Notes from Jackson Street: Stay Safe, Toilet Paper and other virus things

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By John A. Winters, Publisher

“Stay safe.”

I’ve started ending my emails with that phrase rather than “best,” “sincerely,” “cheers” or a litany of other salutations.

This age of the coronavirus has, as the pundits say, created a new normal. It’s one thing to tell your kids heading out, as we all have for generations, to “have fun” or “be safe.” It’s completely mind boggling to me to send an email to a co-worker I was sitting next to a week or so before to “be/stay safe.” Or to tell the aforementioned kids they will be staying home in order to “be safe.”

In trying to understand this new normal, I have questions. Being a journalist for more than three decades, that should come as no surprise. For some questions, I have answers. For others, I still ponder.

Toilet paper: why is there such a rush on toilet paper of all things. Rice, pasta, canned goods? I get those, but TP?

There is actually an answer to this one. The vast majority of Americans are either working at home or, unfortunately, have lost their jobs. They are not using the wonderful sandpaper, er, commercial grade toilet paper so generously offered at work. Therefore a run on “home” style toilet paper as everyone is home.

Social distancing: So deep, so profound, so wrong. It’s like calling racial murders “ethnic cleansing.” I’m stealing “physical distancing” from Hank Arnold with COWETA F.O.R.C.E. He uses that term in the column he wrote for us. The last thing we need is “social” distancing. We need to talk to friends on the phone, by text, by whatever means while still keeping a “physical” distance.

Do What I Say, Not What I Do: Regardless of your views regarding the current administration, I personally think it asinine that the president of the United States, the vice president and an assortment of other high ranking officials stand shoulder to shoulder during Trump’s press conferences. I do not care that they are being tested. During this pandemic, I’m not so sure the two highest ranking Constitutional officers should even be in the same building, much less the same room.

Prediction: Seventy-nine-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease Czar with the National Institute of Health who is keeping everyone calm and in check,  will be named the next Sexiest Man Alive.

Testing shortage:? We constantly hear about a shortage of testing equipment and that those critical tests are being reserved for First Responders and the very ill. So why is it all these celebrities, professional football and basketball players, actors and related others are getting tested? Nothing to do with status I am sure.

Bad math: As I write this on April 3, the United States is reporting 257,367 cases, 6,574 deaths and 11,941 recoveries. China is reporting 81,620 cases, 3,322 deaths and 76,571 recoveries. The United States has a population of 327 million. China has a population of 1.35 billion. Spain, with a population of 46 million, has 117,710 cases and 10,935 deaths. Scientists are refuting China’s numbers, wonder why?

And finally: Thank you to every doctor, nurse, first responder for putting yourselves in harm’s way for us. And thank you to the rest of this community for doing your part. As that one slogan states: “We’re doing our part by coming to work. You do your part by staying home.”

Stay safe.

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