2020 will forever be remembered for Coronavirus or COVID-19. I am not exaggerating when I say this has been the most surreal week of my life. My mother, who is 30 years older than me claims the same. News reports about a rapidly spreading flu-like virus began in late January. I admit I was very skeptical. After all, this all started in Wuhan City, China. The number of flu cases and flu-related deaths dwarfed the cases of COVID-19. As of today they still do, but this virus is gaining steam and is a bit more dangerous. Let me be clear, it’s not ebola. But it’s fatality rate is a couple of percentage points higher than flu, which when coupled with how quickly it’s spreading is a big deal. It also appears to target those over 55 at a disproportionately higher rate. That’s not to say children don’t catch it, but the number of cases is far fewer.
It found it’s way to America about 4 weeks ago. As cases began to pop up all over America, things started getting really weird. The first thing that happened is that the stock market began to plunge. Next travel restrictions began. Large gatherings were discouraged and social distance was encouraged.
The media coverage is insane. It all seemed to culminate this week with the following:
- After two NBA players contracted the virus, the NBA postponed the remainder of the season
- The NCAA canceled March Madness. So sad. My poor Dayton Flyers. I feel so bad for those guys having a historic season end this way
- Major League Baseball has delayed the beginning of its season
- The Masters Tournament has been postponed
- In-bound flights from Europe have been barred
- Cruise lines (also known as floating petri dishes) have been closed
- Movie premiers have been postponed
- International Soccer, Nascar and the NHL have suspended their seasons
- All concerts are being canceled, including Stagecoach and Coachella
- Schools in numerous states, including Ohio, have been closed until at least April 3rd
- South by Southwest canceled in Austin
- Boston Marathon postponed
- Broadway is closed
- Libraries are closed
- Disney is closed
You get the picture….
Everyone in our company that can work from home has been asked to do so.
As you might imagine, people are in a bit of a panic. As of today the news tells me there have been about 156,000 cases worldwide with about 5,800 deaths. As of today, there have been 13 positive tests in Ohio.
I think the scariest things right now is the impact on available goods. For example, I have been to the grocery twice in the past three days. Stores are wiped out. There’s no toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towels, bottled water or baby wipes. There are shortages on everything. I must admit that the sight of empty shelves made me buy more than usual. It’s all very weird.