My Life in LA County During COVID-19: March 22

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Our town, at latest count, has six cases of COVID-19. This means that we really have from 30 to 60 cases in a town of 36,000 people. This is just a bit frightening because it has to mean that we are just getting started. -HK

Mar 22, 2020 at 1:21 PM: My wife and I decided to try out our local supermarket that has a senior half-hour at 7 am. It is Sunday and so may be atypical. We arrived at 6:59 am and saw a long line of maybe 30 people. We did not go the end of the line. Instead, we cleverly (as I saw it) waited for the end of the line to come to us. It just seemed safer and simpler. The line moved in spurts as they allowed maybe ten households (not individuals) in at a time. Their announced limit was 50 households at a time in the gigantic store. I thought that people would be sparse in there, but I was wrong. It was more crowded than I could possibly have expected. In comparison, we looked out into a nearly empty parking lot. 

The store was limiting purchases of ground beef, beef, and paper products to two per household. That was better than Trader Joe’s, who has limited everything! People were filling their shopping carts to the brim. I was astounded. One contained nothing but paper products. Panicky people do strange things.

I read that the virus can remain viable on hard surfaces for as long a 12 hours. In my mind, this has much to do with its contagiousness. Someone with the virus coughs into a hand. The hand touches any hard surface — a doorknob, a table top, a shopping cart handle, and so on. Much later someone else grabs that doorknob or whatever and then rubs their eyes or eats a sandwich. They have the virus. One touch from an infected person can infect dozens of others during that half-day. -HK

We had planned to buy a box of greens for our lunch sandwiches, some paper napkins, a few cans of beans, and whatever they had in stock that we could use. We really didn’t buy much. We had hoped for tortillas, but the tortilla shelves were totally bare of any sort of tortilla — small or large, corn or wheat, regular or organic. So, we checked out with our greens, canned beans, etc., loaded up our backpacks, went home, unloaded, and washed our hands for at least 20 seconds.

The big supermarket prices are better than Whole Foods or Gelson’s or Bristol Farms, all of which are in our small town along with Grow Market and Lazy Acres and another supermarket. I think that we will eventually have to bite the bullet and go the the senior hour at Gelson’s.

This crisis has done one good thing. It has people like us trying out markets that we normally don’t enter. Maybe we will find something good.

In the meantime, our mountain project remains on hold due to bad weather. It has now been four years and five months since we purchased our mountain lot with great hopes of living there within a year or two. I am hoping that our contractors are not held up due to the virus. The forecast is good for next weekend with plenty of sunny warm (if you consider high 50s as warm) weather.

Our town, at latest count, has six cases of COVID-19. This means that we really have from 30 to 60 cases in a town of 36,000 people. This is just a bit frightening because it has to mean that we are just getting started. I read that the virus can remain viable on hard surfaces for as long a 12 hours. In my mind, this has much to do with its contagiousness. Someone with the virus coughs into a hand. The hand touches any hard surface — a doorknob, a table top, a shopping cart handle, and so on. Much later someone else grabs that doorknob or whatever and then rubs their eyes or eats a sandwich. They have the virus. One touch from an infected person can infect dozens of others during that half-day.

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