Shelter in Place

In the final hours before the six-county Shelter in Place order came into effect in Northern California, signs went up, people gathered for last drinks, and the homeless tried to find warm places to sleep. Here are some scenes from San Francisco’s Mission District and the Castro, just before the order came into force.

Cliff's Hardware

Cliff’s Variety is a hardware and home goods store which has a cornerstone of the Castro area of San Francisco, even since before it was know as a haven to the gay community. Hardware stores will remain open, but many are limiting their hours and the number of people who can be in the store at any one time.

A San Francisco city worker disinfects a public bathroom late at night in the Castro area. Homelessness is prevalent in the area, and many homeless people rely on these public bathrooms for health and safety.


Orphan Andy’s, a diner in the Castro, shuts its doors following the Shelter in Place order.

The Purple Star cannabis dispensary serving customers lining up out the door as people prepare to hunker down in San Francisco’s Mission District.

A Mission District PrEP clinic is closed by the Covid-19 Shelter in Place order, putting people in the community more at risk for HIV transmission. PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and is often given to people at high risk of exposure to HIV, like injection drug users, mixed status couples, and sex workers. PrEP therapies are highly effective at stopping the transmission of the virus, but only if taken daily.





Birite, a small high end grocery store near Mission-Delores. Late at night employees are chatting in the closed store, in advance of the Shelter in Place order. Stores have been jammed with people for the past week in San Francisco.

Markets are changing their hours and controlling access, trying to clean and stock shops while keeping their employees and customers safe.

The 24 hour Safeway announces new hours to give employees a chance to clean and stock the story.






A homeless man in a wheelchair makes his way along a dead-end street next to the 16th and Mission BART station in San Francisco. Having nowhere to go, the homeless are exempt from the Shelter in Place order. Governor Newsom of California has begun securing hotel rooms to bring the homeless inside, but it’s  a fraction of what’s needed to help with the enormous homeless population of the Bay Area.

Two bins in front of a salon in the Castro area of San Francisco protect a homeless sleeper. Salons won’t be among the essential services that can remain open under the Shelter in Place order, and their workers rarely have any form of paid time off.

Harvey’s restaurant and bar, name for Castro human rights legend Harvey Milk, serves a few last patrons before closing for all but delivery service.

Bars in the Mission District that were still open as the Shelter in Place order was about to take effect were often filled, with possibly unwise patrons trying to get in last drinks.

Schools in San Francisco, like Mission High School are closed until April, though it seems possible they won’t reopen for this school year as the pandemic progresses.

Take care of each other.




127 replies
  1. Coco Cox says:

    These pictures strike my heart in a visceral way. The whole lonely cold situation revealed. So many bodies and souls adrift. God bless and help the street dwellers.

  2. Frank Probst says:

    At some point some time later this year, we’re going to have widespread testing for the COVID-19 virus, and it’s going to shock a lot of people to find out how many infected people we have.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Agree. Getting a broad sampling of people in the U.S. that is statistically significant is what will actually tell us the real infection and mortality rates.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Frank, what is your guess for when a titer test might be avavilable ? I know it is not the highest priority now, but I would very much like to take it after the illness I had in late December to mid January after flying twice for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

      Probably the sickest I have been in 20 years, with two trips to the emergency room.

      • Rayne says:

        Oh fooey…would have been a perfect opportunity to rule out influenza.

        Anybody reading this who can’t get a COVID-19 test while suffering influenza-like illness symptoms, PLEASE ask for an influenza test to rule out flu while providing CDC with valuable data about possible COVID-19 locations.

      • Frank Probst says:

        What Rayne said. But if I’m guessing on the COVID-19 virus, I think that most tests that are already being done (like, say, the tests that are actually being done in other countries) can give you a “viral load” number. Whether or not they WILL give you that info is less certain, simply because in order to do it well, you need to have VERY good controls. Most of what I’ve seen suggests that they’re using equipment and reagents that you’d use for quantitative RT-PCR, so the test reports for the tests that are being done may have a number rather than just “POSITIVE” or “NEGATIVE” on them. I know that this is already being done on a research basis, because the paper about the 6 month-old in Singapore from a week or two ago had viral loads in it. But since I haven’t seen a single test report from a US lab, I don’t know what they’re doing here. I also don’t know how much regulation the FDA does on tests like this, so it may take a while to get the test up to their standards.

        Bottom line: I don’t have a clue when this will be available. I should know more by Friday.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          My emergency room trips were to Stanford and I was tested twice. Negative for flu. I wonder if they would have recognized Covid19 on January 8th ?

        • Frank Probst says:

          Almost certainly not, but unless you were in China immediately prior to your ER visits, the likelihood of you having COVID-19 in early January is almost nil.

  3. P J Evans says:

    I belong to a club that’s met every Thursday night since about 1939.
    Not this Thursday or next.
    The church where they’ve been renting a hall while looking for another permanent home (the last one didn’t work out) is doing “deep cleaning” for the next two weeks, and maybe longer.

  4. Molly Pitcher says:

    The Governor is in negotiations with 901 hotel owners to lease or buy the hotels, some of them for quarantine to free up hospital beds, some of them as housing for homeless to get them off the street.

    The state is leasing two hospitals, one in “SoCal, one in Norcal and will take over running them expanding the ICU bed count. The NorCal one, I believe, is Seton Medical Center in Daly City, which was in the news over the weekend for preparing to shut down and go up for sale, in the middle of this crisis.

    What is really thwarting the State is the lack of reagents to complete the tests they have on hand and, like the proverbial missing horse shoe nail, the lack of swabs for nasal tests.

    The shelter in place is working very well. People have responded in a surprisingly responsible manner, even though this is costing a shocking number of jobs.

    I will most likely not see another pay check because we are in the construction industry and all construction has been shut down. My fear is that we will lose our crews, most of whom commute long distances to work here in the Bay Area. Because the entire state is not under shelter in place, I expect most of our crews to be working in the Central Valley, 60-100 mile east of the Bay Area, by tomorrow.

    Though I am an executive in the company, the owner owns several other companies, the rest of which are able to stay up and running because they fall into the essential category, and he spoke yesterday about the possibility of shutting down my company.

    I posted this on another post, but if you are interested, here is what the Shelter in Place is all about:

    Three more counties announced today that they will also be following these guidelines.

    Seat belts fastened, it’s going to be a bumpy road.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I suspect that you’re going to have to buy them rather than lease them. Any building that’s been used to house coronavirus patients will probably not be able to survive as a hotel when this is all over with. People are going to avoid them. You’re pretty much going to have to demolish the building and put a new one on the site if you want to use it as a hotel.

      • ducktree says:

        St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Los Angeles shut down a month or so ago (the Sister’s of Charity had been losing ground for y e a r s). How possible is it that this facility can be re-opened NOW when it is so obviously needed? (Full disclosure, I spent a week there in the summer of 2005 with a nasty case of bacterial pneumonia. The care and caring provided were superb!)

        ETA: Shoulda done a little poking around first: L.A. county’s on it:


        • Molly Pitcher says:

          That could very well be the SoCal hospital that the Governor was referencing in his presser yesterday.

        • ducktree says:

          Miss Molly ~ your phrase “like the proverbial missing horse shoe nail” harkened Oliver Wendell Holmes: could this be western democracy’s One Hoss Shay or George Lucas’ A New Beginning?

      • timbo says:

        Uh… what makes you think that most major hotels haven’t or aren’t right now already places where the virus has been?

    • Vicks says:

      I think in time, companies and the government will see that it makes sense to figure out a way for as many businesses as possible to run in a way that keeps some of their people working and generate at least some income.
      Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.
      It has been a frustrating week or so in my business as one company after another completely shuts down the supply chain.
      Almost every situation had a practical solution.
      Instead of shutting everything down about 1 warehouse guy/ gal packing and shipping parts?
      How about drawing a line separating the warehouse in half and having two people keep commerce moving?
      How about 3 shifts?
      How about as long as you are paying everyone, you put someone to work and have them go unlock the door and let my guy deliver and set up the product you have already paid for?
      There has to be similar ways to keep construction going.
      Slow as hell for sure but good grief, one person to a floor would be better than shutting off the lights completely.
      Sure enough, today we had a call from a large and long time client that was looking to brainstorm on ways to take advantage of the down time in their facilities

  5. e.a.f. says:

    The photo essay says it all.

    This is what is has come to in the country which is supposed to be the richest and most powerful on earth? The picture of the person in the wheel chair was stunning in its pain. This is the country which sent people to the moon. This is the country which is supposed to have a Mars mission. They can’t even provide a “mission” to give persons in wheelchairs a clean, dry place to live.

    Shelter in place, yes, if you have shelter. Remind me of an old song.

    Italy, Spain, and France are in full lock down.
    Peru is in full lock down with the military patrolling the streets.

    The Guardian reports this evening,
    Trump treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin said unemployment could hit 20% if they don’t push through huge economic stimulus bill as soon as possible.

    If a country winds up on full lock down how would a stimulus bill help? It won’t matter, people can’t go to work, can’t leave their homes. Is this guy mindless or what. What the U.S.A. needs is a huge bill to pass both houses to pay for health care for people to be tested, to be treated, for supplies to be available for hospitals. If people are dying they aren’t going to be interested in an economic stimulus. the only stimulus they’ll be interested in is a shot at life.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Anyone else curious as to how much of the bailout funds directly go to members of the POTUS’ inner circle? Debt relief and help for hotels seems to be a bit too close to home.

      What would help those who are tremendously over-leveraged in a global downturn?

      NVM, I must be tilting at ghosts.

      • timbo says:

        I’m very curious. I’m also very curious about why all the delays with testing equipment, what happened with that in Ireland, etc.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Don’t forget the pic of the people crowded into a bar, just so they can get one more night of drinking in before the “deadline”, even though they know that they could be getting infected or infecting other people while they’re sitting there. I don’t know if that’s selfishness, stupidity, or both.

      • G Todd says:

        One of the great ironies of suggestions that folks reach out to family and friends is discovering just how many idiots (friends) I know. Many of them unapologetically did the same thing on the night of Illinois’s bar and restaurant ban.

        • Ruthie says:

          I live on the short NH coast, so less than 20 miles from MA. My husband and I were taking a walk on Sunday and were amazed at the number of cars with MA plates – outnumbering locals, even. With the Maine border just minutes away, there were barely any ME plates. It turns out that people were coming up because restaurants and bars were still open here at the time.

          Just pathetic.

  6. Wm. Boyce says:

    I live close to S.F. and it is indeed a ghost town everywhere out here, except for the markets, where hoarders are buying toilet paper by the bushel. Even at Costco, which is an absolute madhouse, the shelves are stripped.
    As one client of mine pointed out: “Covid-19 does not cause diarrhea.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, it can cause diarrhea, but only in about 4% of cases (Mayo Clinic). But that’s probably not why people are panic-buying TP.

      • P J Evans says:

        Waiting in line to get into the supermarket yesterday morning (bread, mayo, veggies), a woman in front of me was on the phone to her partner: “I was able to get you two rolls of paper towels”. My feeling is, buy what you normally use in a month, and add ONE.

        • Rayne says:

          Our gestures of affection are undergoing a sea change.

          “I was able to get you two rolls of paper towels” = I braved the aerosolized virus in a crowded, poorly-ventilated space with no guarantee of success to demonstrate my undying love for you.

        • P J Evans says:

          We were standing outside, in a cold drizzle. The store is fairly large, but even 30 customers made it feel busy, as we found (or didn’t) what we were after.

          A woman who was deaf came up while we were waiting to get in, and rather than send her to the end of the line, we let her go in early (besides, the sign asks that seniors be given priority, and she was older).

    • Rayne says:

      Uh, your client is mistaken. From WHO’s China Mission report:

      Symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific and the disease presentation can range from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe pneumonia and death.As of 20 February 2020 and based on 55924 laboratory confirmed cases, typical signs and symptoms include: fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), myalgia or arthralgia (14.8%), chills(11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).

      Bold mine. I suspect the 3.7% might be higher since I have seen more anecdotes about this symptom. Community member Pajaro mentioned his son had it as a follow-on symptom, though I think he’s still waiting for a confirmation about the results of his COVID-19 test.

      • Pajaro says:

        Yes, still waiting on lab result, nasal swab. I’m guessing it likely went to the state lab. Son says he sleeps (fatique?) a lot, that is probably helpful. He did say there was mucus, a lot (sputum?) I’ll check on his appetite.

      • BeingThere says:

        One symptom is lack of appetite, which for me kicked in around the time fever started (or became noticed). Fever lasted around 10 days, appetite still not back to normal. (Flu test was negative.) Symptoms included GI issues about 3 days in. Now continuing self quarantine, working from home, and at least two more weeks of careful convalescence.
        So depending on how you respond, you may not need an extra fortnight’s food stocked up, and with that reduced intake also less TP needed. Take care.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for sharing your experience. This is a rhetorical question, but I’m wondering if you’re a Type A blood type. At least one study from China suggests Type A have worse experience than other blood types, could explain the profusion of cryptic cases walking around (B and O types, perhaps?).

    • Frank Probst says:

      One of the first Houston patients presented with GI symptoms, and the diagnosis was missed, which led to a number of ER workers being self-quarantined.

  7. Pete T says:

    Bless Quinn. A picture really does tell a thousand words.

    Perhaps a bit off topic here, but what the heck.

    Based mostly on the reporting of Chris Martenson and Dr. John Campbell (not an MD), but others as well, here’s one thing I have been wondering about – open to comment/clarification by anyone here.

    Slowing the spread of the virus can be mitigated by quarantine, isolation, and/or social distancing. I understand “flattening the curve” and its implications for mitigating the otherwise certainty that critical care medical facilities will be swamped to the point the triage (like Italy) will be required.

    Read this:

    Now Martenson did not come out and say it, but it appears that the modeling of the probable level of acceptance of the various suppression/mitigation steps still would not flatten the curve below critical care supply. Better for sure and should be done (I am not even hinting at letting us all risk infection)

    Further, is seems to me that – like China and S Korea – once you depress the new cases there is a risk of re-infection – a second wave if you will. I guess we may see that experiment played out in China.

    As I understand it, herd immunity is achieved with an 85%+ rate of immunity from disease recovery and immunization. If immunization is a year off, it seems likely to me that loosening the suppression/mitigation steps will almost certainly result in follow-on waves of infection. Maybe not as bad as the first, but disruptive to be sure.

    I am NOT stating this as fact or even most likely. Curious for comment.


    • 200Toros says:

      I read the Imperial College paper a couple day ago, the key takeaways for me were that social distancing/stay at home needs to happen until we get a vaccine, so for 12-18 months. Assumes that prior to a functioning vaccine, anytime we stop social distancing, we will get a flare-up of cases. Obviously that is probably just not doable for our society (long-term isolation, no school is critical), so they model an on-off switch – when a local area gets, say, 100 cases in ICU, close up schools/everything, stay at home, the cases will continue to spike up, then fall off, and when it’s back down to 50 cases in ICU, let people out of the house for a breather. They assume this will create multiple waves of outbreaks, until we get a vaccine/treatment, but it’s presented as a lesser evil kind of thing. Pretty scary. (I am not a medical professional.) I guess we’ll know pretty soon, since China appears to be sending people back to work.

      • Pajaro says:

        I’m hopeful that China will develop a vaccine fairly quickly, they have a head start and have much interest in developing one for their people. Likely they will make it available worldwide. Maybe by then the bloated orange lizard in the white house will be gone. Lots to hope for…

      • Rayne says:

        Need to wrap your head around a different time frame for the vaccine. A tested, proven vaccine is anticipated in 12-18 months assuming there are no wrinkles. That’s a best case scenario. But the amount of time needed to scale up production to a nationwide vaccine let alone a global vaccine is longer than that. My guess is 24 months, keeping in mind I am not a virologist/epidemiologist/any health care -ologist, period.

        We have to mentally prepare ourselves for a different lifestyle for two years if we want as many of us to survive this as possible.

        • Pete T says:

          I do think anyone publicly has even begun the discussion on how this is very likely – almost certainly – going to change everything over (as you say) two years (or more).

          Time to research the societal and economic change wrought by the “Spanish” Flu 1918-1919.

        • BobCon says:

          One of the interesting things about society’s reaction after 1919 was how much the memories were repressed.

          Notoriously, Trump recently said he didn’t know of anyone who died of the flu, when his own grandfather had died in 1919. Very possibly, his father Fred never brought it up. (Or it’s just another sign of Trump’s stupidity, or both.)

          H.L. Mencken famously wrote “The epidemic is seldom mentioned, and most Americans have apparently forgotten it. This is not surprising. The human mind always tries to expunge the intolerable from memory, just as it tries to conceal it while current.”

          This is an interview with an author who describes the “national amnesia” and the way a lot of surviviors were left to deal with the aftermath on heir own. I will cross my fingers we learn from the past and don’t forget again, somehow.

        • P J Evans says:

          Fred was in his early teens. He probably didn’t talk about it. (I suspect it’s part of why he was so nasty as an adult.)

          My father’s grandfather died when he was just going on seven – he remembered it, but never talked about it except with my mother (and maybe his siblings). (Not disease – got his ribs stove in by a bull. Took all night to die.)

        • Rayne says:

          We should also recall that death was far more common for other reasons, like childhood illnesses, common infections, workplace injuries. What we perceive as a sharp, dramatic spike in mortality may not have had the same impact on the public then; remember how many deaths in 1918-1919 were infants and children, not just young adults.

          US Mortality – Childhood 1900-2017

          Adder: people should look some time at what the measles vaccine did to ALL childhood disease mortality. That particular vaccine did more than just protect against measles.

        • BobCon says:

          You are right, and I also think part of the equation is that the flu response was a great big screwup.

          All kinds of monuments were built in the US in the 20s honoring the dead of WWI, but that was seen as a victory.

          There has also been a lot of sexism and racism in the choices of who gets remembered.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          After the Great Fire of 1901, the architect Henry John Klutho moved from New York to help rebuild Jacksonville, Florida. His blueprints of a Carnegie endowed library show a fumigation chamber in the basement. The hope was to help deter yellow fever, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It can now be prevented by an effective vaccine but there is no anti-viral drug for yellow fever (so named because of the symptom of jaundice in some people.) This building is no longer a library, but instead, is a law firm.

          Yellow fever:

        • P J Evans says:

          I was doing family tree for niece-by-marriage and found several of her people had died in the big yellow fever epidemic of 1855 in Portsmouth, VA. Fortunately there’s a record that has them – they were poor Irish, and not noticed in newspapers.

    • PeterS says:

      Hello my brother, I have been thinking the same sort of thing.

      How does society have a conversation about what increase in infection, and thus deaths, should be traded for some return to normality?

      Society routinely tolerates avoidable deaths – in healthcare, the opioid crisis, the homeless, traffic policy etc.

      (It would be nice if it wasn’t just a new cause of avoidable deaths that got a reaction from government.)

  8. 200Toros says:

    “Americans think the height of civilization is soft toilet tissue.” – paraphrasing a quote by a Russian character in an Eric Van Lustbader novel I read as a teen. Can’t find it now. Always struck me as funny, since in many other countries they don’t have soft, cushy TP like us…

    • vvv says:

      Looking for that quote – because I amuse me like that – I found this:
      “Americans spend 30 minutes per year just looking for the end of a toilet paper roll, which results in $300 million lost each year in productivity.”
      ht tps://

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    For those with the resources, please share what you can.

    I talked to a small business owner today who saw an old lady yesterday, scared and confused, in the store stocking up. She didn’t have enough money for her order. He had the cashier put it all on his tab saying, “She could be my mother.”

    This bus has no springs, a cracked windshield, and an unlicensed driver. He can’t read and prefers horoscopes to road maps. The seats are full, standing room only, but a few passengers have rhythm, and a few more remember how to smile.

    My favorite from Rowan Atkinson is the Devil’s Sketch. He plays a charming Devil (“You can call me Toby, if you like.”), welcoming new arrivals to Hell. There are so many, he has to separate them into groups: Murderers, looters, thieves, lawyers, atheists, Christians (“I’m afraid the Jews were right”), pillagers, Americans, and bank managers. “Adulterers if you could form a line in front of that small guillotine there.” Amid the beelzebub, someone nervously asks Toby the way to the loo. “I’m afraid we don’t have any toilets. If you read your Bible, you might have seen that it was, “Damnation without relief.”

    • e.a.f. says:

      Thank you for the laugh.

      this toilet paper thing extends to Canada also. About all I can say is, we sure must love our ass holes.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Well, there are three adults at home now, two of us men. Two of us usually work outside the home and one at home. That means all of the trips to the bathroom that two of us made at work everyday, are now done at home.

        We are using a LOT more toilet paper, and I am trying to anticipate the possibility of the virus hitting our house with all three of us having diarrhea at the same time. It might be, um, unpleasant trying to make it to the store after that began.

        • Tom says:

          It might help if you have catalpa trees growing in your neighbourhood, though they’re about the last to leaf out in the spring. When my kids were small, I used to tell them catalpas were actually called Toilet Paper Trees because of the huge size of their heart-shaped/butt-shaped leaves.

        • P J Evans says:

          I got into the habit of using Scotts single-ply safe-for-septic-systems when I lived in west Texas. It’s good for *not* clogging plumbing, if you have someone who likes to use a lot at a time. (It’s relatively cheap, and the last to disappear because it’s not “quilted” or “soft”.

  10. punaise says:

    Berkeley is a ghost town – not that I can personally verify that from my shelter-in-place bubble.
    With the luxury of having desk jobs my co-workers and I are working remotely, with relative efficiency… as long as the work lasts.

  11. Pajaro says:

    Regarding vaccine; I’m wondering if our national labs have been or could be charged with accelerating vaccine development. Could the Army biological warfare unit (Ft. Dietrich?) be re-purposed to work on vaccine? After all, we likely have plenty of nuclear and biological weapons at hand. Again, the big thinkers in D.C. seem to be self-isolating.

    • Rayne says:

      There are 20-30 projects chasing a COVID-19 vaccine already. It’s just as important now for scientists to develop antivirals — in the case of COVID-19 so that we don’t end up with a single-source supplier for the one and only antiviral which works. I’d rather see military work on this because it has the possibility of creating a Swiss Army knife to treat other viruses before they can spread, buying time for a vaccine.

      • Pajaro says:

        Anti-virals would be good task, I agree. It is that Trump and administration are still looking at this as a bump in the road, to be milked for private gain, never mind helping the populace for whom they have no empathy. When its really the train going over a cliff after the trestle collapsed, and they don’t seem to understand. In the government labs there is a deep brain trust and plenty of equipment that could be turned for public good. Time to use all the tools at hand! Forgive my mixed metaphors, I need to take a hunting trip (otherwise known as a long walk in the woods).

    • Frank Probst says:

      Prefacing this to say that I do NOT think that the COVID-19 virus is a bioweapon, but if you pretended that it was, then countering it would probably be the mission statement of this part of the army.

      • Pajaro says:

        I don’t think it is a bioweapon either. However if potential to be weaponized then Army could be tasked with anti-viral, etc. So….order something Mr. President! A lot of Trump’s base think it is a bioweapon and he is playing up the race card, of course.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Thank goodness it’s not. Had it been a bioweapon, it’s more likelly to have spread faster and wider, overwhelming medical services in a heartbeat.

        Given that it threatens to do that anyway, over a much longer period, it says little for our ability to respond to a real bioweapon. Presumably, that is of considerable concern to the DoD planners not engaged in responding to Covid-19. The NSC seems either uninterested or too busy with other things to have a hand in either situation. Presumably, it is fully occupied responding to Trump’s daily whims.

  12. John K says:

    After gaining so much valuable insight and information on this site, I’ve felt obliged to not only say thanks to everyone but to consider how I might contribute and what follows is the best that I can conjure.

    I survived Katrina flooding and lived through the absolutely bizarre postdiluvian world that New Orleans became. I want to remind everyone to remember to focus on their own sanity as the world changes so drastically. You have to take breaks from the news cycles because they will be nothing but relentless shitshows from now until a vaccine is developed. You have to maintain a balance between staying on top of things and reminding yourself that your own piece of mind is important and requires a distancing from the tragedy that surrounds you. Humor still exists and most people try to help and do right by others. Look for the helpers!
    Even as so many Americans are sadly misinformed, there are places like emptywheel where people work continuously to straighten out that information for them.
    As this particular tragedy unfolds, it resembles Katrina in one important aspect. She continued to kill old people for quite a while after the flood subsided, fatalities that weren’t included in the official numbers. ( My own PTSD is kicking in as I write this) We lost lots of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, etc. simply because they lost everything that was familiar to them. They literally died of broken hearts because they couldn’t return to their Pre-K homes and their beloved way of life. It was incredibly sad to hear the same story from friends and neighbors over and over again. Before this happens to any of you, please spend some quality time with the old folks in your life. Bring them food if you can, listen to their stories, let them know that you appreciate them for who they are and what they have done in their lives. This whole sheltering in place thing provides the perfect opportunity to do it. You’ll never regret it.
    Remember to be nice to yourselves and each other and good luck to everyone.
    Today is my birthday and I don’t want cake or a party; I want toilet paper!

    • Jim White says:

      Wishing you peace on your birthday. For some of our visits with the old folks, let’s hope they’ve learned how to do FaceTime because that may be the safest approach. But by all means, as you point out, reaching out now is vital. For many folks, family may be all they feel that they have at this point.

      I think often about the Katrina havoc on New Orleans residents. I listen to Mary Gauthier’s music a lot, and “Can’t Find The Way” is still able to make me just stop and contemplate for a while.

        • Jim White says:

          Hey, I’m officially an old! My doc often wants an appointment just to renew a prescription, but her office called today to set up a video appointment on Friday so I don’t have to go into the office.

          Now all have to do is to figure out how to use the newfangled thing called Zoom…

          Oh, and I’m hoping to FaceTime the grandbabies soon. I think I can figure out how to use it. Only other time FaceTime has been going on my phone was when it somehow did a really strange buttdial while I was on an elevator in San Diego.

        • P J Evans says:

          I know people who have successfully used Skype for meetings where one of the major members was on another continent.

      • Mary M McCurnin says:

        My parents lost their home in Katrina. They lived in Old Metairie. Neither ever got over it. They eventually both got severe dementia. It was stated somewhere that the elderly in New Orleans had greater levels of dementia after Katrina.

        I cannot imagine what the long term effects of this disease will be.

      • John K says:

        Thanks, Jim. I hadn’t heard of Mary Gauthier before so I sought out that song and listened. It’s a great tune and I will get my hands on at least one of her CDs. I consider that type of music rec a birthday gift that lasts for a long time.

    • Valley girl says:

      John K, thank you for your wonderfully written an moving comment. I’m close to tears.

      I have a dear friend Gilly who lives out in the country in England. She’s 86 and still very active, both mentally and physically. I got to know her and her husband more than 40 years ago when I lived in Cambridge, England for 10 years. Their daughter Camilla became a dear friend of mine first- we did research in the same department. I got to be very friendly with the entire family, and stayed with them several times then, and since.

      I spent the month of January/ year before this, with them. Camilla and her brother were there, along his family (all now living permanently in Oz). It was a gathering in part to celebrate Bob’s 93rd birthday (husband of Gilly, father of Camilla).

      Sadly, Bob died just before Christmas. I happened to phone two days after he died, and Camilla had just arrived from Oz. Gilly invited me to come stay in April, just before Camilla and her brother were to be there. Even before it was evident how bad things would be, I phoned Gilly to say I wasn’t coming. I would have to have travelled through two very busy airports.

      Gilly said that it was “a very sensible decision”, that she was being very practical, and anyway, she’d had a good long life, and if she died b/c of the virus, that was that. I finally said: that’s fine, Gilly, but I don’t want to be the one responsible.
      That got a laugh from her.

      But. reading your comment made me realize I might never see her again. Thus the tears. But I’ve phoned her every week for the past few weeks, and will continue to do so.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  13. Fran of the North says:

    Thanks to Quinn for her photo-journalism. It’s completely surreal how quickly we’ve gone from the semi-ordered familiar to the topsy-turvy alien.

    This community regularly gets together, even though we’re socially distant. Please don’t forget that proximity and affection are more than physical. Tell someone today how much the mean to you.

    Even though I’d walk past most of you without recognition, you have become my friends. Peace in this strenuous time. – Fran

    • bmaz says:

      Fran…Thank you for being part of us for a long time, and thank you for saying so now. The feelings are mutual.

      • Fran of the North says:

        Thank you bmaz. I’ve learned lots here over the years, and hopefully haven’t been too much of a miscreant.

        And even tho IANAL, I do have an appreciation for a precisely spun chunk of vinyl. So at least we have that in common. ;o) On a long ago post of yours, you waxed poetic about Styx.

        I missed that movement, I didn’t catch their early stuff and they were too popular for my longhair-esque sensibilities when I finally caught up. But 6 months or so after your post, I was doing some work on my never ending basement project when a REALLY great song came on my favorite ‘album rock’ internet station. And what did I find? Shooz. And then I got enlightened, fast. Keep on keepin’ on!

        • bmaz says:

          Oooof, not sure I want to be known as the guy who promoted Styx. I can’t and won’t defend that overall. But, seriously, Equinox from back in the mid 70’s is fantastic. Yup, still have it on vinyl, and both sides are still really, really good. If you still play records, I highly suggest it.

          Since Record Store Day was cancelled and moved to June 20, I suggest looking around on that day. Can probably pick it, and a LOT of great old albums, up from the used bins for a buck or two each.

        • Fran of the North says:

          The fun part about vinyl is that it’s like a treasure hunt – you never know what you’re going to find. Unfortunately, my life long table gacked a couple of years back, and my budget didn’t include a replacement of the caliber to which I aspired, so that passion has cooled a bit.

          A decade and a half ago I bought my phono pre-amp. As a test, I hooked it directly to my headphone amp and listened to a favorite track – Joan Armatrading’s ‘Dry Land’. It was flipping unbelievable: I’d listened to that song dozens if not hundreds of times but with that setup I could actually hear her breathe as she sang.

          There’s LOTS of data in them thar gruuves! Spin ’em if you got ’em.

  14. Pajaro says:

    NM Governor just ordered restaurants to be closed, limited to pick-up and delivery only. She also closed bars, athletic clubs, spas, movie theaters, shopping malls, race tracks, casinos (not tribal), and perhaps more, closed. Effective tomorrow, Thursday. I looked on her state website for details but didn’t find any, the above was reported by local TV. She definitely isn’t fooling around! Gatherings of certain size were already restricted. Now that is leadership!

    • Pajaro says:

      Earlier in week unemployment benefits were extended to temporarily laid off workers. 28 cases now, one recent appears to be community spread, a woman in 40s, hasn’t traveled anywhere. 2350 tests have been given.

      • Vicks says:

        How many tests?
        2350 tests given, is about the same as Colorado and we have twice the population and 8 times as many confirmed cases.
        I don’t know how many celebrities though…

        • Pajaro says:

          Yes, I don’t know how the state is doing it, but testing seems to be pretty aggressive for a small population state. Drive-through testing is available in many places. I was looking at AZ numbers and I noticed the state Health Dept., reporting low numbers; says in the fine print that test numbers don’t reflect private labs which can do the test. So, I may have been mistakenly harsh about AZ testing numbers being low. Seems private testing, too, should be reported to the state for transparency and level-of-effort numbers. For historical and epidemiological research purposes the testing effort should be known. The faulty start and low test effort remains one of the administration’s major failings in the biggest crisis this country has faced in a generation.

  15. greengiant says:

    With people taking sick time even if they are uncertain about the illness essential workers such as transit employees are affecting transportation even as rush hour demand falls to the floor.

  16. Tom says:

    So Donald Trump, with his thinking patterns and personal prejudices firmly rooted in the 16th century, insists on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” just as syphilis, when it first emerged in Europe in the late 1490s, was variously referred to as the French disease, the Italian disease, the Spanish disease, or the English, Polish, Turkish, Christian, Portuguese disease as it worked its way around the globe.

  17. foggycoast says:

    great shots. i’ve lived and worked in S.F. for 45 years so i know pretty much all those places well. drove around the city again today and while it’s quiet it is not dead nor depressing. as i said prior. it feels like it was a few decades ago so, strangely nice. that a microscopic thing can bring humanity to its knees is humbling. as a contrarian i see a silver lining and hope that this event will renew a social contract amongst us all.

  18. Savage Librarian says:

    Mother Earth

    Clothes are drying on the line,
    My neighbor cuts his grass.
    Outside things seem just fine,
    But we know they’re not, alas.

    Postal workers leave junk mail
    like any other day,
    On the river I can see a sail
    in the distance slip away.

    Someone there is fishing
    off the sidewalk on the bridge,
    Someone else is wishing
    nature flips a switch.

    Wondering what our fate will birth
    burns our frontal lobes,
    As we learn from Mother Earth
    of tiny viral globes.

    This opus of the spheres
    has wrapped around her girth,
    as the profiteers
    weigh per capita worth.

    Each to their own orbs,
    POTUS might attest,
    if he still ranks with Forbes,
    and is living at his best.

    We each will live as life sees fit,
    Hope surges through our pores,
    ‘Til we’re graced with the end of it,
    With its neithers and its nors.

  19. fishmanxxx says:

    The old grey haired dinosaurs are preaching to the millennials that they should “listen”, create social distance and not compromise the health of their elders, while these same geezers won’t listen to the youth about the future cost to the their generation associated with climate change and growing deficits. I’m not advocating for deliberate disobedience but the hypocrisy is just too much and everyone needs to listen to one another!

    • Fran of the North says:

      Fishman has hit on an interesting point. We often think of the social divide as right left, and less age based.

      But we of the older crowd have acted in ways that diminish or even outright disrespect younger cohorts. And while many of these acts have seemed innocent to the perpetrator, they are not seen as benignly by the targets. To some degree, the situation parallels racism. Much is unintentional, and yet no less real.

      Part of the issue stems from the same origin points as ‘American Exceptionalism’. What may be rightful pride about the accomplishments of the great American experiment can easily turn into jingoistic nationalism when in-artfully expressed. Worse when an axe grinder starts using it to chop away at the fabric of international relations wholesale.

      In the same way, what we offer as ‘helpful’ or ‘realistic’ might be so much noise to those younger with a different perspective. We’ve seen bad actors (pun intended) wield this like a cudgel – see comments by some US ‘leaders’ with respect Greta T. et al.

      Perhaps we can call this phenomenon ‘Boomer Exceptionalism’. Sounds like a topic for the enviable skills of Ed to dissect!

      If the younger generations feel that we don’t respect their views, opinions and perception of correct action, why would they feel compelled to respect ours?

      • drouse says:

        It also doesn’t help that there are decades of poor and deferred decisions concerning all aspects of society that are all coming home to roost at this juncture of history. Hell, my will reads more like an apology than a set of bequests.It probably won’t make them feel much better.

  20. Thomasa says:

    Today we were bored with sheltering in place and the weather was fine so we went cycling near our rural town. Being our first spring as land owners here we have lots of infrastructure to build out; a vegetable garden is first up. We stopped by some young friends’ place to see what they are up to —Preparing a vegetable garden. The deer fence is done and some raised beds are built and now the rock removal is underway. Sysifus, as I recall, had only one rock to deal with. They have an infinite number and it makes me sad. Having gardened for decades I judge they will not get a significant crop this year but they will need it. We all need for them to succeed. Them and so many other young folks just starting out.

    This sort of disruption will leave scars for a lifetime. Some will say it builds character. Not so for so many victims of Katrina. I will say it injects a profound sadness that some will not recover from. The young woman spoke with my wife about how hard is is seeing her friends being laid off. She is normally a bright vivacious person. Not today.

    I have good soil, water and no deer fence. I am seventy. I can hire a fence built. Last time I undertook such a homesteading project I was their age — thirty. I think there is some sort of trade that can benefit us. I just have to make it seem like they are doing us a favor. Of course they get as much of the product as they need. BTW we all stood outside six feet apRt.

  21. BobPDX says:

    We live in a close knit neighborhood in Portland. Yesterday about a dozen of us met on the corner at 5 for happy hour. Everyone got caught up with one other while standing 6 feet apart. It was nice.
    My wife posted a picture of it on social media and a friend from France commented that those days are long gone there. She told us that the police are actively writing citations for such gatherings.

  22. G Todd says:

    Thanks again for your piece and to all the commenters. Oak Park, where I live, is less than 10 hours away from Illinois’ first local Shelter-in-Place. The village as already closed bars and restaurants, except for curbside pick-up or delivery. (Un)fortunately, it’s been raining the past couple of days so it’s hard to gauge if folks are cooperating. Also, there’s a lot of confusion over the actual parameters of the lockdown. The decree absolutely forbids non-essential travel whether by car, motorcycle, bicycle, scooter, or foot. Although in a public radio interview this morning, the village spokesperson (who knew?!?!) stated we weren’t in a police state and people who want to exercise can do so just not in groups and without social distancing. Anybody out there have any “guidelines” for navigating the ambiguities? I don’t want to spook the neighbors but walking is important to me after pretty extensive spine surgery a few years back.

    • P J Evans says:

      The shelter-in-place counties in California allow walking, but only by yourself or with family members.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good time to think about how little Trump and his Republicans change their spots. Any program they push – especially whatever private-public partnership crap Jared Kushner is working on – will be designed to do what Trump always does: Make himself wealthy, and scam, lie, and cheat everyone else.

    One special area to watch for will be new deals with the private sector. These should be public, with short sunset provisions. Public information should include information on all parties; whether the arrangement is cost-plus, a percentage, or something else; whether the government proposes to immunize and hold the private sector harmless; and whether Trump restricts the government from regulating supply constraints, price gouging, and monopolistic practices. Lastly, any special extensions or provisions regarding the “free” sharing of taxpayer-funded intellectual property and the private sector’s right to patent it for its exclusive use.

    America already has the most extreme version of capitalism on the planet. Corporate lobbyists would happily sell tobacco products on a cancer ward. They will practice Disaster Capitalism like it’s never been practiced before. They are not out to help the general population.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I would add to that list any new exceptions to record-keeping and public disclosure requirements that Trump attempts to impose. Apart from himself, Trump loves nothing more than secrecy, as do his patrons and corporate supporters. But the practice is antithetical to accountability and public government.

    • P J Evans says:

      The money doesn’t go to the correct people? (I switched to vote-by-mail because L.A. county decided to use machines that haven’t proven reliable, AND consolidate them at “voting centers” that aren’t necessarily convenient for voters. They didn’t actually ask voters for their opinions until they’d made the decisions.

  24. Tom says:

    As the pandemic worsens and the infection rate and death toll rise in the coming days and weeks, I wonder if Trump is going to have some sort of a mental or emotional breakdown once the disparity between the reality of the situation on the ground and the “Clap if you believe in fairies!” flavour of his press briefings becomes ever more starkly obvious. Trump isn’t getting the adulation and ego-boost he is used to receiving from his campaign rallies and pressing the flesh with his fans, and without that psychological sustenance I wonder if the stress and strain of the job will finally become too much for him. He can’t ignore the COVID-19 virus calamity the way he can North Korean missile testing or Putin’s election meddling. He can’t put the current crisis out of his mind and go tootling off to play golf the way he’s used to doing. So I wonder if some day soon the President may just crack, and who will be around to protect him and the rest of us from the consequences.

    • Vicks says:

      I can’t imagine he has any interest in a second term, but for now he has a job to do.
      Trump’s businesses (the ones we know of) will be in ruins too.
      Trump will be the first President in history use his power to create an exit package for himself.
      If investigative journalism is still around maybe in 10 or 15 years someone will win a Pulitzer for unraveling some of the details.
      Maybe, because “everyone dies” Trump’s secrets will be found in the secret safe of the shameless William Barr.
      All that I know is that I am exhausted, and sad.
      Really, really sad.
      This is worse than anyone could imagine.
      I know intellectually that this “plague” isn’t Trump’s fault.
      But for craps sake, we need someone to harness the power of the office and lead us out of this, even ass h*le Republicans deserve so much better than where he will take us. Or leave us.

      • Tom says:

        I think Trump desperately wants a second term because he knows he won’t be criminally prosecuted as long as he’s President. I, too, am looking forward to the serious investigative works on the Trump administration that I’m sure will be forthcoming once he’s out of office. I’m also starting to feel increasingly uneasy at how this whole mess is unfolding. You can’t foresee every possible consequence and contingency, but surely to God it shouldn’t have required any tremendous foresight to realize that there would be a need for stockpiles of masks, PPE, and other medical supplies.

  25. Tom says:

    President Trump’s policy in the present pandemic crisis seems to be America first! Unless you happen to be a state governor, in which case you’re on your own.

  26. Bobster33 says:

    My experiences from Oregon last week: I work for a mega-corp that does contract inspections of airports. On Monday March 16th, my coworker and I arrived in Oregon. We got the last dinner service as the governor announced that all restaurants were to be closed for in store dining the next day. We inspected the local airport over the next few days. During that time, the FAA announced that it did not have any redundancy in the northwest to handle a Covid-19 outbreak. So all non-airport traffic controllers were told to work from home. My coworker and I accelerated our inspection and planned on leaving on Thursday.

    During that week, my coworker and I visited many restaurants (take out only) and most were deserted. One restaurant we visited had only $48 in sales for all of Wednesday. The manager told me that he was laying off everyone until further notice. On Tom Hartmann’ show, Tom indicated that Oregon’s filing for unemployment went from 500+ per week to 18,000 this past week.

    On Thursday, I flew back to Los Angeles and my coworker tried to fly to his home in Las Vegas. Las Vegas airport was put on reduced flights that day and my coworker’s flight was canceled. He ended up flying to Phoenix and driving home to Las Vegas. As for my flight, there were 15 passengers on the flight.

    • Rayne says:

      Good thing your air travel was completed. I saw that airspace over NYC was shut down because an air traffic controller tested positive, causing the entire ATC system for that airspace to go into quarantine.

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