Tuesday, March 10, 2020

From The Home Front - Coronavirus Edition

So by the last data we have 382 people officially diagnosed with corona-virus while 4 as far have died (3 were men, one a woman, all were elderly/in their eighties and possibly immunocompromised).  The majority appear to have been on vacation in Northern Italy or their contacts but they are still searching for the source of many infections in North-Brabant, the province which seems to be hardest hit as of now.

There is also talk on the internet that many exhibit the symptoms but are refused the test so it is speculated that the amount of those sick could in reality be much higher (which is very probable). I can understand the government trying to prevent general panic, but I hardly can understand those who still chose to go to Italy when it had already been known about many cases there.

An interesting situation is developing in Brabant about schools. On the one hand, it is recommended that both teachers and students alike stay home for as much as sneezing once (kids have been sent home for that) while on the other hand the parents are threatened with consequences if they keep children at home out of fear of infection.

There are definitely two camps online: the first consists of 2 incomers who *itch and moan and demand that the government provides them with free babysitters now that the schools and after school care are closing their doors, the second gleefully informs them that school is not free daycare, that they should raise their darn kids themselves, that they love money too much, and finally that they themselves (second camp supporters, that is) will keep their kids at home whenever they see  fit.

It's been fun to watch.

Stores in town are running short on flour, sugar, salt, honey, and canned goods. I have been doing shopping trips since last Thursday and have nearly enough at home to survive for about 4 weeks, since my freezer space is very limited I'm opting for canned/vacuum-packed above frozen as well.  The nearby supermarket hasn't run out of toilet paper yet, but they've had no flour for several days which is a bother since I recently bought a new bread-baking machine and am currently trying it out.

Instead of storing on flour, btw, I chose bread, fresh loaves to freeze and vacuum-packed which are good till middle May, plus Scandinavian crispbread. We eat lots of it anyway.

Situation in Northern Italy, from what I've gathered, is not looking fine right now.

How are things where you all live?

Feel free to share in the comments!

UPDATE: We now have at least one case in our city. Please pray for us!


  1. I am always being accused of being a conoravirus denier when I show how more people die of the common flu every winter if they are elderly and weak.

  2. Death and complication rate are much higher tho.

  3. where we live, things seem to be humming along as normal for the most part. I think I fall into Lydia's camp, in that I am not as given to freaking out over this for a number of reasons.

    The fact that this is an election year here in the states just makes my inner cynic even more cynical than usual, which is probably not a good thing. I know this is real and concerning, but American media is the absolute worst, Sanne! I have to bypass them and search out sources, which is time consuming.

    I am keeping an ear out to hear about any sharp uptick in cases in my state (FL). I haven't felt any urgent need to stock up on anything but this morning I started re-thinking that. So we may buy some extra essentials before the week is over.

  4. I see your point! But I doubt that Italy would put the whole country on lock-down just because you folks are having an election:) It also depends on where you live, I guess, big cities with high density of population are always higher risk.

    As for supplies, it's not so much for the epidemic, but people started stocking up before me so I figured out that I need to be prepared if the real panic starts. Plus, if they decide to put you in a quarantine, you aren't allowed to go out for at least, two weeks.

  5. I know we Americans tend to think we're the center of the universe :) , but I understand that ���� is looking out for their population because this a serious health threat.

    I was simply pointing out that reporting here on the virus is as much political as it is about health and safety. They are inducing panic which makes me inclined to tune them out.

    1. True, Elspeth, and it's all the president's fault according to the liberal media outlets. I simply don't watch any news so I'm humming along just fine. I really don't believe this virus is any worse that any of the other strains. What comes next will be warning after warning to get your ******virus flu shot. $$$$$

  6. Yeah, I noticed that! Italian death rates seem to be much higher than in other countries so far, they hit 6.2 today. It's not looking good for them.

    1. With all due respect I just cannot believe we have an epidemic when this is a typical year according to the stats of previous flu seasons from the Center of Disease Control:

      In total, the CDC estimates that up to 42.9 million people got sick during the 2018-2019 flu season, 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died. That's fairly on par with a typical season, and well below the CDC's 2017-2018 estimates of 48.8 million illnesses, 959,000 hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths.Jun 20, 2019

    2. Flu death rate is 0.1%. Even if we assume that infected cases in Italy are under-reported by a factor of 10 (100 000 instead of 10 000) it still leaves us with 6 times the mortality rate of common flu. Corona also appears to be twice as contagious and many of those who survive need drastic measures to keep them alive (ventilators). In general, about 20% will need medical attention. The problem is, there is a restricted number of beds and ventilators. Italian medical care system appears close to a breakdown point, let's see if other countries can do better.

  7. Sanne,

    Excuse the weird symbols in my comment. when I typed "Italy" on my phone, auto-correct filled in a picture of the Italian flag. In my haste to comment quickly, I didn't bother to re-read and fix it. And apparently blogger replaced it with a bunch of question marks.

    Funny how these devices just *know* what we want to say...

  8. I thought so:) Hate typing from my phone.

  9. I'm down under in Western Australia and here we have a one pack limit on toilet paper, not that there is any on the shelves. Very little flour, tissues, paper towels, cleaning products, soap, pasta. It's hard to know how badly the virus will affect different countries, but I think it will certainly be worse than the flu is. We are also going into winter here, so I think the southern hemisphere might be worse hit.

  10. Amazing! We still had toilet paper as of Monday, wasn't out yesterday. I still need to buy some stuff according to my list, so I wonder how it will be today. I do hope I can buy flour, as I need to bake bread soon.

  11. About cleaning products, though, I wonder if you really need so many. I would say bleach for disinfection and common vinegar is supposed to kill up to 70% of all virus/bacteria. And alcohol and some soap is all you basically need.

  12. Post Alley CrackpotMarch 11, 2020 at 9:04 AM

    "I wonder if you really need so many."


    Dakin's solution (your dilute bleach solution) will work, but vinegar may not be super-effective in breaking the capsid wall of an enveloped virus.

    Quaternary ammonium salts work well for this and can also be sprayed on surfaces where bleach and acids would cause them to corrode.

    It doesn't smell great, but the current formulation of Dettol bar soap from India and from Indonesia incorporates tetrabutyl ammonium bromide, which is a quaternary ammonium salt (of bromine, not chlorine).

    The Turkish shops in North London keep this on hand for people who want stronger soap than the stuff sold at Tesco.

    As for the shops here, I don't understand who these people are who believe that all they need to survive this stuff is a few packs of bog roll and a crate of Kraft Dinner, because I've been seeing stockists reloading the shelves while I'm doing my shopping at 3 AM, and they are transferring pallet after pallet of that stuff.

    These Cream Puff Survivalists are shunning most of the foods that require actual skill and effort to prepare. :-)