Grocery shopping during the pandemic

I have not been to the grocery store in nearly two weeks. I have been going out just for my daily walks though one day I did take a drive to the countryside for about half an hour just to get a change of scenery and also because I did not want to risk my car battery going dead from lack of use.

There are mixed reports in the media about the reliability of the supply chain for grocery stores. Authorities assure us that there is no shortage of food and other essentials except that suppliers have had to switch the way their products are packaged from largely serving restaurants to serving grocery stores. But some people report empty stores. How well and how frequently the stores are restocked may depend on where you live. Some places report that most items are available while in other areas the shelves are stocked each morning but get quickly emptied by people still panic buying. It appears that if people buy just what they need for a week or two, instead of months, there would be no problem.
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False choices in dealing with the pandemic

I wrote earlier that we are living in a strange time when things seem normal immediately around us while the news on a larger scale is alarming. Nathan J. Robinson echoes that sentiment and says that only those who know someone who has been seriously and adversely affected by the Covid-19 disease can fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation. He goes on to say that the pandemic has undermined many of the myths that sustain right-wing ideology and nowhere is this clearer than in the crackpot idea floated by Trump, his economic advisors Larry Kudlow, and their conservative allies that we need to ease up on the restrictions in order to ‘save the economy’.
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Jordan Klepper talks to Trump supporters

During the 2016 election, the very funny Jordan Klepper produced some excellent pieces for The daily Show talking to Trump supporters at his rallies. He then left the show but is back as a correspondent to once again cover Trump’s 2020 election campaign rallies. Below is a montage of him talking to Trump supporters at his rallies from the 2016 campaign and this year. Klepper is clean-shaven in 2016 and bearded now.

Despite his tough talk of going it alone, Trump is secretly begging other countries for help

Donald Trump’s initial response to the pandemic was to deny its potential for causing serious harm and instead, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, claim that the initial 15 cases would quickly dwindle to zero or magically go away in the spring. He and his supporters claimed that the fear was all a big campaign by his enemies to harm his presidency and re-election. Then when things started to look undeniably serious, he asserted that the US would be able to tackle it alone, even to the extent of rejecting the tests that the WHO had produced in favor of developing ones here. That led to a delay because the US tests did not initially work. Experts estimate that the US lost about four to six weeks of time due to this inaction, an eternity in pandemic time. South Korea and the US both reported their first cases on the same day but reacted quite differently, with the South Koreans moving very aggressively on testing and containment.
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Selective concern for the future of children

Now that Donald Trump has broached the possibility of quickly easing the restrictions that he thinks are harming the economy (which in his mind is the stock market), other right wingers are joining in support, using a curious argument.

Joining the president, a growing chorus of American television pundits, business leaders, tech investors, cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and right-wing influencers have decided to convince the American people that possibly dying from the coronavirus is a small price to pay for economic health.

No clearer was this utilitarian calculus articulated than by Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight on Monday night following Trump’s White House briefing. Patrick suggested that Americans over 70 would be happy to die for the good of the American economy.

“Those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick said. “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that America loves for its children and grandchildren?’ And if that is the exchange, I’m all in.”

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What’s the term for a group of three?

On reading the title of this post, readers would have immediately been able to provide the answer and may have wondered why I was even asking it.

But as I was writing my impressions of Lucia di Lammermoor and the sextet that is sung there, it struck me that while I knew the names for groups of singers of almost all sizes from two to ten (duet (two), quartet (four), quintet (five), sextet (six), septet (seven), octet (eight), nonet (nine), and dectet (ten)), I did not know the term for three singers. So I looked it up and (duh!) it is ‘trio’, a common word that I was very familiar with. After all, the Kingston Trio was a very popular group in my youth.
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Uh-oh, Trump is itching to do something dangerously stupid

I suggested earlier that when the stock market, the one piece of data that Donald Trump really cares about and pays attention to, drops below the level that it was at when Trump took office, he would do something stupid in an effort to try and bring it up again. That point was reached on Friday when the index closed at 19,182 and after stewing over it over the weekend, yesterday in the daily press conference, he suggested that he is considering loosening the guidelines on the movement of people at the end of the 15-day that began on Monday the 16th, causing consternation among health care professionals.
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People behaving irresponsibly during the crisis

At a time when everyone needs to follow the guidelines to control the spreading of the coronavirus, there are still people who simply do not grasp the seriousness of the situation or don’t care. For example, some Sri Lankans returning from Italy after that country got shut down evaded the checks and the quarantines imposed at the airport and went to their homes and, even worse, blithely wandered around their home areas, thus contributing to the spread of the virus. Strenuous efforts have been made to try and locate them and get them tested and quarantined, with only partial success.
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The coronavirus double whammy

With the coronavirus resulting in people being requested or even ordered to stay at home, only some of them will be able to continue working. All the others, especially those who have hourly wages, are faced with an immediate loss of income with many dire consequences. This is a worldwide problem but workers in the US, alone among developed countries, face an additional problem and that is the loss of health insurance. That means that if they do contract the disease, they will be faced with medical bills at the very time they do not have income.

I heard on the radio today that the 80 members of the chorus (comprising 20 each of the basic four singing categories of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses) of the New York Metropolitan Opera, the people I have been seeing every night in the crowd scenes in the operas, were abruptly told during a rehearsal on March 12th to go home. Their union only managed to get management to agree that they would be paid until the end of the month but did manage to ensure that their health insurance would continue after that. But many laid off workers, especially those in non-union jobs, will no longer have health insurance, assuming that they had it to begin with.