Even though this is nominally April Fools Day, I can’t help noticing how few April Fools pranks are actually being played today. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that nothing anybody could do would be disbelieved. Four months ago if you told someone an awkwardly-titled thing called “coronavirus” could cause so much chaos, they wouldn’t believe you.
Our president trump certainly didn’t.
It’s amazing how a tiny and nominally insignificant bit of bio-mass like a virus could devastate global economies and throw entire countries into chaos. I guess this really does prove that nothing is too tiny to matter. So that’s my bit of philosophy for today.
Preparing For A Pandemic
In other news; I’ve been working from home since March 13, several days after Winnie was furloughed from her job. This makes us much luckier than many people, as we still have a decent income. I’ve spoken with friends terrified after loosing their jobs; zero income, massive bills, needing food and don’t know where the money will come from. We’re also lucky as we are healthy.
Winnie was keeping in touch with her family back in China while they were dealing with this pandemic. As her family, and her native country, is slowly getting back to normalcy they’ve been telling Winnie what they did to avoid getting sick. Winnie took all of that to heart, and is using that information for us.
We ordered face masks back on January 30, as we had a really bad feeling what was happening in China was going to happen here. We actually checked Amazon.com prices and availability on face masks several days earlier, and discussed before deciding to buy. In those several days, prices had on average doubled, and shipping times were in weeks, not days. We managed to get 100 (2 boxes) for about $.60 per mask including shipping, with delivery in ten days. By the time we received those masks Amazon prices were going sky-high and shipping times were in weeks or months.
Furloughs and Working From Home
Winnie started a new job back before the holidays working at a local Costco doing food demonstrations. The company she worked for wasn’t Costco but an independent sub-contractor, Club Demonstration Services (CDS). They advertised as working in ten countries with 36,000 employees, in business 32 years. On Friday March 6 they abruptly ceased doing food demos due to the possible risks involved with food handling and the coronavirus. Winnie’s status became “furloughed,” indefinitely. Monday morning, March 30, her former team lead called to let Winnie know the company was shutting down until further notice and Winnie was officially laid off. There’s no word on when the company will resume operations.
My case has been different. As a government contractor I have job security as the government isn’t going to shut down (as long as there’s a budget). My firm is also a pretty progressive outfit that believes in taking care of the employees. So on Friday March 13 we practiced a firm-wide “telework” run, to test the capabilities of our network. My government clients had a permission matrix of how to determine if people could work from home. I was high risk on account I’m an old fart (over 60) so I’ve been working from home ever since.
The good news is that Winnie and I have been locked in the house together for almost three weeks now, and we’re still getting along.
This New Storm
We did stock up on food and necessities, but by no means “hording.” I’ve had to get out every several days to take care of things, but otherwise stayed at home. I’m monitoring the news pretty closely, trying to absorb everything going on. This is where I believe my experiences with Hurricane Katrina are coming into play.
What I’m noticing in myself is that I’m loosing my time sense, loosing track of daily events. I had this same feeling in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I’ve read several bloggers sharing the same thing. Which leads me to believe we are nationally in a collective state of shock at the fast-paced events of the past couple months. I think people are mostly feeling dazed, confused, not sure who to believe and don’t know when we’ll be back in a state of normalcy again.
The economic impact is beyond belief. People in every level of the economy are feeling the impacts. Entire industries have shut down overnight. Way too many people in this country have no savings and can’t even miss three paychecks without serious issues. I’ve read that farmers are loosing their entire crops because the customers they normally sell to are shut down. There’s no one to work the harvest even if there were customers. Food banks are facing demands they’ve never experienced.
People who are hungry, broke, with no hope of being normal again are going to become desperate. It doesn’t take much for these people to turn into a violent mob looking for scapegoats. Our piece of shit president is doing what he can to fan the flames of racism, again, frequently calling the coronavirus the “China Virus” while simultaneously denying there’s anything racist about it. Wink Wink.
These are dangerous times.