About two weeks ago I had started writing a post Mardi Gras wrapup blog entry. I was going to talk about the two deaths on the parade routes this year. I was going to talk about how different the whole Mardi Gras experience felt this year. I was going to complain about how violent and aggressive the crowds were and how being back in New Orleans and covering the whole thing was weirder than usual... What a difference a few weeks can make.
If you haven't been living on Pluto for the last few weeks you've probably heard about this little disease that has been giving the world so much trouble. It's sent the entire planet (well, the humans that live on this planet, anyway) into a panic. What's being called COVID-19 is a nasty little bugger that makes the flu look like a sniffle and has the potential to really devastate communities. While I may be writing this rather tongue in cheek, let me be clear that I don't take any of this lightly. I'm just one who faces tough times with levity and novelty rather than gloom and doom.
Over the coming weeks, and hopefully not much longer than that, I will be posting quite a bit about all of this as, well, my day job has me following this disease very closely. What you WON'T be hearing from me is the regurgitation of half baked click-bait articles people keep reposting on Facebook and the like. Make no mistake about it, the world is changing. It has changed and it has changed very quickly. It will continue to change quickly and there's nothing to be done about it but roll with the punches and do our best to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities as safe as humanly possible. By this point we all know how to do this. It's being pounded into our brains from every direction. Wash your damn hands! Social distancing! Stop hoarding resources! Stop spreading unsubstantiated rumors! Wash your damn hands! Tell your momma you love her! Sanitize everything on the planet several times a day! Keep healthy! Stay home unless you positively have to go out! Flatten the curve! WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!!!
Anyway, me reposting a bunch of crap won't help anything. You all know of this stuff. My only real advice is to pay attention to the CDC and the WHO websites. If you're an American, like your humble narrator, keep an eye on what the White House and Congress are up to. Definitely pay attention to your state and local media outlets. Check them several times a day, but don't become obsessed or it will drive you insane. The media isn't your enemy and there isn't a secret agenda at play. Your local TV stations are made up of regular folks like you who are overworked and underpaid and are being asked to cover an incredibly difficult expanding story under often very dangerous conditions all to keep you informed.
Most importantly just remember that people are counting on you to keep your head about you. There have been very few times in world history when what I'm about to say is as true as it is right now but, honestly, we're all in this together. This disease doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care where you're from, what color your skin is, what language you speak, how much money you have in the bank, what god you worship, who you vote for, what sex organs you have, how you chose to identify yourself, what music you like, who your favorite Spice Girl is, or what movie got screwed out of an Oscar (clearly that was Big Trouble In Little China). This disease just wants to get into your body and make other little copies of itself. That's it. It just so happens that those little copies can be fatal to the host and it's up to us to help each other not let those copies kill Grandma.
The weirdest bit of all of this (remember my earlier tongue in cheek comment) is that I will be returning to my Facebook page to help make sense of this all. I've been avoiding Facebook for something like two or three years but this seems like the right time to become involved in the conversation again. It may be a mistake, but, well, I've made many and I'll certainly make many more.
For now, Ghost Cats and Kittens, stay strong, do good work, hold your loved ones a little tighter, and, for god's sake, WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!!!