Virus: Friends are threats

It would be nice if they wore a Scarlet Letter or some other device to show that they had it.

The “it” being coronavirus.

Avoid this. (Photo: The Independent)

One of the most insidious aspects of World War III is that the enemy is an invisible virus and when humans first contract it they show no immediate symptoms. In fact, some never show symptoms — but become carriers who spread the disease to those around them. 

That’s why we are advised to keep 6 feet from the nearest person, a 12-foot diameter around us. That’s the protective social distance. Danger is all around. 

I went out for cocktails last Friday with my best friend at a restaurant we expected to be fairly empty, and it was. I previously reported how I asked him to keep an empty barstool between us and he was a little miffed, but complied. He also had been to the VA hospital that morning to check a cough he had all week and was given a clean bill of health.

We had tentative plans to meet at the same place this Friday — until city bars and restaurants were shut down.

One reason they — especially bars — were shut down was because millennials were patronizing them. In recent days, the blame game placed millennials on the bullseye.

At a news conference a couple of days ago, Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator, really tied the bell about the neck of millennials, and was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said they regard themselves to be invulnerable, and the stats show they pretty much are. Remember “I’m gonna live forever” from “Fame”?

But they are carriers, said Birx, which means they are deadly and can kill friends and relatives without meaning to. 

And they will, if they foil flattening the curve that you have heard so much about. Commentators across the board pointed fingers in the direction of millennials (born between 1983 and 2000). Many have elected to go on Spring Break and are on crowded beaches. Really irresponsible.

Our infection curve right now is more like Italy’s than South Korea’s. We have been lax and if we don’t get really serious, we are going to be clobbered.

I have added a layer to my protection when I got out. I wear rubberized gloves, I pay only by credit card by inserting it into the machine, not allowing the clerk to touch it. I spray my gloves with disinfectant when I walk in the door, then wash my hands.

One thing the experts have said time and again, is that the virus plays no favorites, it attacks everyone — rich and poor, white and black, male and female, urban and country, and so on.

While that might be technically true, it favors the young, who may feel they have a mild cold, over the elderly, who may die trying to breathe. The under-40 are not at as much risk (that is a generalization and there are exceptions) as those over 40.

My drinking buddy is over 40 and so am I. Since the bars are closed, I suggested we have drinks at my place, because we are warned to avoid crowds.

But it now strikes me that my best friend is more of a threat to me than a stranger I pass on the street. That’s why parents are told to avoid making play dates for their children who are out of school. 

That is another insidious part of the virus:  It turns friends into threats. Who can you trust? Who should you trust?

Under the circumstances, no one. 

Keep in touch by phone or Skype or Facebook, but pass on face to face. 

For now and for safety. 

30 thoughts on “Virus: Friends are threats”

  1. Excellent advice! The things we do instinctively, casually, are now out the window.
    I said to my wife last night being old isn’t that bad, after seeing the Spring Break ‘same as usual.’

    Sage that you are, but the most interesting aspect of this new virus is,” what we don’t know could kill you !”
    Myself, I’ve always been a carrier. I’ve given many a co-worker everything from agita to ulcers. ( deservedly so I will add ).
    But on a serious note. The plus from this disease should be that the USA will, once again, be independent from the holdings of the world. Right now, we are facing shortages of medical supplies and medication. China produces most everything we need. It does so because capitalism was turned into greed and corruption. Our President was right all along. Bring back manufacturing.
    As for the new phrase, “shelter in place”. Vince has the right idea. Fruit from a bottle of scotch will improve your antibiotics. I, myself, prefer good bourbon. Commonly known as “snake bite medicine”. So far, I’ve never been bitten by a snake !

      1. I find it ironic that the SAFEST people in the nation are those in maximum security prisons or on death row.

      1. I don’t think so, Stu. Generally speaking, I believe what I said has some merit. As it applies to you, Stu, I did forget to add the “LoL” at the end of the sentence.

  3. I like the late Les Waas’s idea: mandate that everyone has to wear a nose plug in one nostril, cutting down CO2 emissions by 50%; and thereby cutting in half the potential of infecting someone via breathing on them.

    1. Was also past president of the Procrastinator’s Club. Interesting guy with a lot “ism’s,” besides his claim to fame of the Mr. Softee Theme.

      1. I was in the radio business in Philadelphia for many years, and met Les Waas when he was booked as a guest at WCAU. He did his very-straight nose plug thing and the phones lit up with outraged callers, too stupid to know their legs were being pulled. I asked Les when my membership in the Procrastinators Club would be approved. He asked me when I applied and I told him one year ago. He asked me why I was rushing things. Very funny guy.

        1. Since we’re name dropping…I was good friends with the late Russ Miller of WWDB. We met in Florida. He was the Sat. 8 to 12 real estate/your estate guy for 25 years until they changed their format. Did you know him Vince? A good man!!

          1. Vince, Tom, my radio pedigree is quite as good as you two guys. I spent 10 years at WCAM in Camden from about 1971 to 1981. Still worked with some great guys of the time, though.

          2. not for nutt’n’ !
            John Facenda is my cousin
            I know StU BYKOFSKI !

  4. Yeah, Tony, but I bought his great book ‘Cats are Supermodels’ and laughed my a** off….thank you Stu!
    In fact, I bought three, for Xmas stocking stuffers for neighbors…take that, Tony! Haha!

      1. Tom,
        “Filadelphia” growing up, John’s buddy was a guy named “chi-chi” ( last name Rizzo)
        As for legends ( legend in my own mind ), Stu titled me “Flagman”.

        1. How ’bout that, Joe “chi chi” the FC. Who woulda thunk!
          JOHN the legend? Tony the Flagman! SPLAIN! You work the RR?
          I had a buddy I nicknamed Chi Chi. They called me #$%& and @&$%, etc. Still do. And I love it!!!

          1. Tom,
            go back in ancient history, to the Philadelphia Daily News. Find a writer by the name of Stu Bykofski. Ignore his photo. Look for flagman.
            I’ld have to research it to give you the better dates. 2016, ’17?

  5. Isn’t it funny how we seem to always get off Stu’s topic! We play off of each other, which makes for interesting conversation. Not complaining. Learning never stops, we all agree right?
    Anyway I have a question concerning Home delivery.
    Dr Safire on Fox said she opens everything outside with gloves on (rubber like Stu, she didn ‘t say) and leaves packaging outside, then inside washes gloves, takes them off and washes hands, but what about the contents? The last part didn’t come up. My wife and I are dying (figuratively) for pizza, but don’t know how to Literally handle a delivery, esp., food? Any ideas? KSBG (Keep Stu’s blog going)!

    1. HAPPY FRIDAY !!!
      Dr. D did good. Dr. D is a distant second to my wife and the daughters. ( can you say germaphobe ! ) I still go in the grocery store. Out here, the store looks like a ghost town. A lot of the people shopping have masks and gloves. I’m not that smart. I do grab a few “wipes” when I enter the store. I do grab the boxes with the wipe – not the hand. The problem where ever you are is the AIR ! The virus is an airborne killer. The best solution is to “shelter in place”. Better still, shelter in place with your honey.
      Last night, I did go to the local pizza shop. I was the only customer in the store. The hired help had gloves and masks. Ya figure, your safe with the pizza, hoping that germs don’t like pepperoni nor the heat from the oven.
      Still hoping that we fast track the meds and knock this COVID-19 out.

        1. Forget about the topic, Virus: friends are threats.
          extra cheese, pepperoni, well done !
          Since your home alone honeymooning, try this. In a heated cast iron pan,(naturally, the pan is well seasoned ) place cut pieces of extra sharp provolone. When it all melts, filling the bottom of the pan, take the pan off the heat a splash in a little flavored vinegar. Now on a heat pad, place the pan on the table for two. Add freshly sliced Italian bread and wine.
          Don’t worry about your clogged arteries . FORGETABOUTIT !

          1. Changed our mind, ice cream instead! Haven’t been outside, except for a walk, since Sun supermarket. Today out for a ride. Take in the scenery, with pizza still on my mind.

        1. a well balanced meal. don’t forget the juice from a quart of scotch to wash it down !
          my mother always had Entenmann’s in the house

          1. Reunite, Lambrusco Emilia
            Rosé, I think? Cheap,
            Easy to open, plus we have always liked it.
            Screw La French vin!

  6. Hey Flag Man,
    It’s an honor to shoot the breeze with you. I knew there was something special! I know many ‘Nam vets. I assume you are one, too. If so, then you may relate to:

    No Man Behind

    Agent Orange delivered its’ Carnage
    In Vietnam’s jungle of death
    But back in the sixties
    Those ‘flower child hippies’
    Got the EXPOSURE instead.

    Still to this day there’s been little repay to those who suffer its’ crime Like on the battleground
    As well as at home now
    We should “Leave No Man Behind.”

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