What a nuisance. We’ve concluded that our local grocery store is not safe — it’s jaw-dropping to walk in there and see absolutely no precautions taken to prevent the spread of disease, with few workers wearing masks, and less than 10% of the customers doing so, and blatant disregard for social distancing. We aim to outlive this pandemic, and with the threat of the university re-opening in August, we’re starting to really buckle down on shunning other human beings as much as possible. So…Willie’s has lost our business. That’s their loss.

Unfortunately for us, we don’t have nearby alternatives. So we’re going to have to drive 45 minutes away to shop and stock up on groceries, and that’s our mission this morning. There goes a big chunk of my day.

Of course, that still leaves Willie’s fountaining viruses into the community. I guess I need to just run away from all Morris residents.

Yep, we’re all going to die. The Aldi in Alexandria is only slightly better than the Willie’s in Morris. Most of the workers were wearing masks, and most of the customers were wearing masks. There is no enforced policy in place. One woman came in with two squalling kids who were yelling non-stop. No face masks. Come on, leave the kids at home or in the car, and wear a mask — show some respect for other people.

I don’t understand how anyone could look at the rising numbers in the data and not realize that the time to put in some effort at prevention is long before the pandemic reaches crisis levels, and then won’t take the simplest, easiest, most painless steps to survive. We’re going to deserve the epitaph that says, “Humanity: they had all the tools and foresight to cope, but they were too stupid to use them.”

Oh well. A hundred years from now, the bison and prairie chickens and wolves will be frolicking on the grasslands thriving on the nitrogen and phosphorus from our corpses, so someone will come out ahead.


  1. Jazzlet says

    Sorry people in Morris are being so dumb, hope they are more sensible wherever you are going.

    I have taken to ordering a lot of our food on-line because too many people here (the UK) are not wearing masks, are not social distancing, in fact are acting as if we are completely back to normal;at nearly sixty with a partner of sixty-two with only one kidney I don’t think our chances are particularly good if we catch COVID-19.

  2. robro says

    Well, the good-ish news for you is that Stevens county is only considered a yellow risk by the Harvard Risk Factor Map. Three neighboring counties are green (Pope, Big Stone, and Lac Qui Prairie), but Grant is orange. In fact, only two counties in Minnesota are red, Pipestone and Watowan, well to the south of you.

    Of course, if your neighbors are being irrespsonsible, then the risk could easily jump up.

    The county where I live, Marin, is red today. It’s been bouncing between orange and red since the Harvard tool came out.

  3. says

    Yes, there have been only 41 confirmed cases in Stevens County and no deaths. People don’t take risks seriously if they’re largely hypothetical and/or represent a radical change from current reality. They build their houses on the slopes of active volcanoes, in flood zones, and of course they spew C02 into the atmosphere heedlessly.

    I will say however, that where I live in Windham County, CT is also low prevalence but people here do wear masks and otherwise take this seriously, which I attribute largely to effective leadership by our governor. Also awareness of the catastrophe in the western part of the state, I imagine. Anyway, we want to keep it out, and so far we’re doing well.

  4. says

    I was talking to my parents the other day. They live in a small Eastern Oregon town of about 16,000 people. Even in a small town like Pendleton, Oregon (where they make the wool blankets), people are sill masking up at the grocery store. I hate Pendleton, it’s full of redneck idiots but we’ve still managed to reign that shit in and get those ignorant bastards in line.

  5. raven says

    I’m having a similar problem at one of the few stores I go to.
    It’s a big box general merchandise store.
    People are now wearing masks because it is a state requirement.

    Before the holiday last week, it was crowded.
    Most people were having trouble with the social distancing though, and I kept getting pushed into
    areas of the store with fewer people.
    The place is by far the most dangerous necessary store in the area.

    I’m just going to have to figure out the most off peak time period to go, and avoid it the rest of the time.

  6. davidc1 says

    Doc ,it’s a pity you have turned your back on faceache ,you miss American women in their late seventies acting like toddlers in Costco .One was asked to wear a mask ,she said” I am an American Citizen “,and went and sat down on the floor .
    The store manager managed to make her sod off .In another store ,a clearly mentally ill woman destroyed a display of face masks in Target ,i think it was ,the police were called ,and she started raving about The Snatch Snatcher ,and she was was working for the white house .
    No better over here ,the pubs were opened for the first time in three months ,fights broke out ,and cases of Covid 19 are starting to creep up .

  7. says

    I also have to drive further away to buy groceries now. Local doofuses refuse to wear masks and they also ignore social distancing guidelines.

    Luckily, I do get to enjoy curbside service when I drive further away. I order online and then pick up my groceries at the curb.

    I still have problems with the pharmacy. I may have to switch my prescription to a pill delivery service.

    The daily rise in COVID-19 cases in my state looks like a line that shoots up almost vertically when you graph it. People here are just ignoring that.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    If only there were some quaint rural aphorism the locals could identify with, such as “closing the gate after the horse has left the barn.”

  9. garnetstar says

    Don’t know if you could call the local store and ask for curbside pickup? They charge $3 for that at my store, you could offer them that? Phone in your order for them first?

    For anything non-perishable, from toilet paper, cleaning supplies, toiletries, grains, food in cans, and the like, buying online is better. If your order is large enough, they’ll give you free shipping (and then you won’t have to order again for a long time). And, if you search long enough, you’ll find competitive prices, and also, look into online coupons (there are lots of sites), which save you a lot of money. Of course, you then have to find a place to store, say, a case of toilet paper rolls and 12 bottles of laundry detergent, but oh well.

    Here’s a trick with Amazon: they have a Subscribe and Save thing, which you click on and get 5% off. That contracts you to get the item delivered every month, 2 months, whatever you choose. And, if you put at least five items on Subscribe and Save, you get 15% off the whole order. They consider, say, five different flavors of the same cat food five different items. So, that’s 15% off a large cat food order, or whatever combination of other items you want. Naturally, the shipping is free because the price is over $25.

    Then, as soon as your first order is delivered (sometimes even before that), you cancel all the Subscriptions. They don’t ever seem to notice that you’re scamming them and actually only ordering once at the discounted subscription price. Good.

    Do you have any Community-Supported Agriculture farms in your area? You can look them up online. You pay them the farm a monthly subscription, then every week you go and pick up a shopping bag or two (however many your subscribed for) of whatever fruits and vegetables they grew that week. But, that’ll only last until about October.

    Be aware that, if you have money coming out of your ears, you can get fresh produce delivered all winter. A last resort only.

  10. whheydt says

    Got to take exception to one point… Do NOT leave young kids alone in the car. All to often, that leads to dead kids.

    In other news… Bolsonaro (Pres. of Brazil, and a pandemic denialist) has tested positive, after showing symptoms of COVID-19.

  11. says

    We are low risk now, after the university was closed and there was a net flow of people out of the county last spring. In August, we reopen, and at least 1500 students will leave their homes in Minneapolis or Chicago or Iowa or the Dakotas and move back here, bring along whatever else they picked up along the way. I’ll predict a sudden surge in our numbers by early September.

  12. weylguy says

    I don’t understand how anyone could look at the rising numbers in the data…

    Sadly, about 30% of the American populace looks at the data and their minds go blank. All they see and hear is what Trump tells them.

  13. raven says

    PZ Myers @11
    I’ll predict a sudden surge in our numbers by early September.

    That is pretty much guaranteed.
    The universities are already having trouble with Covid-19 virus outbreaks.
    The U. of Washington had a large one in their fraternities.
    Xpost from Political Madness thread today.

    I don’t see that they will open up the schools and universities at least even mostly this fall anyway.
    There is way too much virus around and it is getting worse.

    One of the fastest growing categories of cases are children under 10.

    With the present trend, I’m guessing they will open the schools and universities, there will be clusters of cases, and some children and young adults will just die.
    And then they will rethink the whole idea in a hurry.

  14. whheydt says

    Re: raven @ #14….
    In the mean time Trump and his sycophants are DEMANDING that schools open up, full time, with all students in classrooms 5 days a week.

    From what I can see locally…Not going to happen. As it is, the local school district is just playing around with various scenarios from all kids in the classrooms all the time to all kids doing “distance learning” all the time. Right now, they just don’t know any more than those of outside watching do. (I’m betting on some form of half the kids each in half the time, or no kids actually in the schools at all. The one scenario they don’t seem to be considering half the kids Monday and Tuesday with the other half in school Thursday and Friday with Wednesday being a “deep cleaning” day.)

  15. robro says

    PZMyers @ 11

    Something to watch for when students return. I wonder how many other temporary demographic shifts are reflected in those risk assessments.

    Jair Bolsonaro had a fever and tested positive for COVID-19. Wonder if he still thinks it’s a media trick. Incidentally, he was being tested regularly…I guess just to make sure he didn’t catch the media trick.

  16. R. L. Foster says

    I can’t tell you how reluctant I was to move to Virginia when my wife was offered the position at W&M many years ago. We were living in Columbus, Ohio at the time — not the most liberal of cities, but it did have a vibrant left-wing and gay subculture, a great food scene and very affordable housing — so I was not really that keen on moving. (To. The. Effing. South.) But we did (money makes the world go round) and now I must admit that Virginia has changed a great deal for the better in the last ten years. Maybe it’s where we live, but most people here are taking this pandemic very seriously. We have a very large Black population and they know the score better than many whites seem to. In short, I have no issues going grocery shopping here.

  17. Craig says

    Willie’s does seem to have a ghastly Curbside Pick Up and Home Delivery order form. I won’t pretend that it’s anything near reasonable to use, but you might consider giving it a roll. It certainly has (at $1) one of the lowest pulling charges I’ve ever seen.

  18. vairitas says

    Wow, I know you live in the heartland, midwestern family values and all that, but are you really advocating for people to leave their kids in the car? Or at home alone? By the time my kids were old enough to to be left alone, at home or in the car, they were well beyond the squalling stage

  19. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Remember that transmission via the eyes is possible, from spittle from someone directly talking to you without a mask, and so wear eye coverings too. I’ve been wearing either ski goggles or a full face shield.

    As others have said, get groceries delivered. If you want to be really safe, don’t get perishables at all, and just leave the groceries in the garage for a few days before bringing them inside.

    Of course, must do face masks, no touching face, lots of hand washing when getting home, and touching as little as possible between getting home and washing hands. Personally, I try to cover up as much as possible with clothing when I go out, and as soon as I get home, right after I close and lock the door, I strip and put the clothes in a quarantine room, and then wash my hands, and I don’t touch those clothes for a couple days, enough time to let the virus die.

    Perishable foods are much harder and more risky. When I get fruit or vegetables delivered, I’m scrubbing them in cool running water by hand, for 20 seconds each, being careful of water splashes to my face.

    Be safe everyone.

  20. magistramarla says

    Here in beautiful Monterey, Ca., hordes of tourists came pouring in on Memorial Day weekend, causing a spike in cases for Monterey County. We’re expecting to see quite a spike soon, since the Independence weekend crowd was huge, too. The beaches and most attractions were closed, but that doesn’t seem to deter them.
    The extra people come in and crowd the already crowded Safeway and Whole Foods stores even more than usual.
    We are very, very lucky that we have access to our sleepy little military commissary and PX. Between the two of them, we can get most of the things that we need, including fresh produce. There is limited access. The ID checker at the door makes sure that no one enters without a mask and counts so that there are only 75 people allowed in at a time. The colonel in charge stalks the aisles, chastising anyone who takes their mask off or is not social distancing.
    Even though I’m at high risk, being over 60 and having an autoimmune issue, I feel quite safe going to the commissary with my mask and gloves on.
    LOL The administration at the White House may not be taking the pandemic seriously, but the military installations certainly are!

  21. DLC says

    I regret to say that the United States shall indeed be the biggest in one thing. We shall be the biggest disease host ever. Traitor Trump will stop at nothing to insure that this disease becomes ubiquitous, infecting more than 10% of Americans and thus guaranteeing that in the fullness of time the entire population has had it. He has been told by trusted sources that Once you have it, you’re good to go — that you have survivor’s immunity. Except that this may not be true with this virus. Medical professionals are seeing people who’ve had it before, and some of whom may have had it more than once. Trump is doing his level best to destroy the United States, and he is coming close to doing just that. Voting him out in November may save us. and it may be too late by then. Decisive action was needed back in January, and didn’t happen. Three months ago I predicted we would hit 5 to 7 million cases and 400,000 deaths. I’m afraid that was before we “opened” too soon. I really don’t want to revise my estimates, but it would be intellectually lazy to do so. “back of the envelope figures” leave me thinking probably 12 to 14 million cases and 600,000 deaths, many of them in socially disadvantaged groups. I want to be wrong about this. I really do.

  22. methuseus says

    Many people here are wearing masks, except at the more rural locations. One exception is a man with a 3-4 year old girl. She kept pointing to the arrows on the floor, telling him to go that way, but he said, no, we’re going this way, and went down the aisle with the “do not enter” on the floor. Care about your kid! I usually leave the kids at home with my wife when going to any store anymore.

  23. raven says

    Traitor Trump will stop at nothing to insure that this disease becomes ubiquitous, infecting more than 10% of Americans and thus guaranteeing that in the fullness of time the entire population has had it.

    The old herd immunity mistake.
    There are several flaws in that strategy as we are finding out by looking at Sweden and Brazil.

    We have no idea how long it will take and what level of infection to get to herd immunity.
    This virus is like a low level forest fire.
    It is always burning with hot spots here and there.
    And places where the population is successfully containing the virus by social means.

    It could take many years to get to herd immunity!!!
    How many years?
    No one knows.
    It will be over 1 to 2 years, it could be 5 years or 10 years.
    Do we really want to watch 1,000 people die every day for 5 years?

  24. raven says

    It would take years to get to herd immunity, even assuming that there is herd immunity with this virus.

    Fortunately there is an ancient, well known way to achieve herd immunity.
    One that doesn’t involve the human sacrifice of a million or so US people.

    Vaccines, of course.
    We don’t have to wait 5 years for herd immunity, just wait long enough for a vaccine to be developed.

    FWIW, this pandemic is going to leave an impression on everyone alive today.
    Around 16% of the patients are showing permanent disabilities involving mostly the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain, at least partly due to activation of the blood clotting system.

    The number is not well known as of yet.
    It could be even higher than 16%.
    A lot of people who weren’t all that sick and never went to the hospital are having long term problems.
    I read about one guy, who has serious coordination and balance problems.
    It sounded like microclot damage to the brain to me.

  25. raven says

    Scientists warn of potential wave of COVID-linked brain damage
    Reuters Kate Kelland 7/8/2020

    LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.
    “My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits …

    Latest news.
    We don’t yet have really good data on the numbers of patients with after effects of Covid-19 virus infection.
    That will come later.
    A lot of this is because we are still all just trying to stay alive.

  26. blf says

    Poopyhead, in your previous post abot this problem, commentator Bruce suggested looking into Pomme de Terre, which is there in Morris. (Sorry for the farcebork link, their own website seems to be non-functional?) From what I can gather from across the pond — I’m in France — they may very well be worth investigating? From what I can gather via the WWWeb, they seem to be serious above Covid-19 precautions, etc.

    Also, are there any Framer’s Markets or similar? Whereever I’ve lived, they or the local equivalent have good produce, often locally-produced. And not always expensive (as one example, here in the village where I live, a local farmer sells organic eggs for c.1€ less than typical shop prices; both a bargain and also very fresh).

    Finally, ask your students! They probably can easily tip good and (hopefully) safe(er) places.

  27. blf says

    me@33, serious above Covid-19 precautions → serious about Covid-19 precautions…

  28. blf says

    I’m shaking and frightened at the moment… In common with many other places in S.France (and presumably elsewhere), during the summer there is a nightly outdoors Marché nocturne (Night Market) along the esplanade, which is mostly aimed at vistors / tourists. I decided to take a tour of it tonight, since next week includes Bastille Day, which (based on previous experience) is when things start to get really busy; i.e., I figured the crowds wouldn’t be too large and would be social distancing, etc.

    Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

    Whilst the crowds were small(-ish), nothing else was even vaguely satisfactory. I only walked about one-third of the market, deliberately the portion where the esplanade is wider, and was quickly scared: No social distancing, essentially no masks (at most a dozen other people, none of them stall vendors), large “clumps” of people, and on and on and on. Everything the virus loves. (Some of the restaurant and bar staff were masked, but not all — the rules say all must be; and not all tables appeared to be spaced at least one metre apart, as they are supposed to be.)

    How many are foreigners or from out-of-region I have no idea. But it doesn’t take many asymptomatic or presymptomatic people to start a cluster / hotspot, and I have next-to-zero confidence there won’t be — aren’t — any carriers.