Corona, Corona 4
A close relative, in a comment "by the way," hoped I was taking COVID seriously, since the problem was becoming acute in her part of California. It was a reasonable remark, and I responded:
I take all potentially fatal diseases seriously, but the media are as usual lying to the public almost as badly as the Chinese government has been lying. Looking at at the Italian situation—far more drastic than here in the States—99% of the people dying have been old—average age 79 years nine months—and with underlying conditions, cardiac, respiratory, diabetic. Telling athletic young people to fear death is grossly irresponsible, and so is shutting down the entire country for the sake of people our age is punishing the young, healthy, productive people with lives ahead of them, for the sake of protecting people who have lived a full life and could be quarantined for their own good. I don’t at all mind staying home—though I wish I were staying home in Rome. The weather here has been miserable—highs in the mid 30’s to low 40’s—and we can’t go much outside. Today finally it will be in the 50’s.
Yes, travel especially to Asia was a real factor in the beginning, and Trump did the right thing instituting a travel ban to countries affected seriously. We had planned a trip to Greece in the Winter but Gail’s operation loused that up and so we had decided to go to Italy in April. Funny, no? It will be interesting to find out what happens at the end of this melodrama. Every year influenza kills from 10-50,000 Americans, but we’ve never shut down the country. Every year about 50,000 diabetics die and another 50,000 people with kidney problems. Many people in both of which groups could have been kept alive if we banned softdrinks and fastfood. Over a hundred thousand die in accidents, most of which could be prevented by banning automobiles. And of course there are all the deaths attributed to STD’s—ban sex—and the high suicide rate among transsexuals—ban homosexuality and sex change operations which, by the way, damage the immune system and make one serious at risk for this virus .
Americans used to be described as risk-takers—our frontiersmen, entrepreneurs, scientists—but now we are risk-averse in the extreme. The conversations and emails etc I’ve had with people under 50 are genuinely scary. It is indeed frightening that I live in a country of hysterical kids who are as ignorant of science as they are of history and literature. It’s bad enough we have to live with them, but they vote, which explains why we have people like Bill de Blasio and Gavin Newsome in positions of responsibility, though the tough old Mafioso Andrew Cuomo is showing some Sicilian grit, I am happy to observe. Old people in Italy are dying like flies, but Italians are still pretty upbeat. I know this from the news but also from corresponding with Italian friends. You can’t keep them down, God bless them.
The true remedy for fear is not recklessness but sanity and a capacity for enjoying the little things in everyday life. Lastnight was Gail’s birthday. We had champagne with a little caviar, then I grilled some nice lambchops. We had a pretty good bottle of Tuscan red wine and afterwards we watched a 40’s movie with Myrna Loy and Cary Grant. We’d seen it twice over the past twenty years, but it was even better this time. We read good books, practice our Italian, listen to Haydn and Mozart and, when the weather warms up a bit, take a walk and watch the birds at the feeder. Little things.
A clergyman friend texted me to see how we were doing and added that his brother had told him a joke:
"Turn on the radio news, and every time you hear the word 'unprecedented,' you have to take a drink. You'll be 'coked' within an hour."
After a few more text exchanges, I wrote:
This is a bonanza for all "the powers-that-be" in government, the media, and the sob-sister bureaucracy of the UN. It's a familiar technique being raised to new heights by way of the internet and television. First, strike terror into the hearts--they have no minds--of the servile mob. Then convince them that only by magnifying existing powers and assets of government and adding emergency powers "for the duration" can save them from the things that go bump in the night. Wars are great, and so are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and pestilences. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are drafted into service for FEMA. Everyone in the press and the media piles on, because even "conservative" journalists can see that their audience grows with every new panic, even if Sean or Mark is telling them--wink wink--"Don't Panic."
Everybody wins except for normal hard-working Christians who understand the difference between fewer than a thousand sick old people dead from the virus and a million plus babies who are murdered each year, year after year after year, the numbers ticking off like a real Doomsday Clock. My goodness, the mob cries out, "People (aged 79 years and nine month is the Italian average) are dying. "We must do something." All life stops for the healthy and productive with lives to lead in order to protect some number of people my age. We Boomers really are special people after all.