I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
February 27, 2020
Not to panic you, but I’d like to announce that I’m officially panicking about coronavirus.
And before you come at me with your medical expert-quoting article links on why I shouldn’t be panicked, let me say from the outset that I fully realize most people who get the illness are recovering, and kids and teenagers don’t seem to be getting it, and the death rate is much higher in areas that don’t have access to good medical care and resources. The virus itself merely has me on high alert so far.
It’s other people that are raising my personal panic level from orange to CODE RED.
It started two evenings ago when I read a very credible article called ‘You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.’ Despite the clickbait title, it was actually somewhat reassuring, putting coronavirus in perspective by comparing it with other, more serious viruses and saying it could very likely become another seasonal illness we have to worry about each year, but that it would probably be no different from staying vigilant about the flu.
Facebook didn’t help matters — I kept coming across discussions yesterday about coronavirus and a whole lot of people who seemed to be preparing for it to hit the U.S. Trying to stay calm, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and order a box of disposable face masks online, in case the demand for them increases in a few weeks.
This proved to be impossible.
Face masks are already out of stock everywhere I’ve looked (unless I want to pay $200 for a pack of 50), both in stores here in Nashville and on the Internet. I texted my dad and asked if he could mail me some — He’s a doctor in Atlanta. His office is out, too, and so far, unable to get more.
That’s when I started thinking about how our groceries run out of bread and milk every time there’s even a hint of snow. I thought about how news of a possible gas shortage several years ago led to a run on local gas stations, a two-hour wait to get gas, and an ACTUAL GAS SHORTAGE as a result. I thought about the impossibility of finding special viewing glasses during the solar eclipse and how people were practically selling their firstborn children here to get a pair. I thought about $25 Lizzo tickets selling for $500 online. I thought about the possibility of a two-week quarantine in a city that’s totally overcrowded, or the effect that mere warnings of a possible quarantine here could have…
I started panicking. I started panicking about people panicking about coronavirus.
I went to the supermarket yesterday and stocked up on water, toilet paper, canned and frozen food, cleaners and disinfectants, snacks — anything that would allow us to stay home fairly comfortably for a couple of weeks if we have to. I guess I went a little crazy, because a woman started to get in line behind me at the register, stared at my cart, said “Seriously?” in disgust, and abruptly wheeled away.
Whatever. We’ll see who’s sitting at home eating Ruffles in a few weeks and who’s stuck with a two-year-old can of SPAM.
After that, I gassed up my car — I plan to keep it that way until this scare is over. I refilled all our prescriptions. When I pick them up today, I’m also picking up anything we don’t already have on hand that could help treat an upper respiratory illness. Fortunately, we already have a lot because we just went through two weeks of crud.
It’s crazy, because I feel like I’m preparing less for a coronavirus outbreak and more for the effect that news reports of a widespread outbreak somewhere in the US are likely to have on my city. I’m getting ready to withstand a possible run on… basically everything.
I feel at least somewhat prepared and I’ve only bought things we’ll eventually use anyway, but I read a few articles from major news outlets that also suggested setting aside flashlights with fresh batteries and charged external phone batteries and entire barrels of water — This confused me, because are we actually supposed to anticipate not having electricity or running water because of coronavirus? I honestly can’t imagine things will get that out of hand.
Should I be panicking even more than I am already? Because I’ve discovered I am very good at panicking!
I’m so sorry if you came here looking for some sort of typical blogger assvice. I have none to give. However, if you came here looking to panic, WE CAN TOTALLY DO IT TOGETHER.
I can offer a few links to help make your panic productive:
Preparing for a Pandemic (CNN)
How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Outbreak (NY Times)
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hyperventilate into a paper bag.