I had been half-expecting that San Antonio would cancel or delay the yearly Fiesta; this was made official Friday morning: put off the celebrations until November. Fiesta San Antonio was originally focused on Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto – which took place in April of 1836. (Lot of other events being cancelled as well.) Since Wednesday, I had been getting emails from various companies who I do business with, at least enough business for them to have my email: Costco, Sam’s, Petco, Frost Bank, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Texas author’s group (who have put off the Wimberly book event from June until November)the senior center in Bulverde who hosts a fall craft fair, Lowe’s and Home Depot – I think. All had pretty much the same message: “Aware of the Covid-19 thing, taking every precaution – deep-cleaning, sanitizing, encouraging sick employees to stay home, those who can to work remotely, concern but doing what we can, customers encouraged to wash hands, self-quarantine if feeling ill …” I wonder now if there wasn’t a degree of coordination going on, or if all the corporate public relations departments simultaneously came to the same conclusion. Reasoning? I rather thought the city and the Fiesta Commission would have to do something of the sort, after reading of Disneyland closing, and the LDS temporarily suspending meetings at every level.
The purpose of all this is not merely for authorities to be seen doing something, but to try and dial down the spread of the Wuhan crud, and keep the number of serious cases to a level where hospitals can cope without being overwhelmed. Local schools are extending spring break for another week or in some cases, two weeks. To date, it doesn’t seem like kids and teens are at any particular risk, the danger being mostly to seniors and to those with compromised health, so why close schools? Mostly, I surmise, because schools are a snake-pit of germs and viruses, even if Covid-19 may not be one of them, as far as we can tell at this point. But school-aged kids have grandparents, parents, neighbors and kin who do fall into the category of those at the most risk. It seems that one may carry the virus and spread it without showing any symptoms at all; just so did my brother and I caught the measles, back in the day. Infecting others with a potentially-lethal virus, without any signs of illness yourself… no, closing schools for a couple of weeks is a good, if drastic idea.
The Daughter Unit and I have been following the progress of the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic since it first began making ripples in the news; the round-ups and discussions on Chicagoboyz; we made plans around the first of the month to add a bit more to our usual stash of groceries, supplies and OTC cold and flu remedies. We did this while mildly marveling at the lack of panic-buying in all of our regular outlets; Costco, HEB, Granzins’ Meat, Trader Joes, the favored ethnic markets. Nothing out of the normal routine at any of them; frankly, we suspected that news outlets like the Daily Mail were actually trying to jump-start the panic with pictures of bare shelves and overflowing carts – at Costco, usually, where overflowing carts are the norm. The Wuhan coronavirus was a serious concern, we agreed, in various random conversations struck up here and there.
But until Friday, we were rather proud of how calm and relatively sensibly everyone seemed to be dealing with the possibility. It’s not that there was ever any big secret about the possibilities of home-quarantining for a couple of weeks, or longer, but it appears that most people didn’t face the possibility until sometime Thursday or Friday – and promptly went out to the nearest grocery store and stripped the shelves bare of all they thought might be required. I looked at the gaps in the shelves Saturday morning at the nicest of the two neighborhood HEB grocery outlets which have our custom, and thought – well, at least people are being sensible about stocking up, the rush on TP and bottled water excepted. It would have made far more sense to have been doing this over the last month or three weeks. At least those of my neighbors on the neighborhood Next Door app are being quite sensible, helpful, even; suggesting help with babysitting, or running errands for the elderly. Your thoughts? Are your neighbors going nuts, or are they being proactive and helpful?