A responsible journalist would first get the facts and then report them calmly, rather than splashing scary headlines and repeating rumors, but I’m only a blogger and the facts keep changing as fast as the World Health Organization can make them up. Besides, I’d rather write about the way things probably are than about the way they may have been made to appear.
Here are some facts, subject to change, about the coming pandemic. Apparently we’re calling it the avian flu, rather than the more stupid sounding bird flu. Last night the virus killed two twin sisters in Vietnam. Their brother likely died of the same virus a few days before but they buried him without an autopsy. When the WHO reported they “feared” a pandemic if the avian virus mutated with a human virus, it had already happened.
So here it comes, carried on a sneeze, in a sniff, from a cough, off a doorknob. Anywhere that people gather, anywhere that mucus splatters, that’s where it’ll get you. Like a bad cold that kills you.
The experts have calmly implied there’s not much sense in doing much; it’s already too late to prepare. They predict that once the virus hits a city, it will quickly take out anywhere from one-third to half its population within 4-7 days.
Hopping a ride on international flights will turn aircraft into manmade birds, vessels of germ tourists looking for hosts, overrunning hospitals, knocking out doctors and nurses, leaving patients waiting until a Fed Ex guy shows up four months later.
Grocery stores cleaned, pharmacies emptied, gas lines, food shortages, massive outages, a workforce chopped in half, a crippled police force tries in vain to stop the looting, while the looters simply keel over.
It’s not too early to talk about projections for morgues worldwide. We’ll come up short. Gymnasiums and other large buildings have served as morgues in past emergencies, but in a pandemic such as the one predicted it might be wiser to implement a safer, more achieveable system. Since corpses remain contagious, they should probably be buried. But since manpower will be an issue, who will do it? How does half the population take care of the other half without getting sick themselves? Body bags, storage pods and lime?
How’m I doin’?
I’m just carrying out the expert’s predictions, and the experts seem to be saying there’s not much we can do.
I’m no expert, which is why I went shopping last night at the all night Wal-Mart here in DeKalb, Illinois where the sun shines brighter. I figured I’d stock up on a few things. I noticed everything was picked clean. Of course it was the middle of the night and they were restocking, but the shelves seemed emptier than usual. The few people I saw seemed germ infested, we kept distance. Didn’t care for the lady at the register; she didn’t seem to care for me; all that touching of other people’s food — is it really necessary? Plus she sighed on me. Sighed. I felt her air blow over my face. Two more days and that’s a bullet.
You see where this is going? No place good.
I did see one thing useful at Wal-Mart: a handheld plastic bag sealer. This would come in handy for your homemade in-house bubble. Let’s say your spouse lunges at you with a knife and tears the bubble. Let Bubble Buddy help!
Starting today, let’s all become obsessive-compulsive about washing our hands and wearing gloves. Expect a huge leap in the sale of respiratory masks like those cute Japanese wear when they chew gum, now that SARS is essentially gone.
Get the habit of spraying all surfaces with bleach water (cap to quart), and wipe with bleach water rag. Kills germs. Don’t make it too strong. It should smell vaguely like the pool at the “Y.”
Stock up on drinking water, canned goods, jerky, anything that’s left; be nice to everyone, help always, carry firearm.
Dump your office computer into your home system and plan on working in the bubble. Home school your children. If you don’t, they’ll only bring it home and infect you too. Of course, if they stay home with you all day, they’ll kind of be in your bubble, so to speak, so we’ll have to fashion some oval bubbles that we can walk in, as if we’re inside a tire. Not bad. This would allow us to get out once in awhile, though driving would be difficult. True, we’ll look silly walking inside a bubble; then again, who’s to notice, given all the slumping figures heaped hither and yon, making us glad we stuffed an extra sheet of Downy in the old mask.
If you are NOT an essential worker, stay home. This includes all of us for the most part, from the President all the way down to, well, me. Essential workers include: newspaper girl, Wal-Mart restockers, gas stations, convenience stores and so forth. The delivery business will boom overnight and become one of the 3 riskiest occupations of 2004.
The World Health Organization doubts it can create a vaccine before the virus spreads. This could be another way of saying the virus has spread.
Rather than dying by the millions I suggest we fool everybody and live through it. We need to stay away from each for awhile and thank God for the internet.
Prepare to hole up for three months.Powered by Sidelines