Coronavirus: Investigate Midwest Reporter Diary


First reported in December, there are now nearly 1 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, worldwide as of midday April 2, 2020 — including more than 226,374 cases in the U.S., according to data collected by John Hopkins University.

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Since the highly-infectious respiratory illness was declared a worldwide pandemic on March 11, U.S. federal and state officials have made moves to limit its spread, including closing down schools, restaurants and bars, cancelling large events and encouraging people to practice "social distancing" by keeping at least 6-feet away from others.

The Midwest Center is reporting on the pandemic's impact in rural areas and in farm country.

This diary will be updated throughout the outbreak of Covid-19 with personal observations and short news updates from the Midwest Center staff.

Read our latest coverage

Grocery store shortages
March 20, 2020

With the number of confirmed cases growing to more than 585, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker ordered Illinois residents to stay home until April 7, at least for now, as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Illinois was among three states to do so today, including California and New York. All total, one in five Americans are now mandated to 'shelter in place'.

Grocery stores have been hit with shortages after hoarding of certain items deemed essential to self-isolating at home. Now, it seems, stores have had enough.

At the Schnucks in Champaign, Illinois, signs were posted telling customers to limit their purchases of wet wipes and toilet paper.

Photo credit: Sky Chadde, Thursday, March 19, 2020
Photo credit: Sky Chadde, Thursday, March 19, 2020

And Lowe's in Danville, Illinois, posted signs saying some items had a limit of 10 per customer.

The red sign reads, "Due to current high demand, select products are limited to 10 per customer. While supplies last. Thank you for your business." Photo credit: Pam Dempsey

-- Sky Chadde, Gannett Ag Data Fellow