We are entering new territory.
The coronavirus, aka Covid-19, is pretty much a part of our conversations at least a couple of times a day.
We knew something was coming. Here in Washington State we were ‘lucky’ enough to have the first detected case in the U.S., the first confirmed fatality and we continue to lead the nation in souls lost to this brand-new virus.
A long-time friend of mine posted just the other day that her mom was the latest victim at that convalescent home in Kirkland, the epicenter of our Northwest outbreak.
Every day, a new count, a new detail. But the drum keeps beating on how doing the basics, the things we should have been doing all along, can help us avoid the virus.
- Wash your hands. I mean, REALLY wash your hands, with soap, for at least 20-seconds, front and back. (the best analogy I’ve heard is to pretend you’ve just chopped up Jalapeños and you’re going to put in your contacts next)
- Cover your cough. Into the back of your elbow, please.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- If you insist on going out into the public, wear a mask.
- Don’t touch your face without washing your hands or using hand-sanitizer first.
I’m sure there are other things you can do, but those basics are what a civilization that survives needs to be doing. If the coronavirus gets us all into those habits, it could make for easier cold and flu seasons in the future.
But for now, the focus is on the virus named for the beer. (It isn’t, but a recent CNN survey found that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beer “under any circumstances” because of the coronavirus)
I’ve been oversaturating myself on information and true facts regarding the outbreak and here’s what I know:
- The elderly (people over 60…crap) are more prone to having a rough go at it with the virus.
- Those with secondary health issues (the majority of the fatalities in the U.S.) are the most susceptible.
- For some reason, kids seem more resilient. There have been no pediatric deaths in the U.S.. However, they say because kids seem to be less affected by it, they could be carrying the bug before symptoms show.
- The majority–80% of the cases of coronavirus–are mild.
- There’s a lot we don’t know about it. I heard on the news just this morning they think there are two different strains. There is no cure or vaccine.
At this point, America has eagerly morphed into panic mode. John Kay of Steppenwolf was supposed to perform in Everett this Saturday. He canceled because of what he was hearing about the Seattle-area on the news. I saw one headline the other day that labeled Seattle as a Ghost Town. I wanted to contest that, but just in the last few days, I know of several companies and local governments who have gone into “stay at home” mode. They’re encouraging people to stay at home to help stop the spread. The University of Washington, King County and where my wife works, Nanostring, among them. This morning, traffic was holiday-light, as if people were all out of town on vacation. Instead, they were at home, hoping to avoid catching the bug.
The Northshore School District up north where my kids went decided to just close schools for up to 14 days, this after they had already closed for a couple of other days. Emerald City Comic Con is next week. Vendors are dropping out left and right. The famous South By Southwest gathering in Austin next week is endangered, as some attendees are already announcing they’ll pass. Japan had said earlier that there was absolutely no way they would be moving the Olympics this summer. Now they’re saying they’d be open to delaying it. The latest James Bond movie was supposed to hit theaters by April. That’s been bumped to November so that this coronavirus outbreak has a chance to settle down.
I can’t believe I spent all those years preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse when I should have been watching the Dustin Hoffman movie, “Outbreak.” By the way, the folks at Netflix brought it back this month, for those who need to catch up.
It’s been bad, but we’re on track for things to get much worse. We saw a couple of panic shopping outbreaks last week, with people stocking up on toilet paper, for God’s sake. Gatherings are being canceled, people are scrapping trips they had planned and looked forward to, because we just don’t know where this is going to go. A treatment or vaccine could be up to a year away. They hope the warmer summer months might help it partially go away but, again, there’s just so much we don’t know.
So, Keith Richards and Betty White, if the time comes where you two are really the last ones left on earth and you are reading this, here’s how it all started a way back in the year 2020. Just in case you don’t remember. If my Wacky Week website is still up, check it out. There are a few coronavirus jokes there that you guys might find funny.