shelves are getting pretty bare. I've got food, knitting, a backlog of books to read, Borderlands 3, and maybe I'll go hang out with folks in VR. We were working from home, anyway, so despite the isolation I feel pretty lucky -- I'm worried about the cafe and restaurant workers in my little neighborhood here in Amsterdam.
posted by antinomia at 11:26 AM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I can't say I'm surprised - self-interested tossers gonna toss, self-interestedly - and the calibre of US & UK governments, and all their ministers, and all their ministers' ideas, has been evident since they all first came to prominence. But to see people stressing out at the impossible instruction to self-isolate for 4 months with no official assistance to do so! Damn.

My best wishes to your sister mumimor.
posted by glasseyes at 11:28 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Just got through Fijian international transit process. They have increased bio security enforcement with everyone’s bags being inspected. Temperature check and second person reviewing medical declarations. Also, all flight attendants were masked during the whole trip and hand sanitizer offered. On the plus side, I lived the dream of an empty middle row of the flight. The dream was lumpy.

Now for the cuisine tyranny of Burger King. *sigh* I am an anti-monarchist.
posted by jadepearl at 11:38 AM on March 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

Poland's now locked down tight - no restaurants (delivery only), malls or entertainment, schools closed, major construction largely halted and everyone who can is on telework. Ikea closed nation-wide, while other big-box stores and pharmacies are limiting the number of people inside at the same time, which makes for a surprisingly relaxed shopping experience once you do get in. Supplies seem okay so far - soap is sparse, but no-one notices the shower gels or dish soap for some reason.

Churches are limited to 50 people per service and an idiot bishop actually told people "not to worry, you can't get infected by Holy Water because the devil is afraid of it" - you mean the puddle everyone dips their dirty fingers in before touching them to their face?? My parish is far more sensible, going by the Jesuit principle they actually quoted in the announcement of halting services: "Pray as if everything depended on God. Act as if everything depended on you."

Having a loved one's major surgery during this period has been fun. The medical university got closed down during her surgery, so I got to witness a parade of dejected students being shooed out of the operating theatres. Visits got halted the next day, but by a fluke of luck I was literally at the hospital door when it was announced and managed to see her for 10 minutes. Even passing over items got halted the next day, so that was a fun sprint with extra clothes and supplies. Thank heavens, her hospital isn't slated for coronavirus patients (yet), but they halted planned surgeries as well. I'm all stocked up on what she's allowed to eat, at least, and I had plenty of time to sanitise the house. Fingers crossed for getting her back home in the next three days.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:52 AM on March 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

I've just been thinking about my fellow New Yorkers and what it means to be a household here. Most people I know here don't live with family, they live with roommates, most of them relative strangers before meeting on Craigslist or whatever. It's a very different situation to have to quarantine with roommates than with your family. My roommates and I are preemptively making plans for how to not drive each other insane when/if the city shuts down and we're all cooped up here together.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:11 PM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have been having discussions with friends and we are enacting social distancing measures to varying degrees. My work has closed to the public. Meanwhile, my parents in their early senior years are hopping about town almost as much as they ever have. As someone with a history of anxiety, it’s been extremely painful to have them treat me as though this is a typical overreaction, and as if I am scared for myself only. It makes me very sad that at some point I may choose to reduce contact with my family because they are not observing the same precautions that my other close contacts are taking. I really hope that I remain strong and calm enough to act as is necessary to benefit everyone.
posted by ceramicspaniel at 12:15 PM on March 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

I ended up marrying someone I was locked down with when I was a student in China during SARS. So there can be positives in this. It really does start to get easier after about a week if you cut yourself off from reading news.
posted by wobumingbai at 12:17 PM on March 15, 2020 [15 favorites]

A friend of mine was just admitted to the hospital due to chest pains. I'm of course worried for them... but I also had the thought that it's better this showed up now than in a week or so when cases start flooding hospitals.
posted by azpenguin at 12:25 PM on March 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Since our bishop officially suspended in-person worship for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago a few days ago, a number of local churches offered virtual worship this morning. The big church in the next town had a beautiful, professional-quality service over Facebook live, although they had at least 4 people working together in person to achieve this, including a piano player and a scripture reader. My own church's rector was flying solo, and we had a few technical hiccups (the sound wasn't great over Zoom, people kept leaving themselves unmuted at inopportune times, the music they tried to play from YouTube didn't come across very well, and a couple of us discovered we don't have working microphones.) But all in all it was very comforting to see some beloved and familiar faces, to pray and worship with them. I imagine some of the technical issues may get worked out over time, meanwhile I am very glad to have this option to reduce feelings of isolation and the anxiety that comes with it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:30 PM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Interestingly, the grocery store this morning had about half as many shoppers as you would normally see on a Sunday morning. Maybe people stocked up during the week and don't need to do their usual Sunday shopping? It made for a more relaxing shopping trip than I was expecting, and even TP was back in stock. Limited quantities and selection, of course, but it was nice to see it available again.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:33 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, also, my Weight Watchers coach announced that in-person workshops are being suspended for a few weeks. I had been debating whether or not to go to my meeting yesterday morning but then I got the flu on Friday so the decision was made for me. They will be training the staff on how to hold virtual workshops through Zoom. I am very pleased about this as I struggle so much with weight and health issues, and my meeting has been so important for helping me stay motivated.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:36 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, I now have a nephew and niece-in-law down with what is probably Covid-19. At least, they can quarantine together – he was cooped up in my sister’s and BIL’s camper van for a couple of days. They are both young and healthy, so they should be alright.
posted by bouvin at 12:38 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm looking over a little wistfully at all the people who say they are bored and are trying to figure out entertainment.
posted by moira at 12:39 PM on March 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm looking over a little wistfully at all the people who say they are bored and are trying to figure out entertainment.

I'm baffled that people don't have huge backlogs for books, games, movies, TV shows, knitting, etc? My problem was figuring out where to start. I'm specifically ignoring all the "here's stuff to do!" posts on the Blue to avoid further increasing my enormous lists. Is this not normal? I thought this was normal. Oh no.
posted by brook horse at 12:50 PM on March 15, 2020 [26 favorites]

start to get easier after about a week if you cut yourself off from reading news.

Today was the first day I've read a newspaper/watched the news since before christmas, and it will be the last for a while. I got info that was less biased and more informed from metafilter as I said above, especially in pointing towards medical sources, blogs, think pieces etc from East Asia.

I wish I hadn't seen those Cheltenham pictures but they do clarify something: our powers that be are not expecting to get sick themselves. Usually in a developed country money does insulate you very well from infection, gives you a higher base level of health and does buy you premium care should the organism - the body - let you down in any way. We'll see, I guess?

And it's conspicuous to me that the medical authorities here don't care to refer to Asian experts at all - they seem sure that their own inexperience gives them somehow a superior handle on pandemic management than doctors in Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea. The ideological position that the chief business of government is to oil the wheels of business is yet another reason why Johnson and his hand-picked experts are happy with their own lackadaisical approach. My daughter said, Do you think they're trying to solve the pension crisis?

All the best to you and your wife I claim sanctuary. If it sounds odd it's a Nigerian thing to say, but thank you for being a loving carer.
posted by glasseyes at 12:52 PM on March 15, 2020 [12 favorites]

I heard from my volunteer job--they are NOT closing "because campus is still open." Um, what? You offer recreational skill classes there and that's not stuff that can be done virtually. I realize that the news that the campus classes are all online this spring just came out over the weekend and maybe they haven't thought this through yet, and they are closed for two weeks as is right now, but all they said was "let us know if you won't be back and we'll take you off the schedule." Uh.....

I'm packed with stuff, so I have yarn for like a year. I did go order a book from B&N and a card deck off Etsy today, so I've spent money to support others, I guess. I heard from someone today saying he didn't have much to do in his house and my mind boggled a bit.

Now I am going through the house thinking things like "why did I not buy bread to freeze?" and "I am out of toothbrush heads, I'm down to the last one in the box, so that gives me three months, should I worry about getting more NOW" (since the goddamned stores LOCK THEM and I'd have to get a human to open the security for the stupid things for me) "or not?" I don't really have room in the freezer to freeze bread for weeks though. I'm just realizing that I didn't buy lunch fixins since I still have to leave the house for my job and should I go out and do any now before it gets really bad, or is it THAT bad now, or will it be worse if I do not go out and do it now?....

I also sent out a giant email to my theater friends asking if they want to be on a group check-in text. So far I got two responses within the last few hours, but will give it a few days. Happily, my crush was the first one who said he was in.

I don't normally talk about the crush situation too much--there's mutual like but he said he wasn't ready, essentially-- but another thing I'm annoyed about is that we can't develop our relationship/get to know each other better now when god only knows when we can see each other again. Well, who knows, maybe I get lucky and somehow we end up doing adorable texts/emails a la "Red, White, and Royal Blue" (my current reading) across the distance or something, but still, it's another thing on my list of losses, like performing, that just really makes me mad.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yeah, entertainment backlog, or lack thereof, isn't my problem. I would desperately like to be bored, as I am well into burnout territory with no real reprieve in sight.

On the plus side, I can procrastinate various dialogues with the school in favor of other stuff. I really hope they aren't going to push full-on home schooling during this, but the latest update threatens something like it.

After peeking at Facebook and then hastily shutting it down, I am grateful everybody in our household is on the same page.
posted by moira at 2:09 PM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just set up a Slack channel for my Girl Scouts to earn the "Science of Happiness" badge, mostly on-line. I re-wrote the requirements to make it appropriate for the current situation. It'll be interesting to see how many of them participate.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:26 PM on March 15, 2020 [13 favorites]

Next up I get to convince my father that although he doesn’t feel old, he’s old enough that they’re not going to give him one of the ventilators when they start triaging, so he has to at least try to limit his interaction with other people. Also, my mom is about to be the very definition of immunocompromised, so maybe stop being a dingbat since you’re spending 10 hours a day with her every day? What is it with old people and refusing to follow basic safety precautions?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:37 PM on March 15, 2020 [9 favorites]

I’m so incredibly frustrated with people not respecting quarantine or those who are. People are like “but can you just meet up to do this one thing” and I’m kind of like “holy fuck we are in a pandemic how do you not see that doesn’t matter.”
posted by corb at 4:56 PM on March 15, 2020 [16 favorites]

I'm in rural central Illinois. The paper and cleaning supplies have been bought out of many/most local stores. There has been a lot of panic buying in the last week. Our governor just placed a dine-in ban on restaurants and bars (starting Tuesday, I think), which is the right thing to do, but I think there will be a lot more panic shopping this week.

As far as I can tell, most people around here don't think this is a big deal and they say "It's just a bad flu" - even the people I thought would know better are saying that! Last week some of these people were planning trips to St. Louis and Chicago to visit Zoos, Museums, etc, since it wouldn't be very crowded. I hope they change their minds or everything gets shut down before they can go.

My co-workers are almost all republicans and Trump supporters, so I'm going to have to listen to them rant about our state government tomorrow. I can not emphasize enough how scary it is to have so many people telling me I'm wrong when I am so strongly expecting a disaster. I feel like I'm going crazy. Also we are so incredibly fucked because these people are not going to follow guidelines or quarantines.

Luckily my immediate family has a similar mindset to me, so I am not too worried about them right now. And except for having to work in a building with extremely clueless people, I am pretty well set up for getting through the next few months.
posted by Blue Genie at 6:33 PM on March 15, 2020 [10 favorites]

FLU IS TERRIFYING. Why do people keep saying that like it's no big deal.

We got our first grocery delivery today. I placed the order Friday, the first open slot was two days out. We got most of what we asked for - white flour and other baking supplies were sold out, but I got wheat flour instead. All the dried beans and lentils were sold out entirely.

We disinfected the cash before we tipped. Then disinfected the groceries before putting them away.

Fun times in Seattle! At least it's not raining.
posted by bq at 7:39 PM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm baffled that people don't have huge backlogs for books, games, movies, TV shows, knitting, etc? My problem was figuring out where to start. I'm specifically ignoring all the "here's stuff to do!" posts on the Blue to avoid further increasing my enormous lists. Is this not normal? I thought this was normal. Oh no.

Letterboxd tells me that there are 386 films in my watchlist available on the various services that I have access to. If I did nothing but watch them every waking hour, I'd have a 48 day supply of viewing. So I think I'm covered.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've previously made supply runs for the essentials, but this time around? I ordered a bunch of garam masala, chai masala, ghee, and dried whole black matpe beans.

If all the restaurants are going to be shut down in Seattle - which is happening possibly as early as tomorrow - I will have some sort of Indian curry dish to eat, as well as some chai.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:09 PM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

WA state restaurants to be takeout/delivery only for the time being, along with further restrictions on large gatherings. I know of at least one restaurant/bear near me which has shut down permanently already due to people just not showing up anymore.

Some front line reporting from a Costco employee: "It's honestly worse than black Friday. Three weeks of panic buying, resources are getting lower, so they are taking measures to make sure people can actually get food, such as limiting how much milk/eggs an individual customer can buy."
posted by StarkRoads at 9:16 PM on March 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Much like the lines of not socially distanced folks we saw last night at O'Hare, the SoDo Costco had crazy lines of folks waiting for it to open this morning, per the Seattle Times photo.
posted by Windopaene at 10:05 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just found out our office has closed and I have to work from home for at least a week. Bit annoyed as my wife mostly works from home too and it's not great when we're both trapped here.

I have a strong feeling with no particular evidence that the same people who over-react at first will under-react when they start to get bored. So right now they're closing the office on one "suspected" case, but in a couple of months they'll be eye-rolling if you want to take a week at home for a just cough and a fever. And that the people with garages stacked to the roof with toilet paper will be the first to stop washing their hands.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:52 AM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

St. Louis/Missouri. We're up to 5 known cases as of this weekend for the whole state, but I'd wager there's a lot more. My partner and I went out this weekend, not to many places, but quick trips to pick up stuff. We hit up Seoul Taco in the Loop for St. Louis Day (314), and we walked right it to the counter, which we've never done on a Saturday at lunch time. I asked if they were quiet, and the worker there said yes.

Toilet paper is scarce at Dierbergs and Target, but I was able to find some at a local Asian market. I can't remember if that advice came from here or the Do By Friday discord group, but it was solid advice. Plus, you're support local business owners that aren't billionaires.

My sister went to Costco (I think the one on Rusty Road) and said it was actually fairly quiet, with plenty of toilet paper, so who even knows?

The entire University of Missouri system is on remote classes until the end of the semester, but faculty and staff are still expected on campus, unless they're in the compromised group, at which point they're working from home.

I'm actually concerned that people aren't taking this seriously enough. Granted, I was out a little bit this weekend, but it wasn't the ghost town I was expecting. This worries me, that maybe we've spread the virus more than we think we have.
posted by gc at 6:16 AM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Super awesome time for my spring allergies to start really ramping up. It’s a very minor complaint, I know, but it’s a good thing I’m staying in, because I’d prefer not to freak people out when I sneeze or cough.
posted by skybluepink at 6:50 AM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

I've come in to my office; I didn't need to (and my boss came to remind me of that a moment ago), but I did anyway because I live so close that I've been walking here, and because I figured it would be a virtual ghost town. Also my roommate is also working from home and I want to postpone he and I being on top of each other in the apartment as long as possible.

We were all issued little purel bottles for our desks and there are copious tubs of sanitizing wipes; I've been using both liberally, as well as washing my hands.

There was this exchange earlier today, between me, another colleague "M", and my boss, that had me spooked:

M: I'm running out for coffee, anyone want some?

BOSS: Wait, where are you going?

M: To that place just next door.

BOSS: Don't go there.

M: Why?

BOSS: Someone with Coronavirus was there.

ME: (realizing I stopped in at that exact place on Wednesday for a grab-and-go pound cake): Um......when were they there?

BOSS: Sometime on Friday.

ME: Oh thank God.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 AM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Went to the grocery store early-ish this morning. (It's a Giant in D.C.) It was not empty but not at all crowded. They're sold out of a few things (hand soap, toilet paper, bread crumbs for some reason), but mostly it was well stocked. There was a guy restocking the five-pound things of ground beef. (No ground turkey, though. Also no uncooked chorizo, although maybe that's standard for this particular grocery store. The uncooked sausage selection was pretty grim, though.) Hopefully we have groceries to last for a while. I'm going to be experimenting with frozen veggies, which will be interesting. I'm going to get a chance to test my theory that anything is good if you roast in it a hot over with a ton of olive oil.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:06 AM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

(The store had plenty of olive oil. I got the last thing of frozen broccoli, though.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:11 AM on March 16, 2020

I'm going to get a chance to test my theory that anything is good if you roast in it a hot over with a ton of olive oil.

It's true. I'm not sure how roasting frozen peas would turn out though, but if you do that and they're delicious, let us know!
posted by destrius at 7:26 AM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I can't see how it wouldn't be true! Roast them peas!
posted by cooker girl at 7:32 AM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I realized I will be out of fancy toothbrush heads after I finish off the last one in three months. Since they lock the stupid things up at the stores these days anyway and you have to get a human to unlock it for you (good luck with that under regular circumstances), I ordered it online to have mailed to me, and then I was going to have some mouthwash shipped as well. Then I started trying to figure out what else I could have shipped to me (as it turns out, not a lot--the only cold stuff left that wasn't marked "check stores" was Vicks Vaporub), went to bed...and the next morning they said they would not ship the mouthwash, I'd have to pick it up in person.

Never mind, just ordering the dang heads then.

Anyway, there's something to keep in mind if you want anything mailed to you from Target: limited options for that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:35 AM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm baffled that people don't have huge backlogs for books, games, movies, TV shows, knitting, etc?

For most things, I try it when it's first available (hold at the library, record an episode if it's broadcast, etc) and either watch/read then or try a bit, realize I don't like it, and take it off my list. So my actual list is pretty short most of the time. And I count on those 3-10 holds at the library every week as part of that.

I don't like very many kinds of games, though the ones I do, I like obsessively, so that mostly balances out. It does mean I've been waiting to play the latest Animal Crossing for several years with very little else to distract me.

So figuring out what to read and watch, with a short list, when I want the content to be even more compelling then usual, is kind of tough.

Though to be honest, I was more worried about my kid, who prefers paper books. She normally spends 2-3 hours at the library, carefully auditioning books, until she has a large enough heap. We were both a bit sick on Friday, the last day the libraries were open, so my spouse went down and tried to guess what she'd like. He brought home as much as he could carry (a full backpack and two large totes) and I'm still not sure it'll last her more than two weeks.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:48 AM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

They lock up the toothbrush heads? I bought a pack of the Oral-B ones off the shelf at Costco a couple months ago.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:49 AM on March 16, 2020

How do y'all feel about eating takeout food? I really worry about a sick kitchen worker contaminating it. I've tried to find out if microwaving contaminated food would kill coronavirus particles, but I couldn't find much information.
posted by Fritzle at 9:43 AM on March 16, 2020

As the Patrick’s Day Parades have been cancelled in Ireland tomorrow, someone came up with the bright idea of a reverse parade. Children have been doing art to stick in their front windows to allow everyone else to see it when they take a walk. (You can see more of the artwork by checkingout the hashtag #Paddys_Panes on twitter.)
posted by scorbet at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2020 [12 favorites]

If you can, work from home anyway. By going into the office you are setting at the very least the janitorial staff at risk.

My office was 'strongly encourage wfh' last week and last night I got a 'mandatory and closed' email. I planted my windowbox garden Saturday with my wee plants and started a bunch of lettuce seeds so I'm going to have my waves of greens soon.
posted by ladyriffraff at 9:46 AM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hong Kong update:

- clamour is growing to close the border to all non-residents/visitors entirely; Hong Kong probably has the freest visa regime in East Asia and the tourism and business-travel industries are already decimated

- people here are desperate to get their children out of the UK, where thousands of HK children study, because of the impending arrivals ban (without quarantine) from the UK and because local folks in the story I linked seem quite perturbed by the UK government's approach to the crisis

In more personal news: a British colleague has to fly to East Malaysia on Tuesday morning to collect his Malaysian wife and two small children with Malaysian passports under 5, all of whom are HK residents who are staying there temporarily while the kids' school is out, because Malaysia is forbidding Malaysians from leaving from Wednesday until at least the 31st, and banning all foreign visitors. He needs to get them out by midnight Wednesday. He's got 23 hours left.
posted by mdonley at 10:03 AM on March 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

How do y'all feel about eating takeout food?

We - with heavy hearts - have stopped getting takeout. I hate this - we rely on it at least a couple of nights a week because we're lazy. I also feel bad for the restaurants who are going to be flattened by the epidemic.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

How do y'all feel about eating takeout food?

The other day I was looking at the supermarket takeout counter for lunch options, and a young construction worker sneezed right into the counter. I went over to the sardine shelf.
Authorities say the virus doesn't spread through food, but I feel insecure about the handling part.
posted by mumimor at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Here in Indiana, the governor today ordered all restaurants, bars, pubs, etc. closed to eat-in business. For now, they will be able to continue delivery/pick-up services, but that, too, may be halted in the future.

I really hope someone in government is thinking really effing hard about how out-of-work (or have had hours cut) citizens are going to pay their rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc. etc. Closing restaurants will hit the more financially at-risk populations. But, as this thing grinds on, the financial toll is going to work its way up the societal ladder. “Surviving” won’t mean shit if the homeless/poor populations have doubled.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:54 AM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Ohio closed restaurants and bars last night. Today, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services put out an announcement to fast-track unemployment benefits to anyone affected by Covid-19 closures.
posted by cooker girl at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

mumimor: "Authorities say the virus doesn't spread through food, but I feel insecure about the handling part."

I don't understand how it couldn't. If touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face is a major vector, why wouldn't putting contaminated food in your mouth be, as well? There's a rather important tube going from there directly to your lungs.

I've also been trying in vain to learn whether cuts and scrapes are a point of transmission. I've read the virus only has receptors that attach to respiratory cells, but it also seems to travel through the bloodstream to inflame other organs. Searching only pulls up a lot of gab about coronavirus tax cuts. I tend to nick my hands pretty often, so it would be great to know how vigilant I have to be with the Band-Aids so I don't pick something up through a papercut.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been doing my grocery shopping around midnight at Haggen. No one else is there, and the shelves are usually restocked by then. They seem to have the best selection out of all of the grocery stores that I've been to. I'm avoiding Costco altogether. I took the ferry yesterday and they asked everyone who drove on to stay in their cars.

I went to three different dog parks this weekend and they were all super crowded. Looks like everyone is trying to get outdoors while they still can...
posted by mollywas at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've also been trying in vain to learn whether cuts and scrapes are a point of transmission

I'm an ENT doctor and former microbiology student (but not an infectious disease specialist). I think that the likelihood of transmission through a cut/scrape is extremely low to nil. Once the virus has entered the bloodstream, there are millions of virus particles in the body. Since Coronavirus in general is not known to replicate in blood (since it doesn't have host cells in blood), it's not going to be able to be transmitted in sufficient quantities to target organs.

(Again, I'm not an expert and this is speculation about a virus which is still surrounded by quite a few unknowns, so take with a grain of salt.)
posted by Fritzle at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2020 [7 favorites]

Today, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services put out an announcement to fast-track unemployment benefits to anyone affected by Covid-19 closures.

That’s a good start, but I seriously doubt unemployment benefits are going to come close to keeping roofs over families’ heads through this. After all, in sane times, if you lose a job, you can at least hope to find a new one in a reasonable amount of time. Now, though, entire industries are being effectively shuttered indefinitely. If you’re wait staff, where do you go? The knock-on of restaurants being closed is going to be huge.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:33 AM on March 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

Thorzdad, a number of cities are trying to address this issue. In Philly, they've called a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, tax liens and utility shutoffs. The Housing Authority will also be offering a hardship rent abatement. Comcast (at least here in Philly) has removed data caps, stopped cancelling service and is making public wifi available. It's not perfect, of course, but it's something.
posted by mcduff at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Oof. I was already working from home all last week because I was sick, but as of today way more of my office is working from home, and our VPN keeps crashing. And when it crashes, the FileMaker database I use crashes. Over the past hour I've done like 15 min of work and 45 min of watching things slowly slowly load and/or crash.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:13 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got my normal 6 month supply of TP from Costco back in February, way before any of this COVID-19 really hit the US.

I just sent a note to my apartment manager that if anyone else is running out of TP because of the hoarding, price gouging, inconsistent supply, etc., that I have TP in Unit 406 that I'll flat out give them. I don't know if anyone will take me up on this offer. But, I feel that this is one concrete thing that I can do, right now, without leaving the building.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:15 PM on March 16, 2020 [12 favorites]

And in a direct parallel to Spinifex's note above - a police department in Oregon has had to make a public statement to people that "running out of toilet paper" is not a reason for them to call 911.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

France has imposed isolation from tomorrow at 12pm except for food shopping, medical appointments, and work that cannot be done remotely for 2 weeks but likely to be extended, I’ve been hearing 45 days. There will be sanctions for breaking this announced tomorrow.

The EU is also closing all borders from tomorrow at 12pm.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

So apparently the logical response to school closures in my neck of the woods is to host large get-togethers for the kids.

I was happy to see that San Diego has announced a community response fund to help with food security; rental and utility assistance; and income replacement or gap funding. I am reading work is being done to temporarily house the homeless. School districts are holding meal pick-ups for kids. SDG&E has suspended service disconnections.

One of my jobs today is to figure out meds. Insurance isn't budging an inch.
posted by moira at 12:45 PM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

And in a direct parallel to Spinifex's note above - a police department in Oregon has had to make a public statement to people that "running out of toilet paper" is not a reason for them to call 911.

I know they meant in the context of calling from Costco or whatever, but I cracked up imagining people calling from the toilet with their pants around their ankles.
posted by Ellen Alleyne at 12:46 PM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

I am so frustrated right now. My library is closed to the public but we have to work. There are over 15 of us on staff and social distancing is impossible in a building this size. I don't understand the decision at all.
And my son just texted me. He is a jeweler at a major chain and originally they supposed to close if the nearby mall closed but then corporate said no, they have to work. Who on Earth wants a ring resized right now?
OMG I am surrounded by so many plastic covered things right now it's giving me the heebie jeebies. Library books seem like a perfect disease carrier.
posted by Biblio at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

My supervisor just came into my office nearly in tears out of frustration because she can't get higher ups to agree to some sort of work from home plan for our specific department. Said she might just tell me to stay home in a couple days no matter what they say.

My estimation of the higher ups keeps falling, but I'm so glad I have the supervisor that I do, at least.
posted by bridgebury at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

A former colleague who is a public figure is in hospital with confirmed coronavirus. And the local dive bar is closed because of it. I can promise that these two demographics have no contact points at all.
My former colleague tells the press that this is real, and that she is grateful for the healthcare in this country. No news from the dive bar. It also seems that one of the people who died is a semi-famous local person. This is a disease that hits rich and poor. It is truly like the medieval pest. It's never a positive when anyone dies, but it is perhaps a good thing that the elites can't distance themselves from this.
posted by mumimor at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm going to be experimenting with frozen veggies

So now having been self-quarantined for a few, I can tell you the issue with frozen veggies isn't that they were frozen, it's that there's extra water. If you thaw them and then roast them with olive oil it will probably be fine. I've been thawing things and then frying them in a pan to include them with burritos. I am really grateful right now that I laid in a stock of about 150 tortillas in case someone needed them. It was me! My family may eventually get tired of it but right now breakfast and lunch burritos are all the rage.
posted by corb at 1:22 PM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Ohio's Governor is trying to get the courts to agree to postpone the Primary election (tomorrow) until June (and will continue early voting as we have done since February).

Most of our (Cincinnati) YMCAs have closed; a few that have closed have been transitioned into offering day camp programming strictly for health care personnel, offered at a deep discount ($50 per day).
posted by cooker girl at 1:31 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

omg each day's task force press conference is even more cruel and stupid than each preceding day's conference! they have made no progress. why do i not become inured to the unfathomably stupid incompetence? why are they saying now that what they said last week is new now? where are the tests last week? why does the president keep saying "if you don't have the symptoms..." when ambassador (?) birx just said out "new" guidance is occasioned by the fact that we know people are contagious before they are symptomatic? does he not believe her too? what are they waving around a piece of paper for again? where can we read it? what does it say, anything that we didn't know last week? anything we didn't know last month? why are public health professionals excited about "high throughput" pcr which has been around for decades? why are public health professionals excited about the little milkman case for quest/labcorp pickup? should i be screaming into the fuckity fuck void (i can't find it)? aaaaa!

may these shameless fucks learn shame and despair and be forced to confront the magnitude of their guilt and failure. how can i develop such callous self-satisfaction?
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:04 PM on March 16, 2020 [9 favorites]

Saturday, we drove and visited our son and DIL in northern Indiana. We stopped along the way to grab a quick lunch and to wait and see if the snow! would lighten up. We hit a Subway just off the interstate. We were the only customers there, and my wife got into a conversation with the manager.

Subway has started a new policy that, if you want to refill your drink, you need to come to the counter so they can give you a new cup and throw away the old cup. The manager told my wife that she has actually had customers screaming at her about the new policy. It’s like there’s this subset of the population who sees any acknowledgement of the crisis as some sort of deep, personal affront or something.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:11 PM on March 16, 2020 [10 favorites]

I went in Saturday to work and Sunday to clean and disinfect. I missed a lot of time last week, and I wanted to go in and just work without terror for a minute and knew nobody would be there. So yesterday I'm cleaning my sty, which had not been touched in like three years and was DiSgUsTiNg when I hear the front door open and someone call, "yoooohooooooooo...?" It was my work nemesis, an individual who in general enjoys busting open my office door and standing on the threshold talking at me for many many more minutes than necessary.

She pounds over and stands in front of my open office door, maybe ten or 12 feet from me and says: "I came in to get my monitor in case I need to work from home. My kid has been hanging out with the neighbor kid, and neighbor kid's mother works for the hospital ER and reports getting doused in patients' bodily fluids all the time, with minimal PPE, har har, yesterday they had a pool party, today I think I'm maybe coming down with something, I'm sure it's nothing, but out of an abundance of caution, especially since schools are closed, now and the two of them will be hanging out 24/7 hahaha"

She takes a step forward.

I say, "No. Back up."

Ten minutes later and I'd've been safely out of the building. I drop what I'm doing and flee, closing the door behind me with my foot, and race home to wash my hands and take a shower and wash everything I had on. (My mom is 80. I'm hoping to be able to shop for her so she can stay home.)

Today I come in to work. The back door is right by my office, so I can come in, zip straight to my office, close the door behind me, and not come out until everybody leaves. All work meetings are supposed to be remote if possible, so I use zoom to get into the regular Monday staff meeting. Work nemesis likewise zooms in, and I expect to see her living room wall and maybe her vector kid. But I see her office here at the workplace. Because she came to work today.

I e-mail my supervisor to ask how to get the various software I'd need if we were mandated to work from home. You know, trying to be "proactive." Supervisor writes back, "I think we can wait to see what happens."

A few hours later work nemesis walks past. I see her through the window next to my office door. She's headed for the supervisor's office. I get up and lock the door. A few minutes later, she's out in the open area with the cubicles talking to support staff. Then she and another person walk down the hall together.

Nothing that any of us do is remotely essential to anything, and it's all possible to do at home.

Loving this thing where we think we can wait to see what happens.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:40 PM on March 16, 2020 [11 favorites]

It’s like there’s this subset of the population who sees any acknowledgement of the crisis as some sort of deep, personal affront or something.

....There's a Facebook group I follow with news about upstate New York; most of it is news about events in upstate towns, but sometimes there are hunting-themed things. There's a post in there today talking about how there's been a run on guns and ammo in a couple stores upstate.

And one dude responded with a comment about how this is in response to how "the Democraps" (sic) have been trying to cause panic, and how the real 'Muricans were going to be rising up and Civil War was coming.

....However, that news group is also how I learned that some stores are finally starting to set strict quantity control over customers in shops (Wegmans' supermarkets are based in Upstate NY, and they've started putting strict restrictions on how many packages of milk, toilet paper, bread, and such people can buy now).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I e-mail my supervisor to ask how to get the various software I'd need if we were mandated to work from home. You know, trying to be "proactive." Supervisor writes back, "I think we can wait to see what happens."

That really sucks. I don't know where you're located, but where I am, only "paranoid" people were taking this seriously two weeks ago, local workplaces started grudgingly allowing people to work from home (lots of "office will remain open but we encourage people to telecommute") last week, and this week we're under lockdown. I hope your metro area comes around faster than ours did.
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:48 PM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

I had a call this morning with my mid-eighty year old parents today. They live on the east coast of the US, and I live in Seattle. In recent prior calls they’ve narrated my stroke-disabled dad working with a handyman on firewood and how they were disappointed that their church had chosen to cancel services or the duration while I sort of stewed and fidgeted. They are the polar opposite of Fox News virus victims, but it will take some time to turn their ship-of-mind in the appropriate direction. The news of state-by-state restaurant and bar closures and the propagation of the 50 person gathering standard does appear to have gotten their attention, finally, after days of me engaging in painful, fighting telephone arguments. I finally was able to persuade my mother to take an active accurate inventory of foodstuff, I mean, I hope I was able to.

This year. It will be the Worst Year Ever. And I will most assuredly not be able to come to them before this is over.
posted by mwhybark at 2:54 PM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

When you are denying reality, and facts are "fake news", you kind of have to go all in. When Inslee announced he was shutting everything down here in WA, there were a bunch of conservative trolls saying shit like, "you are for open borders but you are shutting down the restaurants?" partisan bullshit replies.

And local shitgibbon Tim Eyeman went ahead with his planned "rally", (he's running for Governor, despite his multiple election-related finance violations), but he didn't get his over 500 people to show up, only like 60, so he wasn't able to own the libs this time.
posted by Windopaene at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

I don't know when I will get to go back to my good atmospere 1099 job, but the owner made sure to handwrite last month's paychecks since his bookkeeper is over 60 and not coming in. I'm very grateful for that. This morning was fulled with chaos from my 89 y.o. mom and 75 y.o. neighbors needing help at the same time I was trying to get in to work.

Now, I am home for a few restful hours. I have only two more people to check up on and then I can think about me. I hope there are no emergency needs tonight.
posted by mightshould at 3:29 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I am working from home for the forseeable future. I feel lucky that I can. With the "shelter in place" orders out for the Bay Area counties we serve (plus the one I live in), our frontline (BART) employees are really stepping up. Our trains are considered an "essential service" and we are going to keep running as long as we are able to get folks who have to take transit where they need to go. We are also keeping the trains long so folks can do the "social distance" thing.

We are preparing for contingencies, but will keep going if we can. If we do have to cut service, our work crews have committed to doing vital maintenance work during those times--it may keep us from having to do weekend shutdowns that we've had to do in the past for big track work.

Personally I just feel weird--one of my coworkers dubbed it "COVID brain". Not doing a good job of focusing--forgetting stuff--sending the wrong attachment or forgetting to send an attachment. Fortunately I work with a great professional team and we have each other backs--so my translators caught that I forgot to ask for Korean along with the other usual translations and asked about it. Whew.

My cats, of course are super happy I'm home, so there's that.
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:38 PM on March 16, 2020 [12 favorites]

Been out of work for a little while and I'm naturally reclusive anyway so I'm thinking of myself as an early adopter here.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:40 PM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

...they've called a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, tax liens and utility shutoffs.

That's good, but those organizations are still going to want to be paid for this period, after the moratorium ends. If the customers didn't have paid sick leave for that period, they aren't going to have the money then, any more than they do now.

Comcast supposedly lifted their data caps everywhere. For the past several days, my Comcast Internet connection keeps dropping out, which it usually doesn't do. IDK if there's any relation between those things.

MA Gov. Baker has ordered all restaurants and bars closed, excepting takeout kitchens. Courthouses are closed. Most all schools and theaters are closed.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:42 PM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

Flew into Sydney Monday afternoon, local time. It was surprisingly smooth since they just asked if I was aware that I needed to self-quarantine for 14 days with a $20K penalty for violating said edict. I used ePassport so that went speedily and declared that I had plant goods (package of tea) which got me fast-tracked out of customs. Seriously, that is my inside tip for getting through Australian quarantine and customs is just declare even it is remote and you get processed through. Of course, if you are carrying raw meat that may not work.

The main thing is that there was no temperature check. Just a little more review of the health declaration, hand out of a Covid flyer and then right out the door.

I got into a taxi with an elderly driver. The irony was so rich, it cured my anemia.

So here I am in quarantine. On the plus side, my butcher took my order and dropped off my order after his shop hours. Right now, one of the major grocery chains, Coles, has limited the purchase of ground meat (mince) to one package per person. My butcher told me his business has jumped because of the stores not stocking shelves. His supply chain is doing fine and orders of chest freezers have increased.

I sent the husband to grocery shop and he said the shelves were looking a bit bare but people were just doing normal shopping so it seems a re-stocking issue. He seemed to buy things that caused him to exclaim, "You had to be there!"
Woolworths, the other major grocery chain, has stopped online grocery deliveries. Australian supply chain always seemed less robust than the US. Observationally, you really get a good idea what the favorite brands are based on which shelves are empty.

New South Wales schools are looking to shutdown probably by the end of the week. Fortunately, I already have a game plan for home-schooling.

Chinese goods are now trickling in via mail. My AliExpress orders just arrived after a long delay.

The world has gone batcrapcrazy.
posted by jadepearl at 4:55 PM on March 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Woolworths is still delivering, just reduced stock (and no online order for pickup), in fact I've got an order due Thursday, I just hope most of it is still available (gotta stock up on Cointreau, tequila and sauvignon blanc :)
posted by Marticus at 5:07 PM on March 16, 2020

Ah, good to know. I wonder if it was my local Woolies informing the husband incorrectly? I was planning on just using Coles anyway. I really missing grocery shopping on my own.

I definitely recommend having on extra stock: booze, candies/lollies and caffeine products.
posted by jadepearl at 5:30 PM on March 16, 2020

Don't forget the cans of Stagg Chilli.

Also, it does say they've suspended some Vic deliveries outside of Melbourne, so that might be it.
posted by Marticus at 5:37 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Stir some Cheeps and M&Ms into that Stagg Chili for me.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:51 PM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Potential transmission of the virus via food:
The expert group reached the following conclusions:

Based on the current state of knowledge, transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly via the digestive tract can be ruled out. Indeed, while the virus has been observed in patients' faeces, it was probably due to circulation of the virus in blood following respiratory infection rather than through the digestive tract. However, the possibility of the respiratory tract becoming infected during chewing cannot be completely ruled out.

As with other known coronaviruses, this virus is sensitive to cooking temperatures. Heat treatment at 63°C for 4 minutes (temperature used when preparing hot food in mass catering) can therefore reduce contamination of a food product by a factor of 10,000.

An infected person can contaminate food by preparing or handling it with dirty hands, or via infectious droplets produced when coughing or sneezing. Good hygiene practices, when properly applied, are an effective way to prevent food from being contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
If you're concerned about takeout, maybe order soups or stews and heat them up till they're boiling, and you should be pretty safe.
posted by destrius at 6:05 PM on March 16, 2020 [8 favorites]

posted by cooker girl at 6:05 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Vermont Governor seems to be moving into higher gear. After making an announcement last night about closing the VT schools, today he's closed all the bars/restaurants in the state (takeout only). I spent a lot of this weekend trying to have sensible discussions with libraries (and my library which has been particularly stubborn) about how (not whether) to close. It sucks, vulnerable people wind up stuck and people have questions ("How long can the virus live in the pages of a book?") that we really only have approximate answers to. The virus is in my (very small) county and even though there are few confirmed cases statewide, we're an elderly state so we're all being very watchful over our neighbors.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:07 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

jessamyn, if it gives you fuel at all, Cincinnati closed all its libraries on Friday.
posted by cooker girl at 6:08 PM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Here in Seattle this has been going on long enough that the adrenaline of sudden change is wearing off, and the realization is starting to fully set in of what “normal” probably looks like in the coming weeks/months.

We’re not completely locked down yet, but with schools and restaurants and bars closed (along with most other businesses open to the public), it’s very close. And everyone in my household has already been staying home for the past several days or longer, with exceptions only for outdoor exercise and grocery shopping. Now the battle is just to work out a sustainable routine and make sure we’re prepared for whatever hits the area next.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:24 PM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

They lock up the toothbrush heads? I bought a pack of the Oral-B ones off the shelf at Costco a couple months ago.

I canNOT walk up and just buy toothbrush heads anywhere in my vicinity any more (before this). WalMart keeps them locked up AND then refuses to have anyone unlock them. Target has them locked up but at least will send a person to unlock them. The only place around here that doesn't lock up the toothbrush heads is RiteAid, and they don't sell the ones for mine. I haven't tried Costco since my apartment is too small to store Costco-sized shit.

Previous world problems.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:55 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

today he's closed all the bars/restaurants in the state (takeout only).

Portland, Maine has a full on restaurant/bar curfew tomorrow (6 am - 2 am), and then at 8 pm going forward. The city said explicitly it was because they were told that with the bars closed on Boston they believed St. Patrick's Day bar hoppers were looking to relocate to Portland and they wanted to head them off.
posted by anastasiav at 7:03 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Had to keep my youngest back from camp today as she's running a mild fever and sneezed. She was very unhappy and then realised that meant she could lie on the couch with Minecraft, so all is well again. My older kids are handing out more neighbourhood flyers to our block today to offer to help with pet walks and errands for people stuck at home. I don't think she's actually sick, but who knows. Because of the asymptomatic phase, you have to act like you have covid while feeling perfectly normal.

Daughter's wedding has been postponed. The websites for hotels and airlines were overloaded yesterday so I'm going to try rebooking for July instead of cancelling. She says most of the shops and businesses in Cambodia are closed and everyone is wearing a mask. These are cloth masks for filtering out exhaust in traffic, not proper masks, but better than nothing for sneezing I guess. I've told her to come back into quarantine as soon as she shows symptoms and I'm trying to persuade my other daughter to come home from Costa Rica in case. At least we have resources to triage.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:28 PM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hong Kong:

- From Thursday March 19, all arrivals to HK from everywhere except Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau that were not already being ordered to self-quarantine will now have to self-quarantine, including HK residents.

- A red outbound travel alert - which the government uses to say “avoid all but essential travel” will be issued for the entire world except Greater China. For perspective, the only country under a black “do not travel” alert is Syria. This red alert will ease travel insurance claims.

- Of the 57 cases of Covid-19 in the city diagnosed in the last two weeks, 50 were imported.
posted by mdonley at 8:43 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

There's a post in there today talking about how there's been a run on guns and ammo in a couple stores upstate.

That's happened nationally: For Some Buyers With Virus Fears, the Priority Isn’t Toilet Paper. It’s Guns (That's a NYT article; I've seen versions of the same in the WaPo and other newspapers.) You can laugh at the big spike in first-time gun buyers as over-preppers just like the toilet paper hoarders, but that Asian-Americans feeling threatened by xenophobia are a sizeable part of the buying spree isn't so funny.

I had my first work-from-home day today; for our office it is being "encouraged" but isn't mandatory yet, but that is probably just days away. While having that option is obviously way better than what everyone in food service is going through, I am not a fan. I like being able to leave my work at the office.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:44 PM on March 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

Our university is moving to online teaching this week. We're probably one of the better equipped for that, as we specialise in online teaching and have a robust system. As of today we're being encouraged to work from home if we can; my wonderful manager has been very supportive of self-isolation even before the official decree came through, because he is well-informed and intelligent and understands the risks.

Also, it does say they've suspended some Vic deliveries outside of Melbourne, so that might be it.

I made a Woolworths order on the weekend which was due to be delivered Saturday, and they've cancelled it today. I live in Melbourne (well, the suburbs...) The shelves have been pretty bare in general around here, so I was looking forward to it, dammit.
posted by andraste at 9:09 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, here the official line is work from home is only approved if you came from a high risk country, or close contact with someone tested positive. So frustrating that it's not being taken seriously.
posted by Marticus at 9:13 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Here's the scoop from SW Connecticut.
Oh boy.
I'm on a WFH because the children's museum I work for wisely closed Friday until further notice. My job is very office oriented so this is an adjustment for me, but hey. My mom (75) is in a state of panic-paralysis and has shut herself in, worrying about her sister and BIL (who currently has a high fever after getting the last flight out of Germany to the US on Friday). Apparently they tried all day to get COVID tested but at this point (late evening), it doesn't look like they have been successful. My mom has never been one to handle stress well and this constant fear/worry could very well land her in hospital (it's happened before). I'm doing her shopping and errands and trying to keep her calm.

My son, who works on a tall ship in Brunswick, GA called this morning and informed me that they are releasing the entire crew to go home. Thankfully, he was able to book a flight to Hartford tomorrow. I'm glad as hell he's coming home but not jazzed that he's flying. His ticket cost $148 - wow.

Restaurants and bars are closed as of this evening as per the Governor. I made a wine store run today - they are staying open as long as they can - they are a one-off, small business.

I'm going through my days with an increasing sense of unease and dread. Hugs and positive vibes going out to everyone here who wants them.
posted by sundrop at 9:14 PM on March 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

Not sure if this is he best place to put this. I snagged it from It's a nice (but long pdf) rundown of what we know and how to deal with it. There is some political handwringing at the end, but in general it's pretty good and sciency.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:32 PM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

Seems likely I do have coronavirus, as respiratory symptoms have shown up now 9 days from when I posted we were sick with "something". Reached out to Dr for testing, but I'm in the USA and not sick 'enough' to need medical intervention so minimal likelihood.

Mostly I feel shitty I could've infected others. And tired. Very tired. Glad I quit smoking 4 years ago.
posted by saveyoursanity at 10:25 PM on March 16, 2020 [19 favorites]

Over here in the UK, the government changed its advice yesterday from "sure, go to the footie!" to "avoid non-essential social contact and work from home if possible", and so far I think people in my bit of the country are either ignoring the advice completely, or (understandably) freaking the heck out about it. This is such a tough time for everybody, and although I'm generally trying to stay optimistic, I really worry about the vulnerable people who are going to feel the worst effects of all this.
posted by Mauve at 1:02 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

That's happened nationally: For Some Buyers With Virus Fears, the Priority Isn’t Toilet Paper. It’s Guns

real americans shoot the doodoo off their butts instead of wiping
posted by poffin boffin at 1:47 AM on March 17, 2020 [7 favorites]

Real tricky if they stand.

Coles has announced no online deliveries except to at risk groups.
posted by jadepearl at 3:28 AM on March 17, 2020

Panic buying hit my 800 person central Ontario village yesterday. Hooray? At least I now feel like I'm part of the larger thing. My throat is sore today, but that's because I spent an unbelievable amount of time on the phone yesterday trying to convince all my clients that no, you don't need an in person meeting, and no, i'm not going to make an exception for you.

The courts are pretty much closed in Ontario, which is wild, though I respect it as a prudent step. I'm "working" from home for the foreseeable future, so if anyone needs a check in, or wants a check in for a relative in Peterborough County or that general area drop me a line. The government of Ontario publishes free powers of attorney, I'm happy to give people a pep talk on that for the duration.
Going to have a lot of time on my hands.
posted by LegallyBread at 4:01 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

So I just had a meeting with my bank. Not really, though. I talked with my bank counselor who is working from home. They are planning with wfh till May, at least, based on the theory that the peak will be in April.
posted by mumimor at 4:01 AM on March 17, 2020

My ordinarily 100-or-so-person office is down to just two people here (as far as I can ascertain), and we are on two different floors. I am taking advantage of the solitude by listening to podcasts while I work.

I also sit next to a huge whiteboard, and I've decided I'm going to write something pithy and inspirational on it every day.

The pumpkin bread I made this weekend is going to be my breakfast for the next several days. I'm thinking pain d'epices when that runs out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm in such a dilemma, or maybe more dilemmas, and I'm venting here because I don't want to worry my kids.
Today I've had a huge panic attack. I haven't got any medication because my doctor, stressed out by all the corona panic, forgot to send the prescription to the pharmacy. I really hope it's there now, but this is dilemma one: I don't feel like going to an inner city pharmacy right now. It seems reckless.
The anxiety presents itself as acute physical pain. I've been at the hospital several times in the last few years because I thought I was having a stroke and every single time it was "just" a panic attack. People on the internet: tell me this is the same (I know you can't). But I don't feel I should take up a bed at the ER being monitored, and it also seems to me that would be a good way to be infected. I take my temperature all the time (probably too often), and it is normal. But I cough a little.
Third dilemma. I was planning to go to our farm today. I can't drive in this state, so not going. And now I am worrying. If I get coronavirus up there, I will be close to excellent healthcare but far from my family. If I'm there and not ill, or with light symptoms, I'll be very isolated in a good way and it will be much easier to deal with my big dog. I have food enough for many weeks. And the pharmacy there never has a line. Should I go tomorrow?
I know you can't answer to this, so see it as venting.
posted by mumimor at 7:43 AM on March 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm seeing news stories on tv about all the restaurant dining rooms in the city closing, and I'm thinking... the rats are going to rise up and take over Chicago.

Also, I've been wondering for days if one of the silver linings we'll see is less crime in the city(cities) overall. There are typically some silver linings when bad shit goes down. With so many people working from home, lots of them sitting near windows, surely "neighborhood watch" is taking on new meaning. A lot of apartment buildings and homes aren't sitting empty during the day like they generally do.

I like spending my time thinking about these things and playing with perspective. Since people will be using Instacart and other grocery delivery services, will there be less impulse buying? And if so, what will the effects of that be? Might they buy less junk food and indulge in more healthy buying? Will people drink more because they're scared, or will they indulge less because it's usually a more social activity?

Will grocery stores become the new pick-up joints because bars are closed? Will people start dressing up to go shopping because it's their one trip out of the house to go be among people each week?

I think we're going to see a lot of really great art come out of this. We're already seeing celebrity artists performing via livestream because they can't go without an audience for more than a few days, and my reaction is a little eye-rolly, but also... without a lot of outside distraction, what will they create? Will they take their art in different directions because they have so much time to experiment and aren't keeping the same company on a daily basis?

And one last thought... think of all the bullied children who are getting a much-deserved break right now because their wish came true and school closed early this year. They are finally free of that shit. There are some people to be happy for at the moment, people who are benefiting in little ways from something that sucks overall. Thinking about that stuff gives me the strength to want to lean into this and find the other silver linings where I can. Perspective is a funky thing.
posted by heyho at 7:52 AM on March 17, 2020 [16 favorites]

Heyho, one "silver lining" has been a noticeable reduction in pollution in some affected areas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:58 AM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Nashville here. I'm working from home for the first time in my life as of yesterday. I'm an employee at a big hospital (can't say which one per our social media policy). I've been heartened by how seriously they're taking it - they did some minor construction weekend before last to adapt a parking level into an intake area specifically for employees who think they might have COVID-19, and then if they test positive (and somehow we have tests though I'm hearing rumors of people in the community having trouble getting tested at other hospitals) they get masked and go to somewhere in the ER through a dedicated route being used only for that. Patients get tested at a separate location. It all seems pretty well-thought-out.

The city is struggling more than usual though, since besides COVID-19 we had some major tornados come through and wreck a bunch of people's houses last week (or maybe it was the week before last; time has lost all meaning). I'm OK because I'm in South Nashville, which wasn't hit, but so many friends and co-workers lost a lot.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:03 AM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Update: bosses not all crazy after all, and I'm now working from home!
posted by Don Pepino at 8:19 AM on March 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

Heyho, one "silver lining" has been a noticeable reduction in pollution in some affected areas.

Right? That's the one that got me thinking about all this! The pollution data gets me excited. What if a lot of people look at that and change their habits? What if this is the kickoff to actually attempting to turn global warming around... can we make some headway?

If the remote-working thing stretches on for months and months, will it have the side effect of changing corporate culture forever? What if bosses finally figure out that everyone below them isn't a total slacker and some, actually, will work better from home? What if they figure out that it's cheaper for the company? How will that change things? With more people able to work from home and not needing daycare, what will the follow-on effects be? How many families will give up their second car because they no longer need it?

If working remotely becomes the norm, how would this change our downtown areas? If fewer people are commuting, will everyone start getting more sleep? All commute times will go way down because there's less traffic during rush hours; how will this affect those who will still be commuting in? (In bigger cities, this is a thing... no traffic jams could shave a half hour to an hour off everyone's morning/afternoon.) Will office workers benefit from bigger offices because suddenly there is 1/5 the number of people coming in to work?

Will we all get to move into the skyscrapers because they're not just for businesses anymore?! How will people's closets change if they no longer need to keep a "professional" wardrobe? Will everyone become a better cook? Will a lot of parents find out that their real calling is teaching, now that they are forced to homeschool their kids? Will a whole bunch of women finally drive the point home about how hard it is to be a stay-at-home mom and earn a little more respect?
posted by heyho at 8:20 AM on March 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

Heyho, one "silver lining" has been a noticeable reduction in pollution in some affected areas.

True of Italy too.
posted by progosk at 8:29 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

You can see more of the artwork by checkingout the hashtag #Paddys_Panes on twitter.

Further to this, also check out the hashtag #RTEVirtualParade including this thread. My favorite so far is probably this Lego stop-motion version.
posted by scorbet at 8:31 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

the rats are going to rise up and take over Chicago.

Like the reports of monkeys going hungry in Thailand, due to lack of tourism? I've been wondering how the steep drop in tourists is going to affect urban fauna here Rome.

On enhanced creativity, there was that comic about cooking glee spawned by the Hubei lockdown - surely things are going to emerge everywhere else, too...
posted by progosk at 8:38 AM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

If you are the type of person who likes to roll their eyes and/or laugh at ridiculous Hollywood folk:

Jared Leto is apparently just now finding out about coronavirus because he's been on a 2-week silent meditation retreat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Will grocery stores become the new pick-up joints because bars are closed? Will people start dressing up to go shopping because it's their one trip out of the house to go be among people each week?

There's already been one wedding in Israel at a grocery store.
posted by Mchelly at 8:53 AM on March 17, 2020

Company edict came down yesterday - work from home this week and likely next is mandatory. I'm already set up to WFH, and as long as I get everything done they're good with it (almost all of my department across corporate is now WFH now anyway.) I do wonder what this is going to do going forward. Something I've known for quite a while is that there is no reason for our company to have a physical office. There's four of us in this city's branch, and most branches aren't much bigger. We conduct pretty much zero client business in the office. Our sales rep is almost never in the office, the branch head is out of the office more than he's in and can do his job from anywhere, and the other two of us can easily WFH. How many companies are going to realize this now? We could save over $20,000 a year without an office. Commercial real estate owners are probably looking at this situation warily.

Heyho, one "silver lining" has been a noticeable reduction in pollution in some affected areas.

A friend lives in Salt Lake metro, and that place is known for some pretty horrific air quality, particularly in winter. He said he's looking forward to the cleanest air in the city since his kids were born a few years back.
posted by azpenguin at 8:57 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

mumimor, and anyone else who is prone anxiety and spinning and getting triggered by this whole situation -- here are some things that won't help as much as meds, but can help some, and that frankly I need to be better at remembering myself.

When you notice you're spinning (thinking several anxiety-inducing thoughts one after the other, playing out dire scenarios, and completely overwhelming yourself), grab some paper and pen and write down, in just a couple of sentences, the specific problem your facing. Then write out possible solutions, and the good things and bad things about each solution. Rank the solutions. Choose the one that ranked the highest, and let the others go.

This is not easy or quick, but it does force you to organize your thoughts and look at them laid out in a systematic way, rather than experiencing them as chaotic assaults.

To address one: if you're taking your temperature several times a day it might help to stop and make a plan, in a calm moment, for what you would do if you got a fever. For instance, would you immediately go in for testing?

Negatives: You would put yourself in public where you could either expose others if you have it. If you have something else, you might possibly expose yourself to the coronavirus, as well. Doctors can't do anything for you unless it gets bad enough that you start having trouble breathing.

Positives: You would gain some knowledge.

I don't think the positive outweighs the negatives here. So what should be part of your plan? You might get a lot of fatigue, so freezing some easy meals would be something proactive you can do now, or talking to friends online to decide if you want to drop groceries off for each other if any of you get sick (without interacting during the drop-off). If it starts to become difficult to breathe (right, you might want to write down how panic-attack difficulty breathing is different from how virus-induced difficulty breathing would be so that you can check your symptoms in a systematic, non-emotion way if it gets to that), yeah, if it becomes difficult to breathe, then you call the doctor or head to the ER or whatever. But anyway, after writing up a plan you may see that monitoring your temperature is fairly low on the list of things you want to do now to prepare (unless your have to work around other people).

And if, like me, you've fallen off the bandwagon of meditation once again, it might be a good time to restart your practice. I renewed my Brightmind subscription last week, and it's helping.
posted by antinomia at 9:08 AM on March 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

UC Health in Cincinnati is now offering appointment-only (doctor mandated or self-request) Covid-19 drive-up testing at its Clifton location.
posted by cooker girl at 9:15 AM on March 17, 2020

New York's Closed Tonight

from the early part of the mid-70s if I recall correctly. The weird part is I'm pretty sure Barry Greenfield played a lunch hour gig at my high school in suburban Vancouver around then.

I think.

I suppose it could've been a dream. But why would I dream that?
posted by philip-random at 9:16 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

it's ok everybody: the president has spoken to all the big fast food restaurant ceo's. there will be drive-thru in the weeks to come.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:20 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

There are only like nine people out of the usual 100 at my office today. And - they still got lunch for us like they do every Tuesday. I love my new job.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:20 AM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

How many companies are going to realize this now? We could save over $20,000 a year without an office.

I’m actually really worried about this one. Yeah, it’s cheaper without an office, but it’s much cheaper to outsource entirely out of this expensive area. How will people afford mortgages and rent if the work decides it’s too expensive to pay close folks?
posted by corb at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

corb, for most industries that can support full work from home staff (aside from call centers, which, don't even get me started), hiring and onboarding and training cost WAY too much to just let everyone go and outsource.
posted by cooker girl at 9:26 AM on March 17, 2020

I just have to share this because it is FANTASTIC -

I'm FB friends with someone who works at Pixar (she was formerly an actress in a show I did). She's just posted an account of something that just happened while she's stuck at home with her kid; he was poking around in her jewelry box and found a necklace with an octopus on it. He asked where she got it. She spontaneously told him that "Davy Jones got it for me" - and her kid gasped, "You know Davy Jones?" and started asking her all about pirates. She's decided to go with it.

She just said that the latest question was "have you ever had to blast a cannon?" and she pulled a grave face and said "I don't want to talk about it," and her kid gasped with wide eyes.

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on March 17, 2020 [24 favorites]

General Denver-area update: it's nice to know that Governor Polis seems to be doing what he can to close things while finding ways to make sure people can be taken care of. Many things are closed in the state where multiple people would congregate (ski resorts, casinos, gyms, movie theaters -- in addition to dine-in for restaurants/bars/breweries/etc, who can still do delivery/takeaway/drive-thru), but not everything is closed (yet). The biggest concern seems to be the mountain towns, especially the resort areas, where the most cases have been reported but there is less medical help available.

But as for my personal stuff (which I've posted previously upthread), one of the perks (?) of all the elective surgery being cancelled in preparation for the medical tidal wave to come, is that my mum, who was diagnosed with early cancer in her uterus just last Wednesday, will be having her hysterectomy on Thursday. Normally it'd take a couple of months to schedule a surgery, but because the OR is frantically clearing the schedules, she can basically waltz right in. (Barring anything happening in the medical community the next few days, which is a valid concern.)

So now, in addition to working from home (well, I'm in the empty office right now, waiting for a delivery of something we had ordered last week, but once it's here, I'll be staying home), I get to play nurse to my mother, making sure she's taking care of herself and not lifting anything heavy. So there's another perk (???) of coronavirus -- not having to take time off from work to care for my mum, since I'll already be home like the rest of my coworkers.

Oh, as a fun aside, Mum was the guinea pig for her surgeon to have a tele-appointment instead of in-person appointment to discuss health history and what to expect during the surgery, using the HMO's system to have a video conference to discuss the surgery. It's nice to know the medical community is taking measure to minimize unnecessary contact.

In terms of food supply issues, Mum realized this weekend that she forgot to buy more bread when we did our Friday stock up (she braved Sprouts and King Soopers, I braved Hmart which was pretty chill, although busier than I'm used to). Sprouts was out of bread yesterday, so Mum stopped by the local Kneaders and got some bread -- they will apparently still be open as long as possible, encouraging use of the drive-thru lane. So we're going to avoid King Soopers (aka Kroger) as much as possible by relying on Sprouts and Kneaders for our perishables.

As for the non-perishables, I'm saddened we only have two boxes of mac'n'cheese. Mum said that's the comfort food she'll want after her post-op, so I may wait until next week and see if there are any boxes on the shelves. Hopefully the panic buying will have slowed by then.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:53 AM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

So, this has been making the rounds of locally quarantined lindy hopper groups - quite the example of COVID-19-creativity: Cheer Up 2020!
posted by progosk at 10:15 AM on March 17, 2020 [12 favorites]

For people (both parents and teachers) dealing with home schooling, crossposting my comment about the Smithsonian offering resources for distance learning and other online activities, including stuff for teens and tweens.
posted by gudrun at 10:42 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

UC Health in Cincinnati is now offering appointment-only (doctor mandated or self-request) Covid-19 drive-up testing

For what it's worth, given the symptoms I had a few weeks ago which were hopefully just the flu, but suspiciously COVID-similar, I just emailed my (UC Health) doc to ask whether I should go in for this testing. I've been told they are not testing low risk folks for now and will not refer me for a test at this time, which is totally understandable and I respect needing to conserve them for higher risk folks and healthcare workers. But even though I'm glad we have testing, I don't get the sense that it's as widespread yet as it has been in other countries. Hopefully that will change soon.
posted by mostly vowels at 10:49 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just went for a walk. The local playground is closed, with orange snow fence all around it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:53 AM on March 17, 2020

Anyone following this thread has seen my previous updates on Work Conference That Shouldn't Have Happened, but surprise surprise: we just found out we had attendees test positive. I've had a cough that I assume is allergy-related, but Jesus Christ. I'm terrified one of our attendees (many of whom are over 60) or older employees, people I work with and care about, will get sick or worse. We could have seen this coming. I did see this coming. Ugh. I was really, really hoping I had overreacted.

We're set on supplies to ride out the self-isolation period comfortably; I'd been following advice to stock up over time for the last several weeks and we have a backyard I can do a little gardening in to get outside assuming I stay well, but I just feel clenched with anxiety and scared for the world and for the people around me. I am hoping this doesn't get into the news because I can't manage my mother's anxiety on top of mine. :-/ Everything is terrible. Ugh ugh ugh.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 11:13 AM on March 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

Does anyone know how long after self quarantine you are cleared and can, say, get more groceries?
posted by corb at 11:50 AM on March 17, 2020

Last I heard it was 5 days, if you hadn't had any symptoms beforehand.
posted by cooker girl at 11:52 AM on March 17, 2020

When our school sent kids into quarantine they said 8 days. Can't find any substantiation.
posted by Mchelly at 12:09 PM on March 17, 2020

Here, quarantine is 14 days, all inclusive. After the 14 days, you are free to go.
posted by mumimor at 12:17 PM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

It takes 14 days between first infection and all-clear. It also takes 6-8 days from first infection to start showing symptoms, which is probably what the shorter quarantine durations are based on.

Given that asymptomatic transmission of the disease is a thing, I'd stick with the 14 day self-quarantine if I had reason to think that I had been exposed.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:27 PM on March 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

First grocery run post-Shelter In Place: waited 10 minutes to get in as TJ's had a strict limit of 20 people at a time in-store (probably should have happened at least a week ago, honestly). People getting a bit tetchy in line and I might have noticed drivers being more aggressive with me on my bike - hopefully folks are just adjusting to the new normal and things will settle down soon.
posted by btfreek at 1:26 PM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Heyho, one "silver lining" has been a noticeable reduction in pollution in some affected areas.

Yes! I was out for a walk last night here in Portland, skies were mostly clear and the stars were lovely.

I'm almost entirely self-isolating now but I still need exercise so I try to get out every night for a long walk. Last night I literally crossed the street when I saw someone coming up the block. I worry that someone will say I have to stay inside entirely soon. Yesterday I tested to see how hard it would be to meet my walking / activity goals in my apartment and... yeah, that's going to be a *lot* of pacing back and forth.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:28 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

oh hi okay apparently new York city's mayor is considering a citywide shelter in place order he should announce within the next 48 hours oh crap
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

(probably should have happened at least a week ago, honestly)

That's the major running theme with the response to COVID-19, yeah.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:33 PM on March 17, 2020 [11 favorites]

Ah, yes, thanks for the clarification! I'm homebound for the duration.
posted by cooker girl at 1:35 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

A local idiot has surfaced.
DRACUT — A local elected official and candidate for the Board of Selectmen is calling for the town to “defy the Governor’s directive” and allow businesses and religious groups to continue operating as usual amid concerns around the novel coronavirus, drawing criticism from other town officials.
I have to wonder what else he's denying...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:15 PM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

The governor maintains that mayor is not actually allowed to tell us to shelter in place without state approval, EmpressCallipygos. Might be coming but the governor has no plans as yet.
posted by ferret branca at 2:34 PM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Around the South Bay things seem to be pretty quiet and uneventful despite the "shelter in place" order -- the grocery stores I've been to (3) have certainly been out of some things (cured meats, tortillas, and any dried bean that isn't a lima bean), but supply is generally not a problem and people don't appear to be freaking out (except on social media, which is as ever a cesspool of morons along with a few saints).

I do worry about the small businesses though.
posted by aramaic at 4:01 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

My cousin’s partner works at the Neiman-Marcus in downtown SF. She was told today that Neiman’s is closing all their stores nationwide immediately.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:32 PM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Welp, I'm home now for the duration. Got all the computer stuff plugged in but Internet is gonna be a challenge and VPN even...worse? I told them I'd be willing to work late at night (SINCE I CAN'T DO ANYTHING BLOODY ELSE) to have less people on the thing, but it sounds like once again, they probably just want everyone to be very early morning ("I can get on at 4:45 a.m.," someone chirped). Gawd.

After I got all my shit packed up, I didn't want to leave work(!) because I was thinking, I'm never going to see people again, I'm never going to be in a room with people again. At one point we had ten people in the call center and I counted noses (I know, I know) and I was all fuck, this may never happen again.

After I got home and unpacked the car, I walked around the neighborhood, which was of course very quiet. I saw people walking down the street and then I'd have to walk across the street to get out of their way. I don't like feeling like Cootie Girl, or having to treat everyone else around me like they have cooties (had to immediately wipe down things every time a coworker lunged for my phone or my computer). I feel like we'll lose all our social calibrations.

I started the group check-in text tonight and only got two responses. One guy did write back to say he was afraid group texts would blow up his phone. I was all, dude, what does it matter now? WE GOT NOTHING ELSE TO DO AND MAY NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN. Okay, that's what I thought. I politely didn't say it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:50 PM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

King County had 68 new cases yesterday, but only 40-something today. I'm taking that as a good sign. Little things, but at this point, gives me some hope that the shutdowns are helping. Let's see about tomorrow...
posted by Windopaene at 9:44 PM on March 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Some people are saying around me that Chicago is going on lockdown in 72 hours, but I don't have any substantion on that so maybe not?

Homeless population worries are one of my current concerns, as to save hospital space dischargable postive patients need to self isolate... At home. Or somewhere else. Nursing homes are obviously a bad idea. Our shelters have difficulty controling bedbugs and/or scabies much less a viral infection. IDPH is supposedly identifying spaces for self isolation for homeless adults . The guidance for shelters is not comforting to me. In addition, hospital waiting rooms are pick up points for homeless adults looking for shelter placement , which isn't a good idea right now . Police stations are also pick up points, though there are many reasons to not want to interact with the CPD at all, So alternative pick up sites need to be identified .

In other news, my friend has come to the conclusion her memorial day wedding is probably not happening. She's still holding out hope. I politely stated as my work must continue, and as I have significant public contact, that essentially outside of my duties I am staying at home and will not be able to attend.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:12 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Went to the supermarket after dropping the kid off at school this morning. Usually it's nearly empty at that time but was as busy as a typical evening now. Met another parent who said she goes in first thing and just hangs around for an hour or two, watching the deliveries come in so she can get what she needs.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:48 AM on March 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

FerretBranca and Empress, the thing with the shelter in place is just the latest part of the feud between the de Blasio and Cuomo. Seriously guys, can ya suspend the dick-measuring contest during a fucking crisis?

In other NYC news, it’s so creepily quiet. Hardly any traffic and I think many people in my building have decamped out of town. We are going to be bugging out ourselves to Mr. Computech’s place in upper Westchester. It will be an adjustment for everybody, including the cats.

I’m continuing to work in my three-person office in NJ, mostly because it’s a warehouse type gig that can’t be readily done from home. My bosses are staying home and dealing with 5-y-o kid and other job, leaving us to do our thing with occasional check-ins. I’ve put closed signs in English and Spanish, since we are the de facto bike shop in town, but our eBay business is going ok so far.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:48 AM on March 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

good morning all. just reporting in. my presumptive flu seems to have passed. now i just have allergies and what seems to be a bad cold. there is a cough, but it would not be described as "dry" and is associated with persistent congestion. i begin my second full day of working from home (monday: took metro to office, boxed up workstation, humped it home, set it up next to home computer -- a drag, footprint and cabling-wise, but a dream come true pajamas-wise...but at what cost). there are some hiccoughs in the WFH deployment. i have crazy dreams. probably lack of herb more than anxiety, though i am anxious about the lack of herb. also a little anxious about parents, who are a bit lackadaisical about social distancing. that is all. stay well, or get better.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:59 AM on March 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

My office is down to only about three people. I'm in a tech-oriented shared workspace, and I think there are only three other people in the whole place aside from us as well. And this is a big horkin' space.

I sort of panic-bought groceries yesterday after hearing about the potential city closing - I was planning on going to pick up lamb anyway, for Irish stew, but when I got there I saw that the entire meat aisle was picked clean of just about everything, except for some enormous veal tenderloins, extra corned beef they picked up for St. Patrick's day, their fancy-pants organic ground beef and two packages of tripe. That triggered a bit of a wig-out on my part, and I grabbed some of the ground beef, and then I started wandering the rest of the store in a kind of fugue state thinking "what else do I need what what what".

Fortunately - and thank GOD they're doing this - I was in a Wegmans, which has rolled out some sensible purchase limits on several items, to prevent hoarding. That ensured that there were some more items there, and also served as a sanity check; a big sign saying that they were only allowing two packs of toilet paper or four boxes of pasta per customer kind of brought me up short and reminded me "oh, hang on, I actually don't even need that much." So that kept my "panic buying" in check and kept it down to some things that I legitimately knew I was low on (potatoes, toothpaste, and I did get a couple boxes of pasta); and I didn't get my lamb, but I did spot one last little pack of Irish bangers and celebrated St. Patrick's Day with bangers and mash this year. I may need to pick up a bag of onions sometime this weekend, but that's about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on March 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm working from "home" from my parents' house, because my mom has brain cancer and my parents need all the help they can get. She's in the hospital and is supposed to get out in a few days. I think I'm doing ok, but I woke up in a panic at 5:00 this morning and felt compelled to come upstairs and clean the house, so maybe I'm not doing so well. I'm basically the most functional member of my immediate family right now, so I can't really afford to panic. But I'm pretty fucking terrified of all the ways this could kill my mom: she could get the coronavirus and die; the hospitals could be overwhelmed so that she couldn't get treated for some other emergency; the doctors could refuse to give her chemo, which is the difference between a median survival time of a couple of months and a couple of years, because of the threat of coronavirus. I'm worried that the home health aid will get sick, and I'll have to do all of her care, which I don't really know how to do. I'm worried that I'll get sick, and I won't be able to take care of her. And my dad refuses to stop going to stores, because he says that checking things off his list helps him feel more in control of the situation, which is seriously making me livid. So yeah. This is hard.

On the plus side, my father basically has no taste buds, so he's under the very mistaken impression that my cooking is amazing. It's very good for my self esteem, but as soon as my mom starts eating what I cook, I'm in for a rude awakening.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:50 AM on March 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

My colleague didn't make it to Malaysia in time and now his kids and partner are stuck there, and he here, until the 31st, at least. He took today off. Ugh.
posted by mdonley at 7:20 AM on March 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Coronavirus quarantine after potential exposure while in Seattle and now earthquakes shaking up my house in Utah. Pretty hard not to panic.
posted by Marinara at 7:26 AM on March 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

I posted back on March 1 about starting training for a new job as paratransit driver in Portland--god, it seems like a lifetime since then. As things snowballed here, I kept up with the classroom and skills-course training, figuring that since I was with the same small group of people I'd started with, if we were going to infect each other it had probably already happened, and I'd wait to see if the employer was going to come up with any kind of a strategy.

Well, today would be my day to begin doing ride-alongs -- and that's where I'm stepping back. There are clients (mostly people on dialysis) who absolutely still do need to be driven to medical facilities, and thus do need to be exposed to their drivers; but they sure don't need me, person of unknown viral status, coming along for the ride. Everyone with the company seems to be very tight-lipped about plans going forward, but I can only imagine that their clients (most if not all medically vulnerable) are cancelling all non-essential travel and staying at home, and thus the number of drivers needed will plummet. (By analogy, during snow emergencies when only essential trips are done, the typical 3500-4000 daily rides drops to 500-600.)

So, new job is on indefinite hold, just like so many other people's work lives, and I am just incredibly lucky to have enough savings to carry me for a while. Sending love and good wishes out to everyone here and in the other COVID threads.
posted by Kat Allison at 7:30 AM on March 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

(Also, I discovered on the skills course, to my dismay, that I am really pretty terrible at navigating a 24-foot bus around a maze of traffic cones, and thus it might behoove me to rethink this entire career path.)
posted by Kat Allison at 7:35 AM on March 18, 2020

Oh, I heard about how some losers were trying to sell toilet paper at a markup on Craiglist, so I just had a look and flagged the most egregious culprits in my area (people legitimately trying to sell a single roll for like ten dollars or a pack for $50).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 AM on March 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

ArbitraryAndCapricious, that is a tough situation. One thing you need to know is that you can handle this, I'm sure. And your food is probably great, too.

Today I drove all the way up to our farm, a six hour drive. I figured that if they close down travel between the regions, I'd rather be here. And on the way up I heard on the radio that this is actually the most forward region in terms of preparations, so now I feel even better about my choice. The kids will be alright in the city, but I have had a winter of all the respiratory diseases available, including whooping cough and pneumonia, so I need a break. I also heard the head of health care telling that we are almost at South Korean levels of testing now, and the Minister of Finance promising that everyone will be protected financially for however long it takes.
I had to stop at a supermarket for food, and all the shelves were fully stocked, except the one with Purell. But you could get wipes. People were all very respectful of the rules.
In the panic this morning, I forgot my keys, and my neighbor (who lives a kilometer away) came over with his copy. By accident I said I was quarantined, and he backed out really fast. I guess next week I'll tell him it's a mistake, but right now I am happy to be alone for a while and recover from all the anxiety.
posted by mumimor at 12:06 PM on March 18, 2020 [13 favorites]

All the best, mumimor. Take care.
posted by glasseyes at 3:48 PM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

So far I haven't been impacted much by panic buying/hoarding. I started gradually building up a few supplies almost a month ago, when the first "be prepared" messages started filtering into the US, so I was a bit ahead of the curve. Even after that, the stores in my neighborhood seem to have been hit less hard than some others in Seattle. (The nearby supermarket has even had toilet paper in stock every time I've been there.) But our Trader Joe's was looking somewhat cleaned out of a lot of non-perishables when I went on my weekly grocery run today.

They still had a pretty complete supply of produce, meat, and dairy. Other items were hit-or-miss. They were out of most pasta, bottled juice, cooking oil, and other random things. Fortunately my earlier preparations meant I wasn't in dire need of anything. They were also limiting purchases to at most two of any item, and one full shopping cart per customer.

I do hope everyone fills up their pantries soon so the stores can get back to something like normal. Otherwise, meal planning is going to get annoying.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:31 PM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not like Ballard...

Almost nothing at the TJs, Ball mkt, etc.
posted by Windopaene at 6:14 PM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

We returned from a longish trip to Belize that started when things were still much calmer than they are now and we're now at home isolating as much as possible. DrMsEld and her partner are ramping up telehealth options for their patents at their practice from maybe 10% of what they do to what is looking to be 90% of what the therapists that work for them will be doing. It's intense to say the least. Applying for lines of credit and bridge loans as well... just in case.

Belize was awesome and we had a great time but tourism there is going to take a huge hit, hell it was already, and we're glad to be back here safe and sound, even if I am self quarantining with DrMsEld doing as much of the same as her job permits despite zero cases being in Belize (a silly number since they're pretty much too poor to test let alone treat) and us heading through our connecting airport pretty swimmingly.

We'll see.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:53 PM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

And sadly, after yesterday's 40 new cases here in King County, today had 74 new cases. So, nearly doubling...

More testing means more cases, but, takes away some of the Hope I was feeling yesterday.
posted by Windopaene at 9:46 PM on March 18, 2020

Finally got the go ahead from the university to postpone classes and orientation by two weeks. So, sending that out to all the adjunct staff and trying to make sure everyone actually gets it. Somebody won't read their mail and turn up to an empty room for sure. At the same time, the uni has no firm plan in place yet for what to do about make ups, extending the term, whatever, so have to just tell everyone to wait and see. Also, who among those who went abroad will not be allowed back in the country or in a classroom next month?

All of our students are required to go on study abroad. Right now that isn't my circus, but it will be from April 1. We had four students in France as of Monday or Tuesday wondering if they can come back or not, and if they will still get credit for their curtailed study abroad which is already paid for. One in Estonia is refusing to come home and I don't blame her one bit. Students who arrived in the US have been in solitary confinement in dorm rooms. A student who worked like crazy finally got accepted to go to Strasbourg in September.....

Universities here in Japan compete very aggressively to attract students. Our program has done well the first five years, but I told the current department head that we need to expect application numbers to crash this autumn for April 2021. Who in their right mind right now would commit to sending their kid to a university program that requires them to leave the country? And, we can expect that decision making environment here in Japan to be even worse by September. Now I'm sending teachers delay messages, but in January may be telling them their services are no longer needed or drastically reduced hours.

The Abe administration is floating giving a whopping ¥12,000 per person (a tad over a hundred bucks) to stimulate the economy but still isn't doing anything at all about seriously promoting social distancing let alone shelter in place. Testing? Why would they do testing?

Graduation is cancelled on Friday. Students will be on campus in small groups split up in various classrooms to receive diplomas. No parents. But, you can't stop young people when they are surrounded by business-as-usual and no leadership. Since people aren't allowed on campus, they posted instructions for everyone to meet at 12:30 just outside the campus gates. Students have personally asked me to come (which is very sweet and feels nice). Hard to say no when every restaurant is still turning tables and pachinko parlors are still cycling hundreds of thousands of smokers through confined spaces everyday.
posted by Gotanda at 9:54 PM on March 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Gotanda, that looks like a time bomb. I hope you stay safe
posted by mumimor at 10:59 PM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

One amazingly positive effect is that the day care center in the office building across a small parking lot from my apartment is now keeping the windows open all the time to I guess flush fresh air through the room. So, I get to hear a lot of sing-alongs by 30-50 feral toddlers and a piano. It's kinda cute and they sing surprisingly well. If this becomes a thing in our new post-corona reality I am just fine with it.
posted by Gotanda at 11:44 PM on March 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Good evening! It is 3:00 AM, and I am officially having a coronavirus anxiety meltdown. I am convinced I made a mistake today that is going to kill my mother. How’s your night going?

I desperately need a return to some kind of routine, which is going to happen on Monday. It can’t come soon enough.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:03 AM on March 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hugs. What happened?
posted by mumimor at 12:08 AM on March 19, 2020

Hang in there, AAC!
posted by Gotanda at 12:11 AM on March 19, 2020

My parents are moving into a wheelchair accessible apartment until we can get their house updated for my mom’s wheelchair (and realistically, maybe permanently). The movers came today. The touched all the surfaces, and I didn’t think to disinfect everything for hours,
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:14 AM on March 19, 2020

There were three movers, and if one of them has it, then my father and I are going to get it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:16 AM on March 19, 2020

Oh and I just found out that my parents’ friend, who went grocery shopping for them last week, was at the same Purim carnival on a March 9th as someone who tested positive. My parents’ friend has to self-isolate through March 22nd. Which is pretty soon, and he’s old and hasn’t shown symptoms yet, so I am going to try not to freak out about that one.

But seriously, I feel like this is going to be a never-ending anxiety attack.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:26 AM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Did you wash your hands? The virus doesn't live for very long on most surfaces. If the movers didn't cough on you or shout into your face, I think you are OK. I bet you and your dad didn't go about touching every surface.
This is such a stressfull time for all of us. You are doing the best you can and that is good.
posted by mumimor at 12:27 AM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm currently taking care of an older parent with help from another family member. A week or so back when everything started getting VERY SERIOUS, we had a brief but essential discussion. Whatever happens, we concluded, we're not going to lay blame on anyone who may have erred and spread the virus -- family or friend or random stranger. There's just no winning that way. The wartime analogy is the best. It's London WW2, the Blitz. The bomb either lands on your block or it doesn't.

If you want to blame anybody, go after the bastards behind the Treat of Versailles twenty years previous whose failed politicking guaranteed this would happen.
posted by philip-random at 12:40 AM on March 19, 2020 [18 favorites]


1. There are a LOT pf 15 lb rice bags at the QFC on 15th and Republican, back by the yogurt.

2. I just ended up in the Kaiser Urgent Care with a bout of asthma that just won't quit, and when they heard my symptoms, I got one of the treasured COVID-19 tests.

They kept on asking me, over and over, if I possibly had exposure to an allergen? (no) Do you have a cold? (no) Did you get your flu shot? (yes) Have you been knowingly exposed to anyone with Coronavirus? (no - but I live in Seattle, so....) Are you *sure* you just don't have a cold? (yes). They were trying to find some justification that it *wasn't* COVID-19, it sounds like.

At Kaiser, they have the Urgent Care room split into two, and upon screening you for symptoms at the front desk, you either got a green dot to wear and got to sit in the Green Zone, for all clear. Or, you got an orange dot to wear and a mask, and had to sit in the Orange Zone with the rest of the presumably infected. All of the staff that dealt with me wore protective gear, and the front desk check in receptionist wiped down the chair I sat in three times. And to get my scripts, I had to wait in a secluded part of the pharmacy waiting room.

Kaiser Permanente isn't fucking around with this, and I also got a LOT of asthma drugs - liquid albuterol for my nebulizer, and a long Prednisone taper.

Oh - and my asthma went from "I last took my inhaler once in November, and I can tromp around for hours with a heavy backpack on with no problems" to "I can't walk slowly for more than 3 minutes without getting shortness of breath, without carrying anything" in the space of a week. And my asthma stayed that bad even when the rest of my symptoms went away for the first time.

I'm on maintenance meds, but my asthma's normally rock solid.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:42 AM on March 19, 2020 [9 favorites]

I'm also back home after a friend gave me a ride home (she knew about the COVIDness ahead of time) with more supplies to shelter in place; because I had a fever today again, my quarantine starts over.

I'm Buddhist. I'm just accepting it as the Dharma lesson that it is, in patience.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:46 AM on March 19, 2020

It's getting weird down here (far south NZ) now. I was going to meet an official in his office re a new build. Ten mins before meeting he said his whole office had just been told to self-isolate. So I proposed we meet on site and shout across the road and that worked ok.

Lot of near-panic buying here; impossible to find milk powder, UHT, bread, oh and Liz noticed all baking powder had gone - what an odd thing to hoard!

Meanwhile Jacinda shows us an alternative to handshakes and hongis. This is quite common here and has been for a long time out in the bush and in rural areas.
posted by unearthed at 1:24 AM on March 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

My SO is a jewelsmith, and I’d been wondering about her mention last week that gold had stopped its price rise (when I would have expected the exact opposite). I finally came across an explanation that’s pretty simple, and kind of drives home something about the scale of things: don’t think I’ve ever come across the expression “flight into cash”. Has anyone else been having thoughts along these lines? (Disclosure: we’re no investment holders to speak of; but this feels like it goes beyond that...)
posted by progosk at 1:26 AM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Friend (Canadian in the US, like me) is floating the idea of driving up the west coast back to Canada to ride this out closer to our families, working remotely. He's pretty set on doing it but to me it feels somewhat irresponsible to be moving about when we've been explicitly been asked to shelter in place, plus it probably wouldn't fly well with my bosses, especially if the time comes to go back to the office but there are still travel restrictions everywhere and I end up stuck on the other side of the border for even more extended period.

I can't say I'm not tempted though - these past couple weeks I've been rattling around the house by myself, drinking more than usual and struggling with the bare minimum to stay employed, so it sure would be nice to hunker down at my parents' place or something for the duration where at least I have a stronger support network in general.
posted by btfreek at 2:01 AM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's becoming more apparent every day, that it's raging through NYC and specifically the Hassidic communities here. There was a report yesterday of over 100 cases in Williamsburg and Borough Park with hundreds more still waiting for results. But we know the official numbers are not even the tip of the iceberg because the vast majority of people aren't being tested. In our neighborhood of Crown Heights, they finally shut down all the synagogues on Tuesday, including Chabad Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, which has been linked to confirmed cases as far away as Johannesburg and Melbourne and effectively shut down those communities too.

At least 30 people I know personally have symptoms, some severe. It seems 3 people who tested positive the day after Purim (march 12) made their rounds through the community the day before and unknowingly spread it. The official guidelines are to assume you were exposed if you went to any of the community Purim events, parties or synagogues and act accordingly (quarantine) but only to seek help if your symptoms become severe. Family doctors in the community and members of Hatzalah (Volunteer EMS) have been infected and it honestly feels like a war zone here.

Close knit communities are really vulnerable, religious ones probably even more so, but the timing of Purim was absolutely devastating here and we don't know the extent of it yet.
posted by doublenelson at 3:31 AM on March 19, 2020 [13 favorites]

So over here in Singapore, we've not had any kind of shutdown beyond border controls, and the malls are still pretty busy, and people are mostly at work, and kids are in school; I just came back from having dinner at a restaurant in the mall with my kids. But seeing all the increasingly dire news from Europe and the US, and everybody's comments here, feels really surreal, and it's also starting to make me feel a bit paranoid... maybe I should start practicing more social distancing and isolate myself more?

Our government thus far hasn't said it's necessary though, although there are signs they might, gradually. On one hand, should I trust that the government is making the right decisions? On the other hand, they seem to have done a great job so far, and managed to control the spread over the past 1.5 months.... so perhaps they know what they're doing. Maybe I should pay less attention to social media.

One thing that does strike me though, is that this whole experience kind of shows how "west"-centric the world still is. Even from here in Asia, it was only when the US and Europe started getting badly hit that things started to feel a lot more serious. The vestiges of colonialism are still with us today.
posted by destrius at 6:17 AM on March 19, 2020 [22 favorites]

We only have five confirmed cases in Pima County, but that number is pretty much guaranteed to go up, particularly with increased testing. We have a lot of retirees here as well, so that could be a problem, especially considering we don’t have the greatest health care infrastructure here. Tucson is on the same restrictions as many other cities - bars, gyms and other gathering spots closed, restaurants takeout only, etc. Pima County is likely to enact the same at the board meeting today. Two other localities have declared emergencies but are not enacting such restrictions.

I went to the store yesterday to get some perishables that we needed to reload. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty nervous as busy as the store was really busy. I’m going to start doing the online order/curbside pickup thing as grocery needs permit. We have food; we have plenty of rice as we always do, a shelf full of canned goods, dry beans, meat in the freezer, etc. But if we have to eat beans and rice everyday that’s gonna get boring quick, and so that’s something we’d prefer to stave off unless we can’t get around it. We do have plenty of spices at least...

A couple of things... if you live out where there’s a large Mexican population, check the carnicerias (meat markets.) The panic monkeys don’t seem to have thought of going after the one nearby, and they have plenty of meat, canned goods, rice, dry beans, and snacks. Don’t know if it’s the same everywhere but that’s what I’ve seen here. Speaking of spices, make sure you’ve got what you need to flavor things up. My preferred ones to have around are salt, pepper, garlic powder, red Chile powder, cumin, oregano, basil, bay leaf, sage, and paprika. If you have a Mexican grocery store nearby, you can get this stuff in bigger quantities for FAR cheaper than you would at your typical grocery store spice rack. This morning I made a batch of scones. As long as you have a pastry blender, they’re super easy to make and are a nice treat, a great breakfast. If you have a good supply of flour, slow rise bread is a good thing to learn to make. Flavorful, looks impressive and you can make yeast go a lot farther.
posted by azpenguin at 8:23 AM on March 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

We're all on half-time at work as of yesterday, because it turns out when the stock market takes an historic hit in the middle of one's funding round, investors are not super excited in funding start-ups. (Even ones in historically very steady sectors that aren't generally affected by the larger economy!) To be honest, I can't say I'm sorry; I wasn't exactly the picture of productivity before, and I'm hoping that having two and a half extra days a week to be gentle with myself and settle in and get used to the new normal will be all to the good when we (hopefully?) go back to full-time in a month or so. I'm continually a little surprised at how subtly emotionally hard this has been.

I have run out of eggs, because so did the grocery store the last time I was there, but I'm waiting until I need to stock up on a few other things to go out. Mostly I'm grateful that my local store seems to not be the target of panic-buying. (This may be because you need to be a billionaire to panic-buy at the Met Market.)

My parents are, as expected, not particularly comforting; well, my mother isn't. Dad is beyond thrilled that it is not only socially acceptable for him to stay home, talk to no one, and drink all day, but it makes him a kind of hero; it's sort of adorable. (We are both people who do just fine with zero social contact, so I get him.) My sister just adopted the most perfect dog ever to live, ever, so he's enjoying photos of the grandpets. The only worry I have is that PA state liquor stores are closed and he's an active alcoholic, so cannot go cold turkey and I don't expect him to taper off or anything like that. Presumably he can get by on delivery if need be, and my sister is in DC and already told me she'll drive up to him with a carful of vodka if it comes to that. I'm just grateful Mom didn't make a racist joke, and I only had to do a minimum of emotional labour when she called last night.

Finally, I signed up to be a volunteer tester for a potential COVID-19 vaccine that Kaiser Permanente is developing, since I'm healthy and in Seattle. They only need 45 volunteers it looks like, so we'll see if anything comes of that.
posted by kalimac at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2020 [12 favorites]

It's becoming more apparent every day, that it's raging through NYC and specifically the Hassidic communities here. There was a report yesterday of over 100 cases in Williamsburg and Borough Park with hundreds more still waiting for results. But we know the official numbers are not even the tip of the iceberg because the vast majority of people aren't being tested. In our neighborhood of Crown Heights, they finally shut down all the synagogues on Tuesday, including Chabad Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, which has been linked to confirmed cases as far away as Johannesburg and Melbourne and effectively shut down those communities too.

Yeah, it's bad. They're estimating close to 80% of people in the community are infected, thanks to a combination of not trusting civic authorities and simultaneously hearing the Republican message that this wasn't a big deal. And they've had a few huge weddings this week. It's maddening.

Meanwhile in the mainstream/modern Orthodox community, we locked down early (schools started closing right before Purim, holiday parties were cancelled, all the major synagogues were closed by last Thursday) because of the cases in New Rochelle, but now we have the extra secondary whammy because so many people who usually go on vacation or to family for Passover are suddenly finding themselves stuck at home, and they've never had to make Passover before, with all the specialty cooking that entails. So they're panic buying and hoarding Passover foods that the entire community needs - which stores ordered assuming nowhere near so many customers - foods that won't be easily replenished in time or available at mainstream grocery stores. Not as big a crisis as getting sick, but just one extra headache. And the more people in the wider observant Jewish population (basically anyone in all the denominations who regularly keeps kosher) get sick, the more dangerous the kosher grocery stores become.
posted by Mchelly at 9:16 AM on March 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

destrius: One thing that does strike me though, is that this whole experience kind of shows how "west"-centric the world still is. Even from here in Asia, it was only when the US and Europe started getting badly hit that things started to feel a lot more serious. The vestiges of colonialism are still with us today.

This is 1000000% my experience and a truth I have needed to hear. Thank you for putting it this way.

My only update today from Hong Kong is over on the other thread because it is too ragey for this one. I am fine, though my boss' gym is closed for two weeks because of a possible exposure and my closest colleague's husband is newly arrived from the UK and on a 14-day home quarantine. Good night.
posted by mdonley at 9:30 AM on March 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

My cousin was going to be having her wedding in California in a month. She messaged me yesterday to confirm that they're postponing it now; it's been on our calendars for months, but it'd just be too dangerous now. Most of the older guests had already dropped out (75% of us all live on the East Coast; it's a bit of a destination wedding near the San Diego Zoo).

It makes total sense, and I'm frankly not surprised, but it still sucks for her.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on March 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Just got laid off from my new job (had been there two weeks before everything shut down). I'll get an invitation to return if/when things ever get back to normal. But will they ever?
posted by cooker girl at 10:12 AM on March 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes, things will return to normal
posted by mumimor at 10:15 AM on March 19, 2020 [10 favorites]

Good news department: I just ordered some sungold tomato plants, basil, and sage to plant in pots on my deck (like I have for the last several years). It is a sunny, warmish day in Atlanta and I can't wait for those tomatoes to start growing 6" a day, as they are want to do here.

I am clinging to the hope that maybe warm weather will cool this thing down naturally, as it does known human Coronaviruses. And I'm encouraged by the fact that there does not seem to be rampant spread in tropical environments at the moment (but I know that it could just be coincidence and that it's early to make any assumptions).
posted by Fritzle at 10:52 AM on March 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes, things will return to normal

normal always returns one way or another, though sometimes it's completely different
posted by philip-random at 11:27 AM on March 19, 2020 [13 favorites]

The soccer field where my kids sometimes played is now a field hospital, so, that's new and weird. And I was training to be a census worker and it's on hold while they figure out how to do that without killing us or the people we were counting -- sorry, enumerating -- so I don't have that excuse to flee the house any more. On the bright side, I set up a teeny archery range in my back yard.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:59 AM on March 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

> 20 year lurk: Thanks for the info on masks. Masks are not difficult to sew, and provide protection against droplets, leaving commercial sterile masks for health care professionals, but boy, howdy, the naysayers on social media are all negative. Sure, you can't buy a mask, so definitely don't consider alternatives. <- not talking about N95 masks.
posted by theora55 at 12:12 PM on March 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

King County Bus People - King County Metro is planning on reducing service, starting on March 23rd, for the health of the community.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, to be clear: the US Census is not on hold, keep sending in your forms or even better do it on-line, thank you! It's just the training for a small piece of it that's on hold.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:02 PM on March 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

The corpse in the library, does your census training tell you how to deal with people that are refusing to answer it because "the questions are too intrusive, the government doesn't need to know that!!!!"? Because that's where my parents are at right now and idk what to tell them... (they're not??? intrusive questions at all???)
posted by brook horse at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Boston's T tried reducing bus service on some routes because of less demand, but it resulted in crowding on some of those buses, which is not good. They reconsidered the reductions, in a hurry.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:40 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was able to get my family together on a video chat to sing happy birthday to my nephew. I imagined this may have been the case a few weeks ago, but my mental picture of it still included my parents being at my sisters house because they live 5 minutes apart. Instead it was each household on it's own video screen and the photos of my nephews second birthday are now screen shots I took of the gallery view of all of us as he stuffed the donuts my mom made and dropped of on their doorstep into his face.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:58 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yo, Brooklyn Mefites, there is a whole big Brownstone Brooklyn Rooftop Singalong thing people are organizing TONIGHT, March 19th, at 6:30 pm. There is a play list someone's scrambling to get together on Spotify and stuff; the info should be in that Facebook link.

It's meant to be inspired by the Italian balcony singalongs, but it's probably going to be a right cock-up; but I'm still gonna try, dammit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:04 PM on March 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

does your census training tell you how to deal with people that are refusing to answer

I also do census work since I work in a library. The line we use the most is that refusing to answer is costing your community thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds that would come into their community. Additionally, there are fines for not doing it. Additionally, there are laws protecting your folks' information. Additionally, not doing it at first will send a person to their house.

The Census: Get it over with.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:29 PM on March 19, 2020 [14 favorites]

Just did my census. It is kind of intrusive (like they don't JUST want your race, they ask for your background. It's obnoxious.) but also vague. If your parents are more comfortable being vague, I suggest they do that.

The Census: Get it over with, even if it's obnoxious.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:37 PM on March 19, 2020 [9 favorites]

It didn't actually force me to fill in my background. It highlighted it in red for unfilled once but the second time I pressed next, it let it go. Hopefully I didn't ruin the data but I genuinely didn't know how to answer it.
posted by carolr at 3:57 PM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks Jessamyn, do you know if it's an even bigger impact if they live in a small rural area? Am I correct in thinking that one person refusing to complete it would have an even larger effect, proportionally?

And now that I'm thinking about it I suppose those questions could be considered intrusive, I'm in research so I'm so used to those demographic questions, haha.
posted by brook horse at 4:42 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I could swear those used to be way longer and ask how much you earn per year. Did I dream that?
posted by heyho at 4:43 PM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Maybe someone could start a census thread since there's a lot of interest?
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:48 PM on March 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Checking in from Maine. My husband's workplace went from, testing laptops at home last week, and his didn't work, to work from home if you can, to take it home this past weekend, and me having a come-to-Jesus talk with him about considering working from home. He kept insisting it was impossible.

He was able to log on this past weekend, worked at the call center on Monday (with almost no people there) and brought all of his stuff (aka monitors and docking station) home. Hooked it up on Tuesday, took 1/2 day PTO, then started working from home on my craft desk on Wednesday. They are closing the call center, so it was either WFH or use up the rest of his PTO and then ??? IDK.

We ventured out to Hannaford the other morning, to see if we could get more TP, as we'd called and they said a truck was coming overnight. About 20 people were gathered outside, but when we got inside, no TP and the paper products aisle was bare, except for some Puffs with lotion. I bought 2 packs and left the rest.

We're going to try and go back tomorrow at opening, to see if we can get some paper products, not to hoard, but we are down to 3 rolls of TP and I'd like to get a little more, just in case.

Kato the Cat is very curious about my husband's new work station, to say the least. I tried to keep him busy the other morning, I guess that was yesterday, but time seems to be expanding. My husband was on a call with 3 other people today, and said he was sorry, there was a cat on his keyboard, and they all said "Awww" at once.

My heart goes out to everyone suffering from this.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:02 PM on March 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

BART in San Francisco is going to a reduced schedule starting March 23. They're cutting service after 9pm which is going to put a ton of people, like all the folks doing overnight work in hospitals and janitorial, without a way to get to and from work except the bus which is much slower.

People are starting to show cracks around the edges in all my remote meetings.
posted by ladyriffraff at 6:08 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Here in San Diego, they aren't testing unless you're sick enough to be hospitalized.

Many businesses are shutting down. Grocery shelves are being stripped bare. The Coaster here is reducing service on weekdays and closing for the weekends.

We are hunkered down at home, don't need to go out for a while except for meds. I am reading about younger people being hospitalized and dying. I've never been afraid of being sick before. Been through plenty just fine. But I got very sick this summer, to the point of delirium. For weeks, I had awful, visceral flashbacks of the first few hours - the only part I remember, aside from recovery. Now I am a little afraid. And I am afraid for my husband when I think about it. Which I try not to do.


I have a bit of a food neurosis. Went with very little for a long while, so I tend to hoard and protect. Right now, my brain keeps returning to the thought: we don't have enough food.

None of this sits at the front of my mind, really. It's just kind of there in the back, poking at me.
posted by moira at 6:17 PM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

We live just south of the largest cemetery in municipal Seattle and have been walking or running with dogs and without for years. today, my for-now-wfh wife and I took our stroll at 3p with a next door neighbor. The weather was beautiful, and we saw many more neighbors with dogs, toddlers, infants or dogs in strollers (no really and it’s not new) than I recall from my prior years of working at home as a freerange merchant webchicken. That does mean I mostly knew the people we saw, but it was new that they were all out at 3p.

We encountered a party of cemetery landscape workers, who are the same people that perform the physical work of interments. I knew a couple of them noddingly from dogwalks and so bluntly asked if they were expecting overtime or if there were open hires on their crew that they knew of. They had not been advised of such, but they were aware that the cemetery had hosted the burial of several corona virus decedents. I asked again with a slightly different angle to my words and they affirmed that they had no particular guidance or expectation for a bolus of clients. I did mention the clusters of 1918 influenza burials I believe I am aware of, and they did not know of them, which makes me think I may be misremembering or reading into groups of headstones dated 1918 and 1919.

It was a lovely walk, full of community and terroir.
posted by mwhybark at 7:15 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have a bit of a food neurosis. Went with very little for a long while, so I tend to hoard and protect. Right now, my brain keeps returning to the thought: we don't have enough food.

Me too, moira. We’re definitely not alone in this, I have seen increasing social media posts about it in the eating disorder recovery accounts I follow and lots of friends have said the same. (Apparently bodies don’t know the difference between not getting enough food as a result of being poor or as a result of dieting, so there’s a pretty big population of folks who this is gonna come up for). I liked this post on Instagram yesterday about the whole situation most of us are in.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 7:26 PM on March 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

I really need to sleep, but I’m having a bit of an anxiety meltdown. Yay!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:09 PM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Speaking from the UK. I and my colleagues each take it in turns to work alone in a literal corner shop, on the corner. We sell a bit of everything grocery-wise (not much veg) plus a lot of alcohol and tobacco/vape stuff. Our regulars are those who live close by, especially older people with visible health problems; single men; an annual rotation of students who live in HMOs; vulnerable people dumped together in HMOs who are variously addicts, dealers, extreme OCD sufferers and those with problems I hesitate to diagnose but whom have a helper assist them for one entire hour per week.

The shop has several suppliers, but we fundamentally rely upon our weekly Bookers delivery (Euro Shopper, Happy Shopper and a solid if limited selection of key brands). So far, barring two regulars who were genuinely distressed (one tbh accurately early-anticipating the crisis' trajectory and one upset by a false third-hand Facebook rumour) everyone has been very good about only buying what they need. We're getting an uptick in random walk-ins looking for the thing that they can't find in the supermarket anymore. Three egg queries in 20 mins. These passing trade customers are also pretty good about literally just buying what they need. Without laying it on too thick, when talking to regulars and randos I've been actively praising prior customers who only bought what they needed. I don't know if it helps or not - I don't know quite how I come across.

An older widow who last week disclosed to me a private medical diagnosis he disagreed with this week asked me to put aside some toilet roll for him when it came in. It didn't come in. A favourite customer gave me a card for my birthday (two days early!) even as I checked with her if she had enough of everything at home from her weekly supermarket shop with which her friend helps, plus which she tops up with items from our shop - no longer in stock. A skinhead regular told me how he'd challenged a queue-jumper in (frozen food focussed shop) Iceland for pushing in ahead of older people who couldn't object and after a collective catch of breath there was applause. He asks if I can save him the 9-roll Andrex when they come in. They don't. About three weeks ago one customer with chronic health issues who lives alone and comes in twice a week left me a letter, "If I don't come in you'll know I'm bad". I'm to knock on his window and drop his papers in, like how I used to. Check he's alright and if he needs anything. It predates the corona panic, but the implicit fear is just the same. One barely-familiar student tells me how her boyfriend had been elbowed in the face in Farm Foods (another bulk purchase frozen food shop) in the race to get the last of the fish and/or chips.

I still laugh, ever more wryly, with each customer in-between - "Isn't it mad?", "What's wrong with people?", "I don't get it!". If everyone would just calm down and buy what they need it'd be OK, we separately, repeatedly concur.

When people can't go to the pub for beer anymore they'll come laughing wetly to me and my colleagues. When they realise three days into their self-isolation that they need tobacco not toilet paper they'll come cough in my mouth even as they complain about our stock. When they need their munchies they'll lick their hands in front of me and lick the card terminal for good measure, because who needs contactless?

My Mum has multiple health issues. We live together and I am responsible for her care. She won't listen and when she does she won't remember. I rely on my income and I rely on Universal Credit topping it up when my employer decides (as the only employee receiving the legal minimum wage) that I'm too expensive this month. Based on very similar experience, because I worked extra hours in February due to others' holidays/sickness and the disconnect between UC and my monthly wages I will be kicked off UC in April. If I don't work through this I won't have any money coming in, until I re-apply. Last time that was a two-minute placeholder face-to-face interview. What now in the time of COVID-19 and working from home?

About ten days ago I was doing a handover with The Boss, who'd covered the gap between shifts. A passing trade customer remarked how the coronavirus was alright for shop owners. "Not really," my boss replied. I can't get that little wrinkle, that sentiment out of my head. I know all of my regular from morning to night having worked various shift patterns over the years. The people who can't get twelve of what they want in the supermarkets are slowly realising that smaller shops still have some (if not all) stock. I live in a city which when child abuse was a front-page issue chose to single out people who were paediatricians. When they can't get their toilet roll or tobacco or warm fuzzies elsewhere I'm scared they'll come for the Polish and the slurs and the slur-lovers who are maliciously keeping that one talismanic purchase from them and their kiddies. I'm ashamed of myself for thinking like this, but I can't get it out of my head.

They say COVID-19 is on the move, perhaps it has already landed.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:27 PM on March 19, 2020 [33 favorites]

brb, getting my own blog
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:27 PM on March 19, 2020 [10 favorites]

Mefi zoom?
posted by soakimbo at 8:29 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

New airport restrictions in SE Asia add more complications as people are just trying to get home to North America and Europe. Thailand is requiring a medical certificate declaring oneself tested free of the corona virus (as well as proof of health insurance against it) as of Sunday and Singapore is is mandating that anyone arriving at T4 be quarantined for 14 days. Since many travellers fly to Bangkok and Singapore first before using a budget airline like Air Asia to get around the region, the separate booking means you are not "in transit" between your flights even if your flight home is in a couple hours and therefore need to go through immigration.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:12 PM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m always feeling, Blue: thank you, that was amazing. please write more, and more after that. And then more. You have a voice, the voice. Bring it to a place that others may gain from it, please. Thank you.
posted by mwhybark at 9:48 PM on March 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

We are at four days of fever for the smallest, three for me and went to the clinic today to get checked. They had a separate door for fever/symptomatic people to go in to a separate waiting area, we got given masks (they had to staple the one for smallest to fit her) and then saw us in a separate room. No air-conditioning and the doctor has a fair amount of protective gear on, so it was pretty hot. We just have upper respiratory infections, so 5 days to stay home and rest, and see if it gets better or worse on its own. I'm feeling a lot more relieved because I've been stupid about pneumonia before, so "clear lungs" is a happy thing. The visit cost about US$20 for both of us, with meds, thanks to the fever patient subsidy, about 2/3 cheaper.

I feel fine about not getting a test because I'm not in an immediate high-risk group and our symptoms are mild enough to manage at home. There's definitely a "serious but not too-serious" mood in Singapore where people are just - doing their stuff, trusting the government to manage.

Still can't get any groceries delivered so we're on take out where they drop it at the door for another day.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:01 PM on March 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

> The corpse in the library, does your census training tell you how to deal with people that are refusing to answer it

I'm learning how to count people who are getting services at soup kitchens or who live in group quarters, so it's a little different than what you're running into. I'll be able to ask my contact person there if they can help me fill out the form for their client. If the contact person feels the way your parents do, I get to just walk away and they send back someone else to try to convince them. (I imagine they send back bigger and bigger census enumerators to act all menacing, but that might not be how it works.)

But as you can imagine it's really difficult to count homeless people without possibly exposing them to COVID-19, and there are a whole lot of reasons why that would be very bad. We also are supposed to be counting people in nursing homes. A lot of these populations aren't comfortable doing the forms on-line and had asked to have enumerators come by and fill out the census on paper with them, which a few months ago was a completely reasonable way to do things.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:03 AM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Still can't get any groceries delivered

The grocery delivery services here are being slammed beyond capacity; I have checked periodically but they are all booked and unavailable. (And, they appear to be short of the same supplies that the stores are short of, obviously.)

Their value for social distancing seems huge; right now grocery shopping is my main point of close contact with other people, and it is obviously not something you can totally avoid. I hope they can add capacity and that demand levels off soon.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:16 AM on March 20, 2020

NYC hotel union president: in terms of the impact on the NYC hotel industry, "9/11 was nothing compared to this."
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:23 AM on March 20, 2020

A lot of these populations aren't comfortable doing the forms on-line ...

They aren't the only ones. I got two letters telling me to go online to fill out the census. The second one arrived while I was procrastinating about the first, and included a promise that if I didn't do it online, they'd send me the form in the mail. It's worth a stamp to me to not have to deal with some probably-broken online form.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:49 AM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

i had the same initial reaction and inclination, Kirth Gerson, but did the online form. it worked fine, took about the 10 minutes advertised. to my delighted surprise i did not encounter a citizenship question (i had my doubts about a certain administration's actual acquiescence to the supreme court's nailbiter ruling).
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:57 AM on March 20, 2020 [9 favorites]

I do hope the excessive shopping ends soon. Sainsbury’s isn’t taking registrations at the moment, and Tesco is booked solid for the next three weeks. (For click-and-collect; I don’t want to take a delivery slot from someone who needs it more than I do, but my husband is in a higher risk category, which means I need to be as careful and socially distant as he is.) I shopped early for isolation supplies, because I figured there would be some panic shopping, but this goes well beyond my worst imaginings. We’re fine, and will be for some time, there is just some normal topping up I’d like to do (flour, porridge, dry pulses, some produce, eggs, etc.) and I want them in reasonable quantities, because we aren’t prepping for disaster, we eat those things regularly. It’s just shocking to see some of the bad behaviour and the instantly-emptied shelves. I really wonder how much wasted food is going to be generated by some of this stockpiling.

I’m tired of information leaks to pet journalists, and I’m sure the lack of solid information directly from the authorities—don’t even get me started on Boris’s pathetic daily briefings—is driving this behaviour.
posted by skybluepink at 8:01 AM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I appreciated your writing there, Blue. Think you might live near me based on a couple of details.

So. Monday 9th had to wait in A&E at the Eye Hospital with possible posterior vitreous detachment. After an eye exam sent home with nothing terribly wrong and an explanation of PVD, with instructions not to jump about too much. Bit disappointing as I've just had some gym sesssions - and a coach! - prescribed for various reasons. Still, I'm relieved now I stayed home that week. And here's an aside, I'm so impressed with the Eye Hospital, which is massively under-resourced and under-staffed. They've trimmed the service to the bones but the bones are what makes sure you get a check-up when needed; they don't answer the phone apart from a message telling you they won't answer it and to come in if it's an emergency, then in, triage, basic eye test, wait, ophthalmologist, bye. In this it is like the Bristol breast cancer clinic, which is, find a lump, get an immediate doctors appointment, get sent to clinic for investigation/scan same day.

Anyhow that same day my daughter got sent home with a cough from her job in a school and told to self isolate for 7 days. Cough turned into a hurty chest and breathlessness, iso now needs to be 14 days and includes her 9-year-old who is bored out of her head in spite of doing online school things with her mum. It's very likely my daughter has the virus, she also has extreme fatigue as well as the other symptoms. She's not extremely unwell but she isn't comfortable. When she watched David Abel's piece about the early symptoms he had on the Diamond Princess, she was like Oh. That's me.

So daughter now confined to house, tried to get her food shopping delivered. This was last week, when shops were STRIPPED. Couldn't get on the website, finally able to, wont be able to get her groceries until this time next Friday. So we are dropping stuff off for her, otherwise I've no idea how she would manage. Not touching or even going near each other. So hard to do that with a 9-year-old.

I'm confident the groceries will eventually arrive, late as they will be, because supermarkets have instituted Measures. Here they are: Supermarket Restrictions, What you need to Know (Guardian). This is a good thing. By the time my girl was running out of food there was neither bread nor pasta to be found anywhere, however I managed to get down to the first Old Person's Happy Shopper Hour at my local this Wednesday and scored her some bread. My experience was NOTHING LIKE the report says. It worked, it was good, the security guards helpfully offered you a basket when you went in ("Here you are love,") and if you looked a little bit too young and hearty they politely explained to you why you should come back later. I mean there wasn't piles of produce and there wasn't the usual variety - no wholemeal bread; no 50/50 - but it was such an improvement.

Meanwhile, second daughter, who works cooking for schools, was asked if she could come to work as usual after the schools are closed next week. Now, what's going on right now is that the government makes an initial pronouncement that is quite startling in its ineptitude and gradually, little by little, the instructions get filtered through someone who actually has an idea of what they are doing, and of logistics, and of real life. So daughter 2 was asked if she could come to work, said she'd let them know after she'd seen if her parents could look after her kid. The answer is yes, though it won't be the easiest seeing as we live in a different town half an hour away by car, 2 hours away by bus. But I worry, what if we get sick, and I think it's likely because spouse, who is 70, is working with vulnerable/disabled people who mostly desperately need the service he's providing.

That was a tangent. Daughter 2 was given a bunch of emotional pressure over the issue - 'Who's going to Feed the Children!?!' A whole lot of kids are going to have to stay in school because that's where they get fed and kept safe. The thing is, closing schools was announced but nobody in teaching or support services had any idea until quite late last night if they would be counted as key workers. Well they will be. I'm sorry for the poor manager who was trying to organise around this without having that information at hand. What will they be paid? Will they get their mileage? Will govt pay for childcare? Do they still have to go round all the schools or are kids going to be gathered in one place? Poor manager had no idea because they'd not been told. And like I said, there still must be people who are capable of planning in the civil service, it's just that it's taking about 24 hours for things to get under their hand. Things are changing really really fast though. I hope this eventually will have an effect on 'churn' in the news, that will be good for everybody's nerves.

Ist day of Spring, beautiful day, went for a long walk to Magpie Bottom, 'bottom' meaning little valley. Saw lots of magpies as you would expect, mostly in 2's, yay! for superstition! Too late for tadpoles and frogspawn, in time for daffs and blustery winds. Saw some dog walkers, some parents with small children, people not as sociable as usual, mostly keeping their safe distance. This is also good. Such an English landscape, mud, ivy, streams, gnarly branches, dog walkers. Very steep hill down to the woods, hurts your hips when you walk back up again when you're not used to it.
posted by glasseyes at 8:15 AM on March 20, 2020 [10 favorites]

Oh, and the Bojos said yesterday they have no intention of closing down London so I suppose it will happen early next week.
posted by glasseyes at 8:18 AM on March 20, 2020

skybluepink, imagine, no flour, shelves picked clean. These people have never made bread in their lives or they would not be so optimistic about it. Is there a run on yeast? No, these emergency cooks have never heard of it. All the pasta gone, and all the tinned chopped tomato, all the dolmio sauces. Plenty of passata left. I'm thinking this is the hoarding panic of people who hardly cook.
posted by glasseyes at 8:25 AM on March 20, 2020 [7 favorites]

I thought I stocked up on groceries last week, especially for my kid with special dietary needs (I bought so much coconut milk yogurt), but I realized that I didn’t have any “sick food” for my family to eat in case we get sick and are truly, truly quarantined. So I went to the expensive, less popular grocery store in the next suburb over last night at 9:00pm. I bought the bland, packaged, unhealthy things that only sound appealing when sick (sorry, neighbors, if you were looking to buy the grape-flavored popsicles) and put them in my basement. I had a harder time finding the regular food on my list: eggs were completely sold out, as was most of their chicken.

My work (county government) went from recommended work from home to a mandatory order today - it helps when you have an excellent public health department running the show. On the other hand, my husband’s work (medium-sized, family-owned company with an international footprint) can’t decide what to do - they sent him on an “essential” business trip last week, freaked out before he returned and told him and his traveling colleagues to stay away from the office for 5 days (what kind of bullshit self-quarantine is that?), and now he’s feeling pressure to come back because he needs to test equipment and take measurements in person and do engineering stuff. It is such a polar opposite from my own excellent work leadership that I am hoping the governor implements a state-level lockdown over the weekend because companies like these are an outbreak waiting to happen.

The school district did a phone survey yesterday about technology access, and they’re obviously gearing up to implement distance learning stuff after this shutdown and the previously-scheduled spring break. It doesn’t look like they will be returning to school, and the school fundraiser spring plant sale that I volunteered to help run is wondering how to cancel without hosing the small-farm plant grower we partner with. Also, I signed my kid up for summer school day care and wonder if that will even happen in June... So far he is totally happy to have an hour in the morning on his school reading app and an hour in the afternoon on his math app (“I’m leveling up so fast at home!”), but I wonder when he’s going to start itching for real friend playtime.

Of course, my biggest worry right now is how we’ll fare when we get sick - my kid has to be hospitalized for “normal” viruses due to his genetic disorder, so I have all kinds of nightmare scenarios running through my head in normal times. Right now my stomach is a 24/7 churning ball of anxiety. I don’t really have the bandwidth to worry about my Boomer parents and their questionable life choices right now (“It’s not like we’re in Florida on spring break like THOSE idiots!” my mother protested during our last phone call), so I’m choosing not to engage.
posted by Maarika at 8:51 AM on March 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I was shocked as hell by how fast the flour went, and this was before the wave of serious panic shopping hit. I thought I’d be very public-spirited by keeping on with my from-scratch style, and leaving the loaves to others, but no such luck.

I just hope they figure it out, and the flour doesn’t go to waste.
posted by skybluepink at 8:58 AM on March 20, 2020

I live in pretty small rural community. Yesterday, somebody posted to our local Facebook page that we should plan on having a SHAME DAY maybe three months from now where everybody comes clean and reveals all the unnecessary stuff they've been hoarding -- maybe have a vast bonfire of everything that's past its sell-by date.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on March 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

That person has exposed their bottom. Not everyone is doing this hoarding rubbish. To start with you need a healthy bank account and a car with a great big boot. "We," indeed. People who have those two things have been flocking into poorer areas to clear out their shops once they'd emptied everything closer to hand.

Sorry for snapping philip-random but thinking about it makes me so cross. Self & spouse have been alright, somehow we don't seem to go through household goods/food very quickly. Getting used to buying less was such a shock after the children left I think we'd both rather not buy something than get it and watch it go bad. We hardly buy bread because we both got so sick of throwing it out after a few days. There's usually pasta in the house for when the grandkids come and now I've given the packet I had to the daughter who couldn't find any. That's ok, I'm not expecting them to be over any time soon.

Today there was some shameful news: Scottish hotel sacks 12 staff over coronavirus making them homeless

Some alarming news: Coronavirus: Man arrested on Isle of Man 'for failing to self-isolate' Whither civil liberties, Albion? Is this really the way you want to go? How long before you're arresting untested people with a cough and isolating them in conditions exposed to the virus? Have you people thought this through?

and some Well about time too news: New UK taskforce to crack down on coronavirus profiteers

Today I resolved not to read the paper and lasted about all of 12 minutes :-(
posted by glasseyes at 9:27 AM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hong Kong today:

- 6000 people arrived at the airport on Thursday, the first day of the all-but-China quarantine order, and were issued with QR-encoded bracelets to track their movements in quarantine, but two-thirds of them weren't activated by Friday. There are a few different reasons for the problems, all hopefully solvable.

- The recent relaxation of people's social distancing practices, paired with the explosion of cases in Europe, is really dangerous at this juncture - the surge of returnees especially in the last few days has been most worrying. If you play the video at the link you'll see a pretty dramatic chart showing the shift in infection source from Asia to Europe.

- Cathay Pacific will cut 96% of its passenger capacity in April and May, and will only now operate three flights a week each to a dozen destinations: London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Tokyo, Taipei, New Delhi, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Sydney. Cathay Dragon will connect Hong Kong at the same frequency to Beijing, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur. For comparison: on a normal day, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon operate 16-20 flights a day to Taipei alone. I'm not sure how long this can go on for.
posted by mdonley at 10:13 AM on March 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

So a friend of mine decided that right now was a GREAT time to go on holiday to Butlins, and is cheerfully posting pictures of their child surrounded by other children on rides and such, all 'last chance to hang out with other kids before we go back to social distancing!' and.

And like.

This is insane, right? That feeling like I am having an aneurysm, that's. That's the correct response to this. Yes? Please tell me I am right to honestly kind of question the friendship. (We are not super-close, but I had previously really liked and respected this person.)
posted by kalimac at 10:51 AM on March 20, 2020 [23 favorites]

That is bad behavior. When it comes to friends, I don't personally see myself as picking friends based on people's adherence to objective standards or whatever. Like if you still like them, then still like them.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:59 AM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

we're not all reading/viewing the same news, we're not all "getting it" in the same way.

I've definitely allowed myself be more blunt on Facebook. In the past, when somebody posted something stupid, I'd generally just ignore it ... unless it was somebody quite close in which case, I'd engage. But even then, it was usually via private message as opposed to publicly. But not now. Now, if you're linking to something that says gargling vinegar or whatever in the first four days of coronavirus infection will kill it -- now, I'm calling bullshit loud and clear, and firmly requesting that you no longer post on this particular topic because you clearly aren't proving a good judge of the available information.

I do like this quote by the way (from Larry Brilliant, the doctor who helped defeat smallpox):

"I'm in the age group that has a one in seven mortality rate if I get it. If you're not worried, you're not paying attention. But I'm not scared. I firmly believe that the steps that we're taking will extend the time that it takes for the virus to make the rounds. I think that, in turn, will increase the likelihood that we will have a vaccine or we will have a prophylactic antiviral in time to cut off, reduce, or truncate the spread. Everybody needs to remember: This is not a zombie apocalypse. It's not a mass extinction event."

emphasis mine.
posted by philip-random at 11:24 AM on March 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

idk, i feel like it's less about adherence to objective standards, and more about whether or not you want to put your friendship faith into people who seem to be unable to care about anyone other than themselves and their own personal wants.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:32 AM on March 20, 2020 [8 favorites]

So a friend of mine decided that right now was a GREAT time to go on holiday to Butlins, and is cheerfully posting pictures of their child surrounded by other children on rides and such, all 'last chance to hang out with other kids before we go back to social distancing!' and.

So the thing to do when they next reach out to you - EVEN WHEN THE QUARANTINE IS OVER - is to sweetly say that sorry, but in the interest of your own health you've decided to be stricter about people that you know have been behaving unsafely, so you can't hang out in person until X amount of time has passed and you know that they're safe again. Can't be too careful, right?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:39 AM on March 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm thinking this is the hoarding panic of people who hardly cook.

Everyone keeps talking about how they've stocked up on beans/lentils/etc. and I'm like, "Should I have done that?" and then immediately, "There's no way I would ever cook it and it would just languish in my pantry forever."
posted by brook horse at 12:43 PM on March 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

idk, i feel like it's less about adherence to objective standards, and more about whether or not you want to put your friendship faith into people who seem to be unable to care about anyone other than themselves and their own personal wants.

people do stupid stuff all the time without actually being bad people, especially when there are conflicting information sources around and/or they're panicky. but idk cut off whomever, I'm not the cutoff police
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:43 PM on March 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

So, I've just been on the receiving end of the flip side of OVER MY DEAD BODY YOU’RE GOING ON THAT CRUISE, DEBORAH
Good grief, my ears are still metaphorically ringing.
posted by glasseyes at 2:39 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Some alarming news: Coronavirus: Man arrested on Isle of Man 'for failing to self-isolate' Whither civil liberties, Albion? Is this really the way you want to go? How long before you're arresting untested people with a cough and isolating them in conditions exposed to the virus? Have you people thought this through?

Well the Isle of Man isn't really part of Albion but yes, that is the way to go. It is a shame they don't birch anymore on the Isle of Man.
posted by atrazine at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

My Governor issued a stay-at-home order this afternoon thru April 7, so the public library I work at will stay closed at least until then. Ironically, my attention span is so short these days that I haven’t been able to read any of the books I checked out on our last open day.

Went on errands to the grocery and pharmacy for my parents (both in their 80s) today. They have finally accepted that they both really need to stay home. Plus, several of their neighbors have checked on them, so that’s nice.

My lovely cat is getting very spoiled with extra snorgles. I’m so glad she’s here—it would be so lonely without her.
posted by bookmammal at 2:50 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm honestly wondering whether people are even hoarding. Like, all the people who normally ate out a lot and got takeout are now trying to cook. And everyone has their kids at home now, instead of school lunches. I mean, what if people do in fact need more food from grocery stores than usual? Could restaurant suppliers start home delivery instead?

I think the main extra food people are trying to get is one or two weeks worth of food that's easy and appealing when you have the flu. Well, and people who want to bake with their kids. I definitely want to make cookies more while my daughter is at home to make them with me. And I could use the comfort eating at the moment too.
posted by Margalo Epps at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

Now that we're all home all the time I'm shocked by the amount of trash, mess, and dirty dishes four people create each day. 50 pounds of self-rising flour from the restaurant supply store was the only white flour we could find in town, so it's what we've got to work with. I expect I will actually go through all of it before it goes bad. Today I baked a loaf of bread, a batch of crackers, and I'm planning pizza for dinner. I'm glad these kids aren't teenagers yet or we'd be tearing through it.
posted by bq at 3:04 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

No, they are hoarding. It's disgraceful. Nothing is disrupting the supply chain at the supply end. btw I'm specifically talking about uk here.

Just heard from eldest daughter her partner's work is closing. All the workers will get a month's pay but as from now, he's laid off. He says he will try and get a delivery job as supermarkets are increasing their capacity there.
posted by glasseyes at 3:04 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Maybe I spoke too soon about the uk eventually muddling through on special measures.

Schools And Nurseries Are Very Confused About The New "Key Worker" Policy
Far more children than expected will be going back to school in England next week — despite them formally closing due to coronavirus.

I think ima stop posting. Maybe an fpp as long as it's got absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus.
posted by glasseyes at 3:13 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is why I did my stocking up in the first week of February, by the time large numbers of people start doing it, it is socially irresponsible to mass buy.

I imagine it will take a few days before the school stuff is sorted. Shame they couldn't have made preparations for this a few weeks ago.
posted by atrazine at 3:40 PM on March 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Everyone keeps talking about how they've stocked up on beans/lentils/etc. and I'm like, "Should I have done that?" and then immediately, "There's no way I would ever cook it and it would just languish in my pantry forever."

my household stocked up the larder a while back as an overall safety measure (two weeks worth of food/provisions etc just in case of earthquake or whatever). The rumors of the corona virus were a factor but it was a more of a "let's finally just do this" sort of thing.

One factor that had always argued against it was precisely the oversupply problem, the never getting around to actually using the beans/lentils etc. And then a neighbor said, "Just keep track of your inventory. If you find stuff is getting close to its sell-by, donate it to the local soup kitchen. They won't waste time putting it to good use. And then buy a little more stock to fill the gap. Think of it as keeping your insurance up to date merged with being generous."
posted by philip-random at 4:12 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just got home from the supermarket, which was packed. Costco is keeping track at the door and not letting a lot of people in but Fred Meyer not so much. There were people everywhere and nobody seemed to even be trying to stay 6 feet away. The bag dude looked ill, wore no gloves, glommed all over my groceries. The local Facebook Covid-19 group says people are flooding into town to hit the beach and the hotels are busy. Word is that the arcade in Seaside is open, which seems ill advised. Traffic is insane. The Goodwill is open, as is Home Depot and the dollar store and the auto parts store. I don't quite think we have gotten the message and oh well, coastal Oregon, I don't know, I thought better of you than this. I was feeling kind of smug, working from home, doing Zoom meetings, like, oh, we've got this, but now? I am not so sure.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:45 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

hi. i'm not much of a cook, subsisting mostly on rice and beans, of the latter of which i keep about a week's supply on hand. but i am anxious about the supply of beans now that some among the general population are stockpiling them, and now that i am eating at home somewhat more than twice as often as i do when commuting to work. i haven't been hoarding, but have been going to the grocery store a bit more often than usual, and, while there, find myself gripped by strange compulsions, but mostly keep it in check. mistakenly bought a bunch of ground pork failing to notice it wasn't beef until the chili didn't taste quite right. it doesn't taste quite wrong either, so no problem there. have so far resisted the urge to buy ropes and ropes of kielbasa -- which has not gone bare -- and passed on the eggs today, although they were all sold out a few days ago, knowing i have some days supply at home. did uncharacteristically buy hotdogs (also never empty yet at local grocer), but just one pack, and some frozen fish and chicken, also empty a couple days ago. i stocked up enough, generally, for another big batch of chili. during a visit there last week, within hours of local school systems announcing planned closure, i saw a guy with a shopping cart filled to overflowing with pringles (and several cases of bottled sports drink(?) piled on the sub-cart rack): gonna be good times in that household.

over at the tobacconist -- pretty much the only storefront in the stripmall that was open -- they were out of single pouches of my go-to roll-up tobacco, so i bought a can and more than my usual amount of rolling papers. as i left, the proprietor said "pray for FDA approval of chloroquine--" and then he caught himself and said "wait. it has been approved for years for malaria; pray it is effective for coronavirus," displaying a pretty impressive knowledge of FDA for a guy who, last week and the week before had a sign on the front door of the business reading "people are saying: cigar smoke kills the covid-19 virus. we have many cigars to choose from." today, that sign was no longer posted. haven't checked the warning letter database to see if he was a recipient; imagine not, what with the crisis and the much touted elimination of regulatory "red tape" at such institutions. yes, i agreed, let's hope so, and took my leave.

but, dear reader, i fear the time of advisory panels of experts evaluating the carefully collected clinical trial data as to the safety and efficacy of proposed therapeutic compounds may be past. i am afraid to look too closely into which bits of red tape have been eliminated, and don't have a great deal of faith in HHS or CMS or FDA clearly communicating these things. are there still institutional review boards? will there be next week?
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:11 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Can't speak to the government, but I can assure you that IRBs are working overtime at the moment helping researchers get COVID studies up and running, and helping unrelated studies figure out how to keep people safe if they're already involved in studies they can't safely stop cold.

(Though I can only speak to university and hospital IRBs. I don't have any contacts in the commercial IRB world. )
posted by Stacey at 5:22 PM on March 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

also, for what it's worth, the novel treatments I've seen bandied about are drugs that have been studied FOREVER and a day. hydroxychloroquine is something i took for years, for example. We know a ton about its safety.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:24 PM on March 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

"Just keep track of your inventory. If you find stuff is getting close to its sell-by, donate it to the local soup kitchen. They won't waste time putting it to good use. And then buy a little more stock to fill the gap. Think of it as keeping your insurance up to date merged with being generous."

This is a lovely idea, which I will also never do. I can't even keep track of three days of leftovers, much less my whole fridge and pantry.

But I love the idea that someone who is not me is doing this.
posted by brook horse at 5:43 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

The resort I work at finally shutdown operations and basically laid off everyone but a couple managers so I'm at home for the duration plus a few weeks till business picks up. Management is hoping for six weeks but I don't believe that is realistic at all. Bizarrely it was pressure from their sector marketing organization that convinced them to shut down because they were going to try to stay open for the duration with extra cleaning and other precautions.

My spouse procured a supervisory position at her healthcare employer _three weeks ago_ so probationary trial by fire I guess. Though I joked to her that her first two months are likely to the worst two months of her job ever.

Schools have been officially closed; no one to return from spring break.

The Home Improvement Borg has reduced hours (nominally to allow additional cleaning) and is limiting the number of people in store. As is Costco and SuperStore. A&W has closed their dining rooms (and their washrooms) but has their drive thrus open and is allowing in store ordering and pick up of online orders.

These people have never made bread in their lives or they would not be so optimistic about it. Is there a run on yeast? No, these emergency cooks have never heard of it.

Here that would mean people are making bannock.

More seriously though a few years ago bread makers exploded like Instapots are now. I can't make bread but I can put half a dozen ingredients in the hopper of the bread maker and press white - 2lb. And a jar of yeast, kept in the freezer, goes way longer than a bag of flour. If these people have a bread maker (either dusted off that wedding present that has been in storage or newly purchased) they may waste a loaf or two getting the hang of it but they are pretty idiot proof.
posted by Mitheral at 6:05 PM on March 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Actually there is a run on yeast. My store was out.
posted by bq at 6:24 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Finally got approval for my team and I to work from home starting next week. Still not happy with the way my workplace has been handling the situation, but even this is a huge relief.
posted by timelord at 6:27 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

So, two weeks into our frantic rush to get folks working from home and it's been quite a ride. Last Friday was the worst for me mentally, no sleep the night before and a slip up that wasn't entirely mine, but for which I took the brunt. Today we've got the process running reasonably smoothly, and the main stressors are workdays that rush forward without pause, and a few technical wrinkles that refuse to smooth out. Still, my brain is mush and this beer tastes like nirvana.

Through it all I have much to be thankful for. Today I got to send off a co-worker with her WFH equipment whose son has a heart condition. The relief on her face damn near made me tear up on the spot. I can safely let them flow now. Mrs CK and I are both still employed, and at no risk of losing that. My family are all being sensible about the whole thing. And I've got you wonderful lot to vent and commiserate with.

Thank you all, and wash your damn hands.
posted by calamari kid at 6:53 PM on March 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've also seen the no-knead 5-minute bread recipe recommended for new bakers home for the duration, so maybe that's what they're trying. And it's not bad bread, either.
posted by clew at 6:54 PM on March 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

"I'm honestly wondering whether people are even hoarding."

Every day my friend is texting me pictures of empty shelves and saying she can't get food where she lives (South SF). I can't help but think "they say not to hoard, but if you don't have a stock of food, it doesn't sound like you will be able to get more food."
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:00 PM on March 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

I usually go to a supermarket once or twice a day (don't have a car, don't do deliveries). A well-stocked shelf doesn't mean "no shortage", it usually means the staff have just unloaded a pallet and the hoarders haven't had time to empty it. A couple of days ago almost the only thing left was toilet paper, but I'm sure that vanished quickly. It's been getting worse every day: about 2/3 of the shelves were empty last night.

There is a weird feeling of panic that non-hoarders have to resist. We didn't need extra toilet paper, but in an empty supermarket watching that pile empty (everyone else had a packet) I felt a powerful urge to grab it too. I think a lot of the things are just being grabbed on instinct because everyone else seems to be doing it, and will go to waste.

I'm officially a key worker as I work in the healthcare industry though not on the front lines (and from home these days). But my kid's school is saying both parents have to be key workers, and have sent him home with a lesson plan for half a day's teaching every day. I just don't see how a more than full time job, a part-time teaching job, and all the cooking/shopping/cleaning is going to get done. I already felt at breaking point before all this.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:51 PM on March 20, 2020 [8 favorites]

Yes, at my local chain grocery, Ballard Market in Seattle, when I went in tonight at off-peak hours, there weren't a lot of people, but, not a lot of many things. No flour, rice, dried beans. Not much milk, nor butter, NO POTATO BUNS!!!, no TP, almost no soup.

But, compared to Safeway, Fred Meyer, etc., they are taking it seriously. All the carts are being wiped down after every use, single use gloves in all the bulk areas, wiping down the self service terminals after every customer. An asset to the community.
posted by Windopaene at 10:02 PM on March 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I had to go to Costco today... had to pick up a prescription. I figured if I was going to have to wait in the line to get in, I might as well make the trip worth it. The police department had four motorcycle officers out front. While we were waiting in line to get in, the ghetto bird even popped by and flew a couple of laps before heading off elsewhere. The line to get in was long (and a lot of people in line apparently having figured out the whole distancing thing yet, so I had to make my own space by standing off to the side) but it was a nice, sunny day and they were moving things along actually fairly nicely. They're controlling how many people they allow in the store at once. At checkout, only every other line is open so the staff has some distance.

As expected, they're out of a lot of things. TP, paper towels, cough medicine, Lysol wipes, bleach, rice, and some other things. Some of the hoarders may get stung later, though, because they have signs up that they will not accept returns on many of those items. There is a 1 item per membership limit on many items. Now pretty much all I need is some more garlic and I'll be set to sta