Right now you might be wondering: Are we going to be OK?
Though Kern County has no positive coronavirus cases yet, the concern, some might say panic, over the pandemic's spread is palpable.
There were almost 50 people lined up outside Winco on Coffee Road around mid-day Friday. An employee at the door was allowing in groups of three or four people at a time.
On the front doors hung signs saying customers were limited to one package of paper towels and one package of toilet paper, and only one multipack of bottled water per household. Another sign said the 24-hour store would now close from midnight to 5 a.m. so shelves could be restocked, effective through March 20.
A man in line yelled out to the doorman, saying he was only there for baby wipes. Did they have any in stock?
A few moments later, the answer came: No baby wipes. And no more toilet paper.
"Anybody selling their place in line yet?" a customer asked as he exited the store.
With talk of closing schools, working from home and the cancellation of nearly all events in the next few weeks, coronavirus is causing some very real and many anticipated disruptions to daily life. Jokes about toilet paper and social distancing aside, the pandemic is having real effects on the collective psyche.
"I think as we hear of more events being canceled and people in the media being affected by coronavirus ... hearing those things open the doors to allow people to personalize things a little more. If it happened to Tom Hanks, it could happen to me," said Tonya Mann, crisis administrator for Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
Stockpiling food and paper products may seem irrational to some, but thinking ahead isn't completely unreasonable, Mann said.
"I think it's a basic survival technique to be prepared and make sure that people and their families are cared for," she said. "It's a very natural, basic instinct."
Put another way: Anxiety is a completely normal response to all of this. And doing something like buying supplies can provide people a sense of control in a situation full of uncertainty and lack of control.
Aggravating all of this and driving normal, even healthy levels of anxiety into extreme mode is the social media element — the non-stop photos of empty shelves, reports on increasing numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths, images of barricaded cities around the globe and an endless stream of texts and alerts about the latest cancellations and government pronouncements.
"People have access to information — correct or incorrect — right at their fingertips," said Michelyn Devine, a licensed clinical psychologist with Kaiser Permanente in Bakersfield.
If they're lucky, some might come across a funny joke or meme on social media about the situation, or laugh with friends and family about what's happening, to add a little levity to all the uncertainty and edginess. That can be a good thing, Devine said.
"It's an attempt to cope and not panic. And some of it's appropriate because life is funny in a lot of ways," she said.
One group Devine is concerned about, however, is young people. Sporting events, musical productions and other extra-curriculars have been canceled for the foreseeable future, all things that provide students with an identity and a sense of accomplishment. If the virus continues its spread, teenagers could see important events like graduation and prom canceled. Athletes may miss opportunities to get recruited for scholarships.
"I worry if that will turn into depression or anger or resentment," she said. "Hopefully we have a lot of resilient kids who will take that in stride."
The possible economic fallout is another dimension of the crisis that could cause widespread distress, even as lawmakers rush to approve financial relief and sick time for those who don't have it.
"I am a travel agent on a sinking ship...," wrote Sandy Giurlani on The Californian's Facebook page in response to a post about coronavirus. "The only work I have done for the past (two) weeks are cancellations and the only word I hear when my phone rings is coronavirus. I am emotionally wiped out."
As of Friday, Kern County Public Health Department reported that 10 people were being monitored in Kern for the virus. Outside of the Bay Area and Southern California, a small number of cases have been reported in Fresno, Tulare and Madera counties. Kern County public health officials provide daily updates on the local situation and respond to questions from the public, while also providing guidance to schools and other community groups.
The message so far has been that the risk to the local community is low.
"If we get a case, it won't be shocking," said Michelle Corson, a spokeswoman for the county public health department. "But even one positive test doesn't mean sustained community spread."
Whether the community at large will feel the same way is anybody's guess.