With everyone reopening and businesses getting back to ‘normal’, you may be wondering how the US is doing when it comes to COVID-19. The hard truth is that we are doing terrible. No one in politics wants to tell you that. Even the doctors are hesitant to tell it how it is, but the United States does not have a handle on the outbreak, and cases are increasing almost exponentially. To date, the US has 3,165,058 cases with 135,094 deaths. This means that just about 1 in 103 people have had a positive COVID diagnosis. Three days ago, that number was 1 in 124.

A Look at COVID Cases Between Grocery Orders

I tend to order groceries for delivery about every two weeks. In the last half a monthish, I ordered groceries on June 23 and July 9. 

United States

  • June 23 – 2,301,966

  • July 9 – 3,063,685

  • Difference – 761,719

  • Average Increase per Day – 50,781

At current Rate of Infection, How Many Days Until 100 Percent of US Contracts COVID:

  • US Population: 329,929,943

  • Current COVID Positive: 3,165,058

  • Left to Catch Illness: 326,764,885

  • Increase Per Day: 50,781

326,764,885/50,781 = 6,434 days, 17.62 years (assuming no increase in daily positive rates and that we’re testing 100% of the people who have it (We know that’s not the case.))

Indiana

  • June 23 – 43,967

  • July 9 – 50,829

  • Difference – 6,862

  • Average Increase per Day - 457

A Schwans in Indiana Has Shutdown due to a Positive COVID-19 Case 

I got an interesting email yesterday. An employee at the Schwans warehouse nearest to me tested positive for coronavirus at some point eariler this month. They have closed the warehouse and are awaiting a decontamination cleaning. They plan to be open July 17. We’ll assume they’re shutting down for 14 days. I got the email on the 9th. The positive case probably appeared July 3rd, so before July 4. My last delivery was the 29th, more than 11 days ago, but it took then 6 days to send out the email. If those frozen food items were contaminated, customers would have already been showing symptoms, and unless there are frozen COVID in my freezer waiting to reactivate as soon as they get warm, my risk is probably minimal at best. Of course, this is why I sterilize everything that comes through the door and remove all exterior excess packaging and throw it away. I never bring a bag inside and set it down anywhere either. I take the items out. The bag goes in the trash, and I wear gloves. I am also glad for Schwans honesty. If there were an outbreak at Meijer, they probably wouldn’t email me. If my Shipt shopper diagnosed positive, would Shipt email me? I don’t know. We already know that Amazon does not notify you if your package was put together by a COVID positive employee, so I gotta give Schwans credit, they told me. They also told me that this was not my delivery guy.

Will I order from Schwans again during this outbreak? I don’t know, and I don’t know how this employee caught it. Did he catch it while doing essential shopping? Did he catch it on his route? Did he catch it by being careless and going to get a haircut, going to the beach, outdoor BBQ, friends house, party or some confined indoor space? Did someone in his family do any of the listed things and spread it all over the house? I don’t know, and the answer matters. If the employee was careless, then no, I don’t want to order anymore. If the employee did everything within his or her power (and so did everyone under the household roof), then maybe, but that brings up other concerns.

How I Accept All Packages and Deliveries 

  1. I wait until the delivery person is long gone.

  2. I leave bags/boxes on the porch for as long as I can. Perishable items can’t be outside very long, but I like at least a 10 minute lag (give the wind time to blow off loose virus.)

  3. I put on gloves.

  4. I sterilize my counters where I plan to deal with the delivery.

  5. I cut open boxes outside and remove items. If the item is in a second box, I take it out.

  6. I put the item on the counter

  7. I repeat steps 5 and 6 until all items are inside (if cold/refrigerated items, I stop once I have all the cold stuff and deal with it, leaving the rest on the porch to fumigate)

  8. I spray all thin packaging with something. Usually diluted bleach.

  9. I wash all durable packaging in the sink (cans, heavy plastic containters)

  10. Dry all washed items.

  11. Remove excess packaging. If there is a bag inside a box, the box gets removed and thrown away. Examples: some boxed foods, taco kits, granola bars)

  12. Put all cold items away. (they can’t off-gas, they’ll rot. Nothing else can be done after they are wiped down)

  13. Put all pantry items in off-gassing pile.

  14. Three or four days later, put off-gassed items in pantry or wherever they belong

After the Deliveries Have Been Dealt With

  1. Sterilize counters

  2. Sterilize door of fridge

  3. Sterilize paper towel dispenser

  4. Sterilize front door

  5. Mop all floors from front door to kitchen

  6. Take a shower

Preparing for More Business Shutdowns Due to Positive COVID Cases

I am trying to have everything that I need stocked through December, and with the Schwans shutdown, I feel like this is even more important. That was one of the places where I was getting about 30 percent of my groceries. However, I am well diversified too.

  • 30 percent Schwans – Meat, hard to find things, specialty vegetables, desserts

  • 30 Percent Meijer – pantry and dairy

  • 20 Percent Amazon – Snack foods, paper products, personal hygiene

  • 20 Percent Target – Medical supplies/first aid, feminine hygiene

When Schwans sent me the email, I immediately went to take inventory on everything meat. I only have 30 days of canned meats. That’s a failure. I need to work more on canned food, especially meats and vegetables. My freezer looks fine. All the non-food items look good too. Although, I could use a few more things.

What Should You Stock?

I recommend the deep pantry method. This is where you buy more of the things you already buy. It won’t do you much good to buy 2 cases of canned tuna, when you hate canned tuna. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to buy a can or two. Something is better than nothing.

  • The food you already eat

  • Water – Although, there’s probably no way you can stock six months of water. The recommendation is 1 gallon per person per day, but that doesn’t include cleaning. So you’d probably be looking at 5 gallons per person per day. That’s 900 gallons of water for a single person. A 24-pack of bottled water is about 3 gallons. You’d need 300 cases. 6 months isn’t feasible but 2 to 4 weeks might be.

  • Additional canned goods

  • OTC medicines

  • Prescription medicines

  • First aid supplies

  • Paper products

  • Safety gear (fire extinguisher, NOAA radio, duck tape, batteries, flashlights, solar charger)

  • Your Vices. A critical situation is not the time to detox. If you smoke, drink, love coke, coffee, candy, desserts, stock it! You can work on cutting back and quitting your bad habits now, but a critical situation is probably not the time to go through caffeine and nicotine withdrawal. If you happen to quit before you run out of stock, you can probably sell your leftovers to a neighbor who didn’t plan as well.

It's important to understand that this is in no way a complete list. You will have to determine what you specifically need for yourself and your family.  I also didn't address alternative electricity, heating, cooling and cooking. I, honestly, haven't found good answers for those quesations, especially if your house isn't already equipped with solar panels and a backup battery system, wood burning fireplace or woodburning stove. Plus, needing these things assumes a long-term complete breakdown of the utility systems.  I'm not sure that's something to worry about.

Do You Have to Listen to Me?

Nope. My family sure as hell isn't. You can do your own thing. Me, however, I’m highly concerned, so I want to be stocked at least through December. With the increasing rates of infections and the demand to open schools, I’m more than a little concerned that Schwans won’t be the last food service to shutdown. They aren’t the first either. Meatpacking plants have shutdown and reopened, and I saw a grocery store that was shutdown in another state by the board of health, and a Planet Fitness shutdown over a positive COVID case.

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