On the beaches

There are two Americas, maybe three. If you didn't know which one you lived in, the last few days made it clear. Also: 7 other things worth your time.

Quick note: I published the first edition of Working From Home yesterday (link). We had an issue with comments not being enabled. It’s fixed now, so if you did have a comment—well, you can add it. Thanks everyone for letting me know. Next edition will be coming soon.

Here’s what spring break looked like in Clearwater, Florida on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, here's what Grand Central Station and Penn Station in New York City looked like during morning and evening rush hour, according to Twitter.

See the difference? Ever since this whole coronavirus pandemic started, it seems like there have been two, or maybe three big groups of people:

  • Alarmists, who might well be proven right, and who believed early on that this was a massive threat requiring an incredible response

  • Pragmatists, who lacked the time to worry they might be living the first moments of an apocalyptic movie—like, where the busy mom gets her kids ready for school while a TV in the background reports: “The president announced a state of emergency overnight, as scientists warned…

  • True cynics, including those who just didn’t believe it’s a big deal—and some who seemed to take it all personally, refusing to do anything differently on principle, like they wanted to show the virus it couldn’t push them around.

Personally, I admit I’ve been somewhere between Bullet #1 and Bullet #2. Example: I skipped my best friend’s birthday party Saturday night (it would have been a 200-mile drive). But I felt really, really bad about it.

What’s been missing up until now is a national resolve to do whatever it takes to slow the spread of the virus: a sort of “We shall fight them on the beaches” moment.

On Monday however, state after state closed down businesses and put other extreme measures in place to slow the spread of the virus.

Then, President Trump announced some very restrictive guidelines—including a recommendation that people avoid gathering in groups of more than 10, and a prediction that this whole thing might well last into the summer.

I’m at the point where I can’t even list all the restrictions. You’ll find a few of them below (and I’m just going to link to an article with the new federal guidelines, rather than summarize). Heck, there will probably be more by morning anyway.

Finally, just maybe, we’ll all be in this together.

7 other things worth your time

  • No groups bigger than 10, and “August, could be July, could be longer than that.” — President Trump (CNN).

  • The stock market cratered, wiping out almost all the gains since President Trump’s inauguration. (Yahoo Finance)

  • The theaters are closed anyway, so Universal will release movies straight to video. (Variety)

  • San Francisco orders a sweeping “shelter in place” order until April 7. (City of San Francisco)

  • Strange bedfellows: Mitt Romney joins Andrew Yang in calling for $1,000 universal basic income during the coming crisis. (Vox)

  • Amazon boosts warehouse pay $2 an hour and rushes to hire 100,000 new employees. (Amazon)

  • Canada closes its borders to anyone other than its citizens and permanent residents (and Americans, “for the time being”). (CBC)

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