Empty shelves for disinfectant wipes wait for restocking, as concerns grow around COVID-19, Tuesday March 3, 2020, in New York. A man from New York City’s suburbs was hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19 on Tuesday, a case that prompted school closings and quarantines for congregants of a now-shuttered synagogue. The state’s second confirmed case also raised the possibility that the virus is spreading locally. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Coronavirusmania has overtaken America. Although there are no reported cases anywhere near some school districts, their doors have been closed thus forcing children to go to school until August. Others are considering remote learning assuming every student has a computer at home.
Every night, the lead story on the news is about coronavirus, the latest statistics, the latest cancellation. I take it as a small blessing that Pearl Jam cancelled the spring leg of their tour saving me a trip to Baltimore (like Pearl Jam, hate Baltimore). But that blessing was blown up in smoke when my beloved NHL suspended the season “until further notice” meaning there will be ice hockey come July 4th. I know some here are basketball or baseball fans and you are in the same boat: no opening day, no spring training, and the NBA also suspended their season.
The CDC’s latest statistics show that there are 1,629 confirmed cases in the United States. Although there is at least one case in 47 states now, the vast majority of them (792 of the total) are in Washington and New York. There have been a reported 41 American deaths attributed to the virus. Put in perspective, during the 2017-18 flu season, 80,000 Americans died from the flu and just this past winter flu season, 350,000 Americans were hospitalized with the flu. Translation: coronavirus has some catching up to do.
One of the strangest phenomena associated with the panic has nothing to do with politics, charges of xenophobia, or nonsensical comments by any talking head on CNN. Instead, it is the run on toilet paper in stores. According to CDC, the three main symptoms of the virus are a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. Note that excessive defecation or, in the case of women, excessive urination are not symptoms of the disease. The CDC left out two other symptoms: anxiety and unfounded panic.
It now appears as if toilet paper is new base of that famous Maslow pyramid of hierarchy of needs. It leads one to believe that we should start consulting E-Bay and bidding on rolls of toilet paper. Hopefully, this virus will run its course before Halloween lest little kids waste the new gold by throwing rolls in the neighbor’s tree on Mischief Night. Or, perhaps it is just America reacting to the possibility of a socialist President come November and they are stocking up for that possibility. One hears that toilet paper is usually in short supply in socialist Utopias.
Right now, this reaction to coronavirus shows how silly things can become real quick. How does hoarding toilet paper help you ward off a microscopic virus? One understands that people are buying the product should they be required to self-quarantine, but how many times a day does one go to the bathroom requiring toilet paper? Instead of hoarding toilet paper, perhaps people should be rationing out their bathroom trips.
Among all the doom and gloom on Wall Street and the stock market, there should be a silver lining. If you have stock in Georgia-Pacific or Weyerhauser, you probably made a profit. One understands that in less than three months, for example, Georgia-Pacific, which makes toilet paper sold at Costco, has exceeded their yearly sales goal for the in-demand product by an estimated 200%.
This makes one pine for the days of the Sears catalog and its thin pages. It is also an economic opportunity for some entrepreneur. This writer intends to package leaves once they appear on the trees as organic toilet paper and sell it online. It also exposes some Leftist hypocrisy. All those people telling you that you do not have to buy all that ammo are the same ones buying all that toilet paper. It also makes one question the whole notion of “open borders.”
Regardless, lest anyone think that the country will run out of toilet paper, this writer is reassured knowing that there are numerous copies of any book by Hillary Clinton still on bookshelves around the country. If they run out, there is always the New York Times– just make sure you use the section with any article by Jennifer Rubin first.
Here is an indisputable fact: If you need 400 rolls of toilet paper to ride out the coronavirus media-created panic, you have more immediate problems to worry about besides coronavirus.