Today is March 26, 2020, and I want to look at the impact COVID-19 is having on the U.S. socially. Although it has been over two months since the first patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 here in the U.S. the rate of infection still has not peaked. So, first I will look at the social impact of COVID-19, how it is affecting our everyday lives and then where the U.S. stands as of today as far as the spread of the virus. The Canadian and Mexican borders are closed, international travel has been restricted. On March 19th the state department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory which advises U.S. citizens not to travel abroad. Travel from China, the UK, Ireland, and 26 other countries has been suspended until further notice. Every state in the country has closed their public schools, they do however vary on the length of the closure. This has been somewhat controversial because of the impact it has on working parents and especially single parents as they struggle to find someone to watch over their children while they are away at work.
The social gathering restrictions have varied state to state with California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin initiating the most comprehensive policies so far. As far as social gatherings the federal recommendation is for no more than 10 people, but this varies state to state also. Some states allow up to 50, some follow the federal recommendation of 10, some states have banned all gatherings, and a few have no restrictions. Thirteen states that have been hardest hit have also implemented broad mandatory quarantine orders; these are also called shelter-in-place orders. Again, policies vary between states, but residents are generally instructed to stay at home unless going out for essential activities.
I never thought I would ever have problems purchasing any item at a supermarket but a few weeks ago, I started to see YouTube videos and hear reports of empty shelves at supermarkets. It appears that people frightened of possible quarantines started hoarding toilet paper and paper towels, it then seemed to spread to bleach and other cleaning products. I then saw other videos showing empty frozen food freezers, rice, flour, sugar, and beans seemed to be in short supply also. I live in the northwest corner of Montana and at first, was not seeing the same thing here. But then about a week after seeing the first videos, toilet paper, paper towels, bleach and other staples disappeared from the shelves here as well. I thought after a week or so things would calm down and the panic buying would pass but I am still having a very hard time finding those items. Initially, the state of Washington was the hot spot for this virus outbreak but over the past couple of weeks, California and New York have seen the number of cases there increase dramatically. This is especially true for the state of New York and more specifically New York City. As of 6:30 PM on March 26, 2020, the total number of confirmed cases in New York City was 23,112 which is 27% of the U.S. total. The state of New York's total confirmed cases stands at 38,977 which is almost 46% of the U.S. total. Even as Washington, California and New York battle to contain COVID-19 there are other hot spots developing. The number of confirmed cases has begun to increase dramatically in New Jersey and in New Orleans. Only time will tell how effective the measures taken by the federal government and state governments will be at slowing and ultimately stopping the spread of COVID-19. One big problem they are fighting is there are some people who are not taking this seriously and continue to gather and ignore the recommendations of the health and government officials. Here are the statistics as of 6:30 PM on March 26, 2020, the total number of confirmed cases here in the U.S. is 85,268, we just surpassed China for the most confirmed cases. The total number of deaths is 1,293 with 1,864 people who have recovered. For the record I am getting these numbers from the Worldometer website, the data is received from multiple sources including the CDC and WHO. Looking at the data from the U.S. (chart below) it is obvious that the number of confirmed cases has started increasing dramatically over the last 7 days, by my calculations the percentage daily increase is averaging about 32% over the 14 days. At some point I would expect (and hope) that this trend will break, the trend will bend and begin to flatten. That is what I will be watching to determine when we have turned the corner on this crisis.
I hope you all stay safe and healthy! Donald Hancock www.bigskycrypto.com