Friday, March 20, 2020

The Great Toilet Paper Caper

No Toilet Paper
The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has certainly dominated the news as well as our lives - and the lives of people worldwide. This virus is unprecedented and unpredictable. What makes it and our response to it so different from other mass illnesses in the past is, in my opinion, social media. There is so much information out there (some correct, much of it incorrect), and people spread it like wildfire. I feel like the world as a whole has not made it easy to find in one reliable place facts about the virus, steps to prevent the spread, items to have on hand, and how to treat the symptoms if someone in your house falls ill. It is for that reason that people are failing to take the precaution of self-quarantine seriously, as younger people think it is only the elderly who will get the virus and/or die from it. And people of an age to know better are still congregating under the misconception that "it won't happen to me."

Lack of proper information and greed has also led to hoarding, at least in the United States. You cannot find hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap or wipes, congestion relief medications, Kleenex, paper towels or toilet paper in the stores or online. Many people bought up huge quantities and are selling them on Amazon, eBay, and other resell sites at incredibly marked up prices. One man, who was finally shut down on Amazon, was found to have 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in his garage!

A residential construction project in the US was suddenly without workers, but it wasn't because they had the virus. Someone had stolen all the rolls of toilet paper from the porta-potties. By federal law, all construction sites must have at least two rolls in each one of them, and it is such a huge problem that the john vendor could not replenish the toilet paper.

We have been to many stores over the past couple of weeks and have yet to find any toilet paper. We scored a couple boxes of Kleenex and a couple rolls of paper towels, but no TP. We are not hoarders, so our linen closets and pantry are not stuffed with an oversupply of anything. While we have enough to get by for awhile, it is a little disconcerting to think that down the road we may have to beg a neighbor for food, medicine or TP. Because this is a new virus, it is unclear how long we will be asked to stay in our homes, only venturing out to go to the grocery store. These are scary, unsettling times which may deteriorate before they get better. A few of us have commented that it is not unlike the days following 9/11 where we were all braced for something worse to come. Hopefully, cool heads will prevail and we will all work together to help each other instead of thinking only of ourselves.

In the meantime, it is not a hardship to weather this in place at our new home, surrounded by a great view and a wonderful community. Especially when I wake up to a sunrise such as the one we experienced this morning.

Mountain Island Lake

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