1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Covid-19 Pandemic Thread

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Sheilawisz, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. I think this to comes down to a lack of any sort of awareness and readiness on a personal/individual level too.

    I can recall, as a child, my grandparents had a room in the basement we called the spare room. In addition to the garden tools and lanterns and the such, it had shelves filled with canned food, peanut butter, tea bags, flour and sugar etc. like a small grocery store. There were also jars of all sorts of things my grandmother canned and put up each year. They grew up through the WWI/Influenza outbreak and then the US Great Depression so it was considered common sense to be ready for any potentially lean times. They also paid cash for everything and never ran a credit line in their entire lives.

    My mother, who was a child of the era of household convenience, was taught this same way of doing things though she, like most kids, rejected a lot of that common sense as old fashioned. She had a sensible approach to credit and saved money.

    Then I came along and thought I knew better. Saved little, charged a lot. I Learned the hard way and realize now that my grandparents had so much of it right and now live like they did.

    And here, two generations later, we have people who are running revolving debt, cannot save a dime and never think about the possibility of short supply or not being able to do what they want every day. And we are a culture of extremes.

    Preppers would tell you they can outlast the apocalypse but many of them are more concerned with the optics of being a prepper than just the sensibility of being somewhat better equipped to handle a change in day to day life. My grandparents certainly never bragged about their practical readiness. When i was a kid, in the 80's, we once had three feet of snow over two days and couldn't get out of the house for nearly a week, we never even gave it a second thought.

    I'm just old enough to remember: Banks giving as much as 6 and 7% annual interest TO YOU for saving money. Rabbit ear antennas and TV that you had to get up and change the channel manually to switch to any of the four or five stations that came in somewhat clear enough to see. Adjusting the horizontal and vertical hold while moving said antenna around. The first, bulky, microwave ovens. Rotary phones, answering machines with a tape in them. The days of no personal calls at work, let alone cell phones, and payphones on every other street corner. Mix tapes you had to have two tape recorders to make and making electronic music with a Moog, early MIDI and an Atari computer that had a whopping 1 MB of RAM onboard (that WAS futuristic then by the way! ) Cars before power steering and braking were standard. Knowing the bus routes in my city by number as well as every stop by site. Memorizing all of your friend's phone numbers. Pumping gas before safety valves kept the gas tank from overfilling and dowsing you with gasoline. People syphoning gas from one tank to put in another with their mouth and a hose. Riding as a child in my mother's car with no seat belts or child seats. My grandmother grinding meat to make sausage or nuts for a pastry in a rotary, hand grinder and kneading all of her dough by hand. Ribbon manual typewriters! (Still have one of those to this day!)

    That was all NORMAL and part of every day life once.

    My point is that the world changes so fast and while i appreciate soooo much of our modern world, there is no doubt it has made us less capable to handle anything that our ancestors would have called slightly less than "normal life". Dealing with scarcity. Living within our means. Frugality.

    Right now, I'm glad that I figured that all out more than a decade ago and I find myself not wanting to think about where I'd be if I were still that 20 something kid who had no clue what my spending habits, credit debt and carefree, live-for-today lifestyle would reveal about my perpetual vulnerability in such a crisis. I'm not knocking people here, just realizing how the lull of complacency and the sense of security that our modern world of accessibility and ready-availability has created may not be so great for many folks in the end.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
    Azeroth and Sheilawisz like this.
  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    4,473
    1,515
    163
    That was the 'root cellar' in the Alaskan Homestead I grew up on. Fell into the 'common sense' category as we were (and are) at the end of an occasionally disrupted supply chain. Root cellar is still there, still stocked with plenty of canned goods. My parents (the homesteaders) did take up credit cards later in life; Dad had some convoluted investment/credit scheme going (never did figure out all the details) that brought him a tidy income on top of his retirement.

    Me...well, in my youth, despite having a steady job, I actually had a credit cart application rejected (yes, that sort of thing used to happen back in the dark ages.) I also paid cash for pretty much everything save utility bills and a couple other things. Didn't get my first 'regular' credit card until *after* I built the house (had a seldom used gas card before that). These days, I have three of the suckers, two for work (technically I am a small business). I also keep enough canned/dry food on hand to last a couple months if need be (though after the first month, it looks like pancakes, soup, and tea will be the dominant menu items.

    More on point...Governor issued a statewide 'shelter in place' edict that takes effect today...which doesn't affect me all that much. Lots of empty spots on the grocery store shelves. And since my job is essential, I get to venture out into the world.
     
  3. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    453
    256
    63
    We have nine people in our bubble. Three live in houses, three live in converted buses, two live in caravans (I am one of them) and one lives in a tent.

    As I can't drive I either have to travel with someone or walk to go to the nearest shop which is 4 km away. I choose a route that keeps contact with other people to a minimum though it''s not the shortest route.

    On the whole people people are doing what they are supposed to during the lock down and (remarkably) they are doing the social distancing thing. For me the lock down has been great. Free public transport to the end of June, near empty streets, no long queues, no one harassing me about being unemployed and for once doing nothing is considered doing my patriotic duty!

    Only one thing bothers me: the snitchIng culture that''s emerging. Everyone is nervous but it''s not because of the coronavirus (in which the latest stats are 416 infected, 50 recoveries and no deaths as of 9.00am March 29th, 2020 NZDST) but the constant fear of being informed upon even when you're out and about legitimately. I don't like the snitching culture.
     
  4. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    453
    256
    63
    Update: We just had our first death in New Zealand. She was in her early 70s and lived in an isolated part of the West Coast of the South Island. Now it''s getting real for people here.
     
  5. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    4,473
    1,515
    163
    Okay, now I'm curious:

    'bubble' = 'commune?' or something else?

    'can't drive?' never learned, or?
     
  6. Azeroth

    Azeroth Dreamer

    22
    17
    3
    Excellent post! I agree with everything here. My late mother had that old school way of thinking. Instead of "wasting" money she budgeted and got bargains, had the pantry stocked with tinned goods. She even hoarded cash, had a hidden spot that she kept from my dad. One day when they truly needed it she whipped it out and said, "I saved it for a rainy day."

    Still, those who are in charge of countries (governments, being really careful not to bring politics into it but it's virtually impossible sometimes ugh!) are often from the "old school" stock. Men and women in their 50's and 60's, some older, did not foresee and generally, don't foresee crisis events such as this. I live in Australia. A couple of months before the pandemic hit we had our own problems, in the form of bushfires. We weren't prepared for that either. I live in a country that should be equipped across all boards, be it financially or medically. The government has spent its time in office cutting jobs in the public sector, which includes hospitals and social services, and are now overloaded because of Covid 19. America has had something to similar happen, and it's because all these leaders think about is the economy and money. Hell, Trump expects everybody back to work, business as usual by Easter. Nope, not being political. Trying not to be, in any case! Just making an observation here -- this obsession and value put to money, which btw, is fast becoming literally non existent (a number on a screen somewhere) is half the problem. Many people aren't in a position to save money or buy extra tin food for that "rainy day". Then again they probably could if they weren't busy chasing every shiny new gadget on the market, or that 10 dollar avocado latte before work every day.
     
  7. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    453
    256
    63
    Bubble - The term used in New Zealand to describe the people you live with including (in some cases) the neighbours.
    Can't drive because I suffer epileptic absence seizures.
     
  8. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    4,473
    1,515
    163
    Gotcha. Here, that'd likely be interpreted as 'commune' (communal living, often of a religious nature)
    That sucks. The brother of one of my daughter's old BF's had epileptic seizures. The last one killed him about four years ago.
     
    Miles Lacey likes this.
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,828
    3,443
    313
    You can’t just say something like that and not expect a response... who is making avocado lattes?! That sounds both unnatural and amazing.
     
  10. That makes me happy! :) Alaskan homesteading! That's true old school. :)

    I recall the excitement of being approved for my first credit card. Yes, that was in the days when you were as likely to get turned down! It was a Sears card. Came with a 100 dollar limit! Still I remember feeling like it was such a big deal to get it.

    Today, we DO use them, but pay them off each month (also self employed / small business only on those) and do our best to save money, not spend it. Your dad sounds like my one great uncle, though my uncle never found his thing and was always onto the next big money making idea.

    Agreed! Admittedly, I have had my own obsessions with money but have tried to turn them into fun ways to save. I owned a coffeeshop for about 8 years ( which was a cash-only business even well into the 2000's) and I would save every two dollar bill that came through the register. Once people knew I did that, they would bring them in whenever they got their hands on one and spend it so, over time, I accumulated nearly $800 worth of them. Ten years after I sold it, I still have them all tucked away in a cigar box which, when I peek at it on occasion feels really good to know its there if i need it. I did the same thing with US silver dollars for awhile but they're just too heavy to hoard and not in circulation at all anymore it seems. lol

    I also would allow people from other countries to pay with their own currency if they happened to have it on them and then I'd pin it up on the wall behind the counter. By the time i sold the place, I had paper currency up there from about sixty countries, including the most beautiful but rarely seen Antarctica currency (that was a loaner from a guy in the neighborhood and I had to give it back when I sold the shop.)

    I love that. My grandfather was famous for it too, After he died, we found money stashed in places where no one knew he had put it. Up in the rafters, in pockets of his church suit coat, behind cupboards, in a hat box. Still, to this day, my mother who still lives in that house asks at least once a year, "Do you think there's anywhere else he might have hidden some?"

    I'm not sure about the idea of avocado lattes but I do recall a coffeeshop in New York city that was also a Toast Cafe where you could get a single slice of homemade bread, whipped butter and perfect, sliced avocado — for $9. Could the 10$ avocado latte have been far behind? :)
     
  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    6,512
    4,434
    313
    It's worth saying that a society cannot conduct business as if the world was going to blow up at any moment. We can't build hospitals with thousands of empty beds just in case a once-in-a-century plague might come along, nor can we staff them that way.

    We could organize society such that the government could at any moment put us into effective quarantine, shut down services at will, and so on, but doing so has serious implications on personal freedom and the very nature of society itself.

    I say this only to point out that it's easy to say "oh our leaders are selfish idiots." That's certainly true, but it is insufficient as an explanation or even as a criticism. We've had idiots before (though I have to admit the current crop is horrifying). This pandemic to me points out something we all know intuitively: there are limits to human abilities, limits to preparedness, limits to resources. We can only do our best when catastrophe arrives.

    And that's the source of my own exasperation with our leaders (I'm in the U.S.). We could be doing so much better than we are. As evidence, I can point to governors, mayors, and other executives--even a few corporate ones--who clearly are doing better. And the price for not doing better is being paid by innocents. The governor of my own state, which is a notoriously conservative one, declared a lockdown a few days ago. Late, but we've only had a comparatively few deaths (four, I think), so kudos to him. It is in the nature of humans to ignore even the raging fire until it's at the neighbor's house. It's also human nature to cry fire while it's still three valleys away. And every reaction in between.
     
    Reaver likes this.
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,828
    3,443
    313
    It’s easy for me to say that we should all be on lockdown and doing social distancing, but at the same time I’m not one of the three million people who filed unemployment last week in the US, I don’t have a business that I’m losing, or drawing on a retirement fund that’s being wiped out, I don’t live in a quaint town that’ll be changed forever as the family owned boutiques and restaurants go under. The economic devastation is real, and has consequences that may ruin lives and change communities, and when this is over things won’t just flip back, not for everyone.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t shut down. But damn it isn’t a light and easy decision to accept.
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  13. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    453
    256
    63
    In New Zealand workers who can't work because of the lock down here are being given a wage subsidy of about $NZD585 / week if they work 20 hours or more a week and $NZD585 / week if they work less than 20 hours a week. There are conditions and those who don't qualify for the wage subsidy can get the unemployment benefit. On top of this banks have suspended mortgage repayments until about June.

    We're into Day Five of a nationwide lock down and nearly everyone has supported it because of the promotion of the idea of "Stay inside / stay alive" and the view that if we all stay inside (unless it''s to go to and from work in an essential industry, get some exercise in the local neighbourhood or to go to the doctor, chemist or supermarket) the lock down can be lifted faster. If we do go out we are encouraged to keep our distance from others (2 metres at least).

    As long as we see it as necessary we will observe it.
     
  14. Slartibartfast

    Slartibartfast Scribe

    46
    34
    18
    This post is far too long but it’s what happens when you quarantine a writer for 12 days and stick up a thread about the situation which has them quarantined. You may want to skip to the end. Mods if this is not appropriate you have my support in deleting it.

    It’s all gone weird in the UK. We’ve been on a sort-of lockdown since the 25th but I’ve been stuck inside for a week longer than that after having fun with the weirdest fever I’ve ever had. No cough but yo-yoing between being hypothermic and hyperthermic for a good few days. Was it ‘the virus’? No idea. It was a virus.

    The fever’s gone now but normal life has not resumed. Those over 70 or with long term medical conditions have been quarantined for 12 weeks and are not even to go out for food shopping. Everyone else is now required to stay in their own home without ‘reasonable excuse’, no more than two people can meet in a public place, and non-essential travel is banned. We are at least allowed to exercise daily outside while staying away from others. Police are now enforcing this somewhat over enthusiastically and inconsistently.

    Companies can now stand employees down from work and place them in a special tax bracket - ‘on furlough’. Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue (‘the tax man’) will be paying 80% of their salaries up to a maximum of slightly over the average wage which the employer can top up, or not. The latest information says we might be in for six months of this. Many of us are settling in at home for the long-haul.

    In addition to the salary grant, businesses are being offered government backed loans, business tax bills have been deferred, and business property taxes have been cancelled for a bit. The idea being that we still have something left to go back to after this, both as individuals and as a country. The provisions have all been poorly implemented which is sort-of understandable given the time frames involved but the situation has led to redundancies and bankruptcies already. Nonetheless plenty of businesses have managed to put themselves on ice for the foreseeable future.

    Some businesses may be closed and wrapped up in semi-secure hibernation but the state of many other businesses is in flux. In contrast to the pronouncement from our Prime Minister who said only essential work must be carried out, the laws that came out the next day only restrict the movement of workers whose work can be reasonably carried out at home, leaving everyone else free to go to work. Some businesses have seen demand collapse, including mine, and have placed the majority of workers on furlough. Other businesses which are still viable, especially those who are self-employed one-person operations, are trying to carry on even if their work is clearly not essential. The self-employed are eligible for similar help to furloughed employees but not until June by which point many will be in rent arrears and have other financial problems. By failing to forcibly close most businesses the government has left many individual employees being pressured by their bosses to go to a non-essential job or self-employed workers desperately trying to continue their business.

    Shops have gone a bit funky, food shops are still open but with orderly queues outside. That’s how the British deal with a crisis, we form a queue. In that queue is one person per household, moving from spray painted line to spray painted line, always two metres apart. Nobody dares to cough or even clear their throat. It feels calm, orderly. At the entrance you sanitise your hands and wipe down your trolley handle before being beckoned inside by the security guard as one person leaves. One in, one out.

    Shelves are starting to be restocked. Initially there was a rush of panic buying however it’s still unclear to me how much of the problem was caused by the panic buyers and how much was simply a result of people reacting reasonably to the then quarantine rules within a food supply network which uses just-in-time logistics: If a supermarket sells twice as much of a product for a week it might be three weeks before they can make up the overbuying. If the Prime Minister comes on TV and tells every household they might be quarantined for two weeks do we need panic or greed to explain shelves being emptied? Maybe millions of households who normally drop into the shop for a single meal on the way home just went and bought a reasonable amount of groceries for a week or two. Either way the system couldn’t cope.

    The homeless are being housed which is good but the ease with which we accomplished this shows up the sad reason why it was never done before; we didn’t want to, there was nothing in it for us. Many in the UK, even some people in employment, have been relying on foodbanks to feed their families which is a shocking indictment of how we treat the low-waged. In the early stages of panic buying some foodbanks were robbed, others faced a lack of volunteers as elderly people went into quarantine, all of them faced a lack of donations as overbuying hit supermarkets. The system is straining and people are hurting.

    We have a welfare system which is better than some, worse than others but insufficient to deal with a crisis of this magnitude and many who have fallen through the cracks of the hastily arranged safeguards like the 80% salary grant have found themselves on state benefits. A lot of those who would normally have thought themselves to be very important, and were paid accordingly, were among the first to be told that their services were no longer required and are possibly tasting the poverty line for the first time. The usual candidates for the poverty line are retail and service workers who are currently keeping us fed, supplied and connected to the world and are risking their health to work through the crisis, often for minimum wage. I anticipate a lot of difficult conversations about how we value different job roles and how we look after those who are having work or financial difficulties when this is all over.

    There are positive things happening: Teachers are putting lessons up online to help parents continue their kid’s education; Hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered to offer non-clinical support to the NHS; People check on their neighbors and deliver food to quarantined friends; Books are being posted across the country, particularly to those who are on the harsher 12 week quarantine. We’ve started calling these people ‘the shielded’ which is quite nice in a probably-government-propaganda sort-of way. Even small nice things are happening, kids are putting up drawings of rainbows in their windows to try and cheer people up and adults are putting teddy bears in their windows so kids can go on a ‘bear hunt’ while they’re out exercising with their families.

    The nice things cheer me but they also chill me. They feel too secure, too middle-class and I worry that we are not hearing the voices of those who are on the bottom rung in life. I worry we will only start to get a glimpse of the true cost of this when it’s over, when the true toll of this on the disadvantaged comes to light through eviction, through repossession, and through bankruptcy – simple numbers sitting as the only witness to unseen destitution and poverty. The dead and the injured are one obvious set of victims. There will be others, those whose hope is crushed, whose souls are broken, those who live under a black cloud of loneliness, of debt, of fear. I don’t have a magic fix for this but I have some hope left. Right now I hope we learn through this to be excellent to each other, to everyone.

    TLDR: This is the UK. We have a virus problem.
     
    Adela, Ban, Miles Lacey and 1 other person like this.
  15. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    453
    256
    63
    I've been unemployed for eleven years now. (My writing is paid for in kind, not money.) There is a certain malicious side to me that''s saying "Now you b'stards know what I've been putting up with for all these years" but that only emerges when I'm in a dark frame of mind.

    It''s been a weird time for me because little has changed. Apart from the waiting outside the supermarket, standing behind lines, restrictions on certain items (esp. toilet paper, sauces, rice and kumara) and screens between checkout operators and the customers it''s pretty much life as normal.

    Around the farmlet I live on people are keeping busy but once the house truck and the toolshed is finished I think the strain will start to show.
     
    Sheilawisz and ThinkerX like this.
  16. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    4,473
    1,515
    163
    Because of concerns about the kids, the daught
    one thing I remember very clearly from the homestead days (which your 'farmlet' appears to resemble) there is *always* more work to be done.

    For my part, the Daughter has opted to do the mail route only on Saturdays for a while - a short, quick, in and out day. Partly this is justifiable fear, partly it has to do with watching over the kids. So, I get to remain busy,
     
    Miles Lacey likes this.
  17. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    453
    256
    63
    I deal with clearing away the rubbish and putting it out for the weekly collection. It keeps the place tidy and makes me feel useful. The landlord''s dog is hyperactive so I walk the dog every evening. And I clean the toilet in the communal toilet block we call the chalet, though that is because I love the smell of the citrus scented cleaner. :)
     
  18. MauEvig

    MauEvig Scribe

    43
    15
    8
    I'm doing alright. I was freaking out because I'd recently lost my job, but the good news is I'm getting unemployment. I'm trying to get into VIP kids so I can make a living teaching English to kids in China over the internet.
    I hope this all blows over soon. I'm an introvert and all, but I still like to travel and don't like being cooped up in the house too long. Summer time is fast approaching, would be sad if we had to spend the entire time indoors wouldn't it?
     
    Miles Lacey and Sheilawisz like this.
  19. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    4,473
    1,515
    163
    Lessee if these spark any memories:

    1 -

    "That board straight?"

    Eyes the extreme closeup near vertical view of a slab of wood reaching up approximately several miles. "Uh, yeah, looks straight."

    "Ok, hold it still while I put a nail between your fingers." Giant nail gun fills field of vision.

    KWATHAP! "Damnit, you let it move."

    2 -

    "Ok, reach over here with that plank."

    Looks down from current position, six or eight feet up a wobbly ladder. "Uh..."

    "Come on, don't got all day."

    3 -

    "You shot a whole row of nails into that siding and missed twenty seven times - I counted.":

    4 -

    Laying on the ground, staring at the black mass of an engine block directly overhead, straining at a bolt that appears to be welded in place.

    5 -

    "Can you find me one of these on that internet deal?" Holds out a mangled piece of metal extracted from a pump, tractor, or car.
     
  20. Azeroth

    Azeroth Dreamer

    22
    17
    3
    I was being satirical. It was a play on those pumpkin spiced lattes, cross with smashed avacado on toast -- a popular combination amongst the millenial culture.
     
Loading...

Share This Page