Things are moving very rapidly with the coronavirus. Last week and this week, I think, are going to be the watershed period for this pandemic going from an abstraction to a reality. I guess I’m writing this to keep track of how things are developing. It’s already a little hard to remember what my perspective was two weeks ago. I do recall that maybe two or three weeks ago, I was doing some legal research on local government’s options for dealing with disease. At the time, I was mainly focused on the procedures for requiring an individual to remain in quarantine. I also looked a little bit at how things would work for dealing with a more community-wide epidemic. That seemed a little drastic. Today it seems more on point than an individualized approach. (Generally speaking, the local health officer and board of health has the most specific powers to deal with epidemics. The local department’s authority is trumped by the state department of health’s authority.)
Today, the Governor announced that bars and restaurants would be closed to in-person dining. Take out and delivery are still permitted. Indiana had its first reported COVID-19 death. The ISDH is also reporting 24 confirmed cases out of 139 people tested. Tippecanoe County has made the decision that walk-in traffic from the public won’t be allowed in most of its buildings. The courts have to remain open to a greater extent, but they are attempting to postpone cases, continue jury trials, allow telephonic appearances, and generally limit the amount of personal contact. The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order giving the trial courts more flexibility to manage their dockets.
I gave my friend in Australia some static about Tom Hanks getting infected in his area. Turns out, this friend is like two people removed from Tom Hanks who tested positive, and he reported that Australia’s 4th death was out of Noosa, Queensland where he works. I have another friend in Spain who is giving daily reports where things are far more advanced. Their movement is very restricted, only allowed out of their houses for very specific reasons. In Madrid, drones are broadcasting the restrictions. She reports that grocery stores are limiting the number of people who can enter at once and aren’t accepting cash. The number of positive cases rose by 2,000 up to 9,800. Right now, the U.S. (with a bigger population and landmass) is at 4,587 confirmed cases with 85 deaths. One source I saw suggested we were tracking 10 days behind Italy which is showing 28,000 reported cases and 2,158 deaths.
So, people locally are starting to take this seriously at varying speeds. Some are ready to live in a bubble. Others still think it’s much ado about not very much. Most people are between those extremes but moving in the direction of the bubble people. Also, the stock market has tanked. I think that’s all I have for tonight.