3:10 To Yuma
My Contribution to KOVID Konfusion

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Don

I’ve been spending too much time online, but those clips pretty much sum up how I’m feeling. I flew from NY to Florida Thursday (not the best choice I ever made). People down here don’t seem too panicked. Back home the stores are bare. My son, who just drove from CA to NY (we really know how to time our travel) has been our shopping for us. Then he’s heading to New Jersey and avoiding us for at least 2 weeks.

How are people reacting where you are (to anyone reading)? The media is in full frenzy mode. And our friend Rod is certainly all in.. Along with a lot of Trad Catholic Twitter. (This may come as a shock, but Twitter isn’t good for people’s mental health).

Stu

I'm in a Wyoming city (23,000) which is probably smaller than where most of you are. Lots of activity at the grocery stores and Walmart, my school is closing for two weeks to the students, then re-opening online (except for many disciplines apparently, which is causing confusion). The Bishop of Cheyenne sent instructions out to clergy, then my parish priest condensed those on our FB page. I have to say, I know it is Lent, but I'm no longer wild about the idea of gathering with people in a small space like a church these days. Of course the congregation is on the old side, as most are, who should probably just stay home. Will see what it is like tomorrow. Sigh.

Grumpy

Totally normal in South Bend. Someone at the gym told me there is panic buying on the south side of town. She also said that if the manufacturers of a product got sick, or the truck drivers, the supply chain could break down. So after the gym my lidger and I went to the supermarket. The carpark was not full at about 8.45 and the only item sold out is sanitizer. With two humans, two golden retrievers one pregnant, and a cat, we have enough food and tp for a month, I reckon though there would be a lot of rice and beans in that month. All the regulars at the gym and disc golf course.

Our Bishop Rhoades has a good solution, which is to relieve everyone of mass obligations while asking that the normal mass schedule continue. Cupich in Chicago cancelled all liturgy. We are holding Byz cath masses but stopping the extra lent stuff like the Akathist ceremony. I heard on the radio that all gatherings over 150 are banned, but my lidger and I dont think that touched the Greek Orthodox or Byz Caths - too few of us. I need to check on a famous hypochondriac and make sure he is ok.
Betcha he wont be up for a movie this weekend!

My two conferences over the next fortnight, at Wheaton and U of Dallas have been cancelled.

Grad student who went home for Spring break writes, poignantly, that ‘up state new york is out of tp and all civilized substitutes’

Mac

Pretty much the same here. Went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon and it was fairly busy, but I was thinking that it usually is on Fridays. So I asked the cashier if it was busier than usual and she just said "Oh my god..."

I'm laughing at all these people apparently thinking the anti-bacterial stuff is going to protect them. I doubt it's any more effective than ordinary soap.

I feel like either I've lost touch with reality, or a lot of our pundits have. Dreher is an instance. "unprecedented national catastrophe". What?!? And more than one has pronounced this the end of Trump's presidency. Even if you accept at face value the claims that Trump has done a bad job of dealing with this, it's not like people are dying by the thousands. Or even hundreds, last I heard.

My own suspicion about Trump's responsibility is that he's not as much to blame as his enemies say, nor as blameless as his friends say. It's *really* hard to sort that out, as has been the case all along with his presidency.

Anyway, it seems like most of the chattering classes and a fair number of ordinary people have just completely lost it.

Mac

The focus on Trump is yet another piece of evidence that too many people now look at the president as the All-Father, looking after mortal men, his children.

Don

I think I might be in the “just completely lost it” category. I just don’t want to be in the just completely got it category :).

Marianne

New Zealand has just imposed "the world's tightest border controls to combat the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus". One of which is banning cruise ships until June 30. Dunedin, where I live, usually has hundreds, sometimes thousands, of cruise ship passengers walking around town, going into shops, and other places. Relieves my anxiety a bit, although I'm still staying pretty much at home.

Mac

I expect you'll be fine. I think there's a good chance that this will one day be an entry in some future edition of Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

grumpy

I don't know if there is really something Im just missing or if people are going crazy about this. If its true that 70 thousand people died in the USA last year from flu, imagine if every death, and the rising number of deaths, was on the front page of every newspaper and the TV news. Two or three weeks ago, when it was still mainly in China, I asked one of my PhD students why the markets were the tanking over this, when so many more people die each year of 'ordinary' flu. He said because the coronavirus had the ability to disrupt supply chains - because Wuhan is the factory of the world. But now its not just about markets tanking. Its about Spain and Italy in quarantine. I appreciate that 6 thousand people have died of this virus, and each of these people were someone's brother or sister or mother, father, aunt etc. But 6 thousand is the number who died of flue in just over a month last year, if 70 thousand really did die of flu last year.

So Im not getting something. I appreciate there's no vaccination and no immunity, because its a novel virus.

At the same time, oddly enough, I did see from the beginning, in China, that this was a huge and fascinating mystery. From the beginning there were crazy legends about the virus, like people saying it escaped from the bio lab in Wuhan. There was something 'science fiction' about it, but true science fiction. I said so on facebook, to the annoyance of some of my close acquaintance who think flu and Lymm disease are a lot, lot worse, killing people and silently destroying lives every day.

So in one way, I don't understand why all the universities in America have shut down, but in another way I do see that somehow the virus is a mysterium tremendum et fascinans. Unlike nearly all the main diseases, from measles to cancer, we have no control over it.

Grumpy

It is true that traffic is really down - all day its been like the middle of a game on a home game day.

Marianne

Informative piece at Vox: "Covid-19 is not the flu. It’s worse."

Mac

I have no doubt that it's a serious thing. I also have no doubt that there is a lot of hysteria and over-reaction going on. I don't know where the proper degree of concern on a 1-10 scale is. It's really, really hard to sort it all out if you don't want to spend hours and hours on it.

Someone said to me yesterday that the effort to keep people from being exposed ought to be focused on the ones who are most likely to die or have a really serious hospitalization-required illness from it, meaning the elderly and those who are weakened for other reasons. I think that makes a lot of sense. Not shut down every school, cancel every event, etc, but try to keep the vulnerable more or less self-quarantined. The potential bad effects of shutting down or drastically restricting almost everything--like grocery store deliveries--are potentially a *lot* worse than the health risks to younger, healthier people.

But then I don't hear people talk about keeping truck drivers and grocery store employees at home. There's kind of an implicit assumption that the peasantry will just have to keep going.

Mac

" somehow the virus is a mysterium tremendum et fascinans."

Yes, sort of like an actual zombie invasion. For some people probably it has a zombie-movie-like thrill--they don't really believe they're going to be eaten, and it's kind of exciting.

There's also a Walker Percy kind of thing going on: the heightening of everyday reality in the face of some shock or danger.

Janet

I do think it's pretty serious.

I am distressed by the fact that churches seem to be among the first casualties. And you would never guess from my Facebook newsfeed that it's Lent. In previous years, my newsfeed was flooded with Lenten images, meditations, etc.

AMDG

Janet

A few days ago, we went to Kroger and aside from there being no hand sanitizer it was pretty much the same as ever. There was even a flat of toilet paper in the aisle, and one of Clorox wipes. Tonight we stopped by after Mass for a few things, and the shelves were more than half empty. No TP, no flour, no dry milk. The first Clicklist reservation available is two days away. This is rural Mississippi.

AMDG

Grumpy

Marianne Ive read that piece.

I do understand that they need to slow the spread of the disease to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.

Its a good thing Im not on facebook because of Lent. Id be blocked my half my acquaintance for not getting it

Mac

Preventing the hospitals from being overwhelmed seems like the most important thing, big picture-wise.I'm wondering about going to Mass today. Should I just stay home except to get food?

The hand sanitizer thing is misguided. The CDC guidelines say to use it if soap and water are not available.I'm seeing mention of people using sanitizer so much that their skin starts cracking.

Stu

My parish announced yesterday that today will be the final Masses until I think April. So I'm going to the 6pm tonight to pray with everyone and also try and remain a safe distance!

Janet

Our parish church is small and packed to the gills, so we went to a larger church for 6PM Mass last night. That Mass is not heavily attended, and I knew there would be room for people to spread out, which there was.

I don't know if we will go again. It really makes me sad.

I hope the priests continue to say Mass even if the public cannot come. The idea of the Sacrifice not being offered in this time of trouble chills me to the bone.

AMDG

Mac

As of now our regular schedule is still operative, but the archbishop has said,in effect, use your own judgement about whether to attend or not:You're dispensed if you are sufficiently concerned about your health or that of others. I don't have any doubt that priests will continue to say Mass even if the churches are closed,though I guess maybe not necessarily in the church itself.

Mac

Kevin Williamson,almost always interesting:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/03/coronavirus-notes-from-the-great-plague/

Janet

I am kind of interested to see if we end up with more money left this month than we would have had if we were working.

Basically, this is just giving me a good
excuse for doing what I want to do anyway. Maybe I will get back to reading my library.

AMDG

Mac

As you know, I'm off Facebook for Lent, but my wife tells me that she's seen more than one post from introverts saying "I've been preparing all my life for this."

grumpy

Yes, a young guy at work (who was not present today at Byz Catholic mass) says the time for germophobes like him has come, and a silent guy who looks the other way when people pass him in the corridor told a colleague 'now Norwegian introverts can have their moment'.

Mac

Clearly I have a way below normal need for ordinary human contact. For the past four years now I've been alone all day every day during the week, and never once have I wished there was someone around to talk to or whatever.

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