A lot has happened while I’ve been busy with my mama.
The stock market has crashed.
Joe Biden has moved to a commanding lead in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
We’ve begun bombing Iraq.
And, of course, there’s the coronavirus.
That name, “coronavirus,” sounds like we’re talking about a cross between a beer and a tiara, with a disease thrown in for spice.
Actually, that’s not too far from the truth. The virus itself looks a bit like a crown, which, I suppose, is where it gets its name.
There are at least seven “coronaviri” which humans can contract. The one that’s got everyone in a dither is the new kid on the block; a brand new fence-jumper from the animal kingdom that nobody’s seen before.
This virus is being blamed for all sorts of things, including the crashing stock market. I don’t really agree about the stock market. I think there are serious problems that caused this crash and that the coronavirus was just the inevitable trigger. But that’s a topic for another post.
For today, I want to focus on the virus and the illness it causes, and leave the stock market, our brand new war (if it is that) and the presidential race for future discussions.
I’ve been preoccupied with my mother, but I have observed that the coronavirus has set off a storm of exaggerated responses.
As usual, some folks have decided to politicize discussions of the virus and get all nasty and nutty in the things they say. This is tiresome. When the people doing it are elected officials and media people who have important positions of public trust and responsibility, it’s beyond reckoning. What is the matter with these people?
This is a virus. It doesn’t care about your politics.
I spent a bit of time reading through the statistics on this bug. I’m not a scientist, but it sure looks to me like this thing’s in the wild and running free. Given that, I think it’s important to be as accurate about what it means as our scanty information about it will allow.
It’s a bad bug. The numbers coming out of Italy and China indicate that it kills over 20% of the elderly people who contract it, while very young people have an extremely low mortality rate. Overall, about 3.5% of the people who get the coronavirus die from it. Surviving it often requires lengthly hospital time with a lot of medical support.
On the other hand, this virus is not something out of a Stephen King novel. It won’t kill everyone except for a few scattered survivors.The Coronavirus does not — as of now — demonstrate a mortality rate anything like what it would take to destroy civilization. But that doesn’t make it a hoax.
It is a bad virus for which human beings do not have a built-in immunity, and which medical treatments can not cure. If you get it, your body has to beat it. Medical care can help sustain your body while it fights the virus, but your body and its defenses are the only heroes who will save you. As my grandmother used to say, you have to wear it out. Either that, or it will wear you out.
The things that are happening now — closing schools and amusement parks, working from home, avoiding crowds, etc — are all ways to slow the spread of the infection. Of the seven coronaviri that can infect human beings, four result in common colds.
From what I’ve read, the Coronavirus we are talking about right now causes severe upper respiratory inflammation. That sounds a bit like a cold, all grown up and gone mean. It also causes diarrhea, which, I guess explains the recent run on toilet paper. (Pun intended.)
But that doesn’t change the fact that we are dealing with a bad virus, with a catastrophic mortality rate among elderly people, and a serious mortality rate among the overall population. We also have a corrupt/wannabe dictator/incompetent fool/liar in the White House who has purged many of our most competent people because they didn’t suck up to and lie for him.
This virus is in the wild where it can infect lots of people. It seems to be transmitted in much the same way that the common cold gets passed around.
The things we’re doing — closing businesses, wearing masks, staying home — are not stupid. They really should slow the spread of the virus. But I don’t think that they are sustainable in long term.
Goods have to be shipped, businesses must re-open. The life of commerce has to move, or we’ll be facing something worse than this virus. We need gas at the pumps, food on the shelves, and money in the bank.
Heading for the house and locking the door behind us is not sustainable as a long-term strategy, not for a whole nation of people. The virus isn’t a hurricane that will blow through and then be gone in a couple of days. It will burn itself out, but only when enough people have contracted it and survived it to provide a firewall of immunity. Then it will go underground until that generation of people with immunity dies off and it can come back out of hiding again.
The only thing that can short-circuit that process is a vaccine. A vaccine could bring the virus to a hard stop.
In the meantime, I think we all need to use common sense. Now that you have your year’s supply of toilet paper laid in, you might consider lathering up. Wash you hands. A lot. Get out the household cleanser and scrub your car’s steering wheel, wash the treadmill’s handlebars at the gym before you use it, buy a cover for the keyboard on your computer and wash that. When you wash your hands in a public restroom, don’t touch anything with your clean hands; use a paper towel to open the door. Keep your hands away from your face. If you are over 55, take this virus very seriously. It’s a big-time killer for us oldies.
I read an online comment from someone who appears to be a few cards short of a full deck. They were responding to the news that Catholic bishops in certain areas are saying that people should not take communion in the mouth, but should take it in the hand to help stop the spread of the virus. This person said that they would rather get coronavirus than take communion by hand.
I think that person is probably just posturing. You know, waving their verbal arms and saying “Look at me! See how holy I am!” But then again, maybe they meant it. I don’t know.
I do know that I hope you will chose not to be like that person. Don’t contribute to the world’s problems at a time when the world has so many problems to deal with.
Stand down on your crazy for a few days. What the world needs now is sane and steady.