Important shopping list


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Today I’m doing two new things on

  • First, I’m publishing a newsletter on a Saturday. Never done that before.

  • Second, I’ve included a 20-minute audio interview. Technically, it’s a podcast—the first one I’ve ever recorded.

I’ve wanted to try both of these things, and I’m doing it today for a good reason — to give me a way to share a valuable article in The Wall Street Journal that is unfortunately behind a paywall: “What to Put in a Covid-19 Emergency Home-Care Kit” ($).

The most important part of the article is a shopping list. It’s all the things you want to have on hand ahead of time, so you can take care of someone who winds up getting a mild to moderate Covid-19 infection—but who needs to recuperate at home (in other words, not in a hospital).

I hate to say it, but a lot of people are going to get this. Millions will be recovering at home. For some, the symptoms will be mild, but for others: no fun.

And, that means millions more of us will be taking care of them.

Anyway, I can’t just cut and paste the WSJ article here because of copyrights. So, I did three things.

  1. I pulled out the packing list itself, and added a few things. That’s “fair use” under the law, and it’s below.

  2. I did an interview with the author of the WSJ story, Hilary Potkewitz, recorded the whole thing, and basically turned it into a quick, 20-minute podcast.

  3. I spent a few bucks to do a transcription, which you can find here. It’s 4,000 words so I wanted to break it up.

In case you don’t have time to listen or read, here’s the shopping and preparedness list. After reading the article and talking with Potkewitz, I felt like I had more of a handle on what to do if my wife or daughter winds up sick, or what they can do for me if I wind up with it.

  • Bleach.

  • Face masks that cover nose and mouth. Ideally these would be surgical masks (not an N95-type mask). Still, given shortages that’s unlikely. (Here’s a good guide to making homemade ones).

  • Latex or rubber gloves (for entering sick person’s room, doing laundry, etc.).

  • Hand sanitizer.

  • Laundry detergent. Wash everything on hot.

  • Nail brush. (The #1 thing all the doctors said over and over was to keep washing your hands. If you’re not using a nail brush, especially for a sick person, you’re missing part of this.)

  • Paper towels, soap and tissues. Every sick person needs their own supplies. If they’re sharing a bathroom, everyone else’s toiletries need to come out, and the sick person needs to use their own roll of paper towels to dry after washing hands.

  • Cutlery—maybe even paper or disposable—so that the sick person isn’t eating off the same things as other people in the house.

  • Cough drops.

  • Over the counter cold medicines.

  • Pulse oximeter and batteries (might be hard to find at the moment though)

  • Saline nasal spray

  • Thermometer

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen). Also be sure that you get children’s or infant’s versions if applicable.

  • Food supplies including chicken soup

  • Multivitamins and vitamin C tablets

  • Electrolyte-replacement drinks

  • Avocados, bananas and apples

  • Honey

  • “Fresh ginger, lemons, dill, fresh or dried oregano.”

(Those last items are supposed to have antiviral properties, according to a doctor Potkewitz interviewed. Plus they’d taste pretty good in the chicken soup.)

Podcast: Good idea? Bad idea? Reply to this email and let me know what you think.

10 other things worth your time

  • The podcast transcript took a while and cost a couple bucks, so I’m putting it first. (Understandably)

  • Bill Gates told The Daily Show that his foundation is spending billions to build five factories that won’t produce anything. The rationale is that there are seven promising potential Covid-10 vaccines, and they want to get started on all seven facilities, while knowing they’ll eventually focus on only the top two that emerge. (Business Insider)

  • President Trump says the government now suggests you wear a mask, but he probably won’t. (Reuters)

  • Here are four do-it-yourself masks, including one that doesn’t require any sewing. (Fast Company)

  • Virus-stricken aircraft carrier erupts in applause and cheers as ousted Navy captain departs. (The Washington Post, $)

  • How the generals in charge of U.S. troops in South Korea and Italy took fast, extreme action to effectively stem the spread of Covid-19 among military members. (Yahoo News)

  • The late Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, along with Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. (Bleacher Report)

  • My colleagues at have been doing a great job keeping up with the rollout of the CARES Act, including how small businesses can qualify for a loan that can actually convert to a grant later this summer. In other words: much-needed money. Here’s a great place to start, with a 60-minute town hall they did yesterday, but there other resources, too. (Inc.)

  • President Trump released a letter late Friday night saying he plans to fire the inspector general who reported the whistleblower complaint and sparked impeachment. (Politico)

  • The U.S. government will cover uninsured patients’ costs for Covid-19 treatment, according to the secretary of health and human services. (Axios)

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