The CDC added hundreds of patients to isolation centers around the country overnight, but as Monday dawned, evidence of a worst-case pandemic was clear when the NYSE opened briefly only to follow the path of all other world stock markets as circuit breakers halted trading after an 18% drop in the first five minutes. Markets remain closed.
Businesses alerted workers to stay at home. Schools in most counties are closed, many having been commandeered by FEMA and CDC response units. In many eastern states, the National Guard has appropriated public structures in what experts identify as a precursor step to the institution of martial law.
Grocery stores show the signs of alarm: shelves emptied of water, batteries and canned goods and first aid supplies. Despite the criticism of panic-fueled shopping, many survival-related items are no longer available for miles. Big Box and sporting goods stores reported sellouts of guns and ammunition, and a chilling rise in the sale of sporting equipment and tools such as bats, golf clubs, hammers, mallets, axes and picks.
The price of gas has risen steadily, now at an unthinkable $10 per gallon as gas stations run out of fuel. Refueling trucks are “late if they come at all” bemoaned one station manager in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but he added, “People need to get out of town and they need gas to do it. I’m staying open, no matter what.”