Life Guard

Written by SK Ashby

(Cartoonist - Nick Anderson)

In other news, we've now reached a 7-day average of nearly 70,000 coronavirus infections per day according to the Covid Tracking Project, the highest average yet. El Paso, Texas has seen hospitalizations increase by 300 percent.

Meanwhile, at least 11 out of Trump's last 22 political rallies have led to an uptick in infections in the host county. It's like a farewell tour in which some guests will literally die.

Finally, there's signs that Americans might be making another run on groceries like we did earlier this year.

Signs point to another round of stockpiling already starting. Demand for items like baking goods spiked 3,400% from a year earlier in the three weeks through Oct. 13, according to Centricity Inc., a platform that tracks online activity like searches and e-commerce. Mike Brackett, Centricity’s chief executive officer, said that’s less than the 6,000% jump that preceded the first wave of pantry loading, but he expects this one to hit a wider range of products beyond canned goods and other staples.

“In the last three to four weeks, we’ve seen very drastic increases, similar to how we did with the first wave of the pandemic,” Brackett said. [...]

The longer-term hurdle for food companies will be to rebuild inventories that were depleted in the spring amid strong sales. While the next round of pantry loading may be easier than the last one, General Mills doesn’t expect its inventories to normalize until next June. That’s because consumer are still snapping up as much food as they can, pressuring companies across the industry.

“We are pretty much selling everything we can make,” said Sean Connolly, chief executive officer at Healthy Choice parent Conagra. “As long as demand remains very elevated, and if there is an additional uptick, that will just further stretch the supply that can be produced.”

Some items at my grocery have never returned to normal levels of stock, but I haven't seen any new problems. At least not yet. It remains to be seen what will happen over the next several weeks as infections spiral. As long as they stock salad, meat, and alcohol, I'll survive.

It seems reasonable to assume that demand for food and meals to eat at home will remain elevated at least until a vaccine is widely available and maybe even for a long time after that. We're all adopting habits that will be hard to break if we even want to. I miss sitting at a bar for a drink, but I don't necessarily miss restaurant food. I've gotten pretty good at cooking for myself this year. Part of that was out of necessity to make food that fits my low-carb diet, but also because it was no longer safe to go out.