Wednesday, March 4, 2020

What's It All About?

Back at the close of 2019 a new virus strain reared its ugly head, a coronavirus, later named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Captain’s Note: I had to look this up to be certain, but coronaviruses are not new. They are most often found in animals but can also be found in humans.

As the virus has spread through humans from China to many other countries (including the USA), responses have varied.

Some countries have gone on alert and have taken the threat of the virus very seriously. In China, many of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations were canceled in January to try to prevent the spread of the disease. In Japan and Italy, schools have been closed. Some airline flights have been canceled.

And some rock bands have stopped touring.

Image result for rock bands not touring due to coronavirus

For which we say, “Thank you!”

Stock markets around the world have been shaken, not knowing how this outbreak will affect the production and purchase of goods.

But in the good ol’ U.S. of A., our POTUS is… well… being a “trumpf”.

His responses have largely been word salads, on the one hand denying the virus is a threat, on the other insisting that we are “very close, very close” to a breakthru on a vaccine.

“A very good vaccine… One of the best vaccines ever…”

Trumpf has insisted that one pharmaceutical company told him the vaccine is only two months away.

Captain’s Note: The lead researcher for the U.S. response has both privately and publicly reminded the POTUS that we are still a 1 ½ years – minimum – away from having a vaccine ready for the public.

Right-wing talk radio jocks have claimed all the talk about COVID-19 is just a Democrat plot to undermine Trumpf’s re-election chances.

And the POTUS has repeated those lies. Repeatedly!

“But it’s not a big deal.”

Perhaps the only official I know of who is more ignorant than Trumpf is Lucas Zaia, Governor of the Veneto Region, Italy, who publicly stated,

“The hygiene that our people, the Venetians and the Italian citizens have, the cultural training we have, is that of taking a shower, of washing, of washing one’s hands often. It’s a cultural fact that China has paid a big price for this epidemic because we have seen them all eat mice live or things like that.”

Mates, the Captain has Chinese friends. I have never seen a one of them eat a live anything!

But why am I even arguing against such ignorance in Italy when we’ve got our own dumpster fire here in America?

To show us that the POTUS cares, he has appointed Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the official government response to the virus.

Image result for Mike Pence

Honestly, mates, I think the POTUS pulled that out of his arse at the press conference. I don't think he ran it by Pence before making the announcement... The look on the Veep's face here just silently screams, "What the fuck...!"

Along with most every other intelligent being in America.

Pence is a science-denier along the line of Flat-Earthers and 6,000-year Creationists who, during his days as Governor of Indiana also denied that HIV was a problem… resulting in a large HIV outbreak in his state.

I feel safer already!

And sadly, many Republicans and Trumpf faithfuls are saying it’s no big deal.

I’ve seen it on Facebook:
“Why are we getting excited about this? Cancer kills more people than this virus has.”
            “The Flu kills more people than this has.”

Captain’s Note: At a recent campaign rally, Trumpf actually seemed surprised to learn that the Flu can kill a person. “Nobody knew. Nobody knew…”

Uhm, yes, we all knew. That’s why we get a Flu shot each year, you dumbass!

And cancer is not a virus nor is it contagious. Sheesh!

Memes on social media are making fun of the virus’ name, connecting it with Corona Beer.

But no, despite what you may have heard, the sale of Corona Beer did not plummet after the announcement of the virus. AB InBev reported that the sale of ALL BEERS were down about 10% in China, largely due to the cancellation of Chinese New Year events and other large-group gatherings.

To further confuse and mislead, a survey was taken in the U.S. about peoples’ attitude concerning the Coronavirus and, in the midst of several virus-related questions, one was “Would you now buy Corona Beer?"

The Captain thinks that was kinda unfair.

Nonetheless, the makers of Corona Beer had to go on the defense, launching several ads to counter the ignorance.

So why the pushback on taking precautions with COVID-19?

It seems to be “a perfect storm”, a confluence of idiots who think Googling something on the internet is equal to an M.D. degree (and they are legion) colliding with a President who has spent the last three years intentionally undermining confidence in all voices of authority.

Or, as one Facebook user responded after a published report from the WHO, “Just who the hell do they think they are?”

For that I refer you back to my opening sentence.

So listen to the Captain for just a moment… or get the hell off my ship!...

The Flu has a .095% mortality rate in the U.S. For those not good at math, that means that less than 1 in 1,000 infected will die. To put it another way, it means that 999 who get the Flu will survive it – as your Captain and First Mate did back in December.

The Flu has a relatively low mortality rate in part because there is a vaccine available. And the medical community tinkers with it every season to adjust to which strain of the Flu they anticipate.

COVID-19, on the other hand, currently has a projected 3.4% mortality rate. That means more than 3 in 100 infected people will die. The world has 7.8 billion people… I’ll let you do the math…

And again, unlike the Flu, a vaccine is still (optimistically-speaking) 1 ½ years away. Yes, a healthy person is likely to recover, but the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at risk.

Captain’s Note: It was announced today that there are actually two strains of COVID-19 now, one more serious than the other.

The standard line from government officials is, “If you feel the symptoms coming on, stay at home. Don’t get out in large crowds, don’t go to work where you could possibly spread the virus.”

Which is all fine and good advice, except that not everyone can just “stay at home” when they feel sick. For many – especially lower-income workers – if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. These are also the households that most often don’t have adequate health insurance, if at all, so they don’t / can’t seek quick medical attention.

And these are the people who are flipping your hamburger and refilling your drink.

Image result for flipping burgers

Mates, would it hurt you to take basic precautions? Even if – in your “professional” opinion – you don’t think the Coronavirus is a big deal, would it hurt you to wash your hands every now and then?

From what I have read (from trusted sources), I believe the virus is significant and a potential threat. So, if for no other reason, do it for your Captain. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Keep your hands away from your face. And if you feel symptoms coming on, see a medical professional quickly.