Shop safely / How much for you? / They will rock you

Because stuff keeps happening, get updates between editions by following Chicago Public Square first on Facebook. And now, the (today, at least, Trump-free) news:

Shop safely. Consumer Reports details the precautions you should take when buying groceries in-store and online during the COVID-19 pandemic …
 … and offers plenty of other advice, including how to stay safe when you absolutely must go out—for instance, to get gas.

It also sings the praises of simple soap and water. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
Chicago’s voice of viral reason, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, is in.

‘Terrifying.’ An emergency physician tells CNN the full extent of human suffering under the virus has yet to be conveyed by TV news.
Patients are making videos to let people know the virus “wants to kill you.”
A 27-year-old general medicine resident at a New York City hospital describes the wave of illness and death threatening to overwhelm that city’s health care system as “apocalyptic.”
Inside a Brooklyn hospital, health workers are beginning the day with prayer.
Doctors are drawing up their wills.
Early signs suggest the disease’s spread is slowing in New York …
 … but not so much elsewhere—witness divergent trends correlated with state political orientation as noted by statistician Nate Silver.
Mardi Gras—Feb. 25—created what Louisiana State University’s health care services chief calls “the perfect storm,” making New Orleans the likely next coronavirus epicenter.
Updating coverage: Worldwide, COVID-19 infections are near the half-million mark; U.S. deaths are near 1,000—and rising.
Bloomberg’s Drew Armstrong: “It’s going to get worse soon.”
And a second wave is likely to follow.
Chicago funeral homes have begun livestreaming services.

How much for you? A Washington Post calculator purports to help figure how much you’ll get from the coronavirus aid plan nearing approval in Congress.
The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits nationwide last week was the largest ever—four times the previous peak.
 Lots of workers are getting laid off via Zoom.
 Tensions are on the rise between companies and workers who don’t feel safe.

Eggxit. McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu is a casualty of the slowdown.
The Michaels craft store chain has told employees they’re “essential” and must show up for work.
Guitar Center, too.
 Massachusetts’ attorney general has written a letter to Amazon and Whole Foods pleading for them to offer their workers paid sick leave—a lack of which, she says, puts “other employees, their customers, and the public at large at significant risk of exposure to COVID-19” (PDF download).

Lakefront barricades. To discourage crowds from gathering near Lake Michigan, Chicago police yesterday closed off parts of the city’s parks and trails. (Update, 10:17 a.m.: Today, too.)
Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown: “Oh, God. Please don’t let it come to that. Please, please, please.”
Chicago streets may not get swept for a while.
Injustice Watch: To reduce the toll of a COVID-19 outbreak at Cook County Jail, at least 300 people have been freed this week—but another 180 were booked.

Reasons to be cheerful. Or at least not cheerless.
Software developers plan a weekend hackathon to science the shit out of the pandemic.
Stat: Progress against COVID-19 “has been amazing in some respects.”
Millions of coronavirus tests will be produced in Abbott’s Chicago-area facilities.
The Chicago Public School system is moving to buy computers for kids stuck home through at least April 21.
The United Center is back in action.
The Illinois income tax filing deadline’s been extended to July.

They will rock you. At 8 p.m. Friday, classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM will host a community singalong—encouraging Chicagoans to open their windows or step out on their porches to sing The Star-Spangled Banner followed by Queen’s We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions.
Elton John hosts a TV special to benefit health care workers and first responders Sunday night.
A Tribune editorial: Grateful for health care workers? Then stay home.

‘15. Check whether Amazon delivers alligators (for moat).’ The Trib’s Rex Huppke offers “30 Steps to Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic From Home (with only a little cannibalism).”
Neil Steinberg: “There are things to do in every household, and why not pull yourself away from this social media thing and do them? That’s an order.”

Readers are engaging with Chicago Public Square more than ever during this time of crisis. If you’re an advertiser looking to get the word out, you can do so now at a 25% discount. Tap here.

Thanks to ever-vigilant reader Mike Braden for spotting a couple of misplaced commas in this edition.