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David Chandler's Journal of Java Web and Mobile Development

  • David M. Chandler


    Web app developer since 1994 and Google Cloud Platform Instructor now residing in Colorado. Besides tech, I enjoy landscape photography and share my work at ColoradoPhoto.gallery.

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Hoarding has real consequences

Posted by David Chandler on April 15, 2020

I’ve used bigquerygeoviz and the county by county dataset from NYT to create a map of coronavirus in the US as of Apr 13 adjusted for population (cases per million county residents publicly available in Google BigQuery).

Because it’s adjusted for population, it lets us see some interesting things:

  • NYC and Louisiana are hit hard, as we know.
  • Los Angeles and Miami, despite having a large number of cases, are actually not hot spots when considering the population.
  • A couple Colorado mountain counties with relatively small year round population have a large number of cases due to the ski resorts (now shut down). Ditto for Blaine, Idaho, near Sun Valley ski resort, which hosted a large wedding from Seattle in February before anyone realized the risk.

But what’s going on in Albany, GA, with more cases per person even than congested Atlanta? According to a WSJ article, health authorities trace it back to a funeral in early March. However, the article also notes that Albany, GA is home to P&G’s second largest plant making, you guessed it, toilet paper. The folks in Albany have had to ramp up production 20% even while every day learning that someone nearby has fallen ill or died of COVID-19. “Mr. Patterson, the P&G plant veteran, said the hardest thing is having to maintain distance from friends and family who are struggling.”

Am I suggesting that hoarding toilet paper caused the outbreak in Albany, GA? No! And as the WSJ notes, people ARE consuming more toilet paper at home (vs. work, which typically uses a different grade of TP) so some of the increase in demand is legitimate. Ditto for groceries, demand for which is up 2x in NYC according to another recent WSJ story. But I think it does illustrate that there are real people whose real lives and families are on the line while they keep working so we can have nice things. Healthcare workers (bless you all!), grocery store stockers, delivery people, and yes, even toilet paper makers, are risking their health every day for all of our sakes.

Let’s take it easy on them.

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