Your Monday Coronavirus Roundup, News, and Editorial

As Corvallisites are settling in for a long curve-flattening haul, supermarkets have quieted down a bit, and area bread and toilet paper supplies have started rebounding though popcorn is in shorter supply, no joke. 

So, while most of the hoarding became complete, our next stop for contagious overcrowding was area forests which is how we learned that a forest can indeed go on lockdown. Here’s our take on the last week.  

Contagion pump: Confusion and downright dread set in as the governor caved to the Oregon Fuels Association’s request that Oregonians learn how to pump their own gas. The rationale was essentially this: Pump attendants concerned with contagion would stop coming to work, gas stations would have to close, and first responders and other essential personnel wouldn’t be able to fuel up and get to work.  

We wonder what would have happened if gas prices went up a few cents a gallon, and pump attendants, like grocery personnel, had been offered hazard pay, gloves, and disinfectant. Anyhow, more mitts on pumps, nothing contagious about that, right? We’d like to see the governor reverse the decision.  

Math blind: Statewide, news organizations ran with a headline saying Oregon was 5th worst in the country for social distancing. The assertion was based on modeling from a site called Unacast.com, that to its credit admits its modeling could be wrong. We wondered aloud at what point journalists prioritized a damn good headline over perpetuating clickbait.  

National media has also been somewhat math challenged of late, reporting that a small minority of physicians think that it would be best to just let Covid-19 infect everyone as early as possible. The theory goes that once 80 percent of the population is infected, and therefore immune, herd immunity would then stop the current pandemic, and future outbreaks, in their tracks.  

But, even if that’s true, 80 percent of 327 million Americans is 261.6 million Americans. At the time of this writing, the American Covid-19 mortality rate is 1.7 percent. Apply that to those 261 million infected Americans, and that’s a nearly 4.5 million death toll. How this ever got beyond an editor’s desk, nobody will ever know.   

And the kicker nobody is really too sure how post-exposure immunity works with this particular virus quite yet.  

Trailhead loopback: Forest managers rightly freaked as trails turned more crowded than supermarket aisles. The feds closed trails. The state closed trails. The university closed trails. Our own forays before the lockdown confirm things had gotten quite out of hand.  

But, with a moment to breathe, could we humbly suggest a reexamination: Possibly, an online scheduling and permitting system could be implemented. Something that works like online appointment scheduling for a doctor’s office. Quick caveat: We’d like to see a two or three time a week limit so everyone gets a chance for a permit.  

We agree that forests needed a quick close to mitigate the overcrowding amid an outbreak, but we’d like to see if a metered reopening would be possible.  

Distant monitoring: One way to make sure foster children are safe is to visit the homes they’re placed in, and in Oregon, caseworks are supposed to do that once monthly. This week, it was announced that DHS personnel will be suspending those home visits amid the outbreak, and will video conference with foster kids and parents instead.  

Our only editorialization on the matter: The loss of this safeguard is troubling, but weighed against the currently greater public health needs, we get it. On another level, we’re sure glad this wasn’t our decision to make.  

Cheers, jeers, bated breath: Oregon’s Cultural Trust says the states arts organizations have lost about $8.6 million so far due to Covid-19 closures, and they have voted to fund a $10 million arts relief fund  

OSU has collected nearly 200,000 pairs of gloves and other medical supplies for Oregon’s healthcare workers. They also are offering a pandemics course online, free for both students and the general public.  

The City of Corvallis Public Works Department‘s water treatment facility already inactivates viruses. It appears that’s a thing water treatment plants have been doing for just about forever, but there it is in case you were wondering. Also, there’s some promising Covid-19 treatments being researched. 

There has been some price gouging, and for you perpetrators, just know Oregon’s Attorney General is coming for you.  

Lastly, we are all waiting to see how this turns out, and we are all hoping for a flattened curve that eventually sinks to nothingness. As of this writing, there are six Covid-19 cases in Benton County, and 548 statewide. You can track what’s happening countywide here. And you can track what’s happening statewide here.