51 thoughts on “March 22, 2020: Delayed Reaction”

  1. In light of this crisis, I'm left wondering about the concentration of wealth in this country. Bloomberg and Steyer spent more than enough to have made every man woman and child a millionaire, with plenty left in their personal coffers. I'm frustrated because the real impact of societal lock down haven't even begun. Cities, like New Orleans, that were poorly managed before this are going to go bankrupt. We're moving into hurricane season, the river is rising, and there isn't anyone in the city government competent enough to deal with tearing down a building that collapsed on October 12th of last year - there are still two dead bodies inside that structure by the way.

    1. Yeah, this has all got me thinking about various ways our society is structured--things that I vaguely didn't agree with (e.g. employer-based health care) now seem hugely and obviously wrong. I'm been reflecting on our system for elections (and all the money spent) and what sort of leadership is needed at moments like this as well.

      I guess I'm not really offering any comfort here, but I will say you're definitely not alone in your thinking.

      1. We already see the younger generations (Millennials, Gen Z...and for myself I will argue younger Gen X at a minimum) much more open to an expansion of government and I can see COVID-19 making people even more comfortable with the idea. Especially when/if people compare the US Government response to what other countries are doing.

        I'll avoid getting more political, but will just say I think wealth distribution is a huge problem in our country.

    2. On board with you, but your math is wrong on the millionaire bit unless Bloomberg and Steyer spent 327 trillion dollars

    3. I said elsewhere that this has laid bare how arbitrary our systems are. I don't think this is inherently bad. There's an obsession within the software engineering field to present decisions as purely technical when it's simply a facade for what people want.

      This virus has already left a permanent mark on society and there are still greater impacts to happen. My hope is we can use these changes to move those arbitrary decisions to ones rooted in empathy.

      1. This virus has already left a permanent mark on society

        Not yet. If the social distancing efforts work and we end up with "only" tens of thousands dead, I would expect the collective conscience to move on pretty quickly. People will bitch about disruptions as unnecessary and politicians will fight to avoid blame for the short-term economic losses and nothing much will change.

        I hope the measures work AND critical changes happen. But ....

        1. Unfortunately, I agree with this.

          I think the biggest potential for change in the future is the shifting of the voting demographics.

        2. I think that employers that can will make sure that wide-scale WFH is ready to go in the future.
          I'm hoping to be given a work Laptop to have at home while still using a Desktop at the office.
          But maybe I'll be forced to just have a laptop, which means I'll have to tote it through the woods in my backpack in the rain. I figure once the first one gets ruined by rain, they might let me go to my ideal sitch (described above).
          Or they'll just give me a laptop-sized drybag.

          1. My plan, even before all this, was to gradually replace all our desktop machines with laptops and docking stations. COVID19 has just made my e.d. a bit more receptive. I am plowing ahead, first by buying laptops for our "pool", then for replacing desktops as part of the normal refresh cycle.

          2. I figure once the first one gets ruined by rain, they might let me go to my ideal sitch (described above).

            Unlikely. I walked plenty of times in the pouring rain, and the umbrella certainly helped, but the soaked backpack never transferred much water to its contents. I did rarely carry my laptop to-and-fro but the backpack did have a pocket for laptops that's in the primary compartment by the straps. That should also minimize any water transfer.

        3. When I see polls indicating 55% of people approve of the administration’s handling of the pandemic, I realize all over again how disengaged and/or misinformed so many Americans are. It does not instill confidence in our ability as a society to deal with big problems.

        4. How long do you expect to shelter in place? I can't help but feel it will persist for many months. I mentioned to the wife that I'm not sure school will resume in September. South Korea is returning to normal after quarantining and Taiwan doesn't even show up on the graphs because they flattened the curve to zero. Both countries put in the work to solve it collectively however.

          Overall, I don't expect much in terms of policy changes. Neither party has a clue. I instead expect vast culture changes, including the work-from-home policies Twayn mentioned, and PTSD to be what gets remembered.

          1. It’s also a worldwide issue—Korea and Taiwan may be ok now, but they can’t really allow travel from (at least) the US and Europe while there are so many infected in the US and Europe, and that is bound to have knock-on economic and other consequences.

  2. Here's something I've been thinking about.

    You may remember that my Mom is a nursing home. As with most, probably all nursing homes, visitors are not allowed. Also, the residents are not allowed out of their rooms very often, and when they are they have to be at least six feet apart. That means they rarely get to talk to anyone. Once in a while one of the staff will talk to them a little, but they have things to do and don't have time to just sit around and visit with the residents. That means they get very little person-to-person contact.

    I understand why they're doing this. But my Mom has always been a people person. She needs to talk to people. I call her every day, and so does Mrs. A, but that does not make up for person-to-person contact. In our telephone conversations, I'm noticing a definite cognitive decline. Granted, she was slowly headed that way already, but the pace has picked up significantly.

    Mom will be 95 in a few months. I wonder--are we really doing her a favor by taking all these measures to try to preserve her physical health at the price of her mental health? Is it really for the best if we keep her physically alive longer, but she is no longer herself and she is unable to get anything out of that additional time?

    Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what I think. The nursing home is going to do what it's going to do. And I'm not being critical--I know they mean well and are doing their best. It's not anyone's fault. But I really wonder if we're doing the right thing in a situation like this.

    1. Yeah I've thought about this too since I used to work in a nursing home. Of course, it's not just about the 95 year old who would rather die than be isolated, but the 75 year old who wants to live another 10 years. And the staff who go home and take care of an immunocompromised person when they're not taking care of the residents.

      I'm sorry Jeff. This all horribly sucks. Lots of decisions being made that at best are the best of a lot of sucky choices.

      1. Yes. As The Doctor once said, sometimes all of your choices are bad ones, but you still have to choose. And as I said, it really doesn't matter what I think anyway. Everyone's doing the best they can. None of us has any experience with something like this, so there's a large extent to which we're all making it up as we go along. All any of us can do is just make the best decisions we know to make when the time comes to make them.

    2. My grandma is 90. She told me over the phone the other day that she's not going to go looking for trouble, but she's not going to sit in her apartment and wait to either die or be released. My aunt has been taking her for drives to stay active. I think that's a good idea. I've been trying to call her more often, since I'm no longer able to go to lunch with her. I offered to go grocery shopping for her, by she's been taking advantage of the early opening time for the elderly at the local grocery store to get out for herself and have some self-independence.

    3. It makes me feel like it's a special mercy to our family that this happened after Grandma R passed. You may recall she was suffering from Alzheimer's and Grandpa went to visit her every day, fed her every meal. I can't think what this would have done to either of them in this situation.

      I feel strongly for families now caught in the same situation.

      1. This.

        The mom of a good friend from h.s. is in the rehab program at the Masonic home in Bloomington. She has computer access, but no visitors. Gotta be tough.

        1. Adding to the stressors my friend’s mom died today due to complications from Alzheimer’s. No funerals to be had. Hard to comfort your friends via Skype.

          Stay at home orders announced for tomorrow at 5 pm.

          When I leave my house I am completely conscious of what I touch, and then I am completely aware of what I touch next. I’ve become a zen master of ignoring any facial itch, or booger to be picked.

          I feel completely exposed outside my house, and do everything I can to avoid any close contact with any other human who isn’t dr. chop.

    1. I've been overruled. The little ghost wants to watch Jackie Robinson day.

      On the plus side, I don't know how this game turns out, so it could be more fun that way.

  3. Back from grabbing more office stuff from Mrs Runner's office, and...IKEA. I was pleasantly surprised with their pick up arrangements - they even had orange tape Xs 6' apart on the floor where people would queue. Pretty sure they're shuttering after today, though. Grocery store checkout was wiping down frequently, while the bagger went to her nose even more frequently :/

    1. I am waiting a couple more days to return to the grocery store and Costco, in the hopes that much of the initial wave of panic buying will have subsided.

      But I went to Ace and got mulch, tomatoes, peppers, and seeds. Gonna get one raised bed planted, I guess.

      Social distance was observed.

      1. I visited Target yesterday and overheard an employee say they get a truck every morning. I expect most other grocery stores are similar. They've refilled as best as they can and are continuing to try. They had a small amount of soap and somehow absolutely zero paper products.

          1. Same but there was nothing to ration. I'm waiting a minimum 72 hours before going back to restock on other rationed items.

  4. Our grocery store in town has had shortages periodically (bread is always low, occasionally milk, a few others), and toilet paper has been bought out a few times, but mostly they're "low" on things, not out (I usually see even t.p. there, etc.) The owner has indicated they're limited on the number of orders they can place, but not the items. Seems like maybe, given this is really a demand crunch, that fewer people in the community is creating less of a shortage. Again, I recognize how lucky I am in this, and my empathy goes out to those facing far worse circumstances.

  5. Social distancing:

          1. Yeah, I'm still a 2-spacer.

            If anything is gonna break me of it, it'll be Twitter when I am 2 characters over the limit

              1. I had it driven out of me by my profession, but I realize that wouldn't happen with the vast majority of jobs.

                  1. It's common now to collapse multiple spaces into a single gap when using proportional type faces. That's what happens in HTML.

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