So the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website says that a person with CV19 may exhibit some or all or none of the following symptoms 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
In addition to correcting the spelling of the latter, I tick every one of the COVID-19 warning symptoms, except the first. My doctor son tells me that a dry cough and fever are the classic warning signals, yet I have a chesty cough and constant 36.3° temperature as confirmed by the mandatory testing protocols at work these past three days. But I’m a fractious blend of choleric and phlegmatic temperaments, so at 51 years young I’m convinced that I know what an effing headcold feels like. It feels like this.
So I’m reluctantly taking tonight (a twelve-hour nightshift) off work. Despite it being the mature, responsible thing to do, I still feel bad. Like I’m letting people down. But I also felt bad — and guilty — for going to work the last three days when I was feeling some/most of the symptoms of this diabolical, history-altering pandemic. In short, if I’m still sick tomorrow I’ll go see one of the nice ladies dreassed in PPE so they can stuff a long spatula up my nose to scrape the base of my brain.
Nobody wats to be Patient Zero, especially when the authorities have done such a good job driving down the R-nought. I totally empathise with the Premiers of every state, jealously guarding their borders, and the futile, frustrated rage they publicly vent when some dumbass member of the public reignites community transmission by not obeying the ongoing and now comparatively easy rules regarding social distancing, hand washing, and common sense.
Unfortunately, most everybody is blithely going back to their normal routines. But my routine was the COVID-19 routine! I continue to clean my hands many times a day — as I always have. I clean my workstation before I use it — as I always have. I avoid people — as I always have. If some cruel twist of misfortune saw me pick it up the one and only time I scratched my nose this week, then that would be monstrously unfair. I don’t want to make anybody sick. Not my wife, not my kids, and especially not my little grandson, who is one year old in two weeks time (happy birthday, little elf!).
Which brings us to the axiomatic part. What does it mean that ground-zero for me often includes some of those symptoms? A week doesn’t pass where I don’t feel fatigued and achey, mostly because I expect my body to perform the way it did thirty years ago. Plus, I have a headache every goddamn second day, sometimes for days at a time. No, it’s NOT a tumour. At least once a week I spend a disproportionate amount of time checking my Instagram from the smallest room in the house. Am I sick?
I don’t often get a sore throat, it’s true, except when I’ve wasted a half-hour trying to persuade some conservative dickbrain that the sky is blue, or that carbon-dioxide exists. Very rarely do I feel breathless, except, you know, stairs, or when confronted by some truly exceptional example of wanton bogan stupidity. I haven’t vomited since I was a kid, though world news often makes me want to. I haven’t smelled anything except wood smoke, pine resin or frying onion since I was ten, thus cruelly denied that side of living. On the flip side, being unable to smell anything means you can eat almost everything: handy for the looming apocalypse! But, am I sick?
What I’m saying is this — maybe the virus is not zoonotic. Maybe they’re chasing the wrong Patient Zero. This might have nothing to do with viral reservoirs in bats, civets or those poor cute little pangolins. Given the virus has been found in Italian sewage that dates six months before the Chinese announced it, perhaps the origin of this illness is much closer to home. Maybe it came from us. Maybe we’re all sick.
They way we live now, the chemicals we drink, breathe, eat and rub into out skin might have collabortated to create the perfect, viral storm. With countries failing to eradicate COVID, how long before governments give up and start telling us to live with it. Live with it? I am famously shithouse at maths, but how does our population curve look if worldwide mortality rates rise five percent? We’ll be stockpiling toilet paper again. Let’s worry about the second wave after we’ve survived the first. Luckily, we have ‘medical doctors’ to show us the way.
And when we get a minute, can somebody do a study to see if medical negligence kills more brown people in the world than it does white people. Then the defunded cops and doctors can sit back and catch their breath, and watch the social workers fuck things up.