Coronavirus Update: Schools Close, Shoppers Put A Squeeze On Charmin Supplies

Coronavirus Update: Schools Close, Shoppers Put A Squeeze On Charmin Supplies

I used to live in Seattle. It was tough enough even when there wasn't a coronavirus panic. So far in Washington state, there are 18 confirmed cases (the official number) and six fatalities associated with the virus. King County announced a state of emergency. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared one for the entire state on Saturday. At least a dozen Seattle schools closed Monday to sanitize the classrooms, and parents had to stay home with their kids when they could be working or just not staying home with their kids.

A Mill Creek, Washington, high school closed when it was discovered a student had somehow contracted the disease also known as COVID-19. A Lake Oswego, Oregon, elementary school is closed through Thursday because someone who lives with a school employee tested positive for the disease.

The coronavirus is at present not considered a threat to the larger US student population. However, school officials are balancing students' safety with their ongoing education (and parental sanity). Contingency plans are being put in place in the event this stretches out for a while.

The Northshore School District in Bothell, Washington, informed parents that it's closing schools on Tuesday to train teachers how to "teach remotely" in case students have to stay home for an extended period. I think you might need more than a day for that. Who's going to train the kids how not to wander off from the laptop or play a game on another tab?

Two Florida residents tested positive for the coronavirus last weekend, and Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency on Sunday. The same day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the first case of coronavirus in New York state. There are now 80 confirmed cases in the US. Last week, Mick Mulvaney, (acting) White House chief of staff, tried to reassure everyone by pointing out that the coronavirus is not Ebola or a tumor.

MULVANEY: The flu kills people. This is not Ebola. It's not SARS, it's not MERS. It's not a death sentence, it's not the same as the Ebola crisis.

Don't worry, Americans! The coronavirus isn't these lethal things. It's another lethal thing altogether. Although the coronavirus isn't an airborne death plague as dramatized in the movie Outbreak, it's still a bummer when old people, health care workers, or anyone with a weakened immune system dies from the virus. With the usual gang of Trump idiots steering the ship, it's no wonder people are freaking the fuck out. The F5 Tower in downtown Seattle closed Monday for extensive cleaning because an employee was in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

From the Seattle Times:

"We are committed to supporting this employee's health, as well as protecting their privacy," company spokesman Rob Gruening said in an email Monday.

"Our concern is with the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners and communities worldwide; and we have and will continue to put in place public safety measures. This includes sanitizing our offices and closing the F5 Tower for business on March 2."

The employee eventually tested negative.

Stores are also getting picked clean as "panic-buying" sets in. People are stocking up on shelf-stable foods, disinfectant, bottled water, and toilet paper. It's like the South whenever the weather forecast calls for light snow. The Department of Homeland Security does advise having at least a two-week supply of food and water, along with prescription and non-prescription medications. I also appreciate the person who stocked up on margarita mix.

Noted physician Donald Trump suggested that the coronavirus, which came in like a lion a few weeks ago, would go out like a lamb when spring arrives. As with everything else Trump says, there is no evidence to support his claim. Trump also met with comic-book supervillains pharmaceutical executives to discuss the development of a coronavirus vaccine that I'm sure will be fairly priced to maximize shareholder profits.

DR. TRUMP: We're talking about a vaccine, maybe even a cure.

There is no cure for a virus. However, I am pleased to hear that the president's changed his opinion about flu vaccines.

From a 2015 interview on Sirius XM's "Opie and Anthony" show:

DR. TRUMP: I've never had [a flu shot]… I don't like the idea of injecting bad stuff into [my] body. I have friends that religiously get the flu shot and then they get the flu… I've seen a lot of reports that the last flu shot is virtually totally ineffective ... I've passed on it, but that doesn't mean [other] people should.

Even though there's no coronavirus vaccine yet, you definitely shouldn't "pass on" a flu shot right now. Limiting cases of the flu can free up hospital space for sufferers of the coronavirus. Now, I need to go check my toilet paper supply.

[New York Times / Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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