Here’s today’s COVID numbers for April 2nd, 2020 here in North Carolina.
As you can see, they’ve changed how they display the data, but the essentials are still there. Since yesterday we have 2,436 more completed tests, 273 more confirmed cases, 7 more deaths, but 20 fewer COVID patients in hospital. Compared to yesterday we have 300 fewer empty hospital beds, but 221 more free ICU beds. I’m wondering if that means that quite a few formerly ICU patients were moved to regular beds. If so, good for them. ICU is a terrible place.
We are still seeing an approximate 6.5% rate of COVID tests coming back positive, which seems like a good thing to me. We’re likely only testing people who seem to have all the symptoms, so even when testing the actually sick, we’re seeing 93.5% of them come back negative for COVID. And when we compare the total number of positive tests to the number of people hospitalized, we see it’s now less than 10%. This number seemed significant to me yesterday, but the more I think about it, the less it seems important. What would be really useful is the total number of people EVER hospitalized due to COVID rather than the total number hospitalized RIGHT NOW. I’m sure quite a few of those 1,857 positive test patients have since recovered. It really doesn’t tell us much that they aren’t currently in the hospital.
Now for the Walmart Report: I walked through our local Walmart, which is the main grocery store in the area. The “good” grocery store is a bit over 15 miles away, so most of our groceries come from here.
Our Walmart is really well stocked, considering all the panic we went through about a week ago. There’s still not a sheet of toilet paper in the whole place. There are a few rolls of paper towels, but not much and not the brand name stuff.
Rice and beans are thin. Not gone, but if you’re brand picky, you might be out of luck. On the other hand, if you’re good with a very large bag, say 20 lbs, you have a couple choices. And there are lots of those “kit” rice things where you can make two to four servings of instant rice if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Ramen looked like it had been attacked by starving undergrads. Even so, there were quite a few “cup o noodles” style packs and about a dozen 12 packs of my favorite, Maruchan Ramen in Chicken flavor.
Cleaning supplies look like rationing was imposed. There was bleach, but not much. Still, if you weren’t super brand picky, you could get what you needed to clean your house.
Eggs and milk were not at normal levels, but you wouldn’t actually feel bad about taking two instead of the sign mandated one of each. There were significant holes in the prepared frozen foods section, but again, don’t be picky, there is plenty to choose from.
Big surprises for me were ice cream and those tubes of cinnamon rolls and biscuits. Apparently people are starting their days with cinnamon rolls and ending with ice cream. Honestly, that sounds pretty good for quarantine.
Beer and wine were slam full. You couldn’t carry out enough beer from the beer aisle to make a dent in what they had. Not without help, at least.
The fresh fruit and vegetables were plentiful and to my eye at least looked delicious. There is absolutely no shortage of that.
And finally, they had a giant wall of water in the front of the store. Around here we worry about hurricane caused loss of power, so people buy water. For people like me, on a community well that shuts down when the power goes out, that makes sense. For Raleigh city water customers it’s a silly waste of money as Raleigh’s water system is so overbuilt that it would take a nuclear blast to disrupt it.
Bottom line: You aren’t going to go hungry here. Walmart has done a damn fine job of reacting to the demand spikes. I’ll bet that there are some really smart guys somewhere working out what things people grab first in strange situations like these and we’ll see them push cinnamon rolls, ice cream, and toilet paper out first next time we have a disruption. Honestly, I’d rather have cinnamon rolls and ice cream than the standard bread and milk, so I’m going to let The Wife know to prioritize those items for next time!
I’m going to repeat some things I said yesterday. I am totally taken care of by my job. I’m not in need of anything. My pay continues as I work (sort of) from home. That means my tax dollars are still coming out and contributing in at least some measure to the relief aid that the various governments are handing out. If you’re out of work for this, go straight to your unemployment commission’s website and SIGN UP. Part of the relief package from the Feds is a “Unemployment on Steroids” program. Don’t be so proud that you can’t take some of my tax money to feed your family. If you’re getting screwed over by this, you should get paid. Go get it.
NC DHHS has income assistance – https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services
NC Dept of Employment Security has unemployment – https://des.nc.gov/
Also, if you’re at the end of your rope, don’t be an idiot. Get help. Get yourself well so we can count on you later when we start trying to put this all back together. Get in touch with these guys. They’re our friends. They will help you out. https://walkthetalkamerica.org/
Keep your chin up. It’s rough, but we’ll find a way through it no matter what.