Around a third of participants in a Massachusetts study tested positive for antibodies linked with coronavirus, according to researchers.
The Mass. General study took samples from 200 residents on the street in Chelsea, MA. Participants remained anonymous and provided a drop of blood to researchers, who were able to produce a result in ten minutes with a rapid test.
Sixty-four of the participants tested positive – a “sobering” result, according to Thomas Ambrosino, Chelsea’s city manager.
“We’ve long thought that the reported numbers are vastly under-counting what the actual infection is,” Ambrosino told the Boston Globe. “Those reported numbers are based on positive COVID-19 tests, and we’re all aware that a very, very small percentage of people in Chelsea and everywhere are getting COVID-19 tests.”
He added: “Still, it’s kind of sobering that 30 percent of a random group of 200 people that are showing no symptoms are, in fact, infected.”
Ok, so one in three random people in Chelsea, MA test positive for Corona, so what does the city manager conclude? “It’s all the more reason for everyone to be practicing physical distancing.”
Dude, this guy isn’t a medical person, he’s a bean counter and budget nerd; and therefore, he concludes exactly the opposite of what he should. If one third of everybody has had it, we know three things:
Corona (Covid-19) is not the boogeyman that people claim is.
It’s not nearly as lethal as the regular flu and its also unstoppable.
Lots of people already had it and never knew it.
Remember, flattening the curve is not about stopping the infection, its prolonging it over a period of time to lessen the impact on the medical system so we don’t overload the acute care centers of hospitals—something which has not happened anywhere in this country.
Folks, the so-called experts cried “wolf” and the political class listened and shutdown the economy for nothing. Think what would have happened if all the gloom and doom forecasts of Y2K were listened too instead of ignored and this is what would have happened twenty years ago (albeit only for a week not months on end.)
We got played. Period. Let’s get America working again.
Folks, first for context, please check-out this infographic of every pandemic in recorded history. Covid-19 is literally a blip on the screen. For those of you that remember astronomy, think how many planets the size on Mercury can you cram into the sun?
This headline tells you that something is wrong with the 24/7 news coverage (as if we needed any further proof).
A team of researchers in California found that the number of coronaviruses cases in one county may actually be up to 85 times higher than the what health officials have tallied, and say their data may help better estimate the virus’ true fatality rate.
“The most important implication of these findings is that the number of infections is much greater than the reported number of cases,” the researchers wrote, in a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study. “Our data imply that, by April 1 (three days prior to the end of our survey) between 48,000 and 81,000 people had been infected in Santa Clara County. The reported number of confirmed positive cases in the county on April 1 was 956, 50-85-fold lower than the number of infectious predicted by this study.”
Folks look at this paragraph in the story.
“This probably aligns with what overall national exposure may be, on order of about 5 percent once we do wide serology,” he tweeted on Friday. “Santa Clara was a hot spot and I would have expected exposure to be higher. Overall we’re probably diagnosing 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 infections.”
The current US population is north of 330 million, thus using the study’s conservative number of 5 percent national exposure, this translated to about 17 million people in the US have had Corona. These stats are based on numbers from 3 weeks ago (April 1) so presumably that number would be higher now.
Thus, this whole economic shutdown is overblown, and the Covid-19 fatality rate would be less than the common flu.
I have heard this question asked by a few people, and to be frank it is probably one of the most ignorant things one can ask. This had to have origins with the cable or 90-day crowd because the idea that farmers would dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk “just because” is at best absurd. Just to be sure I called an uncle of mine in Iowa who is a dairy farmer serving my old reservation to get his side of this story.
He actually was more than willing to discuss this issue and clarified quite a bit, now the cable crowd likely won’t listen but here is a snippet of what he had to say.
Why are you dumping gallons of milk?
Several reasons, first we have had spectacular decline in the milk category for a while, and it has been sped up by bankruptcies of two of the largest milk companies in the US. Second, most dairies are set up with contracts to sell their milk to processors that serve only a few customers/industries. For example if we are selling to a grocery store processor we are doing one/one and a half-half gallon cartons, schools and jails are likely quart/pint cartons, and restaurants are larger containers and quantities. With the shutdown of schools/universities/ball parks/theatres etc., demand has evaporated. So as a result, that processor won’t buy any additional milk from me.
The next big issue is that my cows must be milked every so often, so they can remain on a schedule, this is similar to a human body when it develops routine. I must keep my cattle on routine so if demand picks up I can stay on schedule, you cannot run into a situation where the supplier needs more, and you are unable to provide. As a result, you are seeing the dumping take place.
Can’t you sell to a different supplier/processor?
Not necessarily. Some have very lucrative contracts with Wal-Mart, school districts etc. and for deals like those they are likely exclusive, and repercussions are huge for going behind them and selling to others. Also keep in mind when you are flooded with excess likely the other dairies are as well. Subsidies from the federal government also play a role in this as far as how many gallons can be produced etc. similar to crops.
Can the excess be donated to a food bank?
In a word no. Unprocessed milk is not safe for human consumption. This would be a good way for the USDA to shut you down for good. Also, most plastic has been diverted to use to make ventilators, so keep that in mind too.
Any additional comments you want to pass on?
Key thing to remember is the processing and packaging plants are broken down; commercial/restaurant/school etc. They are all different. Right now we have finally caught up on the grocery store inventory issue we had initially it seems. The restaurant/commercial is having huge backlogs as a result of takeout/to go only, this reduced demand substantially, and as a result bulk buyers like Sysco have almost stopped taking deliveries. Those plants have been mostly idled. Other plants may be running full speed, but you must remember the lines at those plants are only set up to run for so long, and to produce certain quantities in specific containers. You cannot think of these places like other production lines where you could focus on a different part of the chicken/pork or beef by the day. The amount of time and money needed to convert the equipment, re-configure the line and train employees. Also keep in mind the employee part; if the virus breaks out and people at the plant are getting sick, they are not going to show up.
Farmers/ranchers are all feeling the pain right now, as you have seen chickens are being killed since the demand is down due to restaurant closures, vegetables are being plowed in the field and turned into a fertilizer. This is all due to a slowdown affecting the entire supply chain, the answers are not as easy as convert the plant, use cardboard instead of plastic etc. We will get through this, but we need normalization to commence at some point.
I celebrated Easter this past weekend like most religious folks try to do. I woke up, poured a cup of coffee, sat on my couch, and logged into a “live stream” Easter service. To be very frank, this was the most forced, pathetic let down I have witnessed in my years on this earth. Allow me to explain.
First our head priest “abandoned the flock” by returning to the Philippines to mourn a relative who had passed. I do not take issue with his mourning, as that is not my place, but the timing was horrific. It left our associate priest in charge, and with English being his 2nd or third language I feel he takes a back seat on everything that doesn’t involve the Spanish mass. The music was live played recordings from YouTube….yes, we even got treated to the commercial advertising prior to the songs being played. After the homily (sermon) I had to turn it off, it may have been a valiant effort, and the devil was likely smiling at my decision, but it looked forced. The priest was literally reading his homily off an iPad, and during the hymns he had a mono-toned voice, which again seemed very forced.
I was a little taken aback that we never were treated to the typical Christmas and Easter ode where the priest apologizes to all the folks who only show up to mass twice a year. It’s honestly a tradition unlike any other…and I’m not talking about the Master’s. It’s hard to fathom but yes, most all Catholic Priests apologize in hopes these folks will start showing up weekly to service….it never occurs. I never understood why someone would eschew the regulars in hopes that a couple additional folks will resume full attendance at mass.
Sadly it all boils down to $$$. More folks in the pews = more $$$ on the plate, and more money in the bank account. That being said, I was more taken aback by an email I received from the Bishop of Northern California Diocese. I will paraphrase and not include the email, but it talked about “tithing” which is a “highly suggested amount of required giving to the church of your before tax salary.” I literally was stunned. While I do not pretend to know anything about this Covid-19, I do know this, people are scared, and church has been closed for about 4 weeks now. A closed church means very, very little money donated. I feel for the church, even though ours is not struggling; we have almost 2 million in the bank. However this has to be one of the more tone deaf things I have heard. We have almost 22 million folks nationwide unemployed, most of which are all in the same sectors, meaning their unemployment is going to be long term. I thought churches were supposed to charitable. Why is it we have shut down entirely, yet we demand folks….check that….guilt trip folks to keep giving? I hate to say this but when an economic crisis like this occurs, folks need to take care of themselves, and I hate to break it to clergy folks, but at the moment, you are not the most important thing in people’s lives. Homes, cars, and food on the table are far, far more important. Church giving, and other charitable giving are optional.
However an organization I love to beat up on outdid the “Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Church” I’m talking about the Knights of Cash…. I mean Columbus. Check this out. Our first vow, one of charity should be in full force right now. Our local food bank has made a desperate call for volunteers, and donations; for both food and money. However this plea fell on deaf ears. Instead, both the state office and the supreme office have sent out email blast upon email blast saying now is the best time to recruit new members. Think about that one for a minute, rather than actually do some good and help the folks who actually need it, at the local level, we are being told to recruit???? Increasingly I have begun to be distant with this cult, as I feel it has turned into a pyramid type scheme. Seriously only an organization led by an incompetent jackhole like Lee Ann Harper could possibly think this is a smart idea.
Not to be outdone, here at the local level, we were going to have a ceremony to promote to the 4th degree, this ceremony requires folks to pack in shoulder to shoulder in a church…again this is mostly older folks mind you. For a day long ceremony, followed by a banquet, where the usual folks promote themselves for sainthood all while this virus is killing folks in this demographic group! Yes you cannot make this up….even doing this over the priest’s objections! When the event was finally cancelled, the email focused more on how upset the leadership was that the recruits would now count toward next Columbian Years numbers! I swear these folks must all belong to a local Amway chapter; the absolute lack of common sense is befuddling to me. Again, this virus seems to kill folks who are elderly, which happens to be the age of all our new recruits…. but what’s a few lives when a silver star for recruiting is at stake.
It’s very disappointing to me. Great moments come from great opportunity, and while I won’t say Covid-19 is a great opportunity, it has presented a challenge for which the Church or the Knights could shine. Instead both have decided to ignore the Bible and its teachings and put money and recruitment above all else. How tone deaf can you be? While in the midst of a crisis, you are guilt tripping folks into giving money while not having the compassion to understand this economic depression that we are entering into is wrecking families. No one at my church, or my Knights Council will be lifting a finger to help those in need, and frankly why should they? The lesson seems to be that money should be hoarded and, in such times,, who the heck cares about the needy or charity? Maybe the Bishop should question why Planned Parenthood gets to remain open rather than asking us to reach deeper into our wallets? Maybe he should come out of his ivory tower and recommend we help at the local level, set our swords and shields down for a minute, and volunteer? What better tool for candidate recruiting or growing the church or Knights Council than needy folks seeing local groups step up? You know like the Rotarians, or Elks? The church may be in for a day of reckoning soon and not just falling membership…. changes to Prop 13 and our tax-exempt status may be coming soon. You think the state/county/local government wouldn’t love getting a piece of that 2 million?
Jake the Snake
Editor’s Note: Jake this change in religious practice was all predicted 16 years ago. At the time we thought it was a joke but considering that Bill Gates is at the epicenter of the pandemic modeling that closed your church maybe…
“we will make the sacraments available on-line for the first time”
“You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution — even reduce your time in Purgatory — all without leaving your home.”
OK, who besides me finds it weird that April 15th is almost like any other day—except for the fact that the government is giving people money tax-free for no reason except they watch cable/satellite news and believe what they’re told. I know tax protestors have advocated for a system where April 15th would be just be another day but somehow, I don’t think this socialist scheme is what they had in mind.
Also, is it me or did you notice that Democrat governors want to keep their states shutdown for many more monthswhile Republican governors are beginning to open their states and rev-up their businesses? Folks, the latest draconian directives from Sacramento and Los Angeles are exactly the opposite of what we need—no surprise there except these folks need a stream of other people’s money to keep the utopian/socialist dream alive.
For example, today Los Angeles County leaders proclaimed that all 12 million plus people must wear a face covering or not be allowed outside of their homes for the next several months (Actually, at this point, it was indefinitely). Are they adopting Sharia Law or something just as wacky? Imagine Southern California with no sporting events, amusement parks, concerts, or other gatherings—including churches? Yet apparently, none of this is allowed thru at least the summer. In other words, no tourists allowed, and the locals will be punished to boot. FYI: Disney is bleeding 30 million a day in lost revenue and this could drive them into insolvency.
Did you read Newsom’s restart plan yesterday, talk about tilting at windmills? Remember, in terms of fatalities, Covid-19 is not as bad as the average flu season and the mortality rate might be even lower if the numbers coming out now hold true. Its as far from Spanish Flu, Black Plague, and Ebola as you can get. Yet, our governor wants to make it as difficult as possible for us to get back to work.
I have to agree with those that say Covid-19 went thru California before anyone—except maybe Trump—was even paying attention. At the same time Dr. Fauci and other were saying it was no big deal (late January), Covid-19 was going thru California like wildfire. Yep, in the timeframe of late January and into February, it was everywhere, so by the time social distancing and all the rest were in vogue in March, most of us had already had it. The biggest trigger to the spread was those celebrating Chinese New Year in later January. People returning home from China spread this virus worldwide and simultaneously. (Plus, I think it was here before then anyways.)
There is no way New York could be the epicenter in the United States.Ground zero was California; but earlier. Now that antibody tests are coming online, we will have the opportunity to see if I’m right. I have friends being tested now that think they had it in early February. I think my wife and son had it during that time as well. This is herd immunity. When enough people in a population develop immunity to the disease, a disease can’t easily spread to new people because it runs out of hosts.
Folks, Garvin Newsom’s Presidential aspirations are riding on how he deals with restarting California. If other states recover before we do, he’s toast on the national stage. I think he’s listening to the wrong people and will muff this up. Newsom’s linking our fate with Oregon and Washington is not a bright idea. The good side is that his leadership failure in California will be used to protect the rest of the nation from his failed ideas in 2024.
One last random thought. Does 4/20 seem like an odd day to restart education in our part of California? Hitler’s birthday, Columbine anniversary, and make pot legal day. Also, I think the Sith Lord is celebrating another birthday.
Folks, I hardly watch any television but seeing the behavior of those that do is always a treat. The insanity I witness (and overhear) at work and in the grocery store check-out line is breathtakingly uninformed.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted to me last week but life got in the way and I’m just now able to get this posted.
Well, we are back with another segment. I really wish I could stop writing these but the naïve are everywhere and continue to spout off their naivety about COVID-19.
Here we go:
My friend who manages a movie theatre: She took a 50% salary reduction along with limited hours at work since the place has been shut down. Her job is essentially to keep the movie theater in decent shape for a possible restart. Key word here is “possible.” She has been told the target date for reopening is June 9th but based on what criteria she has no clue. I have tried to tell her otherwise but like most, they don’t want to hear a contrarian viewpoint. She says that come December, she will have 15 years with her company. Inexplicably, she thinks it’s some vital milestone she must see through despite the obvious fact that at 50% of her income, she can barely cover her bills plus rent. I have tried to reason with her about finding another job/line of work…. crickets. Better the devil we know… or a lack of ambition?
The reality is, we know how this story ends. Best case scenario, she returns to fulltime capacity in August (at the earliest) and at 75% of her previous salary. This fiscal reduction will be explained under the guise of “shared sacrifice” that comes with a benefit cut and bonuses that are unattainable. Nevertheless, if she hangs tough with this arrangement, she’ll be the only one sacrificing. Once the business is back in operation, the suits at corporate are expecting their old pay and benefits packages to be reinstated.
This babe claims she is willing to endure the toil and economic hardship for a long period of time out of some inexplicable loyalty to a company that would gladly kick her to the curb in a heartbeat. Whether her personal finances eventually succumb or not, matters not to corporate. Either way her old reality is over. If she finds employment elsewhere, they will hire a much younger, recent college graduate at 50% of her salary. If she does return as she hopes, she will keep toiling away working just as hard or harder while making less money. Corporate may sing her praises but so what? There is no scenario in which her standard of living will be improved by allegiance to her old status quo. While all this is occurring, she continues to rack up very expensive credit card debt in the process of trying to survive. Sadly, I’ve learned that most need to learn the hard way or not at all. 9/10 times you never earn back your old rate of pay.
A charter schoolteacher: Ok let me preface this, I do firmly believe there are a handful of really dedicated teachers out there, but the rest are literally the worst types imaginable. Charter schoolteacher (a Berkley Grad BTW), when it was announced school was cancelled for the remainder of the year, decided to berate the administration for dragging their feet on the restart dates of the school year. Keep in mind this virus, as serious or not as it may seem, has made for a very fluid decision-making process. The entire time that schools are closed, teachers have been paid full salary and benefits! Additionally, most teachers and their spouses will be receiving the promised $1,200 stimulus checks. However, due to her perceived injury for not being in a classroom, she decided to spout-off that teachers should be paid double as an inconvenience. Yes, you read that right. While her neighbors and many of the parents of the children she teaches are being furloughed, laid off, watching their small businesses die on the vine, or in the case of frontline workers, being worked as many hours as possible for very little additional compensation, in other words people around her are really suffering, all she can do is demand more for herself. This moron thinks she should get paid double…to not work mind you. Being less aware, you can’t! I hate to break it to her, but she and her fellow educators are not essential…and the Berkeley Grads are literally the absolute worst, most condescending folks one will ever meet.
All the state workers I know except 1: I am sure you can guess the one. (Hint, hint he owns this space). This lot of folks may be as bad as the teachers; they all feel all is well in the world because they are due as raise 7/1. I wouldn’t count that chicken so soon. Sales tax collections are way down, as are capital gains (stock sales) taxes for the State of California. This will be causing a massive shortfall for next fiscal year’s budget. Every private sector job lost, even the low paying retail and service jobs, has a direct effect on your compensation. While I do not pretend to know how state government employee contracts work, you could be in for very tough sledding; especially with a governor who has his eye on the White House in another 4 years. Most government workers think the pain is only going to be shouldered by private sector workers but beware, you may be in for a rude awakening.
90 Day Guy: No one has been a star of this more than him. He is a man of many talents and professions and knows more than all of us due to his cable watching prowess. He has decided to avoid Covid-19 danger by staying in his house and smoking weed, whilst watching cable mind you. I cannot think of a wilder trip to be on. I never thought “the munchies” and self-isolation were compatible aspirations during the existential threat we are witnessing on the 24/7 news stations. Additionally, he claims he is doing his part observing social distancing by frequenting various golf courses in the county, since they have been kept open by the county Health Director.
Even amid the coronavirus crisis, Saturday was a busy day for golf courses across Sacramento County, like Haggins Oaks. The parking lot was packed with cars as golfers hit the green, but not everyone was happy about their decision.
The sound of a good swing paired with some sunshine makes a good mix for golfers like Tom Crook and Alisha Griffin-Crook. Both went to Haggin Oaks searching for something to do and stay active in the era of coronavirus and social distancing.
“It’s pretty much it other than walking,” Tom said. Their concern for health still high with this pandemic, but they say there are enough distancing protocols to feel safe.
Cable/Internet People: These folks have been something else to endure. They hear some rumor or Google some topic and regardless of whether its peer reviewed or scientific, they take it as gospel. For example, the couple who drank fish tank cleaner in Arizona under the guise that it is an antidote for Covid-19. In case you missed that one, one person died from this “home remedy” and the survivor (both lifelong Democrats) claimed it was Trumps’ fault.
A man has died and a woman is in critical condition after ingesting a chemical that contained chloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted as a coronavirus treatment despite warnings from health officials that it has not been proven to treat the virus.
The aquarium “cure” and the media’s spin on it is just one example of journalistic malpractice in the coverage of this virus. Daily projections of death and hospitalization are another. Hiding behind worthless models of the virus and claiming they’re valid is just as dumb as putting faith in political polling a year before said election… well, except for the fact that our leaders believed them and shutdown the country because the so-called experts cried “wolf” very loudly. The correct phrase for such nonsense coming out of the mouths of these folks is SWAG—Scientific Wild Ass Guess.
Case in point concerning crying “wolf”, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee dissed President Trump a week ago for not offering enough help to his state and a week later, low and behold, Inslee’s extra medical field hospital has been dismantled because it was never needed.
The massive army field hospital that hundreds of troops built inside a Seattle convention center last week will be dismantled before treating a single patient.
Nearly 300 soldiers from Fort Carson, Colo., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) near Tacoma, Wash., built the makeshift facility inside CenturyLink Field Event Center, normally home to the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS, for patients who do not have COVID-19.
Oh, and buried in the end of the story are these nuggets.
The decision comes just days after Washington returned 400 ventilators it received from the federal government so they can be used in New York and other hard-hit states.
Despite these returns, Inslee assured Washingtonians the state was continuing to take steps to bolster its medical resources in the event of a surge in cases, purchasing 1,000 hospital beds and more than 900 ventilators.
The virus has sickened more than 9,000 people in the state, killing 432 as of Thursday.
Against this backdrop of foe drama and disinformation, we all hope for antidotes or cures, but the truth is that in the strictest sense, they do not yet exist. Nothing is yet scientifically verified as a proven “cure.” Anecdotal evidence may help with treatment strategies, but no universally recognized treatment protocol exists, and a preventative vaccine is still in the early stages of development. Many groups are preparing for phase 1 clinical trials and are seeing hopeful signs in certain patients.
Folks this crisis has largely been the product of cable news sensationalism. Folks on television grab on to one possibility or ill-informed idea and run with it, often to the exclusion of all else. (Think dog with a bone.) Somehow one facet of the story becomes their sole focus. It makes me wonder if they are the ones that can’t deal with a complex issue while claiming that we are the ones lacking the requisite number of brain cells. The net result is that most people lack context to what is going on versus what they read on Facebook.
As a result of the 24/7 news cycle, we are now stuck with social distancing, arbitrary shelter in place orders, and business closures. The truth is that only the governors in each state can release us from them not President Trump. That won’t happen until at least the end of April. I would say closer to end of May. I do not have any idea what the criteria to reopen will be and neither do they.
The naivety out there is truly something else, especially during these times. Sadly, I don’t have to look far to find it. If you ever need an example of the blind leading the blind, we’re living it now.
Chad Bianco… it’s all over Park’s blog (unless he’s recently deleted the posts) defeated “corrupt, drunk womanizer” Stanley Sniff as Sheriff of Riverside County. We needed Bianco because he could do Republican things like give out concealed carry permits by the thousands! Well Aaron, you got us a good one in Bianco, look at what this newly minted Doctor of Medicine had to say about Corona Virus in his County.
Sheriff Bianco has mandated everyone wear masks to cover their faces in public or risk a $1,000 fine or jail time.
The mandate went into effect on Sunday after Riverside University Health System indicated 946 confirmed coronavirus cases in the county.
“This is a valid order and enforceable by fine, imprisonment or both,” Bianco said on Monday in a video statement.
He added: “Not everybody’s getting the message.”
“It started with staying at home, social distance and covering your face. But now we change from saying that you should to saying that you must.”
“Right now, you could be a carrier of this virus, spreading it to your family and friends.”
There you have it boys and girls; Dr. Chad Bianco put down his scalpel and stethoscope and has donned a Sheriff’s badge in hopes to save the world! No one knows more about this disease then Dr. Bianco…. he is not the hero we asked for, but the hero we needed during these trying times! Fixated on cable news, he has all the information to make an informed decision on the heath crisis facing his county! A total of 25 folks have died in his county, out of 2.7 million, but let us not allow a good crisis to go to waste.
Keep in mind, he also announced there will be no checkpoints or traffic stops to pull over folks not in compliance…. I guess he didn’t go full Adolf Hitler on us. He also said you will not be stopped while walking or hiking. After reading those statements aren’t you left asking “What’s the point of this order?”
Additionally, in the People’s Republic of California, we have been releasing “non-violent criminals” from both our prisons and jails to prevent the spread of this disease. Yet this MORON wants to arrest and jail you for not wearing a mask in public? And what about this fine? Good grief! Please help me understand the logic behind this, you can steal from a store and not even get cited, yet walk around in Bianco’s County sans a mask and you will be fined $1,000?
Well that Aaron Park sure knows how to pick ‘em!
BTW We here at Reallyright.com encourage Aaron to wear a mask at all times, not just due to his looks but due to the toxic emissions coming from his mouth. Frankly I’m surprised the EPA hasn’t shut him down yet.
People frequently ask me what the real cost of this virus will be when it’s all said and done. Sadly, as Natasha Bedingfield said in her famous song “the rest is still unwritten.” As vague and sad as that statement was for me to say, we won’t know the answer for years, and that is the truth. As I write this, we are under a “shelter in place” order in California. New York and other states are under similar guidelines. As a result, large gatherings (over 10 people) are banned, church services are cancelled, most retail is closed, and restaurants are either closed up, or doing take out only. Commerce has come to a standstill, and while we have a stimulus plan being rolled out by the federal government (coming soon to a bank account near you), it will do no good.
Let’s analyze the impact of Corona using current events. Cheesecake Factory has declared they cannot pay rent due April 1. Cheesecake is a very large operator of restaurants; this should not be the case after just a 10-day shutdown (as of writing).
Cheesecake Factory Inc. is doing what a lot of tenants would like to do come April 1: withholding their rent.
The restaurant chain said that the “unprecedented times” we are living in has prompted it to take a closer look at its economic situation.
The company has also furloughed 41,000 employees. These staff members will receive a daily free meal and retain benefits and insurance until June 1.
Point being, if Cheesecake is in trouble, how about the local independent shop? How does it survive? They cannot get a bulk deal on food and their staff is likely composed largely of family members working long hours… I don’t think this ends well for a majority of small restaurants. If stores do not close, the layoffs have started and it’s going to be brutal. As Samuel L. Jackson said in Jurassic Park “Hold onto your butts.”
Retail must be viewed the same way. I feel this virus and subsequent state ordered shutdowns will bring most to their knees. Case in point, Macy’s has laid off almost all employees (130,000) and the governing board will not be paid anytime soon.
Macy’s says it will stop paying tens of thousands of employees who were thrown out of work when the chain closed its stores in response to collapsing sales during the pandemic.
The majority of its 130,000, including stock people and sales clerks, will still collect health benefits but the company said that it is transitioning to an “absolute minimum workforce” needed to maintain basic operations. Macy’s has lost the bulk of its sales due to the temporarily closing of its stores starting March 18.
I feel most will use this as a chance to “get out of leases” where stores aren’t hitting their numbers. Online commerce will be even more important, and I think the days of free shipping may be coming to an end, as in-store sales will no longer subsidize it. See above on layoffs. This will be very brutal, and like the food service business, retail doesn’t pay well either. Folks, this event is the “retail apocalypse,” just not the way we pictured it happening.
Movie theatres, how the heck do they recover? If you work in this field, then look for new work quick. Not only are your local multiplexes closed, when operating, they serve overpriced food and booze, it tastes horrible. Movie production has also ceased worldwide, and as a result, movies won’t be coming out for a while. Again, I am envisioning mass layoffs here.
How does our education system recover? Is it just business as usual next school year? Nope. I think this virus exposed flaws in the current system in a couple ways. First the lack of on-line or distance learning. The district can’t assume everyone has a laptop, let alone Wi-Fi access at home. So, is the answer we buy all kids laptops? But if we do, how do we know Wi-Fi is available? Additionally, most schools offer a hot breakfast and lunch program, along with a take home bag for dinner for eligible students. How does this continue in the future? What if a cook somehow passes this virus on to food, and affects child…is the district liable?
How about volunteer groups? I will say this, you will see a steep drop off in membership. I guarantee it. Most members tend to skew older and those folks will be even more cautious going forward. This will be very prevalent in social justice groups, because who wants to be around a group of unknown folks with various levels of hygiene?
In closing, I would like you to consider the following.
First, the 2 trillion dollar “bail-out” is typical for an out of control Congress trying to assure re-election. This bill, which we had to pass to know what’s in it, was a cornucopia of pork barrel projects totally unrelated to mitigating the effects of the virus either medically or economically. Talk about putting lipstick on the proverbial pig, this thing was horrible. I would argue the “cure” is worse than the disease. Sadly, this is a recurring theme of omnibus fixes coming out of Washington. Oh, and two more “waves” of legislation are in the pipeline now, both with multi-trillion-dollar price tags in addition to what has been passed thus far.
Sadly, this virus, while it may calm when the weather gets warmer, will likely be back again in the fall, possibly in a new strain, just like any other flu. If it returns, how do we react then?
While we’re passing time in self-exile and hoping for warmer weather; hopefully, the Troll gets a few new photos of Hope Hicks celebrating summer apparel. To him, she’s like Campbell’s soup, it warms the soul.
I do firmly believe that social distancing is not a fad, it won’t be going away. We are all going to be germaphobes to the umpteenth degree. Bars will need to space out their stools and tables. Folks go there to “hang out,’ but don’t want to hang with strangers anymore. The concept of speaking to a barfly is not going to be a thing for a while. This goes for the restaurant side as well; tables will need to be spaced out… I do not see this ending well. Casinos will undergo big changes as well. The days of a 24/7 operation with minimal cleaning are over. Have you been to a blackjack table? Talk about shoulder to shoulder, more like bumping ugly’s with the person next to you; that will change. Bottom-line, I would say best case scenario is you see a return to 70% of your revenue compared to pre corona virus.
Movie theatres are literally screwed. They just spent a pant-load to re-do seating and configurations, subtracting quite a few seats. Total folks per screen are lower and they were forced to pay increased prices and then this happens. Ouch! I foresee in the future that seating may be even more limited. What if they have to go to small “clusters” of seats like 1, 2, 4, and maybe larger parties of 6-8? They may try something “value added” like table service or at the minimum food upgrades. The idea of paying $12 for a frozen pizza or $15 for a watered-down Bud Light are long over. Theaters have to upgrade and get a lot better but now it’s probably too late. I think the theatre business is dying on the vine and their demise just sped up. Streamers have put a dent in the old business paradigm and perhaps worse, the creators could take it straight to the people. Folks don’t have to watch movies at a theatre anymore. The traditional Hollywood revenue model is totally broken now. How do they pay 300 million dollars per episode for their “tent pole” franchises going forward? If you missed it, in the wake of the COVID-19 virus, Disney took out a $6 billion dollar loan. Guess owning 40% of all Hollywood movies has a downside.
A ton of retail will not make it. Look for deep discounts soon, especially in the clothing area. Maybe the Chief can buy some actual clothes. Last Monday, at our regular editorial board meeting (held at an undisclosed salsa bar) he was a sight no one’s eyes should be forced to endure. Trying to claim that a loincloth is just a leather kilt and he wore it in honor of St. Patrick’s Day was not very convincing. Sorry Chief but “sculpted” is not my word to describe you shirtless. Next time at least wear a shirt at the dinner table.
Anyway, back to the present topic. I think we will see a very different scene at restaurants, bars, theatres, and malls very soon. If you were looking for some ideas for the market, I would look at the “dinner kit” companies, and companies that are into the teleconferencing type stuff.
We will get out of this, but it’s going to be a rough several months, and look for this to rear its ugly head next fall.
PS the food reviews will continue no matter what. We just won’t do the ambiance. The people need me. I’m performing an essential service during these trying times. BTW the “Sac Bee” called me today looking for me to subscribe… of course I signed up and asked for 30 papers to be delivered daily. Hell, at $.50 a paper; on average that’s cheaper than a roll of toilet paper, if you can even find one! Hell, finding that stuff is like playing the adult version of Where’s Waldo?