Coronavirus Diary (5): Vox Populi

A sample of comments that my wife and I managed to hear in a single day, Tuesday, March 17, from people talking about the coronavirus (except for #9, from different places in New Jersey).

(1) 11:30 am:

This whole coronavirus thing just strikes me as bullshit.

(2) 11:33 am:

Yeah, I’m going to the gym. Why wouldn’t I? I can’t harm anyone by going to a gym. Come on.

(3) 12:21 pm:

I’m just waiting for the coronavirus to get to the prisons; hopefully the inmates will all croak and we’ll get some population control.

(4) 12:22 pm:

I think they’re lying to us about this virus. But I don’t care. I’ll be fine. I don’t get the flu shot, either. I’m fine without it. It never works.

(5) 5 pm:

Asked about the coronavirus: “It’s all such nonsense, it’s being blown way out of proportion.” Asked about Anthony Fauci’s views on the matter: “Who is Anthony Fauci?”

(6) 7:43 pm:

Friend (in a text to me, more or less out of the blue): Know anything about the criteria for ventilator exclusion?
Me: No
[Two hours later]
Me: Why?
Friend: Just interested to know. When the system gets overwhelmed, what protocols determine who gets treated?
Me: God only knows. I’ll ask my brother at some point.

(7) 8:40 pm, from my brother, Suleman, a physician at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ:

I need to decompress a bit. Work today marked the transition to a war zone. And the difference between the combatants and the politicians who sent us to battle while watching from a safe distance has become stark.

(8) 9:43 pm, me, to myself, in my head:

The same American people who for 52 years have expressed apathy about the Israeli military occupation they’ve wholeheartedly supported are now chafing under the burdens of a single day’s worth of voluntary curfews–put in place as a response to their own irresponsible failure to engage in social distancing. That hypocrisy and irresponsibility doesn’t stop them from thinking of themselves as the greatest country on the planet, or wondering why they’re hated by so many other people on it. Sad that the coronavirus will so painfully call their bluff, and leave so many casualties in its wake. Sad but true.

(9) I almost forgot this last item, which I also happened to see yesterday, but online. In some ways, it’s the best of the bunch–not some random idiot off the street, but a loud-mouthed Ph.D who’s always lecturing people about the motivated reasoning that they’re engaging in, and that he’s in a position to call out. Apparently, neither “public health experts,” nor “front-line hospital physicians” nor “asymptomatic viral transmission” figure prominently in Phil’s ontology. What does figure is the false alternative of holier-than-thou cynicism and panic. There are other options, Phil. You’d be surprised.

Contrary to Magness, universities didn’t mass cancel their “basic operations”; they put classes online, the very thing that people like Magness are always touting as a panacea for high tuition costs. Basic administrative operations remain in place even now, as do clinical internships and practicums in fields like nursing and psychology. Students at my university have the option of staying on campus. And as I’ve argued here ad nauseam, NCAA sports were both reluctant and late to cancel “basic operations.” Something to hash out later, when the dust clears.


12 thoughts on “Coronavirus Diary (5): Vox Populi

    • Oh, wait–there’s one more coming. I have one belated addition to make to this list. Have to teach another class, and make a quick trip to Washington Heights and back in advance of the imminent quarantine order over New York City. People wonder why I like spending time under the Israeli occupation. Just practice for the one back home…


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  2. Pingback: War with Iran (24): Regrets Only | Policy of Truth

  3. I share much of your pain. As someone living in Iran and attempting to warn people here and also back home in the UK that this is serious for over a month, I have faced a barrage of stupidity from so many different people. Alas, things have unfolded very quickly, and a very preventable disaster is ravaging the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am very sorry to hear that. Also sorry that “my” country is imposing a sanctions regime on Iran at this time (well, at any time–but particularly now). The only consolation amidst this barrage of stupidity has been connecting with sane people like you.

      I shudder to think what will happen in places like Pakistan and India.

      That said, nothing has been more unbearable to me than hearing some American general blathering about how Americans value life more than Asians–at a time when American college students are flocking to the usual spring break stomping grounds (mentioned in the 24th installment of my “War with Iran” series). Eventually, one just has to tune out the stupidity to stay sane.


  4. Pingback: Coronavirus Diary (7): You Heard It Here First | Policy of Truth

  5. I hope this is never forgotten.

    I do appreciate the way in which rich assholes like Musk violate police orders with impunity, and just sort of traipse away from legal jeopardy because there’s a chance he might make ventilators for New York City. People have been shot or strangled for less.

    This is essentially what people in hospitals are suffering right now, not through police brutality but through the effects of COVID-19:

    Musk, on March 19: “Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?” Always on top of that scientific literature, like a latter-day Thomas Edison.

    Let them breathe Teslas, I guess.


  6. From InfiniteAscension at the blog Immaterial Thoughts, describing attitudes in Iran and the UK (and making an interesting theological point from a Muslim perspective):

    My Facebook friend Anas Shoeb Khan has been laboring to make some similar points to Muslims in India:

    Anas Shoeb Khan
    15 hrs ·
    I was told that no mosques can call off congregational prayers until the Ulemas take a call on this.

    Number one, this is a public health issue and there is ample evidence in the Prophetic tradition to have people pray at home.

    Number two, since when do we have Ulemas acting as our Pope? Mosques and local communities need to take decisions to safeguard public health and it would be foolish to wait for the Ulemas sitting in distant places to decide.

    It is not a sin in the eyes of God to call off congregational prayers when faced with a certain calamity but it is a great sin to allow people to be infected and die a death they do not deserve to die. Your fragile pseudo-religious ego can end up costing many lives.


  7. Pingback: Coronavirus Diary (16): One State, One Curfew | Policy of Truth

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