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Pandemic Shopping Trip

Face masks in the medicine cabinet.

Securing a mask from the medicine cabinet in the garage, I went to the wholesale club to get groceries. We’re bunkering in at least until the coronavirus pandemic peaks which is estimated to be April 27.

I bought three bags of granola, two gallons of cow’s milk, fresh fruit and sundry other items. Toilet tissue was being rationed and I bought one pack.

Workers at the wholesale club recognized me with the mask. We had regular conversations as if I wasn’t wearing it. Other friends at the store, among whom I worked providing product samples to shoppers in 2014-2015, were all laid off on Sunday. As subcontractors, they were told they would have to reapply for their job if they re-start operations after the pandemic. I will miss talking to many of those who remained from my tenure.

What to do during a pandemic?

I downloaded questionnaires similar to what a physician might use to assess mental health and answered the questions. I’m pretty good on suicide and depression, although I have cause for anxiety. I’ll be alright.

The number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Iowa on April 7 was 102, the highest daily total thus far. It’s expected to get worse during the next two weeks so now that shopping is done we don’t have to leave our property. Yesterday the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases increased to more than 1,000 so recording where we are is useful to a future me.

Here is the Iowa state government COVID-19 data today:
The governor has not implemented a stay at home order and likely won’t unless the situation changes. She discussed Iowa’s plan for social distancing with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, this week:

I had good conversations with the governor of Nebraska and the governor of Iowa here. And it’s interesting that functionally, even though they have not given a strict stay-at-home — what they are doing is really functionally equivalent to that, Fauci said. I think there was a public response that they weren’t really doing anything at all. And they really are doing a very good job. Both of them. Those are the only two that I spoke to. But it was a really good conversation. I want to make sure people understand that just because they don’t have a very strict stay-at-home order, they have in place a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing.

Considering the scope of the pandemic, Iowa appears to be in reasonable shape. Here’s an analysis of key Iowa resources from healthdata.org:

Staying home helps slow spread of the coronavirus. Our household is doing it’s part. I’m thinking of my laid off friends at the wholesale club and hoping they make it. Like them, we will all have to re-apply ourselves in the new paradigm after the pandemic runs the first wave of its course. COVID-19 will be a permanent fixture in society, even after a vaccine is developed. For now, we are provisioned and ready to make it through the next couple of weeks.