Panic implies that there is no rational thought taking place. That we are frozen and incapable of adjusting. Powerless to logic, and subject to seemingly unthinkable behavior.~Anthony Scaramucci
In the past weeks, I have heard news of deaths, of the spread of disease, conspiracy theories, the mass murders of housepets in China, the cancelling of major sports leagues, major vacations, and major events, the suspension of daycare programs, and I have heard of the spreading panic that has left our butts in fear of wipelessness.
But, do you know what I haven’t heard much about? The 69,000+ people who have recovered from the virus.
Yeah, 69,000 fully recovered so far. That many.
So, although this is still a very serious situation, and people should be careful and prepared, perhaps being careful and prepared does not mean suddenly and irrationally hoarding away a year’s supply of toilet paper.
For those of you who have encountered empty store shelves and are looking for the coveted pillows, you can click below to place your order on Amazon. And you don’t even have to leave the house. You’re welcome:
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I will touch on the toilet paper again in a moment.
Right now, amidst all the rising panic, we should probably take a quick step back to see how we got to the point of empty shelves. What is it that got people all worked up in the first place? There’s an easy answer for that:
Big numbers like 133,000.
The media feeds us numbers, as well as big words that we normally only see in the movies, like “CONTAGION“. But right now I will focus on the numbers.
We are constantly being fed big numbers with no deeper explanation – numbers that people don’t fact-check and numbers people don’t much understand. Like this:
“133,000 infected by the Coronavirus!” or “Toll surges past 1,000!”
Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it? And scary things can be panic-inducing. So, why would media sources give us big, scary numbers and not lay out the specifics? While I’m sure that efficiency where it comes to time and column space plays a factor, I am more sure that the goal is to sensationalize what is happening.
That is because media is making a buck off your panic. If it’s sensational, it’ll get views. Views get ratings and high ratings makes money and gets journalists high-fives, raises, bonuses, and more jobs. That is not to say that the Coronavirus should not be taken seriously or measures shouldn’t be put in place to keep the population safe – because it should be taken quite seriously, and measures are necessary to protect people.
So, here I will give you some of the numbers (as of today) that I have gathered from extremely basic research that I have undertaken (ie. I went to Worldometer):
*These numbers are current as of March 13, 2020. You can see updated numbers here: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
ACTIVE cases currently: 59,338
(out of the reported 133,187 cases worldwide)
OF THAT, 53,415 are mild cases – so, probably not much to worry about – and 5,923 are severe or critical cases (not so good).
CLOSED CASES : 68,898 – These ones survived to wipe their butts another day… if there is any toilet paper left by the end of the day. So, around 52% of all Coronavirus victims have fully recovered, and about 40% are expected to recover.
That’s a 92% recovery rate – better odds than I have of getting sleep tonight.
So, of the 4,591 deaths (3.5% of total cases) and the 5,923 serious or critical cases (4.5%)
The Demographics: Who’s Dying?
Most people getting seriously ill are old(er), at 30 years plus, the vast majority of which are elderly, have preexisting conditions, and/or have compromised immune systems or respiratory systems. These are the kinds of people who need to take care in all cases of illness.
Now, the death of any person is significant and should not be sneered at, and, by shutting down major events and locations where the virus would have the opportunity to spread and make things much, much worse, governments around the world seem to be taking appropriate preventative measures.
If people are told to stay home when they’re sick, and they are told to wash their hands, we all know there are going to be those people who don’t stay home when they’re sick and those who don’t wash their hands.
And, since this illness is in danger of spreading across great distances and through large populations, and, you know, killing people, it only makes sense to limit the world population’s opportunities to gather and breed epidemic disaster. This means halting the NBA, the Olympics, large cultural events, tourist attractions, hockey games (sorry, Canada), and soccer and other large sporting events.
While this could be an epic buzz kill for many, at least most of us will be able to seethe at home, in our beds of toilet paper, uninhabited by COVID-19.
Now to address the toilet paper.
I understand the logistics in how this goes from bad to worse. A member of the news media hears (probably from a friend or family member, or even the clerk at a grocery store) that the sales of toilet paper have suddenly been in an upswing (possibly due to a poorly-determined sale date at Costco). Not a big upswing, mind you, but enough to notice at the same time as the Coronavirus is spreading. So, this member of the media has a story, one that will garner a large-scale reaction, for sure, seeing as toilet paper is used by, well, everyone. At least, to my limited knowledge of people’s toileting practices.
And then, $#!% hits the fan, and without any toilet paper to clean it up. Literally.
Then we get worried now that so many people are hoarding toilet paper that, when payday comes, there won’t be any left for the average, non-panicking human. And so, those who are NOT in a blind panic about the Coronavirus are now in a panic about simply having any supply at all.
I can’t believe we got to this point so quickly – or at all.
It’s a curious thing that toilet paper would fly off the shelves faster than food, especially considering that good, common sense would dictate that you would always have a little extra supply on-hand in case things go downhill, financially or, well… epidemically.
You see what I did there? Hilarious, I know. But I digress.
For anyone who is afraid that they won’t have toilet paper this coming weekend, I would like to comfort you with the fact that stores, indeed, will get more shipments in. And they will continue to get shipments in as the weeks go on. And, if all else fails, take a trip to your local restaurant, take a potty break, and use their paper.
But, whatever you do, don’t buy every bag on the shelf. There are many, many other people who have bathroom needs besides you. Think of those people and share the pillowy wealth.
And, in case you were reading this and thinking, “Maybe I should shift my focus from toilet paper to something that actually keeps me alive, like water”, you can order water here:
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You should still be smart.
While we should be far from panic, that doesn’t mean we should be far from good sense. Governments and large organizations worldwide have had the good sense to cancel any major events that could allow the virus to spread from person to person and from country to country. They’re not being mean and they’re not anticipating the world crumbling beneath our feet; they’re being smart and taking preventative measures to protect their citizens. Because the general public can’t be trusted to make smart choices. There are a lot of dumb-dumbs out there, and we don’t always know who they are. So sometimes the government and large organizations have to make big decisions for us – within reason, of course.
I support this. I can’t trust my own neighbour not to break into our vehicle, so do I feel confident that he’s washing his hands before he touched all the door handles and sifted through our things? Not a chance.
So, let’s take a break from large community events and, oh, I don’t know, spend some down time with our families. In our bathrooms…on our thrones of hoarded paper.
A final note on the bare store shelves: You should be preparing for this kind of thing, even a little bit, in the absence of an emergency. The thing about emergencies is you never know when there will be one. Put some extra TP in your garage at a time when you’re not feeling panicked so that you never feel you have to drain your savings on butt wipe. That’s just good sense.
So, wash your hands.
Stay home if you’re sick.
Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.
Stay away from EVERYONE if you get the virus.
And, for goodness’ sake, wash your stupid hands!