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Panic epidemic 

Hey guys, we're all going to die because of COVID-19—aka coronavirus. Wait, actually, we're not all going to die. In fact, most people probably aren't even going to be affected by it.

People are just losing their minds over the possibility that even one person in San Luis Obispo County might be infected because they literally have nothing better to worry about. Apparently paper towels and toilet paper are key to germ protection and longevity of life, because SLO's Target was nearly out of both on Tuesday, March 10, according to a random Facebook post I saw.

As the poster so astutely asked his Facebook friends: "Why aren't you people hoarding anything else? ... Does coronavirus make you shit yourself to death?"

Nope. I'm pretty sure it's just the flu, and its main symptoms, according to public health officials, are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. So, sorry, toilet paper pinchers. Unless you plan on freezing your tee-pee, then wrapping yourself in it to chill out those hot body temperatures, not sure it's going to help.

Plus, there aren't any cases in the county. Although, I could be wrong. I just get my information from official public health sources such as SLO County Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein, who strangely declined to tell New Times how many locals have been tested for the virus. But she assured everyone that she will be telling everyone the moment the county gets its first confirmed case.

Phew! That's when I can panic, right? I need to know when I can safely stock up on all of the essentials without looking like a crazy person: paper towels (they ran out of toilet paper), bedsheets (we've got to throw them out after every use), batteries (just in case the whole electrical grid contracts the virus).

Oh, whoops. Is that me contributing to the "emotional pandemic"?

"We don't see a need to have people have two weeks of supplies and buy out the whole community supply," Borenstein said.

Oh. My bad. I had FOMO for a second.

But, it is time to get those "social distancing" plans in place, according to county public health. Social distancing, huh? Sounds like a prime-time excuse not to hang out with those people you keep canceling dinner plans on. Skip work, skip school, skip the cruise. Yep. You don't need to do a thing.

If there's anyone who's benefitted from corona-panic, though, it's the city of Morro Bay, which just received a less than 1 percent interest rate on a $62-million loan to help build its long-awaited wastewater treatment facility. According to Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins, in addition to saving red-legged frogs, the city is also going to save ratepayers $29-million over the life of the project!

Woot! Saving frogs and dinero, one $126-million wastewater reclamation facility at a time!

That whole frog issue only set the loan back three years. You know, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to come to some sort of an understanding over the potential migrating pathway of future hoppers, so they didn't get trapped within the bounds of a gigantic wastewater facility turning poopie sewage into crystal clear water.

You know, just in case, the endangered species decided it was high time to mosey on down South Bay Boulevard. Maybe the EPA or the Fish and Wildlife Service should warn them that there's no toilet paper left, just in case they dip their little red frog legs into something they shouldn't on their journey that may or may not happen around the plant that might never get built.

And people wonder why government is so inefficient. This project is going on seven years, at least, and they have nothing but meetings to show for it.

I bet the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District would take an über low interest rate loan if they could get it. The district is desperate for funds, so desperate they're thinking about closing down a whole elementary school. Fiscally frozen, the district's suffering from a multimillion dollar shortfall that has seemingly multiplied over the last couple of years. School board members voted to potentially ax teachers, classified employees, classes, and sports programs on March 10.

But don't worry y'all, board member Joel Peterson assured the parents, students, and community members who attended that the district was only looking at cutting classes with enrollment issues. It had nothing to do with what board members liked or didn't like.

Then later he voted not to get rid of the Career Technical Education pathway class known as "audio/visual" because "that's my passion." Hypocrite! But if you've got a passion for French, say "au revoir."

Board member Chris Bausch blamed the lack of dollars coming into the school on the state and the way it funds schools, even though other school districts seem to be a-OK. For instance, Atascadero Unified School District isn't working to put out a financial dumpster fire worth millions or close a whole elementary school.

I'm pretty sure Sacramento politics has nothing to do with the way that Paso has completely failed to deal with its budget in a fiscally responsible way. Although, I could be wrong. Δ

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