COVID-19 The First Day of “Lockdown”

Caribou Coffee March 18, 2020

Previous posts on this topic at March 6, 13, 15, 17.  I plan other posts in the future, perhaps even tomorrow, on this topic.  [check archive for March, 2020).  Your writings are solicited.  Permission to share will be presumed, unless you say otherwise.  See comments at end of this, and all, posts.

COVID-19 was first identified as a particularly deadly strain in December, 2019, and was first written about in U.S. Press in early January.  In February came the first COVID id’s and quarantine in California for a few repatriated from an ocean cruise in Asia, and Life Care in Kirkland WA first broke as news about the time of Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, when it was still being treated in the usual way as a very bad case of the flu for elderly patients.

My daughter cautioned me about the virus on Mar. 6, the day after we had attended two large events. at which there were no warnings or even table talk about things like “pandemic”.  One of these gatherings included over 1000 senior citizens, sitting next to each other, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis; the other was at the Science Museum of Minnesota, hardly careless organizations.

Against my daughters advice I continued normal activities the next few days, all of which I felt were safe by all guidelines.  I don’t recall any cough or sneeze anywhere in my vicinity, nor people who appeared sick in any way.   Just normal days.

Yesterday, all my places were closed: the fitness club; the coffee place, the fourth session of an excellent workshop at my Church, cancelled [see here 4:25 p.m.].  The bank is going to drive-up only today.  The grocery store is open, but the little restaurant within is closed.  Many shelves bare.  On and on and on.  “What a difference a day makes.”

Tomorrow is two weeks after March 5.

Every one of us could come up with similar descriptions.

Yesterday, ‘normal’ ended for me.  I “feel healthy and well today”, but uncertainly.  Few, certainly not I, can say with absolute certainty that they don’t harbor the virus, or can escape it.  I agree with the government actions; until there is more data about all aspects of this disease, caution is advised, and even caution doesn’t guarantee anything.  “Caution” is a very personal definition.  In a recent blog – March 13 – I fixed my number on an imaginary continuum as between 6 and 7 – where 0 is “hoax” and 10 is “hysteria” (as I hear and feel and see those words defined).  I don’t plan to panic.


We’re in the first full day of what is basically, now, a nationwide initiative.  This will be far worse than 9-11-01, and requires far, far more of us than 9-11-01 did.  I can remember the early mantra after 9-11: “go shopping”; the later mantra “go to war”; the even later mantra, in 2008, very near national economic meltdown.  Our actions had, and have, consequences.

This is a new scenario: a very real enemy, COVID-19, is lurking among us in every state and around the world.  It is an enemy without borders.  Where it started is irrelevant (“WWI” or “Spanish” influenza likely started in southwest Kansas, probably with a farm animal,  in the earliest times of U.S. involvement in WWI in 1918, but was never called “American flu”, purposely, I believe.  You can look this up: a good article here.)

I hope we all can use this as a learning opportunity about all sorts of important things: the role of government at all levels, planning ahead for crises, changing personal behaviors, on and on and on.  If we take this task seriously, while we will never eliminate problems, we certainly can make things more manageable.

Lessons come early:  there is, no doubt, hoarding going on – we took our friend to the local grocery store this morning, and the evidence is easy to see everywhere.  And this is nationwide.  But right before we left, I received an e-mail from our friend in rural Minnesota, 93, who grew up in Hitler’s Germany, and she had this to say:

“Well, I just saw on CNN I should buy food supplies only for a week.  Well sorry, I will go today and buy canned goods and what I can freeze for 2 months ahead.
You see the past bothers me.  In Germany I remember times when food was to come to Regensburg, but it never came because there was no driver to be found, or the road was impassable.  I remember days where my stomach ached from hunger, I couldn’t sleep , and when I fell asleep, I dreamt of food, only to awaken from hunger pains.
I fear we don’t face reality here when it comes to food supply.
If the coronavirus gets to to the numbers suggested, I am glad I am not in a metropolitan area.
Germany was a country where if you got out of line, took something from an almost destroyed home that wasn’t yours, you were shot.  I am afraid what desperate people could do here when food supplies are almost extremely low.
I shouldn’t think like this, but please make sure you have food on hand before it isn’t available anymore.”
Here at home, we tend towards having too little food in reserve, not too much.  But our friends point is well taken.  We all have to look at our own behaviors, and how they impact on others.  At the grocery store, I was waiting and another lady, about my age, sat down on the same bench, and she was reminiscing about WWII and scarcity in our own country: rationing and the like.  Most Americans have no concept of scarcity, even while many around us are not doing well at all, particularly those who have just lost their employment.

My daily perch at Caribou Coffee in Woodbury, Mar 18 3 p.m. I almost always could be found here from 6:30-8:30 a.m.  Caribou is open from 5:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., but only for takeout orders.  This is one of busiest and best of 400 in the Caribou network.  Autumn, the manager, said it is very slow. and for the time being remains open.

Lifetime, my exercise facility, about 2 p.m. Mar 18. Normally, the large parking lot is perhaps half filled at this time of day, which is my preferred time. Today there were only three cars in the lot, and the facility closed yesterday.


4 replies
  1. norm hanson
    norm hanson says:

    You can be sure that Trump will be appearing on TV almost every day for awhile just to show that he is in control no doubt a result of his advisors telling him that he was taking a beating with his response to the virus “It is just being blown out of proportion by the media and the Democrats who want to deny me a second term!: or later, “I knew all along that it was going to be a pandemic even well before the professionals knew that!” or “We, that would mean me, of course, are doing a wonderful job in controlling the impact of the virus…!” Just so great to have such a modest albeit self-proclaimed “smarter than everyone else” guy in charge!

  2. Larry Wicks
    Larry Wicks says:

    I think I understand the fears about food scarcity. If we start to hoard food we will create the scarcity we fear. The hoarding of tp proves highly unusual demand creates the scarcity. My own trip to the grocery store yesterday was eye popping. The store shelves were empty of many basics. It was as though the store was going out of business. They are not. Reasonable preparations are called for but hoarding will inflict a crisis we can avoid. All available information is the food supply chain is solid and plentiful. Let’s not let unreasonable fear create a crisis we can avoid in the middle of a crisis we can’t stop–maybe we can bend the curve but we are not stopping the virus.

  3. Mary Busch
    Mary Busch says:

    I am eating Kale from last years garden, sprouting out of my last snowbank. Also, I plan my garden, an homage to my father and Busch farmers…
    Unable to visit two friends who lost their over 80 loved ones on St. Patricks day has been the emotionally hardest task…Yesterday I called Asian restaurants for 3 hours, many were in the process of closing,,or were not flexible to take my payment after my friends ordered or didn’t deliver…Finally Old fashioned friendship worked and I delivered a meal helped by a friend who lives in the community…on tuesday, I made mixes for pancakes and oatmeal cookies and delivered them to their home.. The hospice social worker was going in and carried them in…unable because of hipa rules to tell me of the death..My other friend was refused access to her dad after caring for him for a year 3 days a week finding the care staff not up to routines he needed…then she was allowed back and did hold his hand while he died Both of these friends came to the hospital when my brother John died in January 2001 and kept vigil with me….

    My food supply is always good, and simple…My favorite cookbook is the Mennonite….


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