117. Survive Hard

Tuesday November 24 2020

Because I’m cutting my morning a little tight, I don’t take the time to cue up a podcast for the office commute. It’s a thirty minute drive, if I keep it street legal, and I’m in need of entertainment. What’s a working girl to do but turn to the radio for company.

Whatever these lights are, they don’t seem to affect the sound system.

My Toyota Avalon is twenty years old and I couldn’t love it more, what with its heated seats and everything I need in the cockpit within arm’s reach. I know this car so well, I could turn on the radio with my eyes closed, which I don’t because people are nuts out here on the connector.

My go-to is NPR where I can catch both national and global new stories, many times coming through in the lovely cadence of an R.P. style British accent. But over these past turbulent weeks I’ve been alternating between the calming dulcet tones wafting from the BBC News Hour and one of Dayton’s most popular talk stations, where everybody insists on being really, really loud.

NPR is italics and talk radio comes to you in ALL CAPS.

Apparently, I was listening to the ALL CAPS station on my commute home last night, because these are the first words that spat from my Bose speakers this morning.  

“So now they say we can’t get COVID from hard surfaces,” says the syndicated loud guy on the radio. “It’s only spread through the air.”

Loud guy on Talk Radio today

Wh-what now?

Dang, son. Where to start with this?

Of course COVID-19 survives on hard surfaces, people, although admittedly it’s not considered a significant mode of transmission by the experts who are studying the thing. Actually, the researchers are having a difficult time determining just how long the novel coronavirus remains a contagion risk, whether on a smooth surface or clothing. Their climate-controlled shelf-life studies aren’t translating well over to the real world, so estimates range from a couple of days to 26 weeks, I wish I were kidding.

But hold that thought as I remind you of what else is lurking on hard surfaces, just waiting for someone like you. Other nasty shit, like the highly contagious norovirus, which can survive for a couple weeks on a bathroom vanity. You know what the norovirus is, don’t you? It’s when you have to make a visceral-style Sophie’s Choice when both ends get involved.

And the ubiquitous influenza virus is good for a couple of days just sitting around waiting for you to touch a doorknob.

You know when you’re at the produce section and you can’t get the stupid plastic bag open, so you lick your fingers? Yeah, there’s your transmission mode.

What can you do against such viral evil-doers? Same advice as always … wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth and nose.

Now let’s tackle the second part of this guy’s statement. I take offense at that “only” he tossed out like a discarded cigarette butt. To say a novel virus that the world has never seen before now and is the catalyst for a global pandemic is airborne? Does that mean you walk through a spot where a COVID-infected person coughed an hour ago and tiny tainted invisible particles enter your lungs just because you decided to breathe in at that moment?

That may be the most terrifying thing I’ve ever heard.

It’s in the top five anyway. I also heard a rumor about flying spiders in Australia that I need to fact check.

So, in contrast to thoughts of doom, the Dow topped 30,000 points today, a record for all time. The great minds of financial analysis say this historic marker is a result of the latest news around potential COVID-19 vaccines.

According to today’s CDC update, there are five vaccines in Phase 3 of clinical trials.

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine​

But not so fast there, Buoyancy of Hope, there’s a dark side to these vaccines in the way of side effects. You know how some people refuse to get an annual flu shot because it actually gives them the flu? Ok, I can’t type this loud enough. In fact, I wish I could be on a talk radio station so I can say YOU CAN’T GET THE FLU FROM A FLU SHOT.  No, no, don’t tell me you’re one of the chosen that do. The flu vaccine uses either killed or attenuated viruses. What you experienced might be your body responding with building antibodies (a good thing) or you could have picked up a bug the vaccine doesn’t fight (sorry ‘bout your luck). Either way, if you have a bad reaction, let your doctor know right away.  

We can expect an antibody kick-back from the COVID-19 vaccines, as well. Because we’re complicated walking bags of nerves and organs, and not a single-task machine, everybody will have vastly different experiences. I’ve seen a couple of news sources already engineering the fear-mongering train on the “extreme” side effects. To this, let’s turn to our medical experts for advice, not CNBC interns. Gads, we don’t even have a viable vaccine yet and this shit’s already starting.

 Stay safe and breathe healthy. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

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