The anniversary in the headline is that of this blog. It was born on this date 16 years ago. In that first post, I answered a reader's question about the difference between being 40 and 62.
If you check it out, fotolog mentioned in the story was an early social media website although I don't think the phrase, “social media” had yet been coined. Way back when, I posted photographs there. As the captions got longer and I had read about a then-new platform called a weblog, I started Time Goes By.
If anyone had asked back then, I would never have believed it would still be going 16 years later.
It was Friday morning last week that the full impact of the Corona virus finally hit me. Before then, I thought I could wash my hands a lot, leave home as infrequently as possible and when I must go out, wear nitrile gloves while keeping a distance from others. Inconvenient, but not difficult.
Then an email arrived suspending my twice-monthly current affairs discussion group until further notice. Shortly after that, a friend canceled our upcoming lunch date and I read a news story online that grocery shelves are being emptied and not always restocked.
My freezer suddenly looked chillingly empty.
So I got serious about thinking through how the virus will affect me and by extension, those I come into contact with.
Here is an additional measure I have added to the list in Friday's post to help me try to avoid becoming infected.
On Saturday, I ordered a supply of four prescription drugs that are essential to my well-being. An unknown percentage of U.S. drugs and/or their ingredients are manufactured in China (and some other countries), much of which has been shut down for many weeks so I am concerned about a shortage.
Vox reported a week ago that due to the spread of the virus, manufacturing in China has been disrupted,
”...taking factories offline that are only now slowly ramping back up. That’s all increased fears of potential drug shortages in the United States.
“But how worried should we be? Experts say the answer largely depends on how long these disruptions continue in China and whether the outbreak becomes widespread in other countries critical to the drug supply chain, including India.
On the other hand, reports Vox, many drug companies have backups in place and the U.S. keeps a Strategic National Stockpile of some critical drugs and medical supplies.
I am not deeply worried (yet) but have ordered my drugs in an abundance of caution. Read the Vox story, which is excellently reported, to see what you think.
GROCERY SHOPPING AND CREDIT CARDS
I made Saturday grocery day and, suited up in my nitrile gloves, went early hoping to avoid crowds. The first issue was missing carts – none in the usual storage area so I tracked down one in the parking lot. What was that about? Did someone tweet that the carts cure the virus?
Traffic inside the store was light. Still, it was hard to keep six feet of distance between me and other people. Repeatedly, other shoppers sidled up near me – within a foot or two – perusing the shelves. I moved on and if the item was important to me, I checked back when the aisle was empty.
Frozen vegetables were entirely sold out, freezer cases empty except for the veggies everybody hates like lima beans. I grabbed the last bag of broccoli and cauliflower and another of green beans.
The meat counter was empty. Nothing. There were no cooked chickens either. Fresh produce was hit and miss. Three cucumbers remained on the shelf but no blackberries and only four containers of raspberries. I checked four cartons of eggs before I found one without broken eggs.
Checking out, I used my new rule for payment: credit card only. I like to pay cash for most daily purchases because a quick glance at my wallet lets me know whether I'm on budget for the week. But now it's a card so I don't need to touch money which, even without a virus floating free, is one of the dirtiest things we handle.
There has been a lot of confusion about whether hand sanitizer is helpful against the virus with many false claims that it is not. The Centers for Disease Control says that if the sanitizer is at least 60 percent alcohol, it can be useful against contracting or spreading the virus.
You can read more about hand sanitizers at FactCheck.org.DEPENDING ON ONE ANOTHER
Few of us have any experience at this and in the U.S., confusion and negligence within the federal government make it clear that we do not have a trustworthy leader.
The governors of individual states and mayors of cities seem to be stepping up well, however. Even so, to a large degree we are each on our own.
Oddly, at a time when we must separate ourselves from one another to help ensure the health of everyone as much as possible, we need one another more than ever. To protect ourselves is to help protect everyone and for the foreseeable future, we each have a moral duty to live by the recommended precautions while holding one another in our hearts.
Let us know in the comments how your community is coping and what you are thinking about this unnerving cataclysm.