Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Fumigation Nation

We critics are often accused, rightly, of accentuating the negative and refusing to offer positive alternatives to the states of affairs we criticize.  I did that in the last post, and this morning I realized that if I didn't like crossing my heart, signaling namaste, and other salutations that others had offered to get us through the coronavirus crisis, I should come with something better.  Here it is:

There, doesn't that say it all?

This morning in a local group on Facebook, someone asked if anyone had seen "that" (no further detail) at 10:05 p.m.  When asked what "that" was, she posted a murky cellphone picture.  Someone else posted that she'd seen several helicopters in the air over my town last night.  No one knew anything, and all I could say was that I'd seen helicopters on their way to land at the local airport from my window.  Someone posted that he'd gotten this:

A couple of people asked where it came from; he eventually explained that someone he knew had sent it to him in Messenger, but he didn't post it right away because it had no source; but when he saw the question about lights in the air, "it made sense."

Except that it didn't.  If the first poster had seen a helicopter spraying a fumigant -- an hour and a half early, when people wouldn't have been inside even if they'd known about it! -- she would have heard it.  If such a procedure really had been planned, would it have been announced through private messages on Facebook?  Perhaps President Trump, Blessed Be He, only wanted to save his Elect, but if that were so, a lot of them had no idea what was coming.  Someone else pointed out that livestock and other animals would have been affected too.

Also, spraying disinfectant from helicopters probably would do very little to eliminate coronavirus, because it would miss all the people huddled indoors.  Whoever came up with this fantasy was probably thinking of spraying DDT to stop malaria, etc. That had some effect because it could kill mosquitoes and flies that carried disease. But insects are not the the main carriers of coronavirus; people are.

In other goodies, a video clip has been circulating on Facebook, shared by an old friend of mine among others, which shows an elderly Mexican woman showing how to make a face mask by accordion-folding a paper towel.  My friend thought it sounded cool, so pleased that she didn't mind it wasn't in English.  It's the kind of Hints-from-Heloise kind of "hack" that appeals to many, but it's not protective gear: if it were, hospitals would be doing it.  Someone shared it to a Facebook group for Bloomington, where I used to live, but added the warning "***This is not a protective measure against Coronavirus Covid-19!!! It will help you to not touch your face, which is an important safety precaution!!!***"  That's about it.  But that tiny positive is balanced by the certainty that many people will believe that the mask will protect them and others, and they'll be careless.  It's not as bad as telling the credulous and desperate that chloroquine will cure COVID-19, because these masks aren't poisonous, but that's small comfort.