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Last Postcard from Phuket – Corona schmorona

February 25, 2020

After a month of not touching surfaces, avoiding people with coughing fits and applying liberal doses of antibacterial gel, we’re on our way home to the United Kingdom.

When we first arrived in Bali, we seemed to be the only people questioning whether we should be travelling at all. The Wuhan outbreak was in its early stages. At the time there had been few infections outside China.

Since then, the world seems to have gone corona-crazy. For good reason, I guess, as big outbreaks erupt in South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy. Not in Phuket, as far as we know, and it was only days ago that the first case in Bali was confirmed.

Then of course there’s been the saga of the Diamond Princess, moored off Yokohama, which has effectively been turned into a plague ship. Like thousands of others, we watched the videos of David and Sally Abel from the ship, which became increasingly desperate, until they finally succumbed to the bug.

Now they’re in Japan, he with acute pneumonia. The saddest thing of all was his desperate plea to Donald Trump to help get them out of there, as if there was ever a chance that the fat narcissist was going to send a detachment of Navy Seals to spring them.

In fact Trump tweeted today from India along the lines that the US has everything under control, so nothing to worry about. And his chief media toadie, Rush Limbaugh, followed up by informing America that the virus is no different from the common cold. So that’s all right then. It would be sad if, given his lung condition, he comes to regret his words.

Leaving aside the opinions of such experts, I sincerely hope that the Abels pull through, not just for their own sakes, but because if they don’t, their passing will send a shiver of fear through all the Westerners who watched their videos, not least all the elderly folk with Type 2 diabetes, from which David suffers. It’s one thing when thousands of anonymous (to most of us) Chinese people die, but if someone like David Abel doesn’t make it, it puts a human face on the disease. Here’s hoping for his recovery.

It’s almost inevitable that as Covid-19 turns into a pandemic, all kinds of weird stuff starts circulating on the internet. This is partly because we simply don’t know the long and the short of the virus. Are you infectious while you’re incubating? Can you become infected again after recovery? What’s the incubation period – 3 days or 27 days?

Then there’s the theory, encouraged by a US senator (a Trumpite of course), that the bug was artificially created in some demonic Chinese biological warfare laboratory. Yeah right. Just like the CIA invented AIDS.

The best one I saw was that if you’re infected and you have diarrhoea, if you fart you leave a plume of virus-laden gas 200 feet long. You mean people are out there measuring the coverage area of farts now? I find this one somewhat hilarious. In my experience anyone suffering from the runs is aware of the necessity never to ignore a wet fart, and head for the nearest convenience post haste.

I appreciate the possibility that faecal matter may spread the bug, but surely that means that you should be very careful where you go to the loo, wear a face mask and wash your hands, not that you should run a mile when someone sends forth a trumpet blast. Also, if farts spread the virus, anyone in a confined space, such as a lift or worse still, an aircraft, is effectively done for. In which case, should the theory be proven correct, expect the temporary shutdown of air transportation across the planet.

The big question for us, as we pass through two airports on our way home, is should we self-isolate when we get back, despite having no symptoms? The conclusion we’ve come to is to use common sense. Plenty of hand-washing, keeping a distance from people and reporting any symptoms immediately.

Besides, if the virus breaks out in the UK, we’ll be looking at a whole new game. Nobody will be safe. Best to hope that if you come down with it you get treatment before the health service is overwhelmed.

But that’s doomsday stuff. All you can do in the meanwhile is take precautions and hope for the best.

What I know is that we’ve had a great holiday. If shit happens, it happens. Same goes for farts, I guess.

From → Postcards, Social, Travel, UK, USA

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