A great article in the New Yorker spoke of Panic Shopping and is so funny but also so pathetic! Helen Rosner begins her article speaking of the glories of Costco, then she goes onto say:
Panic, perhaps unsurprisingly, throws this rhythm into disarray. Fear of covid-19, the flu-like illness that has made its way from China to other cities around the world, including a growing number in the U.S., has sent many New Yorkers into crisis mode. (The city, as of Thursday, has two reported cases.) Health authorities, including the C.D.C., have advised to prepare for a period of social distancing; based on transmission-prevention efforts in China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, it seems possible that Americans in some cities will eventually face full-on quarantine. This involves certain elements of what emergency managers call “shelter in place,” and doomsday preppers refer to as “bugging in”: enough supplies for a household to remain isolated for at minimum a few days, and ideally a few weeks. Where better to get your fix of canned beans than a store where the cans are gallon-size?
She then describes the pandemonium that took place at a Brooklyn Costco. What is a pandemonium? It is wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar., Used in a sentence: There : there was complete pandemonium—everyone just panicked.
Then she goes on to say: As more and more covid-19 cases are being confirmed in the United States (and as it becomes clear that the federal government’s ability to properly inform and protect the population is, at best, deeply flawed), health experts and epidemiologists are emphasizing that individual risk is quite low, as long as basic precautions are taken, and that those of us who are in general good health should refrain from hoarding masks and other resources that are more vital to those urgently in need of care. This is rational, well-considered advice; unfortunately, man is not a terribly rational creature. Fear is contagious: when we see people go out of their way to protect themselves from disaster, no matter how unlikely, we don’t want to be the only ones left undefended. The ultra-rich are ditching first class in order to fly private, where at least the germs are more rarefied; the D.I.Y.-minded are mixing rubbing alcohol with aloe gel to approximate the effects of hand sanitizer. In recent days, I’ve heard stories of friends and friends of friends making their own frantic grocery trips, walking in the door of Wegman’s or C-Town knowing intellectually that this kind of bunker mentality is unwarranted, it’s silly, it’s probably counterproductive—but coming home nevertheless with stacks of SpaghettiOs and canned green beans, or filling their freezers with Lean Cuisines. “I jokingly call it calamity capitalism,” David Sanders, the owner of Doomsday Prep, a company that sells survival supplies and gear, told Slate, about this deeply human drive to soothe uncertainty by buying and buying and buying. There is, of course, a German word for it: Hamsterkäufe, meaning to shop like a nervous, bulging-cheeked hamster.
The shopping baskets overflowing with random groceries may be even less logical in a city like New York. Quarantine regulations in other global cities, even at their most stringent, have allowed the continuation of basic delivery services, particularly for groceries and drugstores. Here, in a city with a robust delivery infrastructure, the ability to order in staples is unlikely to be disrupted, even in the face of a quarantine. Still, while browsing FreshDirect recently, I was amazed by how quickly, after adding things to my cart, I would receive politely apologetic notifications that they were now sold out. Canned peaches? No luck. Tear-open packs of spiced dal? Should’ve clicked faster. Do I need three giant jars of kimchi, fifteen boxes of fancy pasta, a huge sack of paella rice, and enough dried chickpeas and favas to open a falafel joint? No, of course not. But I remind myself that, in more human-scale quantities, they’re the groceries I’d buy anyway, and I lie to myself that it helps.
It is a fantastic article and is almost quoted in its entirety as it is so well written, researched and refreshingly honest. What do I think should be done? A march on Washington demanding that Pence be removed at flu czar and be replaced by someone competent and with some knowledge of what is going on in the world. He definitely needs to be fired but Trump only fires competent people.
I have observed the panic here and spoke with a physician about the situation. He says that people are secluding themselves in their homes but how is that safe? Mail get delivered, garbage is taken out all sorts of ins and outs in the home. He spoke of the cruise ship that quarantined its passengers. in their rooms, had staff bring them food in their room. The staff then slept in a vast room. It was an incubator for the virus under those conditions. If it were not so tragic, it would be funny. Personal Driver and I were at a local grocery store and ended up laughing hilariously. People with face masks on, water flying off the shelves and a feeling of general panic. We just laughed and laughed about how stupid people are. I asked a man why he was wearing a face mask, no response just scurried off. Face masks do not do anything. Washing your hands frequently for twenty seconds is the best protection and prevention.
One’s best protection is one’s immune system but immune systems are compromised by stress and fear. These people are making it worse for themselves instead of better.
Then this from the Atlantic. “Vice President Mike Pence, who’s leading the U.S, government’s coronavirus task force, said this week that about 1.5 million tests would be made available. But exclusive reporting from Robinson Meyer and Alexis Madrgal reveals that of today, fewer than 2,000 people have been tested” They write: The figures we gathered suggest that the American response to the coronavirus and the disease it cases, CPVD-19, has been shockingly slluggish, especially compared with that of other developed countries. The CDC confirmed eight days ago that the virus was in community transmission in the United States – that it was infecting Americans who had neither traveled abroad nor were in contact with others who had.
This is a total mess. New York Governor declared a State of Emergency and what did Trump do? Got on an airplane and traveled to Florida – totally downplaying and ignoring any danger at all.
More news from the Middle East. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is throwing some of his siblings in jail. What a mess. The good news is this – I never met the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia although he was staying in the same hotel at the same time as when I met the Crown Prince of Dubai. How do I know? The driver assigned to the hotel told me and I do believe there was some underlying scandal associated with it. Why me? Born in Saskatchewan and somehow the thick of things.
The world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. What does that expression mean? “The phrase go to hell in a handbasket is an American phrase which came into general use during the American Civil War, though its popularity has spread into other countries. The origin of the term go to hell in a handbasket is unknown, the assumption is that the word handbasket is a good source of alliteration.” Who first said it? It seems unknown, but there is this: The English preacher Thomas Adams referred to ‘going to heaven in a wheelbarrow’ in Gods Bounty on Proverbs, 1618: Oh, this oppressor [that is, one who was wealthy but gave little to the church] must needs go to heaven! What shall hinder him?”
Nothing much I can do but distract myself – I do have a partner in crime to help me – a most amusing fellow.