- Many States are Issuing Stay at Home Orders.
- Many Colleges Have Suspended in Person Classes.
- The Country Faces Nationwide Shortages.
As US coronavirus cases continue to rise exponentially, states are taking drastic measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Confirmed cases in the U.S. are now approaching 46,000 and there have been nearly 600 deaths. My home state of Indiana is one of the latest to issue a statewide stay at home order. Residents have been ordered to not leave their home except for essential work functions and permitted activities such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety. The order will be in effect from March 25 to April 7.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a statement saying that he will be “setting the example by sending state government personnel home to work to the maximum extent possible and closing our facilities to public interaction beginning Tuesday, for at least the next two weeks.” Other states that have issued similar orders include Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.
Colleges have also taken extensive steps in order to prevent the spread of the virus, with most suspending in person classes for the rest of the semester. My college, Indiana University, has required all students to leave campus and will be conducting all lectures, exams, and coursework online. This has understandably rattled many students and faculty who are working to understand and navigate the new system.
These unprecedented actions have caused many students to demand that classes be made pass/fail. A petition to Indiana University President Michael McRobbie requesting this semester’s classes be made pass/fail has garnered over 6,000 signatures since its start a week ago. Other universities including MIT and Georgetown have adopted pass/fail grading amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Another consequence of the pandemic is nationwide shortages of toiletries, food, and healthcare supplies. As consumers panic and buy up toilet paper, frozen foods, and hand sanitizer, store shelves are left empty. I was amazed at the scene in my local Walmart when a surge of crazed shoppers descended on a forklift carrying a pallet of toilet paper and within seconds had stripped it of its merchandise.
Many grocery stores, supercenters, and department stores are rationing items including toilet paper, milk, and soups, but are still being cleared out almost immediately after receiving a shipment. Many consumers are concerned about losing the ability to procure basic necessities if quarantined or if stores are forced to shutdown.
The coronavirus outbreak has had a detrimental effect on the stock market, which has lost almost 11,500 points since February. Interestingly enough, the increased online sales due to consumers staying at home and traditional retailers being forced to close their doors has caused Amazon’s stock price to have a sharp rebound in recent days, going from $1,676.61 on March 12 to $1,902.83 on March 23.