Monday, March 16, 2020

The Coronavirus Panic - Good News and Bad News

The good news is President Trump met with the nation's food producers/distributors and there is a plan to keep the food coming despite "unprecedented demand":
Fares, Melissa & Baertlein (2020, March 15). Factories shift operations in scramble to restock supermarket shelves. Reuters.

As the fast-spreading coronavirus continues to alarm consumers across Europe and the United States, Trump held a phone call on Sunday with 30 executives from grocery stores including’s Whole Foods, Target Corp (TGT.N), Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N). Trump Administration official Larry Kudlow assured television news viewers that U.S. supply lines were “working pretty well.”
“The grocery supply chain is not going to shut down,” said Doug Baker, who leads crisis management for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the trade group representing food retailers and wholesalers.
“Manufacturers have also started allocating goods so they can ensure equal distribution across the country,” Baker said. U.S. retail giants such as Walmart Inc, Publix and Kroger Co (KR.N) have set restrictions on purchases of toilet paper, Lysol sanitizing wipes and other in-demand products.
Walmart, which gets more than half its U.S. revenue from grocery sales, has given store managers authorization to manage their inventory, “including the discretion to limit sales quantities on items that are in unusually high demand,”

The bad news is that some people feel that vulnerable life is not worth protecting:
Nick Brown, Brad Brooks (2020, March 16). Fear and loathing bloom as American tempers fray in coronavirus crisis. Reuters.

...The most concerned include parents of young children with severe health conditions. Among them are the Raatz family of Oviedo, Florida.

Their 8-year-old daughter, Ella, has multiple risk factors because of a neurodevelopmental disorder, epilepsy and a primary immunodeficiency.

“People just don’t seem to care about people who might be vulnerable,” said Becky Raatz, Ella’s mother. “Some people are not taking it seriously – when I see the photos of the people cramming into the bars, I can’t believe it.”
It may be that people cramming into bars are simply denying their own mortality, but in doing so they are inadvertently increasing risks for us all.

Of course, I understand why some people see such a gap between the response and the alleged risks, which often are trivialized as less than 1-2 percent of infected.

However, the case of Italy has shown us very clearly a major problem arising with the pandemic: Hospitals become overwhelmed and ordinary services disrupted by onslaughts of very sick patients.

Flatten the curve if you can by implementing social distancing.

Wishing you all well....

1 comment:

    How dangerous is a coronavirus infection?

    Usually coronavirus illnesses are fairly mild, affecting just the upper airway. But the new virus, as well as both SARS and MERS, are different.

    Those three types of betacoronaviruses can latch onto proteins studding the outside of lung cells, and penetrate much deeper into the airway than cold-causing coronaviruses, says Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, M.D. The 2019 version is “a disease that causes more lung disease than sniffles,” Fauci says.

    Damage to the lungs can make the viruses deadly. In 2003 and 2004, SARS killed nearly 10 percent of the 8,096 people in 29 countries who fell ill. A total of 774 people died, according to the World Health Organization.

    MERS is even more deadly, claiming about 30 percent of people it infects. Unlike SARS, outbreaks of that virus are still simmering, Fauci says. Since 2012, MERS has caused 2,494 confirmed cases in 27 countries and killed 858 people.

    MERS can spread from person to person, and some “superspreaders” have passed the virus on to many others. Most famously, 186 people contracted MERS after one businessman unwittingly brought the virus to South Korea in 2015 and spread it to others. Another superspreader who caught MERS from that man passed the virus to 82 people over just two days while being treated in a hospital 


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