Settling into the first day of shelter-in-place
Welcome back to your daily check-in to all things American and Coronavirus. As campus access was also restricted today, many are settling into their homes, trying to prepare for the long term. Here are some of the important things from today.
Yes, You Can Go Outside
While shelter-in-place encourages staying inside, the measure’s is explained by SF Chronicle yesterday makes it clear that people should leave the house, saying:
“The directive allows for people to go outside — and in fact, health officers encouraged people to run, hike and walk their dogs, as long as they do it alone or with close family, and keep 6 feet away from others. Trails and parks are open, but people cannot gather in groups.”
Going outside is a good way to get exercise and improve mental health, so if you are feeling a bit of cabin fever, it may be time to explore the outdoors. Fremont has a variety of trails and hiking opportunities such as Alameda Creek Trail, Coyote Hills, and Mission Peak.
Economics in Isolation
Some Americans have the option to work from home in the shelter-in-place effectively and profitably. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2018, only 29% of Americans are able to work from remote locations. People who work in retail, food, and other industries do not have the option to work from home, and being sent home could have major economic consequences for this group of people, where money is usually already spread thin.
However, the federal government has been discussing two options to relieve people in this situation. One way being the cut of the payroll tax that is usually due in April, while the other involves direct payments to Americans. While the amount of cash payment has not been specified, Mitt Romney’s suggestion of $1,000 has hit the media by storm, including commenters who have drawn the connection between Romney’s proposal and the basis of Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign, a Universal Basic Income. While there has not been a consensus, which would need bipartisan support to pass Congress, the intention is clear that the White House is in the works to pass another Coronavirus relief bill.
The government has also expressed interest in aiding businesses suffering from quarantines and shelter-in-place measures, however a lot of these will not act as fast as relief efforts for individuals, and some businesses may not be able to stay afloat until that relief kicks in, which could take months.
Rumors about COVID-19 Continue to Spread
Today, ibuprofen, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, has been speculated to be linked to worse cases of the Coronavirus, though this is not backed by research so far. However, many claims, including some saying that most people who died of Coronavirus had Ibuprofen in their system, are not verified and are most likely false. Misinformation such as this has been prevalent in a panic driven world.
Also, as mentioned on yesterday’s quarantine update, grocery stores, blood centers, and other essential resources are not closed and will continue to remain open, so hoarding is not only unnecessary, but harmful to the community.
There are also many false cures for Coronavirus, including everything from Essential Oils to inhaling hot air from a hair dryer (yes, seriously). While misinformation can be dangerous, listening to theories about the Coronavirus can be humorous, as long as you verify the information you’re reading.
Undertesting of the Coronavirus
According to Vox news, the U.S. has performed 2,000 Coronavirus tests, in comparison to South Korea, who has performed 140,000. This has many factors at play, including inconclusive tests in the early stages and limited resources. Some patients who have Coronavirus are being refused testing if they don’t mean certain qualifications such as travel to China or being in contact with someone with a confirmed case of Coronavirus because of the limited resources health care centers have. As testing becomes more available, America will have a better view of the extent to which COVID-19 is affecting the country, so while numbers may go up of people testing positive for the virus during our time in quarantine, it is murky whether it is because more people are infected or our numbers are simply more accurate.
UPDATE: Earlier Governor Newsom mentioned the possibility of schools being closed up to summer break, but this is in no way a set plan. However, California has requested a waiver of required testing in the spring, yet this request has not yet been granted.
Quarantine Picture of the Day