CHICAGO—In an effort to appear calm Monday in the face of widespread Covid-19 outbreaks, area woman Ellen Garcia sought to initiate a casual conversation in a long line at her local supermarket as though she were not, at that very moment, desperately attempting to escape the icy clutches of death. “This whole thing’s pretty crazy, huh?” said Garcia, as if the bleak specter of the eternal grave were not looming before her as she placed 16 cans of black beans on the conveyor belt and forced herself to release her tight, sweaty grip on the store’s last pack of Clorox wipes so the cashier could scan it. “I wouldn’t usually buy all these boxes of instant mashed potatoes, but I guess it’s good to stock up on a few things that will keep, just in case. They say the important thing is to not panic.” After a person behind her in line covered their mouth to cough, Garcia reportedly grabbed as many of her items as she could, left her credit card behind, and made a mad dash to her car, where she hoped a generous application of Purell would keep her one step ahead of the Grim Reaper.
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