Recently, I took it upon myself to do a three week trip across country. This time was spent studying the affects of the virus in various locations. In this research I focused on local economies, civilian mindset, impact on various industries, and how COVID-19 has impacted various cities. impact
No matter where I traveled, one thing remained true: businesses were suffering. Practically overnight, Americas witnessed the loss of thousands of jobs, entire cities came to a grinding halt, and supplies began to run dry in local stores. Although grocery stores have worked hard at keeping supplies stocked, it appeared to be a losing battle. For many, entire aisles were baron or close to it. Many of the items that seemed to be high demand were things that could be stored for prolonged periods. This includes canned and frozen products.
As the mass hysteria set, items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, even hand soaps seemed to be a luxery item in some locations. Employee morale was clearly low, doing anything they could to keep the potentially infected public away from them. However, it extended far beyond local retail stores.
In every city I visited, the streets were practically deserted. While a few vehicles remained, it was clear that no opened business would be able to sustain itself for long. Fast food resturaunts had also taken a hard blow. Being forced to close their lobbies, the customers simply stopped coming. Though there was the occasional drive-through order, they weren’t like they used to be.
“I can’t support my family, I can’t pay my employees, and I am about to lose it all because of the f****** city forced me to close,” were the solemn words of a local resturaunt owner I spoke to. Clearly, the pandemic had hit him hard.
With the impact being so hard on the stores and resturaunts, I began to wonder how it affected the industry that was charged for delivering these products. With this in mind, I sought out the trucking companies. Though there are articles discussing this industry already, I wanted to find out for myself how they were handling the inner workings.
While researching the first company, I was invited to sit and observe their orientation process. Though the process, according to them, was three days, I decided one day was more than enough time to collect my data. Upon leaving, I took my journey to Dallas, Texas. With safety precautions in mind, I began my expedition.
Like Cedar Rapids, Dallas was essentially empty. Businesses that once thrived, stood as ghostly reminders of the world before the outbreak. While there, I had gotten word of a local business that was ignoring the safety precautions. Naturally, I had to locate this business for myself. ‘Big D,’ a truck wash, with parking, was confirmed to be ignoring protocols. Upon entry, I noted hotdogs being cooked. While most stations removed these to prevent further spread, this location did not. When asked about it, the clerk simply stated, “we are not violating safety precautions, now get out.”
Utah, Illinois, and so fourth, the scene was the same: fhost town after ghost town. With the scene being all to familiar, in so many cities, I couldn’t help but assess the mindset of the residents.
Precaution or hysteria?
With media crying the end of the world, social distancing, self quarantine methods, etc., I began looking into rather or not this was precaution or fear. I took what I had learned on this trip and began writing my observations down. It is here, I will be discussing them.
While all cities have taken precautions, some cities have taken it to an entirely new level. Salt Lake City, with plastic “shields” in front of the registers, have gone as far as to not directly take money from customers. While these precautions are, to a degree, understandable, they show the amount of fear people now live in.
City by city, fear creeped in, set itself into the social network, and shutdown entire nations. At this point, one can only wonder which is worst: the virus or the fear that follows in its wake? Sadly, this is a question that is purely opinionated and thus will never concieve a factual answer. Even with this, we can conclude that this fear stems from the fact that this is a “novel” virus, it’s an unknown agent that has entered our lives. I wanted to compare stats. How lethal is this virus in contrast to the things we are familiar. Below, is a grid displaying this very thing.
It is hard to determine rather or not we, as a society, have handled this ordeal correctly. For this, future generations can only determine that based on the words of history. For now, society waits. Some wait for a resolution, others wait for the nightmare to conclude, and for some, they wait to grieve for those who didn’t survive. While the situation is horrible, history has shown that pandemics, such as this, do end. Until then, stay safe.
Editor’s notation: Due to the abundance of information provided from this research, we had to condense this article for readability purposes.