Ay, Corona

Boy does it feel like shit is starting to hit the fan with the coronavirus. SXSW here in Austin got cancelled, the Houston rodeo got cancelled, NBA is postponed, 30 day Europe travel ban, Road to the Horse postponed, talk of postponing the Olympics (or not), and uh oh, not Tom Hanks.

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While I am admittedly not super worried about the virus when it comes to my own health, I’m concerned about what a widespread pandemic could mean for the elderly and my immunocompromised friends, especially if our medical system were to become overwhelmed (ala Italy – which is a heartbreaking situation). The government’s response so far leaves a lot to be desired and the lack of readily available testing could prove especially problematic.

The potential economic impact is frightening too, for everyone, especially since we’re already seeing the trickle down in that department. My company makes equipment for the oil and gas industry, which was already struggling and will likely continue to struggle especially if people aren’t traveling. Some of our biggest customers have already changed their budgets in response. The potential overall trickle-down effect from this throughout many industries (except maybe toilet paper manufacturers…) is huge, and definitely a little scary. From the health side of things, there has been some company-wide discussion of possible work from home protocol if it gets to the point where that seems prudent. But since our particular group is hands-on, and it isn’t really possible to work from home, we would have to continue to come in.

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On the equestrian-specific side of things, it’s starting to get reaaaaally interesting. What does the Europe travel ban mean for the World Cup, set to take place a month from now in Vegas (a city that already has confirmed cases)? Many events in Italy have already been cancelled, Saut Hermes in Paris was cancelled, and Longines in Hong Kong was cancelled. Land Rover says that as of right now they’re still a go, but in the end it may not be their decision to make, especially since Lexington already has the virus and has been cancelling “large gathering” events left and right. Even the Olympics is starting to look like it could be on shaky ground, and they’ve put forth a 2-year postponement as their back-up plan (and then backpedaled on that idea, so… who knows). That would really toss things up, especially considering WEG.

USEF has said that they’re “monitoring the situation” but for now I haven’t really heard of any regular horse shows or events being cancelled. Organizers do seem to have stocked up on hand sanitizer and are encouraging a lot of hand-washing and caution, but I assume at some point the liability may become too great if the situation doesn’t become more contained, and travel to bring in judges/staff may become quite difficult.  It kind of makes me glad I didn’t have any grandiose plans for the year.

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It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how this continues to unfold, both in the short-term and long term, and what kind of effects we start to see within the equestrian industry. Even just totally putting the health aspect aside, the financial one could potentially be quite profound. The last recession had effects on the industry as people stopped spending money… not as many people buying horses, or property, or going to shows and events. Not to mention the impact that these big event cancellations has on local economies and a wide variety of businesses.

Have any of you started to see any first-hand impacts from the virus yet? Has it changed any of your plans for the short-term?

So far I think the worst part of all this is that someone showed me this stupid video and now I can’t get this song out of my head for the life of me. All the hand sanitizer and toilet paper in the world can’t get rid of it.

35 thoughts on “Ay, Corona

  1. A faculty member on our campus was just diagnosed and is our state’s first person with COVID-19. So we’re sort of in turmoil. Classes are suspended for 2 days and spring break now starts Saturday vs 3/30. That said, as of now, classes resume 3/23 but I don’t see that happening. I assume classes will move online. As of now, academic buildings are open and all staff are still reporting and faculty labs are open. So, I’m sitting in the petri dish that is the library (we’re also open to the public). Most of our hand sanitizer has been used up and/or stolen so we’re down to the last few containers of clorox wipes and last few bottles of hand sanitizer for public spaces. Things are likely going to change, but it’s a bit of a mess…

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  2. Working in healthcare I’ve had access to talk to all sorts from the ED providers to Infectious Disease specialists and internists and the consensus is pretty much that the panic the media is inducing will cause way more harm than the actual virus.

    I find it very interesting that the same people who refuse the get the flu vaccine, a viral illness that kills far more people each year, are up in arms about COVID-19. Will those people refuse the vaccine when it becomes available?

    Panic is disastrous and right now people are panicking.

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    1. The panic is what I’m mostly concerned about, especially when it comes to overloading hospitals or basic supplies being difficult to come by (like… people are stealing hand sanitizer from medical offices??? STOP).

      Although granted I see a mix of “screw it, I won’t die from it so who cares” and “omg we’re all gonna die”. Without a lot of in between…

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      1. I work with people over 65 and diabetes is my specialty. My patient population has a lot to worry about. A viral pneumonia whether it is COVID-19 or otherwise is deadly in this group. I worry that those who are healthy and not at risk are stealing all the supplies and those who need them will go without. It’s ridiculous, greedy and self absorbed.

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        1. Yes, exactly! The hysteria to buy things that aren’t needed is problematic for the people that actually DO need those things.

          We can’t even get hand sanitizer at work through any of our normal suppliers anymore, everyone is out.

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  3. Our work has gone to mandatory work from home for the rest of March and to be reevaluated then (Which duh I already do being 900 miles away)but this shit is scary though the trickle down effect on all this is going to be huge for our economy. Our conference is in October so fingers crossed I still have a job in 3-4 months. I feel for people more effected by this than me for sure…but still it is worrying. Conferences all the way to May have been cancelled. All the cancellations for world wide events is staggering too. I was just starting to think about going to Land Rover and went wait….let’s just see we are in a month or so. Right?

    The ban on travel (for some reason doesnt affect UK? I dont get that since Heathrow has SO MANY people coming through there!! WTF Trump) is scary and I feel for airlines etc as well. THANK goodness my inlaws hadnt booked to come here yet. They are not old but over 70 and I feel they are safer staying home in their cottage in the countryside of Essex rather than traveling through airports.

    My own dad is supposed to come visit us soon and I am very glad my sister is going to drive him vs he was going to fly. He is 84, going through immunosuppressed treatment for a melanoma and sure as shit doesn’t need COVID-19.

    Tennessee has 9 cases so far (I am sure there are more) I think one is a faculty at U of T as well Sarah. Crazy right?

    Workwise….we have a site visit in April and I am sure not booking my tickets yet. Sigh…..crazy crazy.

    buckle up guys its gonna be a bumpy ride!! UGH

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  4. The university I work for is starting all online classes on Monday, everyone work remotely if possible, no spectators at sporting events, and no meetings larger than 50 people. I work with animals on campus so I still have to go in. There was talk that if things got bad, they might lock us on campus to be able to take care of the animals, but I hope to god that doesn’t happen.

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  5. I work in healthcare, specifically cancer healthcare, so you can only imagine the meetings I’m now a part of, and the plans that are being put into place. Our state is in a state of emergency, though for now we have no known or diagnosed cases in our county. While I am not personally concerned for myself or my family, I am very concerned for my patients that were already an at-risk population due to their age (I mean, we unfortunately have our fair share of younger cancer patients, but most of them are 50+), but even more so due to their immuno-compromised state. We are preparing to have to turn our entire building into a triage and treat facility, which is scary to even consider.

    As for personal plans, I hadn’t even thought of Not-Rolex….now I’m super bummed. We still have 6 weeks to go until the event so maybe they will hold off to see how it goes. But, that doesn’t help the competitors that have to travel in, especially those coming from overseas. I imagine they will cancel and that totally sucks.

    I’m very concerned for the financial impacts for my city and state. We see a LOT of revenue from the NCAA tournament, and so to have those games not allowing spectators now, our community will lose a lot of $$ – not to mention those individuals who have already purchased their travel tickets and cannot get reimbursed. Most companies had already bought their supplies and food for the tournament, and are now going to be out that money. Additionally, our school systems and daycares are slowly closing one by one, which is going to have a MAJOR impact on everyone. I mean, my son is 15 and can and does stay home by himself, and we have a computer and fast internet at home….but our school system is comprised of many just barely working class families and so there will be a good number of people without a computer or internet in their homes. Plus, with parents having to work but kids having to stay home, and no daycare, that is a major economic impact on those families, as well as the businesses.

    But, beyond those worries, I want to know why everyone is panicking and buying out all the toilet paper???

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  6. Well… I work in investments so… Yup. Definitely seeing the impact. On the home front, we just had our second case confirmed in Louisville… someone who worked in a building for a major insurance group… gotta love that irony. I love the run on toilet paper… but I love the run on Paper Towels even more. Like you all DO KNOW that you can use TOWELS and WASH them right?

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  7. It is all very concerning, that is for sure. I feel for the people who will take a big financial hit from events being canceled/postponed, etc. and for those that are older/immune compromised… I’m in Canada and we aren’t seeing big cancellations, etc. yet here but I feel it is coming. People are buying up supplies, etc. and likely stealing from hospitals/clinics (I mean wtf people!) but business is still normal – so far. I work for the federal government, so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds here.

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  8. I work in a library that is open to the public, in a big granite building that is open to the public and we see tourists from all over the world throughout the year. And school groups throughout the year, even this week still … I assume I have already been exposed. I felt a bit sick yesterday, but I feel fine today so I am chalking that up to DST and tree pollen. But I feel so badly for the older population generally and I am worried about my parents, of course. I am not sure cancelling everything is going to be much help in the long run and the European travel ban is … ill-conceived, to put it as diplomatically as possible.

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  9. Our company instituted a no global travel unless extremely critical policy over a month ago and just last week the same for domestic. They also asked that we consider any external visitors not come to the office for meetings and any on-site contractors work from their own company offices or home (I work in IT).

    Today my manager basically said to take whatever precautions we deem right for our situation and that our roles have few reasons to be in the office (we work globally). So I will be working from home and avoiding people as much as I can (an introverts dream!). I’ll still go to the barn but we have a shed row situation so even tacking up/grooming we’re in the open air.

    My adult daughter has asthma so I’ll be staying away from her for a bit as well.

    I will admit keeping a close eye on Kentucky as we have tickets and a tailgating spot.

    I’m not panicking or anything like that. And realize that I am VERY fortunate to have a job where I can work from home with little disruption.

    These are some crazy ass times.

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  10. For myself, I don’t fear the virus much, being young and generally healthy, but I do fear for those around me who are more at risk – my dad with his already not the best lungs/respiratory health & my mom who has had cancer previously just to name those closest to me.

    The widespread panic is absolutely what scares me more than anything though. And the economic impact is going to be scary for sure.

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  11. I know two of the people here in Vegas were from that cruise ship that couldn’t dock for a while – they lived in Summerlin. It’s a good distance away from me, but I’m pretty sure we had another one confirmed the other day. I really don’t know what Vegas will do – we’re a tourist city first, but people have still actually been coming, generally with a “I won’t let corona virus stop my life” mindset. So we haven’t seen too much of a decline in that area despite a number of casinos closing their buffets. My company has already been trying to make arrangements should we need to stay home, but like you, my job isn’t something that I can really do from home, so we’ll see how all this goes.

    I was all set to go to Land Rover this year and visit family in SC, but I dunno at this point. I’ve been checking every day, and as you said Land Rover hasn’t said they’re shutting down yet but I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I don’t want to cancel the trip, but I may need to. With confirmed cases here in Vegas, and my visit to see family is supposed to be specifically to see my grandma (who just turned 92), I REALLY do not want to bring anything there and am worried about my grandma even from here, so…. Unfortunately, this feels just like a “wait and see” situation which I really hate. If Land Rover cancels I wonder what they’re going to do for everyone who bought tickets. It’s definitely going to be an interesting few weeks.

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  12. I’m in Raleigh and work in politics, and we’ve been told to prepare to work from home any day, without notice. We’re taking anything we absolutely need to get our jobs done home every day just in case. It’s crazy, but makes sense—with the nature of this job, we interact with a number of older and otherwise high risk individuals. We also have several confirmed cases in the county.

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  13. We are seeing cancellations at work which has led to our hours being cut, so that’s going to hurt big time if it keeps up. My paycheck pays for the horses so we are stressed. The husband has instructions to bring his work laptop home every night and they will go to a work from home protocol if there is a case within 60 miles. We went grocery shopping and Costco was completely out of chicken and had put a limit on rice, we didn’t check the toilet paper aisle since we have a nearly full pack at home… We are more at risk from people acting like it’s the end of the world than anything. Just be smart about it, wash your hands, don’t lick things, look after your friends in high risk categories…

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  14. All 3 of my college students are coming home due to Corona Virus- traveling from the Midwest, the South and the NW.
    Airlines may get a temporary bump getting students home from across the US. And, all 3 students will be self quarantined, their choice out fear of infecting us, parents..this also described by my son as living like Harry Potter under the stairs. At least their humor is intact in between fear they will expose us.

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  15. I’m not panicking, but I am being cautious. So far, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 is affecting pregnant women more than usual, but there haven’t been a lot of cases yet either. Luckily I’m mostly a homebody anyways so avoiding large gatherings isn’t hard for me to do.

    Work is another story, since our business is international education (which we promote by traveling internationally with groups). So… that’s been pretty sucky so far with a lot of cancellations and postponements. It’s a small organization, so these types of financials hits are a pretty big deal :-/

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  16. I live in an area that hasn’t had any cases. I went grocery shopping last night and so many random items were completely sold out. Weird, but whatever. This poor woman in front of me in line though had been looking all day for cold meds for her toddler that was sick (with a regular cold) and having no luck. That made me so mad – poor kid has to suffer because healthy people are stockpiling all the meds (and toilet paper, and hand sanitizer, etc…)
    Why everyone is clearing the shelves of the stores is beyond me.
    On the plus side, my husband works in a paper mill that produces paper towel, guess there’s some job security there right now, lol!

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  17. Last week Purell was going for $50 a bottle on Amazon. So there’s the whole opportunistic selfish greed situation too.

    Working outdoors, and in a remote place, my risk is very low, but when it gets here – there is minimal health care infrastructure on the island, which is worrisome. Allergy season is hammering us and I need a straight jacket not to constantly touch my face. Super happy the loved ones decided to postpone trips across country and to England.

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    1. Avoid all unnecessary gatherings. I try to by enough for two weeks at a time so I don’t have to go shopping too often.
      But I don’t want to stock up too much because I don’t want to help cause even more shortages. Not everyone has the means to stock up and is depending on necessities being available.
      I do commute to work though, so that’s a worry. We are at 2000 confirmed cases in Germany, 4 dead. I hope we won’t get the same situation Italy is dealing with right now. It’s shocking how fast the healthcare sector was overwhelmed…

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  18. Well, husband and I were supposed to go backpacking in Patagonia but now we’re not. I know that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the world, but it’s a big impact on us personally. We were supposed to leave tomorrow.

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    1. But, it’s lost money for you, which impacts your local economy. Maybe not a lot, but you’re definitely not the only one in that situation. I’m SO SORRY you had to cancel your trip, that’s such a bummer! It may be a drop in the bucket, but many drops fill the bucket…

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  19. I work in emergency medicine for one of the largest health systems in the Midwest. I’ve been WFH since Tuesday, but I’m working 12-15 hr days for the foreseeable future. I want to take a very long vacation when we get through this.

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  20. So, I landed in Houston this morning specifically to go to the rodeo tonight and tomorrow night. We’ll see if my planes will still leave Sunday. Work is canceling statewide meetings, the Universities in town are moving to all online classes next week and I’m waiting on the work from home call. There’s one case within 400 miles of us and they’ve since left the AFB. 🙄

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  21. We own a dog boarding kennel and we have already started to see the effects of this in our business. Today alone we had 6 cancellations due to people’s trips or work conferences being canceled. In the summer time and holidays it isnt unlikely for us to have 70-80 dogs and this week we maxed out at about 10 boarding dogs (and a few daycares each day). This time of year we normally average about 30 dogs consistently. It’s a little scary to be this slow because it means we need to cut hours of employees or payroll will exceed the revenue.
    Other then that, the virus doesn’t scare me, I think it is being drastically hyped up.

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    1. My boss and her husband are in a similar boat, as they own a local craft brewery and business has been way down. Do you offer gift cards/gift certificates? Her suggestion was to go to the local places you frequent and buy gift cards for later use, if you’re not comfortable now.

      In your case, I’d imagine this to look like offering the purchase of a day or two of boarding for later use (maybe at a slightly discounted rate), perhaps to your more loyal clients. That might help you make ends meet now, and help people come back in the future! (I can hope…I’m no businesswoman so I have no idea if that would actually work in the dog boarding business.)

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  22. I have a concern about having enough testing, because testing is the only way to truly know where we stand. As I understand it , only symptomatic people who meet certain criteria are tested, because there aren’t enough kits to do more.

    I’m concerned that if the virus is contained over the next few weeks, what then? It’s here. There will be more waves in the future.

    The most disadvantaged hourly workers will be hit hard financially. The faster we can get things back to some sort of normal, the less damage to them.

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  23. My first horse show of the year was just cancelled as were several other events scheduled to take place at this particular indoor show venue. I don’t show very often so it was particularly disappointing to lose the opportunity to do so but certainly understandable in light of current events.

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  24. Yeah I also work Emergency Medicine, and this has already been nuts. We have a whole new way/location of triage. We have had to hide boxes of masks, even though we are handing them out as people enter. Lots of overtime. I’m already tired, just thinking about where this is likely going is exhausting. And now my kid’s school just got closed. Yeah there goes sleep during the day.

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  25. My husband works for a small midstream oil/gas operation here in Mississippi and he often travels to Texas to work with companies that build compressors etc. for them. What a small world! But yeah the price of a barrel of oil has plummeted due to the virus. We are already seeing the major effects from that. I am worried about people who live paycheck to paycheck, and those who already work for minimum wage in the service industry. The TP hoarders have descended on our towns and it’s a hellscape in any big box store or grocery currently. It’s a weird time to be alive, that’s for sure.

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