Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I was planning on going

to an orchid society meeting today.  But it's be been cancelled.

As have most things.

On Friday, March 6th, Lexington announced its first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  It was a person from neighbouring Harrison County who had worked at Wal-Mart, and she was being treated by the University of Kentucky in isolation.  That first patient was released yesterday, recovered.  But we're up to eleven cases here in Kentucky.  In the last few weeks, the cases have increased throughout the country.  Here in Kentucky, like many places, because there is no cure and still not a lot is known about the disease, we are practising social distancing, so many events have been cancelled, as have schools, churches, and other places with denser contact.  When the schools were cancelled for about three weeks (including not only colleges but public schools), people began losing their collective minds there.

The first to go out of the stores was soap, hand sanitiser, bleach, and oddly enough, toilet paper.  You can't find the latter anywhere.  Even online they're all at a premium.  That happened as soon as there was a case here.  Things had been relatively quiet up to that point, when the virus was in Asia, Europe, the West Coast here in America.  Once the schools were closed, it really came home to people that they might be stuck for some time at home.  Sports tournaments were cancelled, events were postponed, even small gatherings like the one I was going to go to.  The local and state authorities are asking us to do this.  Because so many deaths are among the older folk and those with underlying conditions, nursing homes have suspended visitation and hospitals are limiting visits.  I work for a tertiary-care hospital and we have implemented certain policies and practices to help protect our patients, families, and workers.  I'm getting e-mails from various businesses, from hair salons to banks, to just about anyone I do business with, as to what they're trying to do to help contain the threat.  All through this, people are trying to live and work as normal.  But there is disruption, and this is just the beginning.  Looking at the maps daily, there are very few states not reporting cases, and a lot of those are in states with compromised health care and of course, all the cases are being terribly under-reported because testing in this country has been woefully inadequate so far, meaning statistics like infection rate and mortality rate could be skewed.

When the cases first began in Wuhan, China, doctors' warnings were suppressed by the Communist government.  Now there are accusations that the testing fiasco here in America is linked to the election-year need for the incumbent president to have low numbers overall in terms of infection.  So there are political factors at play.

Reports out of Italy, where they've had a crisis going on for weeks and the northern part of the country is under quarantine, are grim.  There are stories of doctors using short supplies for the younger, healthier people who have a better chance to survive and letting those who are not die.

So things have been grim and will no doubt worsen.  I thought I'd go ahead and address some of what's been going on here.

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