Coronavirus: Y’all are doing it Wrong

First of all: terminology.

It’s not THE coronavirus. It’s A coronavirus. There have been many strains of this kind of virus before and will surely be many more in the future. It would have been helpful if the global health community could have thought of a catchy name sooner. Instead, we had the ADHD media seizing on the term and pummeling us with breaking stories about THE coronavirus, or just plain Coronavirus.

Eventually, the WHO came up with the term Covid-19, though that doesn’t seem to have caught on well enough. It doesn’t have the catchy ring of MERS or SARS, which so easily roll off the tongue. Though we should all adopt the name Covid-19, for the sake of staving off confusion when the next coronavirus pandemic hits in a handful of years. Also, for the sake of people being wrongly made victims of prejudice for other monikers for the virus that some in the media have been pushing, namely ones stigmatizing east Asian people and those of east Asian descent.

Attempts at branding Covid-19 (the term I’ll be using henceforth, despite it being a mild bitch to type) as “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese flu” are nakedly racist, and beyond dog whistling. There have been multiple media outlets using such terms. Most have stopped, but Fox News, suit-jacketed mainstream mouthpiece of white supremacy that it is, has been doubling down. The network’s most prominent countryclub-neonazis are continuing to push racist anti-Asian propaganda, and bringing in high-ranking zealots of the Trump Reich, like Mike Pompeo, to really sell the branding of Covid-19 as the “Wuhan virus,” as a specifically Chinese disease. Blaming or stigmatizing whole categories of people for something which can be traced to a small minority, a theoretically single responsible person within the broad umbrella of that category, is classic racism, nothing even dog-whistly about it. Leave Asian people the fuck alone, Chinese and otherwise. They’re not responsible for the spread of the virus, and at this point aren’t more likely to have it than anyone else.

Might as well stigmatize the Italians. The outbreak went wild there, so why don’t we treat Italians like garbage pariahs? Or how about children? Thus far, children have been no less susceptible to infection than adults, but have generally been asymptomatic, or shown more minor symptoms. We could take that positively: it’s a good thing children aren’t dying en masse, as is often the outcome of a pandemic. But, we can also take it to mean that children are dangerous, infectious disease-carriers. Sure, we’ve all said as much before. We’ve all shouted at irresponsible parents to keep their filthy, ill-mannered disease-carriers away from us. But perhaps it’s time we all take seriously, and adopt, these protocols. Maybe we should demand that children are henceforth not allowed to set foot in any public place. Maybe we should remove all children from their parents and put them in camps where they can’t infect real people.

If we’re going to blame anyone for the outbreak of Covid-19, specifically in this country, let it be the sentient cheese-turd who downplayed and lied about the virus through the early days of its spread to today. President cheese-turd and his administration’s response to the outbreak has been pathetic, and has aided its spread. As with much of the turd’s behavior, I wonder if it’s purely the product of idiocy and incompetence, or if there’s some calculation to it. I believe there is. Nothing too complex, of course, but no less devious for that. Despite what the turd has said, there are not enough tests for the virus being done in this country. Tests are not easy to get. It is not possible for anyone who wants a test to get one. And the tests themselves are no more beautiful than his hideous and poorly engineered border wall. Though the ones we have in this country have been as ineffective as we can expect his idiot wall to be. The turd’s administration refused the offer of the World Health Organization to provide effective tests, saying that our own abysmal healthcare system could provide better ones. It couldn’t, and hasn’t. We could write this off as just another of the turd’s failures, but it could benefit him, or he could have decided that it will benefit him, to have only an insufficient supply of flawed tests, because that would keep the number of confirmed cases down. At least for a good while. The turd is obsessed with numbers, particularly with how they can make him “look bad.”

So, how to survive this pandemic?

The key is to strike a balance between being flippant and losing your shit. Don’t be either extreme.

Use common sense.

Do not take a lack of confirmed cases in your area to mean that everything is safe. Testing is not widespread or very effective, and by the time there is one confirmed case in your community, it can be assumed that there are many more unconfirmed cases. The administration at my job (a college) has decided that faculty and students will conduct classes remotely, but have not extended this policy to staff. We’re expected to keep going in to work, because there hasn’t been a “confirmed case within the college community” so far. First of all, that proves nothing, other than that no one has yet taken a test and been confirmed positive for the disease. Second, if there was no reason for staff to worry, why send faculty and students home? The obvious answer is that they don’t care about staff members, and/or are stupid.

Don’t be stupid.

Don’t go to crowded places.

Avoid all children.

Don’t flood stores, increasing the chances of spreading infection.

Don’t stock up like you’re prepping for doomsday. You’re not going to need a year’s supply of canned goods, ramen, bottled water, soap, or toilet paper. You likely won’t need any more than the normal amount of anything, and a few people hoarding it all means that many can’t get any. This “panic buying” is ineffective and pointless, and shows a lack of regard for other people. It’s saying to others, “I don’t care if you get sick. I got mine.” When chances are, these things won’t protect you, and, karma willing, your behavior, if it does lead to others getting sick, will come back around to bite your selfish, ignorant ass in the long run. The concept of “herd immunity” isn’t complicated. We either protect and help everyone, or everyone is at risk.

If cooperation and shared communal responsibility sound too socialist for you, I welcome you to forgo all public services, stay in your home, survive on food you’ve grown on your windowsill and by drinking your own recycled urine, and die, like a properly dedicated libertarian. Don’t allow the threat of pandemic to get in the way of your independent, bootstraps, capitalist mentality. If you truly believe in objectivism, free market capitalism, rugged individualism, and all that other horseshit that normal people grow out of when they become an adult, now’s your chance to really prove it.

Lastly, and no one should have to say it: wash your damn hands.

Who wasn’t washing their hands prior to this outbreak? Don’t answer that. We all know who you are, and you’re disgusting. You disgust us. For those of us who’ve been proud hand-washers since toddlerhood, and haven’t relied on songs or public service announcements as reminders since that time, this shit is ridiculous and embarrassing. Perhaps we should promote the idea of a perpetual pandemic, a disease that never ends, so that these disgusting people -- we know who you are! -- won’t fall out of the habit again when they get the all-clear.

Be a decent person. If that’s too hard, at least act like one.

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