Wednesday, March 11, 2020

10 Thoughts on the Coronavirus

If you have been paying attention to the news, you already know that the WHO just officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic.  This is a big freakin deal.  And how bad it will get is anyone's guess but based on what's happening in other countries, especially Italy, this doesn't bode well for the US.  You will see on the right sidebar of this blog there is a link to the coronavirus mega post which is updated daily with the latest news and information on the virus.

Some other random thoughts on the coronavirus...

  1. When you stockpile the stuff you need for a potential multi-week, in-home quarantine where you and the spouse and the kids will be IN THE HOUSE 24/7 for days or weeks on end, consider that if you plan for your usual needs (ie: we use one pack of toilet paper a week so I will get four packs for a month's quarantine) consider that your regular use of food and household products is based on you and the spouse being at work five days a week and the kids being at school five days a week.  Therefore your estimation of toilet paper, for example, isn't simply four packs for a month but maybe 10 to 12 packs since you will be providing ALL of the toilet paper that people would otherwise be using at work or school.
  2. If you and the family and everyone in the neighborhood will be at home 24/7 for a couple weeks or more, consider having alternative entertainment options besides whatever the internet can provide (in some places that are already quarantined people are complaining of super slow internet because everyone in the neighborhood is online at the same time).
  3. If you are in a high-risk group (generally older, generally male, and with pre-existing health conditions) consider staying at home and quarantining yourself from all outside activities.  This sounds crazy to most people, especially when life seems to be moving along pretty much like it always does, but the thing with this virus is that you can pick it up from talking to a seemingly healthy person and you won't know you are sick until two weeks later.  This is serious stuff and it requires a serious response, especially from those at highest risk.
  4. Don't bother looking at your 401k, stocks, and mutual funds.  It will just make you stressed out and panicked.  The stock market has always been cyclical and while we are in a downward cycle now, it will eventually come back up.
  5. Consider avoiding high-risk activities such as traveling, attending big events like pro basketball and baseball games, going to buffets, etc.  
  6. Look for alternatives for things that aren't available.  Right now it's virtually impossible to find rice in many stores but there is plenty of bread-making ingredients (flour, yeast, salt).  It is also virtually impossible to find hand sanitizer but you can still buy soap and can still DIY your own hand sanitizer.
  7. Don't believe anything you read on social media.  Most of it is straight up lies and the rest is panicked people making other people panic.  Get your information from knowledgeable sources (such as the CDC or WHO websites or other credible sources) and go to their websites (I've seen some info on social media saying it was sourced from the CDC or WHO when it wasn't).
  8. The financial fallout from this pandemic is going to epic and pretty awful.  And this will impact everyone from minimum wage workers (how do they go to work or feed their kids when their kid's school is closed and the business they work for has been shut down; this is happening now in Italy as all non-essential businesses have been ordered closed) to big businesses (like airlines, cruise companies, etc).
  9. Take an occasional break from all media.  Continually being hammered by bad news isn't good for your health.
  10. I'm continuing to shop our local stores, buying a little extra here and there, even though we have plenty of food and supplies stockpiled.  There actually wouldn't BE panic buying if people did their regular weekly shopping and added a few extra stockpile items to their cart each week instead of having to take out a title loan or take money from savings to buy six months worth of food at one time.

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