Virus has made healthy eating more costly - just when we need a better dietWhenever I've gone grocery shopping these past few weeks, the produce department has been well stocked. But the customers have been few and far between. On a recent trip, I spent nearly 15 minutes perusing the produce alone before two other shoppers showed up. I asked those two why they thought so few shoppers were in the produce section. "We've been buying less because the prices are so high," said Lisa Banks, wearing a mask, as she shopped for vegetables with her husband, Michael. He said: "Ever since the pandemic began, the prices have been going up and up." She added: "We just have to choose carefully." There has been a significant increase in the price of produce within the past month - by some accounts, the jump has been the steepest since 1974. The reason: When restaurants closed because of the pandemic, more people began buying fruits and vegetables - before they stopped - and the higher demand led to higher prices. Now, the unemployed or those with the lowest-paying jobs will be the first to lose access to the healthiest foods. I asked a stock clerk why he thought the produce was always piled high on tables and overflowing in vegetable bins, as if untouched. He cited a reason I'd heard from other shoppers. "Some people will see the water sprayed on the vegetables to keep them fresh and act like somebody sneezed on them," the clerk said. What kind of virus is this, preventing people from getting the foods that could help strengthen them? In a Washington Post story in March, a virologist was quoted as saying that covid-19 is capable of "switching from being alive to not being alive." The story described the virus as a kind of biochemical zombie, invading our cells and multiplying itself. Causing the immune system to malfunction and attack not just the virus,...
Some businesses pledge to keep out customers who cover their facesFor 64 days, Kevin Smith had shut down the Liberty Tree Tavern to comply with government orders. Now he was cleaning and disinfecting and removing stools to cut seating by three-quarters as he prepared to reopen the bar. Plexiglass screens had gone up at the supermarket checkout. His neighbors in Elgin, Texas, were still wearing masks outside, even after it was no longer mandated by the county. He did not think such a response was necessary, he said, and he wanted to push back. "Sorry, no mask allowed," read the poster taped to the front door of his bar Friday. "Please bare with us thru the ridiculous fearful times." As statewide coronavirus orders are easing, many stores and restaurants nationwide have taken the opposite route: They have made face coverings a requirement, kicking out those who fail to comply and even going to court to enforce their directives. Yet in the emergent culture war over masks, a handful of businesses - the Liberty Tree Tavern among them - are fashioning themselves as fortresses for the resistance. "If we're only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity, I want them to be 25 percent of people that aren't p-----, that aren't sheep," Smith told The Washington Post. "Being scared all the time isn't good for your health. It suppresses your immune system." At one Kentucky gas station, no one is allowed inside the adjacent convenience store if they are wearing a mask. Near Los Angeles, a flooring store encourages hugs and handshakes while prohibiting face coverings. The owner of a campground in rural Wisconsin vowed to treat clients sporting them inside facilities as she would "a robbery in progress." Scientific and medical experts agree that people should cover their faces in public to stop coronavirus, which has now killed at least 100,000 people...