Trump Is Providing Free Advertising for a Bunch of Companies that Don’t Offer Paid Sick Leave

Because President Trump’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak largely consists of having press conferences designed to goose the stock market where he calls out a series of big corporations, I will start tracking the paid leave policies of those companies getting all this free advertising. This is particularly important to track given that the House excluded employers with over 500 employees from the paid sick leave benefit in their bailout bill. As you’ll see, a few of these employers rolled out some version of two weeks of sick leave in response to the crisis — but some appear to be written to require a diagnosis of the virus before granting the leave, which is too late to prevent further infections. Others appear to have no sick leave available to the workers providing our food during the crisis.

Until someone with more resources replicates this effort, I will update it as Trump provides more free advertising during the crisis.

Albertsons (President and CEO Vivek Sankaran mentioned on March 15). No leave benefits listed on website. Left message.

Amazon (mentioned on March 15). Emergency policy matches Whole Foods. Diagnosed or quarantined workers can get two weeks paid leave, and employees can have unlimited time off without pay. Delivery workers will have to apply for grants to obtain paid time off.

Campbell Soup Company (CEO Mark Clouse mentioned on March 15). Paid sick leave not differentiated in public benefits package.

Cargill (Chairman and CEO David MacLennan mentioned on March 15). Standard policy provides two weeks of short term disability at 100% of pay, and 6 weeks at 60% of pay. No paid sick leave mentioned.

Costco (CEO Craig Jelinek mentioned on March 15). Paid sick leave is a standard benefit, though on an accrual basis.

Dollar General Corporation (CEO Todd Vasos mentioned on March 15). Barebones benefits publicly listed.

General Mills (CEO Jeff Harmening mentioned on March 15). Expanded paid leave benefits for salaried and non-union production workers, including up to eight weeks of short term disability, in 2019.

Google (mentioned on March 13 and 15). Set up a fund to provide paid sick leave to contractors and temporary employees otherwise not eligible. Also provides pay for hours that furloughed employees would have worked.

Hy-Vee (Chairman, CEO, and President Randy Edeker mentioned on March 15). Website lists paid vacation and personal time, but not sick leave; does claim family medical leave.

Kroger (CEO and Chairman Rodney McMullan mentioned on March 15). Most employees do not get sick leave.

Publix Super Markets (CEO Todd Jones mentioned on March 15). Full time employees accrue paid sick leave, but not part time employees.

Sysco (President and CEO Kevin Hourican mentioned on March 15). Ties pay during leave to paid time off (that is, treats pay as an accrued benefit, not as paid sick leave).

Target (CEO Brian Cornell mentioned on March 15). Enacted an emergency policy offering 14 weeks of paid leave for employees who have tested positive for the virus or who are under mandatory quarantine. It is waiving its absence policy for employees who are not diagnosed but feel too sick to come in or are taking care of children.

Tyson Foods (Donnie King, who is neither CEO nor President, was mentioned on March 15). Hourly workers do not get paid sick days.

Walmart (CEO Doug McMillon mentioned on March 15). Enacted emergency policy offering sick leave to all hourly workers, without the normal 1-year eligibility requirement. If employees choose to stay home it comes out of their regular paid time off. In case of a quarantine, employees will get two weeks of paid leave, which will not count against their existing benefits. If an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, that person will get two weeks of leave, with up to 26 weeks of “pay replacement” if the employee is unable to return to work.

Whole Foods (Dave Clark mentioned on March 15; John Mackey is the CEO). In response to coronavirus crisis, offered unlimited unpaid time for during March, and two weeks of paid time off if someone is diagnosed with Covid-19. Suggested workers should share their paid time off.

121 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    I bet all those executives have more than enough money than needed to live on – for the rest of their lives.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jeff Bezos and the Walton family are among the richest people on the planet. I suspect none of them have been confused with a human being for quite some time. Bezos, perhaps never.

    Their business models are rapacious, but they assume a fungible worker pool happy to work for them in any number, who make ends meet by being on public assistance. But as more people see where their wealth comes from – the backs of poorly-paid workers with practically zero benefits – people will start to shop elsewhere. Then they might start paying attention.

    More importantly, though, this crisis proves again that there is no substitute for adequate taxation and regulation of wealth. That wealth is part of society, it comes from society, it is protected and subidized by society’s government. It cannot be deemed immune from society’s needs.

    That argument goes back a long way. In America, I’d say to the Robber Barons and Upton Sinclair’s phenomenal 1906 best seller, The Jungle. Coincidentally, that was about the last time a democratic socialist was a serious contender for the White House.

    • chum'sfriend says:

      “Private Property therefore is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing; its Contributions therefore to the public Exigencies are not to be considered as conferring a Benefit on the Publick, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honour and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or the Payment of a just Debt”

      Benjamin Franklin 1789

  3. Peterr says:

    HyVee . . . paid vacation and personal time, but not sick leave

    Here in KC at least, this seems to be relatively common, and is appreciated by most workers. PTO (personal/paid time off) can be used not only for when the worker is sick, but also for caring for elderly relatives, caring for sick kids, and other items not covered under old “sick leave” policies. You still might have issues with the rate at which PTO is accrued, and the extent to which it covers part-time workers, but the policy of granting PTO instead of sick leave is not necessarily a problem.

    • ThomasH says:

      The last thirty some odd years of my work life were spent struggling with the punitive and anti worker foundations of HR policies. While I was still in my early thirties, serious cancer entered my life, year long chemo, months long bed rest, etc. I was certainly thankful for having comparatively good benefits at the time. Having such a serious illness made keenly interested in healthcare benefits offered to employees. Shortly after the recovery from the disease, my employer switched non-union employees to a PTO system instead of the separated vacation time and sick time. I found this to be onerous over the long haul: I always had to juggle the need to keep a cushion of hours in PTO incase I took ill, which then incentivized me to work when I was sick, but not sick enough to stay home. In light of the COVID-19 crisis these policies now seem to be counter to the public health measures needed to combat the spread of the virus.

      • Peterr says:

        I hear you.

        That same “use it or save it” dynamic would still apply if you had separate vacation and sick leave, though. Folks with reason to worry about the need to use leave in the future will always worry about taking a day today. I know a bunch of folks who wrestle with whether to take PTO when they feel ill, or go ahead and go to work in order to have a cushion of PTO for days when they know they’ll have to take off to take an elderly parent to the doctor or deal with their health emergency.

        • ThomasH says:

          Inevitably the total hours available to an employee under the PTO system is less than the old system of vacation time plus sick time. It was set up this way to provide a negative incentive to the employees; the more time an employee uses for personal days/sick days, the less is available for vacation time. Starting in the early 2000s, HR departments/administrators started to disallow (or restrict the amount) rollover of PTO hours from year to year as another negative incentive to “encourage” employees to use PTO hours for vacation and not abuse the “privilege” by calling in sick. At any rate, my concern is that the last half century of labor laws, accelerated exponentially during the Reagan administration, are helping to worsen our national response to COVID-19.

          • P J Evans says:

            I worked, many years ago, with a guy who had something like 600 hours accumulated for sick leave. That’s the sort of thing they like to discourage. (Yes, you may need that sometime – but that’s 75 days.)

            • Yancy says:

              When I worked for the State of Florida, we had several longtime employees who had accumulated significant amounts of paid sick leave. Rather than use it to stop working even earlier than their scheduled retirement date, they donated it to people like me who had been on the job only a few months when my unborn & then extremely premature baby nearly died from pregnancy complications.
              Likewise, co-workers of Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton donated their unused paid time off for her to attend the trial of his killer.

  4. Raven Eye says:

    It would be interesting to find out how the Trump Organization is handling employee sick leave issues.

      • Peterr says:

        From Politico, in reference to the “gilded petri dish” (their language in the sub-head) that is Trump’s home away from work:

        Splashed across the front of the Sunday Palm Beach Post was the headline, “Four Mar-a-Lago visitors test positive.” And the front page of one of Florida’s biggest newspapers, the Miami Herald, read: “A member of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club delivered a letter requesting a summit with Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. The meeting ended up inadvertently exposing Trump and others to the coronavirus.”

        While the club remains open, an email was sent out to members describing best practices with the coronavirus.

        When asked about Mar-a-Lago’s exposure to the virus, Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement to POLITICO: “The safety of our members and guests are of our utmost importance. We are monitoring all of our businesses closely and are following the guidelines provided by the CDC.”

        I’m sure this makes all of them feel much better.

        Of course, this was written before the recent “no gatherings larger than 50” guidance from the CDC.

        I’m sure Eric will deal with this appropriately. I’m guessing they will take a single 300 member gathering and declare it to be eight gatherings of 37 or 38 people. “These tables are group 1, these tables are group 2, . . .”

        Problem solved!

  5. Jim White says:

    Just had an interesting idea. Think about all those Trump properties in South Florida that have been “sold” to Russians to launder money but sit empty. They would make a great surge space for quarantine and care. Maybe one building for healthy seniors needing extreme isolation and another of known infected people who show hope of recovery with limited care. Those huge units would provide very good separation of residents from one another but be close enough together to provide efficient care. It will never happen, but maybe we can point out the shame that Trump would never contemplate such a move.

    • Rayne says:

      Yup. I’ve said Trump’s golf courses are perfect for social isolation because of all that greenspace. States should take the properties under eminent domain and when Trump org demands an exorbitant amount for compensation, we’ll point to Michael Cohen’s testimony about Trump org using fraudulent values on insurance and taxes and go to court for discovery.

      • Raven Eye says:

        Governors, State Health Officers & County Health Officers have a pretty long list of authorities under these circumstances. They typically come into play depending on the type and scope of the Governors declaration. These have been the subject of table-top exercises going back into (at least) the late 1990s, and we know that in most of the statehouses, there is ongoing, substantive discussion. It is good when the the states step up to the challenge, but sad when they MUST be the ones taking the lead.

    • @pwrchip says:

      Don’t forget voting, all those closed school’s parking lots would be a perfect place to have drive through voting. Where you pickup ballots from a stand alone dispenser go park to another empty lot. Then when finish voting drop off to another empty space where election officials standby to empty & pack up those votes ready to ship back to City HQ. Complete control distancing from CoronaVirus.

  6. Rugger9 says:

    TPM has this about the ER docs that tested positive, and it seems that one went south very quickly. Dr. Fauci (or was it Dr. Birx?) noted that a negative test was really a snapshot and did not guarantee lack of exposure. So, has anyone determined the actual incubation period which would point toward a more rationally defined quarantine period? I don’t remember seeing that but maybe I missed something.

    Something like that would reduce the uncertainty.

    • Frank Probst says:

      The last time I saw any real data on this was a while ago, but the range was from less the five days to more than 2 weeks. The current test (done by RT-PCR) detects the virus’s RNA, which is present almost exclusively when it comes from live virus or live cells that are producing live virus. In other words, the test is positive when you have an active infection. However, there will be periods at the beginning and end of the infection during which the RNA levels are too low for the test to pick up, because there isn’t enough live virus or live cells producing live virus present, so you can/will get false negatives at the very beginning and very end of the infection. The cases that are being reported as “re-infections” might really be reinfections (meaning the body clears the virus completely, and you then get infected again), but they could also just be from people with active infections whose “viral loads” dropped below the test’s level of detection, smoldered for a while, and suddenly flared up again. We don’t know which one it is.

      • Eureka says:

        Add to the false negative problem variations in sampling. The collection guidelines were initially more onerous (multiple sites: bilateral nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, sputum), now down to a single nasopharyngeal swab for outpatients (they still want a lower respiratory tract specimen for inpatients). And some of those nasal (np) swabs might not be collected as deeply as needed, or ‘hit the right spot’ absent high viral loads.

    • Frank Probst says:

      One of the things that’s being worked on are antibody tests for infection. Like the name suggests, these tests will detect antibodies to the virus, NOT the virus itself. When they first start doing these, you’ll hear about “IgM” tests and “IgG” tests. IgM is present at fairly high levels both during and immediately after an infection. IgG is produced later on and indicates either the tail end of an active infection or prior infection.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        In early January, would a Covid 19 patient have shown up in a flu/Corona virus test done in an emergency room ? Or wold it not have identified it as a corona virus ?

        • greengiant says:

          The tests used in January in the US had a turn time of days at the CDC and were not given to patients in the ER. The tests running today take at best hours if in the UWVirology queue and so forth. A test subject recently reported a 3 to 4 day wait for the results.
          A country needs a 5 to 15 minute swab test before it can put this pandemic aside. Also the will to temperature test anyone in public especially in transit zones.
          Which reminds me of the story an ex pat New Yorker once told me. They used to meet at 4 in the morning at the bakery and plot how they were going to cheat their customers that day. That’s what it’s all about.

    • Frank Probst says:

      If you’re old enough to remember the early years of the HIV epidemic, you’ll probably remember the term ELISA. ELISA is a way of testing for specific antibodies ONLY. It doesn’t detect RNA or DNA. It took a while for the HIV ELISA test to be developed, which leads to the obvious question: Why didn’t we start immediately doing RT-PCR tests at the very beginning of the HIV epidemic? The reason is that RT-PCR hadn’t been invented yet. RT-PCR was invented some time in the late 80s/early 90s. Current testing for HIV can be done with the old ELISA test or with the newer RT-PCR test. When you hear someone talk about “undetectable” levels of HIV, it means that the levels of live virus or virus-producing cells in their blood are so low that the RT-PCR test doesn’t detect them. (The ELISA test will still be positive, because the antibodies to the virus are still there.)

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        Perhaps they have developed such tests in China. Leaders there might be disinclined to share their info with the U.S. when our president with help from the media is blaming them for everything. God, Trump is SO stupid.

        • Frank Probst says:

          I’ve never designed an ELISA test before, so I can’t be certain, but my guess is that they probably haven’t developed them in China yet. They’re a pain in the ass to develop, and RT-PCR is better at this point than ELISAs are.

  7. Rugger9 says:

    OT: IIRC, NY elections do not permit early voting and I’m not sure about absentees either. It appears they want to delay the primary. This is something else to be leveraged.

    However, if the November elections are not held (as a hypothetical) I heard the Stephanie Miller backup host claim that the new President is installed nonetheless on 20 JAN 2021 which would be… Pelosi. That sounds bogus to me, even if the Electoral College cannot be apportioned because there is no election to sort them out.

    I would suspect that anything done to muck with the election by the administration will address this point.

    • Tom says:

      If you can hold a Presidential election in the midst of a bloody civil war (i.e., in 1864), surely it will be possible to hold one this November despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • drouse says:

        The presidential election is about the only one set in constitutional stone. It shall take place on the date prescribed. For better or worse, the worst of this will have passed by November and there will be a LOT of angry voters.

    • Geoguy says:

      I also heard the same thing on the show today. I think it was Jody Hamilton referring to Amendment XX of the Constitution where it states that the term of President and V. President ends on Jan. 20. So what happens if there is no election?

        • e.a.f. says:

          OMG, what fun, waking up and finding Pelosi is President. Well at least a woman finally made it! don’t think I’d stop laughing for a good week. Just the look on Trump’s face if that happened would be worth my pension cheque.

          • Rayne says:

            The really big downside to a presidency bestowed by default on the House Speaker (and it may not be Pelosi come January 2021) is that the country will be in very challenging shape and unlikely to pursue prosecution of Team Trump as rigorously as it should.

            I worry about the judiciary and the damage McConnell will continue to inflict between now and January 2021.

            • Geoguy says:

              I appreciate your vision to see bigger pictures. Even if Biden was elected, I don’t think that he would pursue prosecuting the Trump Org. Did he say that he would choose a woman as his running mate, preferably who just ran for the Democratic nomination? Before and after reading this article you know it won’t be Warren. See Wall Street on Parade’s post from March 11, 2020 titled “Role of a Wall Street Law Firm in the Joe Biden Resurgence Raises Alarms for Progressives.”

              • Rayne says:

                Here’s the rub: banks may say they don’t want Warren on the ticket, but if Warren were on the ticket (assuming she agreed to it), the market would settle down because she understands the need to reduce volatility. I don’t think Klobuchar can do that. I also think Klobuchar would be a poke in the eye to the black vote.

    • cavenewt says:

      Heather Cox Richardson did a live Facebook thing today where she emphatically declared that this would be the case. She didn’t mention Pelosi specifically, but she did say the next person person in the line of succession would be installed.

  8. OldTulsaDude says:

    Life in a Red State:
    Here in Oklahoma, or as we now call it, Gov. Shitt’s Creek, our great and magnificent leader is trying his best to screw the Indian tribes into paying for underpaid corporate taxes all the while he has yet to close any schools. On a bright note, we now have unlicensed open-carry gun laws so the coronavirus may make it easier to pry those guns from all those cold dead fingers.

  9. Ollie says:

    Nightly Met Opera Streams
    Beginning tonight and continuing each day for the duration of the Met’s closure, an encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series will be made available from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 3:30 p.m. the following day.

    So I thought this was excellent and exciting news! Free Opera every night until the Opera closes. I don’t know about you guys but this is manna to me. Enjoy!

  10. orionATL says:

    on monday march 9 the u. s. formal total of cases was ~ 950 persons.

    on monday march 16 the u. s. formal total is ~ 3950.

    taken from:

    we can be certain that this is a severe understimate of the true numbers infected due to testing that has been unaccountably delayed and that has never been sufficiently widespread.

    nonetheless, the cases quadrupled in a week.

    now go 8 weeks into the future.

    • Rayne says:

      See this preprint (not peer-reviewed):

      Estimating unobserved SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States
      T. Alex Perkins*, Sean M. Cavany*, Sean M. Moore*,
      Rachel J. Oidtman, Anita Lerch, Marya Poterek
      Department of Biological Sciences and Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame

      I think 1-in-10 is right where a more concerted effort to test was made, like in Seattle area. But outside that? Bah. This number is way off for that reason, IMO.

        • Pajaro says:

          My adult son traveled by air to Seattle a month ago. Now he and his girlfriend have the symptoms, Dr. took test swab today, results in 3 days (AZ). She weathered better than he, as he reports.

      • orionATL says:

        this is excellent. how do you find this stuff?

        not that i would know for sure, but the number is likely very low. this disease has been around at least since the second week in january. it’s not like americans have something magic in their water that chinese or italians don’t. folks who write academically or do technical writing are often inclined to cautious statements.

      • vicks says:

        I’m really worried about the resources in Colorado’s ski towns and I have a terrible feeling they are about to get hit hard.
        Our first case was a guy in his 30’s who flew to denver on March 29th after visiting Italy and went from DIA to a rented condo at the Keystone resort, he skied a day there and then at Vail before symptoms required a visit to the hospital. Fortunately ski resorts do not have the same petri dish conditions as a cruise ship but they do draw people from all over the world who then mix and mingle in crowded gondolas, restaurants and shops before heading down from the mountains and back to wherever “home” is to resume their daily lives
        Our governor ordered the ski resorts closed Saturday, on Sunday there was a weird phone alert saying anyone that had visited the counties in which the resorts are located need to take extra precaution.
        There are 22 cases in one country and below is a taste of how lack of preparation by our government is forcing these communities to re-prioritize who gets tested.
        Monday, March 16, 2020
        Eagle County COVID-19 Testing Priorities | Priorización de la Prueba del COVID-19 en el Condado de Eagle
        With community level transmission, the testing and screening guidance is shifting.
        “Now that we have rapidly identified the arrival of COVID-19 in our community, our focus is to slow the spread of the virus, protect our medical infrastructure, and protect the most vulnerable people in our community.
        Testing all patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 is no longer recommended. A key priority is to shift our testing to people that are at greatest risk for severe disease, complications, and death.
        Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher, cough, or shortness of breath.
        Those who are experiencing symptoms but are not getting tested are asked to self report symptoms at

        The following patients with COVID-19 symptoms are considered at highest priority for testing:
        Healthcare workers
        Employed in public safety occupation (e.g., law enforcement, fire fighter, EMS)
        Part of an illness cluster in a facility or institution (e.g., healthcare, school, corrections, shelters)
        With severe lower respiratory illness (hospitalized or fatal)
        With worsening symptoms
        Older than 60 years
        With underlying medical conditions
        Pregnant women
        Had contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient

        Any other patients can be tested per healthcare provider judgment.”

    • orionATL says:

      an e.r. doc speaks out about lack of, slowness in, testing:

      i cannot imagine that e.r. personnel are at any other than superhigh risk, as i assume are e.m.t.’s, or similarly nurses and technicians in isolation wards – in reality, all medical personnel.

      from a systems standpoint, there are only so many of these folks, maybe only a few hundred thousand, to help us. but there are going to be several tens of millions of us who are sick at any one time. it seems reasonable to worry that it would not take much time to lose many of them, temporarily or permanently, to covid-19. what then? their training and experience is simply cannot be rapidly replaced.

      i cannot recall any event in my lifetime that even remotely approaches the widedspread illness, death, and economic devastation that this epidemic is likely to visit on us.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Polio eradication was the first mission of the March of Dimes (it’s now birth defects), and the GOP administration at the time (Eisenhower’s) didn’t do much to help. Herbert Block (Herblock) had several biting cartoons about it featuring a prim, proper matron (a church lady before the Carvey’s Church Lady) from the Department of Not-Too-Much-Health and Welfare. Much of Herblock’s work is still relevant, sadly with only the dates needing to be changed.

  11. klynn says:

    The media should just cover DeWine.

    They should have a conference call with DeWine and the national gov’s assoc leadership and get them to organize today a 50 state response to the respirator needs. Forget Trump.

    And the NGA should reach out to the WHO.

  12. punaise says:

    (Is there such thing as OT these days?) Well, here we go:

    Shelter in place ordered in the SF Bay Area.

    The only saving grace:

    For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence:

    iii. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running.

    We may actually get the living room painted, too.

        • Valley girl says:

          I usually don’t go out much, but weirdly, I am getting cabin fever.

          &OT And, I was just musing that the closeline knot was one of the most helpful things I ever learned.

            • Valley girl says:

              Well, I was just using it.

              But it’s part of a more involved line of thinking– how helpful it is to know how to repair things, and “do-it-yourself” type things, … etc. Could be especially helpful soon…

              • Pajaro says:

                I will always remember the bowline knot, useful and can be untied after a load. But then I used to rappel into caves with such knot in rope. Different kind of rope and knot for these circumstances… Fortunately no end to deferred maintenance at my place that could use attention.

                  • Pajaro says:

                    He got tested today, results in 3 days. He’s doing ok, symptoms are a bear! I only hear by way of text (millennials don’t phone). I suggested to him he comment here on the experience, if it comes to be “it.”

              • cat herder says:

                It’s helpful all the time!

                I’ve always been a mechanical-minded person but within the last ~10 years I’ve accumulated an assortment of machine tools – lathe, milling machine, TIG & MIG welders, hydraulic press, 3D printer, etc.

                There was some talk in a earlier thread about supply chain issues with replacement parts. I can’t tell you the number of times, before all this, when I looked up some part I needed, saw the price, and said “F that, I can MAKE one of those.”

                I can’t make things like a new belt for the clothes dryer, but I can make the belt pulleys, an idler shaft, brackets, bearing mounts, replace bearings in the motor that’s normally treated as disposable…

                I can make my own springs up to a certain size. I can heat-treat and temper tool steels. I can make replacement parts & accessories for the machine tools themselves. I can make gears. It’s incredibly empowering, aside from being just plain practical.

                • P J Evans says:

                  My father was a mechanical engineer who made his own models for work. He once turned an axle into a drive shaft (though he had to send it out to get the splines cut) – that was while he was waiting for the one he’d ordered to show up from England. Some years later, when he sold the car, the spare driveshaft was included. (He sold it to his brother, who a few years later sold it to someone else. His brother had introduced him to the car in 1951, and had wanted it ever since. Residents didn’t make much money then, either.)

                • Valley girl says:

                  Wow! That’s great! My tools and skills are more modest, but that’s exactly what I was getting at.

                  When I was in grad school my advisor required that the two of us students in his lab take a machine shop course and get certified so that we could use the fabulous machine shop in the basement. Shop had 2 full time technicians and served Bio, Chemistry and Physics departments. I spent a lot of time there when needed something made (by me).

      • punaise says:

        No escaping it!
        Also teed up: re-caulking the tile-to-tub joint, and then the kitchen sink’s. And gardening.

        • cavenewt says:

          …and doing the taxes. Payment has been deferred, but filing hasn’t been, at least last I checked.

  13. Pajaro says:

    Today friends of mine expressed dismay that Walmart, locally, had closed its ammunition sales. They are concerned about looters as this crisis develops, and live in predominantly rural areas with low populations. Law enforcement is few and far between in these areas. To many here this may not seem a concern, but it is real to these folks, they are sportsmen and women, rural, but educated and employed. Anyone else seeing this?

    • P J Evans says:

      People are going to be at home more, not less, unless they’re medical. Looting would be a *very* bad idea.

      • Vicks says:

        there is a silly rumour that comes in a couple versions going around about “the government” and a forced quarantine. they go on to talk about disruption in trucking creating a food shortage
        State government? Trump?
        They don’t know, but even when I busted someone who said they heard it from someone who was a friend of the fire chief of my town (we don’t have a fire chief we joined a metro area set-up a while back) they won’t shake it off.
        I did notice the connection to those really clinging to it were of the “cold dead hands” pro gun type.
        You are right, this could be a problem.
        Too late to help me but here is a tweet from the national security council that shoots down the rumour

  14. Molly Pitcher says:

    If anyone is interested, here is a link to the edicts from 6 of the counties around the SF Bay. They are all applying them, but the website for San Francisco was the easiest to navigate.

    Scroll down past the multi lingual introduction and it lays everything out, and there is a link to the legal document. After that there are definitions and then FAQ.

  15. Eureka says:

    Thanks, Marcy, for doing this.

    The “quarantine” language is such a loophole — just as with testing and formal dx, most people aren’t going to be put under formal quarantine (and the two problems are of course multiplicative because only those contact traced to formally tested positive are formally quarantined).

    And so spreads COVID-19 and economic and other hardships…like wildfire.

  16. PeterS says:

    Assuming severe social distancing works, then that’s an argument for keeping it not dropping it. So absent a vaccine or herd immunity, what is the next phase of the covid 19 strategy?

    Is it waiting for that mass produced vaccine, or waiting for mass infection (albeit at a very slow rate)? Either way the time period would be how long?

    Or, fingers crossed, this virus goes the way of Sars.

    • Rayne says:

      Flattening the curve means buying time, not the absence of contagion. It means keeping the volume of severe/critical cases to a level which can be handled by available hospital capacity.

      We need a 2-year window to safely see us through to a tested, safe vaccine manufactured to scale for nationwide distribution. I say two years because it’s 12-20 months until the vaccine is tested and ready under the best conditions, and will still need manufacturing in adequate quantities and a distribution method must be set up.

      This virus will not go “the way of SARS” because responsible governments did the right thing to contain SARS. It’s far too late for that wishful thinking.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I hope we can dispense with Boris Johnson’s herd immunity rubbish. That’s an outcome, not a strategy.

      There are many ways for a population to acquire immunity. We can practice aggressive social management, to reduce transmission and keep the number of cases requiring treatment and/or hospitalization to a manageable number, all while restructuring the economy in response to a significant health threat.

      Or, we can join Boris at his party and jump into the pool along with him. The result would be a sketch taken from the Holy Grail.

      • BobCon says:

        Reports are that Johnson is doing a 180 from his policy after public health experts told him the earlier study was garbage.

  17. Eureka says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here is a dirty limerick heck of a story I picked up off the streets to share with you all:

    Anbara Salam: “As a public service in these stressful times I’d like to offer, as a palate cleanser, the most embarrassing moment of my life. 10ish years ago, my ex bf and I visited a spa in Germany. It’s swimsuits in the pool but you have to be naked in the sauna. Btw I speak no German. 1/”

    • Jenny says:

      This story brings back many fond and funny memories. I too experienced the same in the 80’s while at a German spa. Bathing suit in pool, towel only in sauna, steam baths and massage. Clothed or naked, one feels “refreshed” after visiting a German spa.

      • BobCon says:

        I remember as an American tourist being surprised while taking the scenic tram over the Rhine in Cologne.

        As the tram dropped down to approach the station on one of the banks, it passed over a spa where loads of hefty Germans lounged about nude. Obviously they were completely acclimated to all of the people passing overhead every few minutes.

        • Jenny says:

          Hahaha. I grew up in Germany. The Germans are much more open and accepting about being naked. They adopted the spa tradition from the Romans and have been taking in the healing waters as wellness for a long time. “Holistic healing” is part of their DNA. Plus great beer and fine wines.

    • Eureka says:

      (Reply all)

      The whole thread was a great ride for so many reasons, but the single biggest funny-bone hit to me is the “Btw I speak no German.”

  18. Jenny says:

    WH occupant more interested in financial issues than public health issues. Health issues become financial issues.

    Daniel Dale Twitter: 3:56 PM · Mar 16, 2020

    Asked what it was like to take the test, Trump says, “Not, not uh – something I want to do everyday…you know, it’s a little bit of a — it’s a little bit of — good doctors in the White House, but it’s a test. It’s a test. It’s a medical test. Nothing pleasant about it.”

  19. harpie says:

    Via Laura Rozen, this is Politico WH reporter Meridith McGraw:
    11:32 PM · Mar 16, 2020

    I asked what changed WH thinking in the past 24 hours and Dr. Birx referred to a new model from the UK shared with the task force. @nytimes confirmed that @imperialcollege gave their projections to the WH this weekend. The findings are sobering: [NYT]

    “the potential health impacts were comparable to the devastating 1918 influenza outbreak, and would “kind of overwhelm health system capacity in any developed country, including the United States,” unless measures to reduce the spread of the virus were taken.”

    Here is the study: []

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Josh Michaud @joshmich with a summary of this, and one other new paper. [He’s Associate Director Global Health @KFF. @SAISHopkins Prof. U.S. & International Health Policy, Health Security, Infectious Disease Epidemiology]
      9:17 PM · Mar 16, 2020

      Quite a one-two-punch from 2 #COVID19 papers released today. […]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      But please don’t eat the fish. The pollution comes primarily from nearby factories on the mainland, as well as unprocessed sewage. The absence of powered watercraft – especially gargantuan cruise ships – just means the water isn’t being churned up.

      • Jenny says:

        Agree, don’t eat the fish. Lovely to see Mother Nature surfacing while the waters are calm. Even the dolphins appeared.

    • vvvm says:

      China’s air is said to be better as a result of the shut down:
      ht tps://

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The OH Supreme Court stepped in last night to finally call off and reschedule today’s primary election. The lead up to that was two days of surprising conflict: the governor calls it off, saying protecting health is primary; a trial level court disagrees, and puts it back on; the state health department calls it off again; a state appellate court puts it back on, and finally, the state supreme court calls it off (in an unsigned ruling from only four judges). More than one case worked its way through the system to that result.

    One argument at the intermediate appellate level I found appalling. In effect, the court said the state lost its chance to delay the primary – and protect the lives of millions of voters and thousands of poll workers – because it waited too long to act. The show must go on or “the election” would be in peril, never mind the health of Ohioans during a global epidemic. The reasoning is more common in Texas death penalty appeals.

    I think that appellate court was wrong on its facts, too, as well as in its judgment and humanity. Yes, “we: have known about Covid-19 for months and the state could have acted sooner. But the knowledge was fragmentary and the federal government’s response has been to delay, deny, and actively harm. Ohio is hardly alone in waiting and deferring to the feds. Super Tuesday and other elections were held only days ago. Virtually every Republican agreed with the White House, as apparently did this appellate judge – the show must go on, to save the economy, if not real people.

    This saga illustrates something else. This crisis will be a series of marathons. It will bring out great and small acts of heroism, from the daily efforts of single parents to the herculean efforts of Chef Jose Andres and his World Kitchen. (He is already repurposing his closed restaurants and turning them into food banks.) But it will also bring out in droves disaster capitalists. Their greed and cynicism will be remarkable. Keep an eye out for it, document it, and fight it.

    • P J Evans says:

      The state of Ohio should have called it off at least three days earlier. Doing it literally the day before the vote, with everything ready, IS waiting too late. Even three days before is late, when this was something on the horizon two weeks earlier.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Something on the horizon” doesn’t help evaluate what the something is or how to respond to it. Three other states, each with its own specific circumstances, are holding elections today.

      DeWine should have acted sooner. Regardless, the issue is whether delay means the state forfeits its ability to protect the general public by rescheduling a primary election.

      I don’t believe he is doing a Trump, inventing a problem so that he can impose a predetermined fix. Trump might try that in November.

      DeWine, rather, whom I disagree with about almost everything, is attempting to help solve a problem he doesn’t want. He is fighting his own, his legislature’s, and many judges’ lifelong Republican propensity to follow the White House’s incompetent lead. That’s more than McConnell or his Senate Republicans are doing.

    • BobCon says:

      She is a CBS White House correspondent. She knows who it is, or can find out. Why isn’t she naming them? That’s news.

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