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Coronavirus pandemic causes people to behave crazy

Two weeks ago, I wrote about talking to my daughter about the Coronavirus threat and why she should not be worried. And while I thought that would be my only post on this topic, the world has gone crazy. Now we have Disney World, the NBA, festivals and production of dozens of TV shows and movies closing down. We have city, state and national declarations of emergencies. And we have people going crazy stocking up on bottled water, Clorox wipes and toilet paper as well as ransacking grocery store shelves leaving them bare of canned goods, meat, eggs and milk.

The rest of the world may be running around like the world is coming to an end, but not us. As I said two weeks ago, we are not concerned about the virus.

Since my first post, we have celebrated Lexie’s birthday. We typically do something with her friends the weekend before her birthday. This year, we ordered pizza for her and her best friend and did some science experiments at home before going to the movie theatre to see Onward. (Great movie from Pixar/Disney) This was our kickoff for the kids’ Spring Break from school. Tuesday, we went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and enjoyed short lines for all the rides as fear of the virus kept away the normal hectic Spring Break crowd.

Thursday of Spring Break was Lexie’s birthday, and we celebrated by going out to a restaurant owned by Lexie’s best friend’s parents. It is a Japanese Steakhouse where they cook on your table. The restaurant was not busy at all, though I am not sure if that is because we went early on a weekday or because people are avoiding eating out and/or restaurants with Chinese or Japanese workers. It was a great meal.

And then the next day, everything changed. San Antonio’s mayor made an emergency declaration. The city postponed Fiesta, a 10-day celebration that brings in $340 million to the city, that would have run in April. But the news that mattered most was the mayor banned public gathering of groups over 500. This caused our school district to cancel school for the next week, which is the current length of the ban.

I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it to happen, but it still wasn’t something I wanted. Yes, I know the reasoning behind the closures – to delay the spread of the virus. A surge of sick people needing medical attention would test the limits of our hospitals. But it is hard to see everything close when the virus doesn’t seem as catastrophic as the media is making it out to be. Of course, the numbers are definitely off since testing has been low in the United States. More people probably have it than are being reported. The good news is that if there are more unaccounted for cases of the virus, the death rate should be going down.

As of my writing, there is only two cases of COVID-19 here in San Antonio. Both are travel-based. One had traveled to Japan recently while the other came from a trip to California which has been hit harder with the virus. In the U.S., there are 1629 cases with 41 deaths, half of which come from one nursing home. There are roughly 327 million people in the United States. The number of those affected by the virus (even if it is much larger than reported) does not make sense with the amount of society’s panic.

Yes, we need to take precaution (stay home if we are sick and wash our hands often) but it doesn’t explain the fights over TP and bottled water. Or explain the hordes descending on the grocery store to buy every loaf of bread or canned vegetable.

Luckily, I bought my groceries – doing a little extra stocking up – a day before the crazy people started shopping.

I’m not saying my kids won’t enjoy another week off from school though they do realize that they may be making up these days in June. I’m just wishing that people would stop over-reacting. You can be concerned and even prepared without going overboard. There is no shortage of supplies or food. And even if you are quarantined, there are ways to get these items to your house. You will not starve.

I hope this is my last post on COVID-19, but I am not holding my breath. With all the closures and the people who are now not getting a paycheck, I expect there will be economic and financial repercussions from these events that will far outlast the virus. So we will see if I post again on this topic. Until then, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy while we wait for this crazy time to pass.

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