While President Donald Trump, his Coronavirus Task Force, and CEO’s of major retailers were holding the press conference to discuss the Wuhan Coronavirus national emergency, I was caught in a media-induced buying frenzy.

Normally, I shop on Friday mornings and buy enough groceries for the following week, as there is nobody shopping at that time. Not today.

We were out of toilet paper….and so was the store.

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As I dodged other shoppers, searching for hand soap and toilet paper alternatives, I overheard a few comments of interest. A couple was shopping with their young son, who is now out of school because the San Diego school district is closed until April 6. The boy wondered what was wrong. The father’s answer: “The media has scared people, so they want to get stuff to feel safe.”

Another shopper used a string of expletives, directed at the American press, for the hectic crush at the grocery store today. However, on the whole, people were calm, polite, and helpful. I recall a similar sense of camaraderie in the aftermath of 9-11.

I endeavored to keep to my usual list, as I didn’t want to “panic purchase.” However, I did add a few extra non-perishables into my cart in the hope I could avoid going next Friday. Here is what the pasta aisle looked like:

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The only boxes left were the gluten-free items. Frankly, I would rather starve. As I reached for the last box of standard spaghetti, I overheard one man tell his wife that he blamed the CDC for this drama. His words, “If they weren’t so focused on lifestyle choices, they would have been more prepared to deal with the viruses that were suppose to be their mission in the first place.”

I was a bit worried about the toilet-paper situation at home, as we were down to our last rolls. Fortunately, a friend of mine had gotten extra at Target, after driving to Costco and seeing the line wrap around the building.

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I traded her for AAA batteries, as I had bought extra last week. It is good to see the ancient ways of bartering can still work!

I caught some of the press conference Friday. I would argue that the most important portion of the conference was the public-private partnership that the Trump team had arranged to address various issues that have become a concern (e.g., testing, supply shortages).

The president ushered a lineup of “the biggest business people, the greatest retailers anywhere in the world,” Trump said on Friday, to address the spread of coronavirus—which has now become an official national emergency.

Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Becton Dickinson, Roche Diagnostics, Quest Diagnostics, CVS, LHC Group, and LabCorp all saw their stocks shoot up shortly before market close after their respective executives spoke alongside Trump during a White House press conference on Friday, addressing new measures to stem the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

Walmart’s stock popped nearly 5% before market close, as CEO Doug McMillon addressed plans to keep parts of Walmart parking lots open per a request from the White House—giving Americans better access to its drive-through testing experience. Walgreens’ president Richard Ashworth also announced the company would continue to partner with the administration and the CDC—its stock popped 5%.

Other CEOs like Target’s Brian Cornell assured Americans the retailer would continue keeping stores open amid consumer efforts to stock up on household goods, and Becton Dickinson’s Tom Polen announced the medical device maker was “ramping up [its] manufacturing capacity” to ensure ample testing equipment was available. Quest Diagnostic’s Steve Rusckowski said the company has been working with the FDA and CDC and is “up and running” with tests in its facilities, while Roche’s Matt Sause said the company has partnered with laboratories to get a new coronavirus test approved and soon distributed.

My second-favorite president Calvin Coolidge once said, “After all, the chief business of the American people is business.” By stripping away needless regulations, by allowing innovation, and by treating companies as partners instead of punching-bags and piggy banks, Trump has created a critical alliance in the battle against the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic.

It is clear from Wall Street’s reaction, as well as my husband’s (who raved about what a great press conference this was), people are happy with the president’s approach.

Hopefully, the media-caused apocalypse will soon be over.

 

 
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