Corona-Ostergruß 2020 aus Boston

Life here is most confining also.  The governors of each state have taken the lead.  The federal government has been slow.  Testing has been about non-existent.  Not enough testing kits around.  Only testing those who show up in distress at hospital emergency rooms.  And that’s in large population centers.  Many smaller and rural hospitals can’t take care of people who need this kind of care; they fly people to the larger hospitals in the cities near them.  Last week city of Boston had testing centers in place for all medical, police and fire department personnel only. 

Some of the early testing kits haven’t been good. Down side of some of the testing kits are the false negatives they showed.  A woman was in the news who recovered from virus.  When she showed up seriously ill at hospital, she was put into ICU (Intensive Care Unit).  When her test result came back it was negative.  The doctor told her she had the virus for certain.  He’d treated enough patients by then  to know.  
My state and those that surround me are under stay-at-home orders.  Go out when necessary only.  Stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others.  Shopping malls, cinemas, theaters, gyms, etc shut down.  The only restaurants that are open are those that decided could do take-away business only.

Cities and towns began to shut down in March.  Schools closed, libraries closed, city and town governments closed to the public.  They were to reopen in April.  That was cancelled. Closed until further notice.  Many, if not most, schools have closed for the year; they are conducting on-line classes now.

The cities of Boston and nearby Cambridge are home to many universities. In early or mid-March, one of the major universities gave one week’s notice they were closing; all students were to leave the dormitories.  The other universities followed.  They’ve set up on-line to complete this semester’s classes.  In person graduations for the senior classes have been cancelled.  The medical schools have been asked to graduate their senior class early so these people can be sent to where they are needed and give existing medical personnel a bit of a break.  

Companies sent their workers to work from home if they could.  My sisters‘ daughters and their husbands have been working from home for … must be about 4 weeks now.  Businesses have been laying off their employees.   As of end of last week, 16.8 million had filed for unemployment in 3 weeks. The tv news said that was 11% of the workforce.  So many tried to use online services in week #1 that the sites crashed.  TV has shown people waiting in very long lines to get papers so they can file for unemployment.  

Supermarkets have put sheets of plexiglass between customers and cashiers. Aisles have been made one way.  However as my sister and I discovered, many people aren’t following the directional markers.  Those that have two entrances/exits – one is now entrance and the other exit. They let a certain number of people in when store opens.  When someone exits, then someone enters.  Trying to keep numbers down within the stores.  Lines outside of buildings at times – attempting distances between people.

This past week government advised all people going out and about should wear a mask.  They’ve concluded there are those who may have the virus but show no symptoms but could be spreading the virus.

The middle of the country is business as usual.  They have very few cases as of now.  Schools are open, etc.  Time will tell what happens there.  Hardest hit areas are the east and west coasts, southern states (especially where airline hubs are located) and city of Chicago in Illinois (also a major airline stop/exchange center).

Once people realized this pandemic was for real, they cleaned out all the supermarkets and pharmacies. The shelves were emptied of all brands of toilet paper, tissues, napkins, paper toweling, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers. The shelves were empty for weeks. Since the stores have placed signs that each person is limited to ONE only. I’ve yet to see any toilet paper on a shelf. Good thing there was a sale in early January I took advantage of. Seems when a delivery of some brand does arrive, they put it on a shelf/shelves and find it’s sold out by the afternoon.

In those first weeks chicken, bread, eggs and many meats were sold out. It was strange to see so many empty shelves and areas. They’re back now. Flour and sugar disappeared from the shelves also. All sizes. I went to get some flour two weeks after had seen empty shelves… none. Last time I went to one of the local supermarkets, some sugar was back but no flour.

All self-serve areas are closed. Ready-made salads, hot cooked foods, muffins, rolls which you could select for a quick lunch or dinner are gone. I saw people working behind the display cases in the Deli departments but the display cases are empty of all meats and cheeses.

Anything like this happen in your markets?

Regards, (K.M.)