Viewpoint: The Coronavirus, Toilet Paper and You

On Sunday evening, there was still some toilet paper available at Gelson’s.

The seasonal flu killed 12,000 people in the United States from October 1, 2019 through February 1, 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There are some estimates that flu deaths may go as high as 30,000 in this country this year, but most likely won’t surpass the 61,000 flu deaths during the 2017-2018 season.

So far in the United States (through Saturday at 6 p.m.), 19 deaths have been attributed to coronavirus.

Worldwide, the coronavirus has killed 3,569—unless the Chinese are hiding more bodies or people who don’t know how to use an abacus are still counting (or it’s the same people responsible for the California voting centers).

There are many serious questions on everyone’s mind about the coronavirus and how we should prepare as the number of infected people keeps growing. On a much less serious note, why has fear of the coronavirus caused a run on toilet paper at Costco?

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, every package of toilet paper was gone at the Costco on Washington Boulevard in Culver City. The helpful clerks, none of whom were wearing masks, said that if you’re not at the store when it opens at 10 a.m., the TP sells out immediately and has for more than a week.

I understand a run on face masks and Purell hand sanitizer, but toilet paper? Are people really that fearful that we’ll all be forced to stay in our homes for weeks on end?

Of course, I was one of the people using vodka to kill germs and then found out that drinking it wasn’t the prescribed method of virus prevention.

People should not overlook a vodka and tonic – with a little lime – because I truly wasn’t worried or stressed about the flu or anything after finishing one.

People who thought they could sterilize surfaces with vodka to prevent coronavirus are just wasting valuable booze. According to the CDC, sanitizers needs to contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Vodka contains 40 percent.

I’m just curious why the coronavirus scares us more than the regular flu virus Is it because it may have started in a wet market and the Chinese were eating bats? Do they not understand Whole Foods sells a nice selection of pasture-raised beef that’s free of antibiotics?

I personally think the media is pushing a virus scare because it will help us forget about the March 3 California primary election. No one knows for sure who won and by how much, but results must be made public by April 10.

Fewer people voted in this election than past ones, possibly because there were too many glitches at various voting centers. Many people walked away rather than waiting one to four hours to vote. At least at Gelson’s if they see too many people waiting, they quickly open up another register.

Some people thought they voted, but didn’t, because they didn’t realize they had to put their printed ballot back in the machine. At least they got a consolation prize: an “I Voted” sticker.

Another reason this primary had problems is that L.A. County officials reduced the number of polling places from 4,500 to 979. These same officials also had the novel idea that you could register, change your party identification or feed in a new address–all on election day–and that wouldn’t cause even longer lines at the polls.

If the public keeps focusing on the need for toilet paper, instead of on County Registrar Dean Logan, who helped devise this new voting system and received $300 million to buy the new equipment, then he won’t lose his job.

And Secretary of State Alex Padilla can keep repeating his mantra: “In the state with the largest electorate in the nation, the vote count does not end on Election Night — and that’s a good thing.”

But I digress. I’ve had at least five readers send Circling the News their recommendations for defending against the coronavirus. None of them suggested buying toilet paper. None of them advised staying away from those floating Petri dishes known as cruise ships.

Official coronavirus prevention steps include:

1) No handshaking; don’t touch public surfaces and if you do, use disinfectant wipes.

2) Don’t touch your face.

3) Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds when you return home from any activity. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before food preparation.

4) Sneeze or cough into a disposable tissue and discard the tissue.

5) And if you are sick or not feeling well, STAY AT HOME. Please do not go out and cough your “bat” germs on the rest of us.

That’s not to say that stocking up on toilet paper is a bad idea. It is. If we have an earthquake, we might not make it to a store for some time. Maybe we should stock up on water, too.

As a preventive measure against coronavirus, I’m all for quarantining everyone but my husband and me. We would love to be able to go to a Dodger game and not be stuck on the Santa Monica Freeway for two hours.

As far as toilet paper, Whole Foods still had it on Saturday, but who knows for how long. Don’t count on finding it at Costco.

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5 Responses to Viewpoint: The Coronavirus, Toilet Paper and You

  1. Dottie says:

    Thanks for some sanity in this world of insanity…..

  2. Lee Calvert says:

    Sue, you are so “with” it. Little wonder I browse through dozens of e-mails deleting them until I come to “Circling the News” – You are appreciated ….xxxx Lee

  3. Marvin Klein says:

    Great reporting!

  4. M says:

    FABULOUS! thank you……You make me laugh, thank you, again. M

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