“We all know how things go viral on the Internet. You see something funny. A cat video, and you share it with 10 people, and those people share it with 10 people each, so you’re up to 100. And those 100 share it to another 10, so you’re up to 1,000. They keep sharing, and 1,000 becomes 10,000 and then 100,000 and then 1 million. So in only six cycles of transmission, one person can affect one million. Real viruses, like the new coronavirus, work exactly the same way.”
Tag Archives: coronavirus
“Well I did wear – I had one on before. I wore one in this back area. But I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
– President Donald Trump, in response to a reporter on why he didn’t wear a mask while touring a Ford plant.
Writer, artist and fellow blogger Art Browne (my kindred brother in weirdness) proposed this alternative:
“When the final bulb pops alight, and the smoke and sparks dissipate, it is finally legible, this elaborate incandescent sign. Leaning to your left to gain a better view, you can see that it reads: Le Cirque des Rêves. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.”
– “The Night Circus”, Erin Morgenstern, © 2011
On Wednesday, May 27, the COVID-19 death toll here in the United States achieved a brutal milestone: 100,000. Globally, some 5.6 million infections have been confirmed, with more than 353,000 fatalities. Bearing only 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has roughly one-third of deaths directly related to the COVID-19 scourge and about 1.7 million infections. Sometimes being first isn’t such a good thing.
About 300 municipalities in the U.S. boast populations of about 100,000. We have sports arenas that can seat 100,000 people. Despite the viral carnage, many cities across the U.S. are moving towards a re-opening; albeit with a few restrictions. The limitations appear subjective. Some restaurants, for example, remain delivery or curbside pick-up only, while others allow a small number of patrons indoors, with tables kept at least six feet apart. Most demand employees wear masks and latex gloves at all times, but don’t require the same of guests. Then again, it’s sort of difficult to imbibe in food and beverages with one’s mouth ensconced in a piece of cloth – no matter how fashionable it might be.
Is this the new normal? And who designates what is or is not normal?
For me social distancing and frequent hand-washing have been normal since color television was still a novelty. Yes, I am that…mature and I was that precocious! But, for some people, washing their hands after they pick up dirty laundry or take out the trash is a catastrophic lifestyle change. Hence, my social distancing predilection.
Such habitual alterations aside, I can only shake my head at the blatant disregard some people have for their neighbors – what I also call downright stupidity. Am I sadistic in chuckling at the thought of moronic infidels perishing in the morass of their viral incompetence? I view it merely as being practical – in a Darwinian frame of mind. Among lower mammals, those that cannot maintain pace with the herd are sacrificed to the course of nature. Among humans – at least in democratic societies – even the stupid are afforded some level of sympathy.
However, it’s tough for me to sympathize with many of our elected leaders, including the psychotic, discombobulated clown the United States calls its president – Donald J. Trump. The alleged liberal media has noted the president’s distortion of facts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic – from his pronouncement that April heat will kill off the virus to his suggestion that injecting basic household cleaning chemicals into one’s corpus is good preventative medicine.
One hundred thousand is not just a number – it represents human beings; lives lost to a disease that, oddly enough, has a low fatality rate. The U.S. death toll to COVID-19 is equal to the number of fatalities in this country to the 1968 Hong Kong flu, which killed roughly 1 million people globally. One would think a nation as developed and affluent as the United States would be able to confront any scourge as influenza. But looks are often deceiving. The U.S. has been good at developing weapons of destruction. Our military is the most highly-trained and well-prepared fighting force in the world. Yet health care issues always seem to be relegated to a Neanderthal-style the fittest shall survive type of mentality.
And it goes back to what political structure is in place at the time of the crisis. Forty years ago, when AIDS arrived on the world stage, the U.S. was beset by the ultra-conservative Ronald Reagan – a half-ass actor cum political assailant. While contemporary conservatives deify Reagan and tumble into near-orgasmic frenzies at the mere mention of his name, the rest of us clear-headed folks understand what an incompetent dolt he was. And not just because he turned his back on the working folks of America! As a social conservative, he and his minions felt justified in categorizing people into those who deserve to live and those who don’t. With his banshee of a wife beside his feeble body and mind and an attorney general who thought waging war on the adult film industry was a noble cause, the Reagan Administration ignored the very real calamities of a growing crack-cocaine epidemic and the burgeoning AIDS crisis. Thus, thousands died, while Reagan uttered a few quaint phrases that cemented his aw-shucks persona as adorable to his legions of blind disciples.
I see much of the same happening now with COVID-19. As thousands fall ill and the economy sinks, Donald Trump is more engaged with his Twitter account and continues propagating the myth of rampant voter fraud. Now we have 100,000 dead from this novel coronavirus – and growing – with more than 1 million infected. And despite that low morbidity rate, just recovering from the ailment seems to be a slow ride through the fires of Hell wearing tissue paper-thin clothing soaked in lighter fluid. Moreover, scientists still aren’t certain of the long-term effects of COVID-19. Most people recover, yes, but at what cost? How will the disease impact their health years from now? What of their cardiovascular system? Respiratory system, metabolism, digestive tract, immunity? Like AIDS forty years ago, COVID-19 is fresh off the virological boat. We just don’t know.
I do know, however, that a conservative ideology is bad for health care. Like the schematics for the Titanic, everything looks great on paper – until it slams into something, and we see what happens. No one knows what the hell to do! Except pass judgment and make light of the matter.
That’s what Reagan and his ilk did during the AIDS mess: toss around cruel jokes and tap-dance on the graves of the fallen. And it’s pretty much what Trump is doing now. He’s not exactly making jokes – his presidency and leadership have taken the top awards on that. But he’s not providing any true direction. He did order some manufacturers to being producing much-needed medical supplies. But even that came with some arm-twisting!
Think about that number, however: 100,000. What number of dead do we have to see before everyone takes it seriously? When is it no longer just a very bad day? What price is a life?
Images: Alejandro De La Garza
“Now is the time, depending upon where you are or what your situation is, is to begin seriously looking at reopening the economy – reopening the country – to try to get back to some degree of normal. I’m totally in favor of that if done in the proper way and appropriate setting.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, conceding that a prolonged national lockdown over the COVID19 crisis is unhealthy for the nation, but emphasizes a “prudent” reopening.
“Texas’ Governor says you don’t need (expletive)!”
– An unidentified man at a 99 Cent Only store in San Antonio, Texas, after an employee told him to wear a mask as part of company policy to prevent spread of COVID-19.
The belligerent, maskless man had charged at other customers who were recording him and even shouted at one, “Don’t record me! That’s an invasion of my personal privacy!”
I have to make three points regarding this particular incident. For one thing, while Texas Governor Greg Abbott hasn’t made it mandatory for people wear masks in public, he has encouraged the practice. Also, when someone is in public – angry or not – they should have no expectation of privacy. Finally, if you’ve ever been to a 99 Cent Only store, you should understand that the COVID-19 virus is the least potential health hazard you’ll face.
“I’m in complete confidence that if I’m exposed to the coronavirus that either I won’t get it, or if I do get it, that, hey, it will be a few days and I’ll be fine afterwards. Because when your immune system is strong – God designed our bodies to fight viruses. And that’s the thing: For me, it’s an attitude and mentality of faith over fear.”
“Mail-in ballots aren’t where the election fraud is happening. It’s happening in the office of our indicted attorney general.”
– Kendall Scudder, a Dallas County businessman who – along with another man – filed a formal complaint against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleging the latter committed voter fraud in each of the state’s 254 counties by contradicting a judge’s order expanding the availability of mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reading bedtime stories to my aloe vera plant, Paco, is incredibly relaxing and soothing – well, at least for me. And I know what you’re thinking. (Remember, the Chief is cyber-psychic. Who in the hell would name a plant Paco? I mean…that’s so Mexican! Okay, aside from me, Paco is the only other living being inside my house! Even introverts must find a sense of humanity!
“Ghosts” by Marvin Kaye
“The media likes to say we have the most [coronavirus] cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn’t have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”