The Dark Matter Greatest Episode Tournament kicks off today with this #1 vs #8 first round match-up. It’s All the Time in the World vs Built, Not Born!  Click the link below to cast your vote.

So, how is everyone doing out there?  Akemi and I have battened down the hatches and are preparing to ride out the storm.  We have balcony door open for ventilation, the air purifier running 24/7, and only venturing out for Suji’s walks, maintaining that six foot distance from others.  Akemi, being Japanese, insists on taking the extra precaution of wearing a mask.  I’ve been working from home for several months now so I don’t expect the isolation to really change things for us (although I will miss our occasional walks to SOMA for chocolate), but I am concerned for many others, especially those losing income as a result of businesses temporarily shutting down.  And don’t even get me started on the stock market.

Having delivered the second episode of TimEscape, I am thinking of shifting gears to writing that feature (I was planning to write while in Montreal).  To be honest, with everything that’s going on, I haven’t been in much of a writing mood, so I’ll see how things go.

How are things in your town or city?  Here in Toronto, not really much in the way of panicking outside of a rush on toilet paper (which I, frankly, don’t understand).  Akemi has noted that the supermarkets have been clear of certain standard items: cleaning products, frozen dinners, and some fresh produce.  There was talk last night that the mayor was going to enact a city-wide lockdown, but it appears those rumors were unfounded.  Foot traffic seems to be down in my neighborhood, yet restaurants and bars are apparently still pretty busy.  Which is, I suppose, good for those local businesses – but perhaps bad with regard to containment.

I must admit, the one thing I have the hardest time doing – even harder than NOT touching my face, is NOT kissing my dog.

More #AmazingPeopleWithWhomIHaveWorked

29 thoughts on “March 16, 2020: Battening down the hatches!

  1. I think you can still kiss Suji. Dogs can’t catch or transmit the virus. The only danger is if someone sneezes or coughs onto their fur. But realistically how many other people aside from you and Akemi will Suji be in contact with?

    In Ireland they have shut all bars right before St Patrick’s Day and all the parades have been cancelled. A lot of other businesses are also making the decision to close. For the most part our government has been on top of things and has done a good job of communicating the situation.

  2. I haven’t left the apartment in about two weeks except to check the mail. I’m in the age bracket to catch COVID19, but my son is in the safe zone. He runs the errands and he also works from home. I’ve been out of work since 2008.

  3. Here’s an article on the emotional /psychological background of crisis stockpiling.
    Why people hoard

    So then why would people hoard a product that is abundant?

    Australia has also suffered from panic buying of toilet paper despite plentiful domestic supply. A risk expert in the country explained it this way: “Stocking up on toilet paper is … a relatively cheap action, and people like to think that they are ‘doing something’ when they feel at risk.”

    This is an example of “zero risk bias,” in which people prefer to try to eliminate one type of possibly superficial risk entirely rather than do something that would reduce their total risk by a greater amount.

    Hoarding also makes people feel secure. This is especially relevant when the world is faced with a novel disease over which all of us have little or no control. However, we can control things like having enough toilet paper in case we are quarantined.

    It’s also possible we are biologically programmed to hoard. Birds, squirrels and other animals tend to hoard stuff.

  4. We’re OK. I’m getting over a 12-day “cold” (no fever, no shortness of breath). Husband had a shorter cold before 14 March. We’re homebody retirees who eat out, so we could have picked this illness up just about anywhere during the first week of March.

    You all may know that a military base in San Antonio (TX, USA) has been a quarantine site for COVID-19 since Feb. 7. We now have a very few cases among local residents, all travel-related.

    Here’s a timeline from the newspaper. I think the EXPRESS-NEWS has disabled its paywall for COVID-related articles.

    1. Yeah, the place the CDC let the person who was asymptomatic and had two negative tests before waiting for that third test to come back which then led to a manhunt for her because the third test came back positive.

  5. Hmm … If you can’t stop kissing Suji, then I suggest not letting anyone else touch Suji then … to reduce risk of someone else transmitting whatever to you both via touching Suji …
    I miss playing with her. But will avoid for the time being, also work busy as hell and will only get worse when the tsunami arrives … Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst. Everyone on standby mode and ready for battle!

  6. I keep a decent, rotating inventory of supplies going, having come from a rural, poor background. Even having been sick too much this winter to keep the supplies topped off, we’re fine.

    We’ve been shut-ins mostly since last week when there were signs my husband was exposed at work. He never got very sick but the timing was telling. He’s not the first family member whose work building was shut down over an exposure and no one was eligible for testing because no one was hospitalized so I already knew this was way worse than our state’s stats were showing. We can both work from home, apparently, though his employer only recently admitted it was possible.

    I can’t share my hoard because of the possible exposure.

  7. As much as if tried to be prepared for the apocalypse, I never anticipated a family of five would need so many web cams.

  8. Before this virus crisis started, I have been working on getting my parents into a care facility. Staying at home with the amount of 24/7 care they need has proven to be too expensive. I can place both of them in memory care, plus me, plus you, and it would still not be as much as they are paying now to stay home. So I am making the decision it is time for them to leave. I wish they would have had a plan in place so I did not have to assume total responsibility and take over and be the bad guy. If I wait for the virus crisis to be over, they will be broke.

    Joe, if you run out of toilet paper and go to the store to get more, but they don’t have any, so you go to another store and they don’t have any, so you go to the next store etc etc etc…., what will you do if you cannot find any? (Just wondering, how many rolls did your mom have stocked up on?) I can understand the panic in people who only buy 4 roles at a time.

    I have a Roth IRA total stock market index fund that goes as the stock market goes. It has lost about 25%. Ouch! They are closing everything in Texas now. I don’t know how people are going to make it.

  9. Doing well here, a lot of things have been cancelled and large gathering spots have for the most part been closed for at least a couple of weeks. I think there is still only one confirmed case here in NB and a few “presumptive” cases (tests results still not in). So far, they all appear to be travel related cases, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before it’s in the community. Our Saint John Chorale choir practices are suspended indefinitely, so our yearly Spring concert in May may or may not happen.

    Otherwise, I’m just keeping my head down, my hands washed, and hoping for the best!

  10. The university students in my city stupidly decided to have a big St Patrick’s Day get together despite all the warnings from the principal, police and health officials. I guess that they are at that age where they think they are immortal.

    I have been assured by watching old episodes of ReGenesis. It’s reassuring to know that there are people like that who know all about disease.

    The Stock Market: I’ve been investing long enough to know that are notorious for swings that don’t reflexct reality and a decline is only a buying opportunity for ME.

    I have a chipmunk in my garden that has been hoarding the bird seed that I have put out for the last few days…I guess it heard of the pandemic too!! 🙂

  11. I vote for ´´All the Time in the World´´ and that is how it feels now figuring out how to enjoy everyday.While the waiting begins being self employed not able to work with all events shut down until at least the end of the month and most likely 6 -8 weeks wrecking Easter.Best advice I have had was from a Chinese doctor not to allow my lungs to get dry & to take long steamy daily showers to keep my lungs clean making it easy to expell mucus the normal way.1% chance of death & 15% chance of infection is close enough to zero not worry the careful.and strike a sane balance not overdoing precautions!

  12. I can explain the toilet paper thing very easily. One of the listed “uncommon symptoms” of this virus, if you get it, is diarrhea. And people need a lot of toilet paper if that is going on. If you have a family of 5 or 6, I imagine you are trying to do the math in your head based on your potential usage. And they were thinking quarantine to your home meant you weren’t going anywhere to get any more. It is different from a hurricane. Normally you get a week or two of nonperishable food and some other supplies like batteries and maybe some plywood to protect your windows but you know that, unless you live in Houston or parts south as you get closer to the Gulf of Mexico, you are not going to have too many issues except loss of power.

    I wanted to send you and Akemi hugs today (Bubba).

    I had 3 pet sitting jobs cancel because their business trips and one family reunion was canceled. I’m doing one right now, a friend of 24 years, whose daughter used to be Patrick’s classmate. They have to drive to Florida once a year for the only specialist who deals with some medical co-morbid diagnoses along with autism. I’m taking care of her two dogs until they get back and then NOTHING until Easter. But I don’t know if they will be going. She is a nurse and she may be called for emergency duty if the hospital starts filling up. I think they had planned to go to Louisiana to see family them but I don’t count on it. We’ll see what happens. Jeff’s business trip tomorrow/Wednesday to go to New Orleans was cancelled. I believe his April one has also been canceled. They have asked their employees to work from home. I’m glad he will be home as tomorrow is my birthday. We’ll officially celebrate on the weekend when Patrick is home but I don’t think we’ve ever been apart on our birthdays.

    As far as Patrick goes — we have lots of questions. If he is exposed and winds up being positive, he is going to have to stay there without us coming over. If he is exposed and winds up being positive while he is home with us, then we’ve already been exposed and probably he should stay here BUT if he is here for 10 days he has to RE-ENROLL into the state’s program and there is a 15-year waiting list. There has been no edict coming from our state government about canceling this policy. I’m on immunosuppressants so I have to be super careful — so super careful that we had to go do a normal shopping because we were running low on food. There was still plenty of the things we needed and I had to do the menu on the fly in my head for substitutes. But we had to do this at 4:30 a.m. when no one was in the store (or at least very FEW people were there). Jeff is very healthy and has none of the health issues that would make him a risk. I would be the one on the respirator in I wound up having it. When I had what I think was the flu in January, I was able to lock myself in our master bedroom and Jeff just slept in Patrick’s room/bed and took his showers in the front bathroom. I did not pass it to either him or to Patrick when Patrick came home during part of my time in bed. It was a strange flu.

    Idris Elba announced he is COVID-19 positive, but the Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson were discharged from the Australian hospital and are self-quarantined at their house rental. That is at least good news. And then Justin Trudeau’s wife. I hope no one else in the family is affected.

  13. Things are awful in my area as far as supplies are concerned. I bought enough of everything for about 3 weeks, but I’m dismayed at the hoarding going on and the incompetence of our orange leader. We don’t have the supplies for medical workers and testing is a joke. We could see this coming, but no preparation from our government.

    I’m worried for myself because I have multiple risk factors being over 70, diabetic with lung and chronic kidney issues. I’m not going out, but I have two roommates who can’t work at home (obviously, many people have jobs that don’t allow for working at home). Plus I multiple caregivers who come and go. Not ideal.

  14. The Michigan governor just shutdown dine in restaurants and bars, but other than the run on toilet paper and canned foods, I haven’t noticed much difference. Locally, there was also a run on water filters. Maybe people are expecting to catch the virus through the water supply? Strange times…

    I’m most sympathetic for the service industry workers. There’s usually not a lot of room in their personal budgets and this has got to be hitting them hard.

  15. The toilet paper thing is more logical than it sounds. If you hear everyone is buying up toilet paper, you’re going to get enough to last you if the supply is exhausted for a bit. It will be exhausted and you’ll miss out of you don’t participate.

    The same thing happens with bread and milk. My mother-in-law wants us to get her some anytime she hears of snow. Pressing her for why gets me no where. But many believe at some point in time, supplies if bread and milk ran low and over time it became a custom to treat it as a supply that will have a “run” on it. Collectively believing it will happen makes it true.

    In this crisis, early reports were that TP was running low in Hong Kong, possibly because of it being made across a closed border. The “run” on TP made it around the world. It may even replace bread and milk someday as the supply you have to stock up on before everyone else gets it.

    It’s a safer thing for people to freak out about since it’s so easily substituted for so I welcome it as a global replacement for the various supplies that get a run on them before blizzards, floods, or hurricanes or just when rumors start around the world.

  16. Things are quiet here in Québec city, if i put aside the panick of the last week-end where grocery stores has been devastated for eggs and toilet paper. Prime minister is doing a great job…very presidential if you catch what I mean! There have been 25 000 tests since the beginning in Québec province, the same amount than…in USA at this day!!

    1. FargateOne, I’m most impressed with the chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and BC’s Dr. Bonnie Henry. Both seem to be doing a good job of explaining the situation without panicking everyone. I have a feeling my small city of Kingston, Ontario might have a few cases now, unfortunately. I hope La belle province does keep quiet!

  17. The virus came here via a priest of a very large church. They know he has had close contact with hundreds of people (possibly up to 800). Lovely! And we have a test kit shortage and sick people are being turned away from testing. You evidently have to be a local celebrity (i.e. a priest of a wealthy church) to be tested. It’s a sad state of affairs healthcare wise.

    Schools and most houses of worship are closed. People are being asked to voluntarily stay out of bars and restaurants and seating arrangements in open establishments have been modified to allow for a six-foot separation. Grocery deliveries have stopped because there isn’t much to deliver.

    I am extremely high risk, but I have to shop and get to doctors on my own. I’m clinging to my faith and being as cautious as possible. Unfortunately, I work part-time in a pharmacy and that scares me. No matter how many times I asked people to respect a six-foot perimeter, they kept getting in my face. Coughing without covering, too. Oh well… all I can do is all I can do.

    And, you CAN give the virus to dogs! They don’t yet think they can make humans sick due to the very low levels of virus found in their systems, but dogs have definitely tested positive. Cats are also believed to be susceptible. (I guess I should stop kissing mine, too.) Think about it, folks, this virus originated in and was first transmitted by animals.

    Joe, your intel is excellent and I appreciate the sources you have pointed out. Although you are not kissing/being kissed, you at least are not alone. Loneliness is a serious side effect of this.

    Stay safe!

  18. Hola from España where we are locked down!

    Honestly it’s not so bad. The schools are sending work for the kids during the day. I used to homeschool when I lived in rural Minnesota soooooo I’m just pretending I’m snowed in? The hardest part is not knowing the end date. Two weeks is unlikely going to be enough (and they’ve said as much). We can go out for food and medicine. Thankfully we don’t have a loss of income but we live near the local immigrant community and it’s going to hit them hard.

    I think you’re okay to kiss dogs though – just not people 🙂

  19. Ottawa, Canada area the first wave last week cleared out the toilet paper, meat and sanitizer products. Metro and Independent supermarkets set record sales. A local Costco had people lined up for blocks, police were hired to deal with the influx and had to stay open past regular hours just to process the customers. This week, so far the second wave is going for some of the fruits and comfort foods.
    If you know how to bake and create meals from scratch, the herd have left the basics in places alone. But with more spaces opening up on the aisles, it is best to add a bit more to the pantry just in case.
    A Toronto family member at a Canadian hardware chain notes face masks of any kind can’t be kept on the shelves.
    As for the greater community, a number of the churches are closed, seniors residences are restricting access, gyms are either closed or on reduced hours, libraries, pools and rinks are shutdown and this is the beginning.
    Hope everyone here has fun indoor activities.
    My go to pass the non-internet time is woodcarving and reading action adventure.Stay well all.

  20. I’m hoping in 15 days things will look brighter but you’re right about the workers. I’ve been an hourly worker and 15 days off would have been very unpleasant. Any longer than 15 days, we could have more homelessness and for sure, more bankruptcies. It seems like 15 days will give us a big advantage without completely decimating our lives. Not everyone can work at home. Fingers crossed!

    They’ve closed the pool at our local YMCA. That really hurts because swimming is my physical therapy. I’m trying to get a short run in, instead but running is painful. If you see a jogger stopping to do yoga, that’s me. 😉

    Yesterday, I couldn’t find any fresh carrots, onions or potatoes at our local grocery store. I’m going out today and see what I can find. There are paper products here but the big stores are sold out. Check Lowe’s or smaller stores if you need anything. I get why people are buying a lot of toilet paper but not why fist fights are accruing over them. My hubby has a saying when we make a huge deal out of a luxury “Another first world problem”.

    I hope everyone is doing ok out there!

    Good luck with your parents Ponytail!

  21. Hi Joe, Here in Ottawa schools are on a 3 wk March break. We are staying in as much as possible. Watching Man in the High Tower, Westworld and re-watching Peep Show(excellent to lighten the gloom)
    How is your mom doing? We plan to stack up some Tesco deliveries for my Mum in law in the uk.
    Stay well everyone!

  22. Hi
    here in Bavaria everything except supermarkets, pharmacies and a few others are closed. Bread and toilet paper are in high demand and difficult to get. The local supermarket put a note on the door saying that there will be no shortages and people should be reasonable.

    For me nothing changed – I broke my hip end January and am at home anyway. Time to catch up with all the unread books and unseen series – I might even do a rerun of Dark Matter.

    I hope the Corona situation will get better by June – we planned a 4 week trip to Canada…

    All the best to all of you

  23. Early March, I went to LA for a small friendship con for the Peter Wingfield fan club. He’s an engaging and lovely person, very nice of him to take time for us. He’s an anesthesiologist now! I was careful while transiting LAX, wiped down my plane seat, lots of hand washing. Did stock-up shopping before I went; my friend picked me upon my return, and we did some shopping, but nothing drastic. Got some groceries delivered. I am self quarantining because I have little doubt I was exposed. My allergies and asthma are up, constant headaches, a shallow cough, and heavy lungs. Should be alright. Concerned but not worried.

    I am prepared, because I usually have stuff in the house anyway. I don’t often go shopping, so when I buy stuff like TP, I get enough to fill the double drawer in the bathroom. Turn out the storage cubby in the guest bathroom is full too. I have a stocked pantry and a freezer, I think I am okay.

    Most of my friends are out of work, my paycheck to paycheck friends are hungry and panicky. I wish I could help, but my resources aren’t that abundant.

    My four year old grand nephew in NY has all the symptoms, and is a very sick little boy. Fever, cough, trouble breathing. His parents can’t get him tested, too young, not sick enough. He’s terribly sick! I am very worried for him.

    My trip to Salem and Boston in late May might be in jeopardy. Time to look things over.

  24. Good news-You can and must kiss Suji all the time. There’s no evidence to support animals can get or transmit the virus at all. I can’t seem to link the CDC site here but you can look it up easily. I dunno if Canada officials are saying something different but I trust the CDC . Stay safe!

  25. I scored some fresh veggies today. Yay! I haven’t had that many problems, other than finding some of my favorite items or chicken for the boys.

    However, I’ve been hearing stories that are jaw dropping. A friend of mine was at Lowe’s and picked up a box of toilet paper. A lady rammed his cart and took the paper! It’s like the Thunder Dome. This crisis is bringing the crazy people out into the open. They’ve always been there but now they aren’t hiding.

    I’ve heard a few people talk about multiple corona virus testing of individuals but… I have a friend that runs a factory near Nashville. He called the CDC to ask about buying test kits for his employees. The CDC told him they didn’t have ANY kits yet (in his area). Interesting… I mean, it’s a new illness. It takes time to research/develop the kits and even more to manufacture/distribute. So there aren’t enough test to cover everyone multiple times. Yet.

    Then you have mass shaming on Social Media of anyone doing their normal routine. Only later to see those same critics getting mani-pedis, their hair done or going to the gym. (eye rolling) Crazy times.

    As for me, I’m still hoping we can start getting back to normal in a couple of weeks. No one really knows, so I’m hoping for the best.

    If you haven’t looked, Narelle has a few interesting tweets from down under.

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