Phone it in Friday IX: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part II: Attack of the Virus

If last week was crazy busy, this one is moving at ludicrous speed (and yet also dragging by—last Friday seems like a distant eternity ago).  Since last week, panic over the coronavirus is spreading alongside the dreaded virus.  There have been a series of major cancellations, all of which have been well-advertised:  Disneyland, professional sports, etc.  The South Carolina Philharmonic, of which I used to be a season ticket holder, is closing its concert to the public, but will instead livestream the proceedings.  Our senior US Senator Lindsey Graham has self-quarantined.

My assessment up until this week has been that we should be prudent in preparing for the impact of the coronavirus, but that it’s a tad overblown—it’s just a nasty flu.  I still caution prudent prepping—and against panic—but after the events of the past week, I’m adjusting my assessment.  There is definitely something different about this pandemic.

The whole mood this past week has been surreal.  Each day the sense of impending dread has increased.  Part of that is stress from work, but the looming threat of an invisible death-flu doesn’t help, either.

One effect of this situation—a potentially positive one—will be the clarification it brings.  The school where I teach is proactively preparing us for the possibility of remote/distance learning.  It will be a huge adjustment, to be sure, should it come to that, but teachers, students and parents will figure it out.  It will be an opportunity to test whether or not distance learning—with a mix of online assessments and pre-recorded and live lectures—makes more sense in an age of great connectivity.

I don’t want school to go to remote/distance learning for two weeks, but if it does, I’m excited at the prospect of working up some history audio lessons that could double as podcasts.

Further, a lot of silly and even dangerous thinking is going to come under some intense scrutiny.  People indulge in a lot of whimsical notions about reality when they can afford to shield themselves from it, but the coronavirus is no respecter of wealth and status.  Hopefully prudence will prevail.  The wisdom of tight border controls is more and more evident, as Russia, which closed its border in January, has had no deaths from the virus; Italy, which refused to close its borders (if only Matteo Salvini were still in office… sigh), is struggling on Chinese levels.

That said, it’s unfortunate that it takes a global pandemic to knock sense into people.  I am worried about my parents and loved ones who are over sixty.  I’m not so concerned about contracting the virus myself (although that would no-doubt be unpleasant), but I certainly don’t want to be the cause of anyone else getting it.

Stock up, wash your hands, and don’t visit any hospitals if you can help it.  And pray for the heat (it was eighty-two degrees in SC today) to burn this sucker off.

***

A brief coda:  I paid $31 to file for the Lamar, SC town council special election this afternoon, which is slated for 12 May 2020.  The election is to fill a vacant council seat.  I’m not seeking to raise any funds or spend anything on the campaign (which will be bare-bones, anyway, as I’m so busy), but just to meet with folks and maybe do some door-knocking.  Jeffersonian simplicity is the goal.  With a mayor who thinks pollen is a hate crime, I figure I could act as a check on any foolishness.

9 thoughts on “Phone it in Friday IX: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part II: Attack of the Virus

  1. I agree, something suddenly feels different about SARS-2 (one of the virus’s actual names). Last months we saw signs of it leveling off in the PRC 🇨🇳 and ports returning to business. But the sudden surge in Washington State, San Francisco, and Atlanta (even afflicting a Waffle 🧇 House chef 👨‍🍳) hits close to home.

    The pro film & TV shows in the region are shutting down, alongside all the cultural events. That really colors the mood, and I’ve started to contemplate the security of my grocery supply.

    I buy a lot of food 🥘 online anyway, and I’ve been working at home since 1993. So while I can’t claim to have invented social distancing, I’ve maybe earned a graduate 🎓 degree 📜 in it. Online of course.

    The European travel 🧳 ban was weird. But look at Italy. The economic affects are going to reach all the way to local bistros. 🍽 Feels like a real black swan 🦢 moment, one that might shape the election 🗳 in November. Consider the effective response of Taiwan 🇹🇼 based on universal health care & other socialist measures, like price-capping face masks. 😷

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I still get the sense that some of the response to it are overblown, buuuuut… Italy was a real eye-opener. Of course, I think the real issue here is open versus closed borders, or loose versus tight border controls. Russia closed its borders in January and has had no deaths. Japan has also fared better than most nations in that region. Italy was loosey-goosey (and apparently has a very large ethnically Han Chinese community, which I learned this morning—a possible vector point) AND has an elderly population (average age of death due to coronavirus there is 81), so it’s been hit very hard.

      The European travel ban makes sense in the context of Italy, though I wish GEOTUS had been more clear in his address the other night. The Friday National Emergency declaration was much more thorough, from what I’ve gleaned.

      RE: socialist moves: major emergencies like these are the proper time for more government control of and influence over the economy, for sure. Anti-price gouging measures always give economists fits (if the price of water goes to $48 a gallon, water suppliers will rush in shipments!), but they make sense from a moral standpoint. I stocked up a lot about ten days ago, but swung by Piggly Wiggly in Lamar yesterday after work to check it out. No panicked shoppers or empty shelves (well, no emptier than usual). I picked up some beautiful ribeyes on sale and some chicken breasts, and popped them in the freezer. I have enough rice, beans, and spaghetti to last months (so please let me know if you run low on anything and I’ll bring them over in my hazmat suit, haha).

      I’m glad you’ve earned your Master’s in Social Distancing. When this passes, we’ll get together for some discussion (and music). I’ve had two gigs that have been cancelled for later in the month, so I’ll be eager for some music.

      God Bless, fridrix. Be safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Yesterday I wrote (in essence) that this whole coronavirus fiasco is going to clarify a lot of things.  For one, we’re seeing the lethal consequences of open borders thinking and political correctness.  We’re not allowed to say that it’s China’s fault, even though we all know it is.  Every prudent person knows that, for better or for worse, you should avoid Chinese people who are fresh from China.  Similarly, people are going to realize that throwing open our borders to anyone is a bad idea. […]

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  3. […] “Phone it in Friday IX: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part II: Attack of The Virus” – The title of this post actually drew from the second episode of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Attack of the Clones.  That afternoon, we had a huge, emergency faculty meeting to figure out distance learning.  Two days later, on Sunday, 15 March 2020, Governor McMaster announced that schools were shutting down through the end of March, and they ended up staying shut for the rest of the year (with distance learning, of course).  I also filed that day to run in Lamar’s Town Council election, which was supposed to be 12 May 2020, but will now be this Tuesday, 14 July 2020.  Wish me luck! […]

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