As of the writing of this article, 6,000 Americans will have died from COVID19. We are constantly being provided advice from multiple sources. The only thing good about being an attorney who practices the way I practice is that I have a somewhat better ability in discerning what is known, what is not known, and what is unknowable.  At least I like to think so.

I am going to assume that you believe there is a real threat out there and that you understand if you catch this virus, it can kill you, and there is a chance you can catch it. If you don’t believe this, move along.

If you believe this, let’s look at some of the big issues:


At first they tell us don’t wear them, because they should only be worn by sick people. They won’t protect us because we are too stupid to put them on correctly, and oh, by the way, we need them for health care workers who ARE somehow protected by them. Got that? I already had bought a few N95 masks before I heard that stupid advice, and I wore them anyway. Because why? How could it hurt? The answer, it couldn’t. Other than the looks I got from people who think they know better because they read that awesome advice. Now the CDC is recommending everyone wear masks, N95 or not.  I offered my sister, who heads up Infection Control at a Santa Clara hospital one after she showed me the gauze mask they gave her.  She told me they wouldn’t let her wear it.

Washing your groceries

For a guy who at times has found it difficult to take a shower, washing my groceries is not on my list. But the various advice has been this: wash them, don’t wash them, disinfect them, don’t disinfect them. The virus lives on surfaces for days. You can’t get them from surfaces. JUST ASSUME YOU CAN GET IT FROM A SURFACE. Why? Because what is the advantage of assuming that is not true? None. Zero. Nada. There is no risk to you, but tremendous risk otherwise. This comes to my final observation.

Social Distancing

If you stay home and don’t leave for the next month or so, you probably can’t get COVID19. Isn’t that why you got 90 rolls of TP from Costco and forty cans of tuna? If you went out and doomsday prepped your house, why are you leaving it? While you will need to sort out true from false in navigating the outside world, the coronavirus is going to come into your house with a person. That person will have gone out somewhere and been around other people. This means that we don’t need (though we certainly want) the most advanced medicine known to man, or a hazmat suit, or anything other than the wherewithal to stay home and don’t leave.

I know that is easier said than done. I go to my office several times a week. The office is almost always empty, and when it is not, I am locked in my office with a mask and gloves when I venture to the bathroom.

The point I am trying to make is that we already know what we need to know to protect ourselves. The real issue is measuring the relative risk. Do I need another 90 rolls from Costco when I have sixty rolls right now? Do I need a .45 handgun when the crime rate has dropped 65%?  Panic buying a gun seems like the worst possible thing to do. I guess you are more likely to shoot the instacart guy than stop a home invasion robber if you have never even fired it.  Similarly, what are the odds of me dying from COVID19 as opposed to starving? Think about it.  The real danger is NOT overreacting.

Given the fact that the federal government has virtually abandoned us, except to send us a check for $1200 within the next six weeks, having first denied it was a problem, then told us it will be all good by Easter and now 100,000 people are going to die, it’s pretty safe to say we are on our own.  In a hypothetical situation where I was offering advice, this is what I would do.  This article is not legal advice.
-Wallace Francis