Surprising Containment Measures

Surprising Containment Measures

( – The coronavirus pandemic is getting serious, with thousands infected across the US and the disease spreading faster by the day. If we’re going to avoid burying the healthcare system under a tsunami of virus victims, we need to slow its spread and keep the number of sick people at a manageable level. The administration is working to protect our borders and mobilize the industry to produce essential supplies. How are state and local authorities trying to prevent infections?


The scale of this epidemic has persuaded politicians to take some extreme – and often surprising – measures. Here are a few:

  • California’s state legislature has suspended meetings for the first time in 158 years. The Sacramento assembly hasn’t taken an unscheduled break since most of the city flooded in 1862, forcing a few days’ pause while legislators relocated to San Francisco.
  • On Monday, the California legislature approved up to $1 billion in emergency spending to fight the epidemic, then suspended itself for a month. A bipartisan vote gave Governor Newsom a wide range of emergency powers that won’t be subject to legislative oversight. And now the entire state is on lockdown.
  • Prisoners are being released. A jail in Cleveland, OH is releasing hundreds of inmates early. The Cuyahoga County Justice Center is evaluating its prisoners and releasing those who are elderly, have underlying health issues and aren’t thought to be dangerous. The idea is to prevent infection from spreading through packed jails and threatening correctional officers and prisoners alike.
  • Sin City went virtuous. Las Vegas is closing down. Fourteen casinos shut on Tuesday, and more are likely to follow as the crowds stay away. Shows and other events are canceling performances, and conventions are being axed too.
  • Amazon cuts shipments. The online retail giant has stopped all shipments to its warehouses except for medical supplies and essential items. Staple foodstuffs and healthcare products will keep flowing but, for everything else, when stock runs out it won’t be replenished. Amazon says this move is to ensure fast deliveries of important goods.
  • Florida schoolkids get a pass. Authorities in the state announced all K-12, pre-K and school readiness tests for the current school year have been canceled. The state’s schools are already closed.

Things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. Expect to see more retailers cut their services, public services closing down and power being exercised without democratic oversight. It could be a while before things go back to normal.

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