Robert Cormack

10 months ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Crazy Facts About Pandemics.

Starting with giant gerbils.

Crazy Facts About Pandemics.

Drag queens are extremely innovative and, I mean, we will persist through plague, famine, war or pandemic. We will prevail.” Alaska

Historically, we’ve done some pretty crazy stuff during pandemics, especially plagues. Back in the Middle Ages, just saying “plague” caused entire cities to rush home and lock their doors. Say “plague” today and everyone runs to Walmart for toilet paper and canned sardines.

As you probably know, plagues were caused by bacteria (pestis bacteria, thus prestilence), usually found in small mammals and their fleas. We blame rats, but it turns out the early bubonic plagues were caused by giant gerbils. Somehow these giant gerbils traveled east on The Silk Roads, and very likely transferred their fleas to rats.

You couldn’t swing a dead anything without hitting a rat back then.

Rats were everywhere, in every trading port, every city. The higher the population density, the more rats. Venice, for instance, lost more than a third of its population in less than a year. And think about this: The Black Death lasted for centuries, killing an estimated 25 million people across the European and Asian continent.

Instead (and this is where crazy comes in), they partied, drank, fornicated, and generally laughed in the face of the bubonic plague. They died, of course. Pestis bacteria had absolutely no sense of humour.

Yet, virulent as this plague was, not everybody saw fit to hide in their houses. Instead (and this is where crazy comes in), they partied, drank, fornicated, and generally laughed in the face of the bubonic plague. They died, of course. Pestis bacteria had absolutely no sense of humour.

There were also people who, for reasons nobody understood, were immune to the plague. Some were gravediggers, taking dead people on their backs to long trenches dug in churchyards, without so much as a sniffle in the process.

When people saw those gravediggers, they figured maybe only the old and weak succumbed to the plague. So out they went, drinking and fornicating, figuring they were healthier than half-starved gravediggers. Next thing you know, they’re dying — and not too happy with gravediggers.

Once the plague took hold, society figured it was God’s wrath. They’d obviously sinned too much. Who takes out millions of people for sinning a little? Some went to church, others figured, if they were going to die, anyway, why not enjoy some merriment?

This included loud song, which eventually led to new forms of secular music, including one composer, Guillaume de Machaut of France, who survived the plague, creating many ballads that gave great comfort to people who sang them. Many died accordingly (airborne droplets).

Of course, with any pandemic, you had deniers, some of whom even dressed like the doctors of the time with hoods and long beaks. They sent people out into the streets, telling them it was all a big con, which only spread the disease more.

Even at the end of the Victorian Era, sanitation was still relatively primitive by today’s standards. Privies still existed in people’s backyards, each needing to be pumped out — often at the point of overflowing.

Now obviously people in medieval times could be excused, knowing little about plagues, and not exactly the most hygienic. Even at the end of the Victorian Era, toilets were still relatively primitive by today’s standards. Privies still existed in people’s backyards, each needing to be pumped out — often at the point of overflowing.

Then along came WWI, and The Spanish Flu. This particular strain was unique in that it wasn’t Spanish at all. During the war, countries like Germany, France, Austria and the United Kingdom suppressed reports, hoping to make the enemy think they weren’t infected. Spain was neutral. They didn’t see the need to keep this information under wraps. So they bore the brunt of the disease’s origins.

Not that this helped the solders or their families. After being kept in crowded barracks and ships, they returned home to parades and homecoming balls. This led to what we call super spreaders, what they then called “just having fun.” Imagine families celebrating their son “dodging a bullet over in France,” only to have him die a few days later.

By the time the Spanish Flu fizzled out, close to 100 million people had died worldwide (675,000 in the U.S. alone).

Again, medical science wasn’t prepared for viruses of this voracity, and people in general, weren’t prepared to self-isolate. They’d suffered enough. Rather than isolate, they decided to demonstrate, holding rallies and mask burnings, claiming their rights under the Constitution. By the time the Spanish Flu fizzled out, close to 100 million people had died worldwide (675,000 in the U.S. alone).

And don’t think for a minute it was just the flu itself that killed people. Doctors — not knowing what else to do — prescribed high doses of aspirin, often in the 30 mg range (today we’re around 4 mg). Bleeding ulcers resulted, often combined with influenza symptoms. This made some doctors wonder if they were dealing with another bubonic plague.

Which brings us to today, the modern age, with great leaps in medicine, and greater leaps in stupidity. This past American Thanksgiving, people travelled all over the country. One grandmother said, “I’ve got to see my babies.” Well, thousands of people went to see their babies, while the president held major rallies, claiming “he was done with COVID.”

And let’s not forget the patriots, better known as The Proud Boys, attending rallies in shirts emblazoned with “6MWE.” This acronym refers to the Holocaust, meaning “6 million Jews wasn’t enough.”

He’d already cocked up the pandemic, putting people in charge of distribution (masks, ventilators, etc.) who had no idea how to distribute anything. Shortages and ineptitude caused viral spikes. Now people are dying at a rate of one every 33 seconds. Yet, to quote one Republican senior (who’ll remain nameless), “President Trump has done more to fight this pandemic than any president in history.” That’s rich, even for a steadfast Republican.

And let’s not forget the patriots, better known as The Proud Boys, attending rallies in shirts emblazoned with “6MWE.” This acronym refers to the Holocaust, meaning “6 million Jews wasn’t enough.”

Or how about the evangelist who blew into the microphone, telling his congregation this was all it took to get rid of the coronavirus. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess, and this particular evangelist went even further.

He told his flock to keep sending in those “tines” even if they were broke. “God wants those tines,” he said and, no doubt, people complied and probably died from blowing so much.

According to a recent Pew poll, almost 20 percent of the American population say they won’t take the vaccine because it causes — you guessed it — coronavirus.

One thing’s for sure. We can never underestimate craziness. According to a recent Pew poll, almost 20 percent of the American population say they won’t take the vaccine because it causes — you guessed it — coronavirus.

There was a report claiming some people, after receiving the vaccine, had covid-related symptoms. They were actually asymptomatic at the time. This led a lot of people to say, “You ain’t stickin’ no ‘rona in my arm.”

How did medical authorities respond? Well, it seems they didn’t believe Americans would understand terms like “non-active” or “non-virus.” It means there’s no virus in the vaccines themselves.

What these vaccines do, folks, is go after the spike proteins which are the nobby things sticking out from the virus itself. If the vaccines are successful, the virus can’t transmit. Eventually, you get immunity.

If you’re already infected, you’re still going to have symptoms. What the fuck do you think is going to happen?

I say “eventually” because it doesn’t happen overnight. Vaccines take time. If you’re already infected, you’re still going to have symptoms. What the fuck do you think is going to happen?

And stop saying, well, we cured smallpox, cholera, typhoid and diphtheria? None of these viral illnesses were cured overnight. They took time. You have to build immunity until eventually you reduce the transmission rate to nil. That includes continuing to wear masks and practising social distancing. You don’t just stop when you get the vaccine.

Just as you don’t jump on a plane saying, “I gotta see my babies.” You’ll see your babies soon enough. Until then, maybe we could stop being, well, crazy.

I doubt it’ll happen with the Proud Boys or that evangelist blowing into his microphone. But the rest of us can show a little common sense. If we havecommon sense. That’s a big “if” these days.

As Frank Zappa once said, “There’s more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

Something to think about. That’s if you’re not worried about “sticking ‘rona in your arm.” Frank would’ve loved that one.

Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist, and former advertising copywriter. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.

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Comments

Robert Cormack

9 months ago #23

After hearing 85 million people in the U.S. travelled over Christmas, it has to be true. Paul Walters.#22

Paul Walters

9 months ago #22

Robert Cormack You are dead right> Stupid is what stupid does

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #21

Thanks, Lada. I am a believer in satire (and giant gerbils). Merry Christmas to you and yours.#20

Lada 🏡 Prkic

10 months ago #20

#12
Robert, you show in your posts and comments that satire is the best medicine. :-) Sometimes we must laugh at ourselves and our own stupidity. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #19

Merry Christmas, Jim. Hope the therapy is going well. You've got a nice house, by the way. What I wouldn't give for a pool next summer. I keep dropping hints. Wendy says, "Fine," but we have to move to do it. Hate leaving Port Dover just for a pool, but I'll do it just to practice my backstroke.#18

Jim Murray

10 months ago #18

I think the worst thing that could have happened during this whole pandemic was that it was politicized in the US and via the news media, it was shown to everyone. Many of the hard of thinking saw this as a cue to take off their masks and carry on as usual. I think we just underestimated how many of those there were. Oddly enough a lot of the countries that have reduce this down to virtual zero are island nations. Which says a lot about keeping the borders closed. Good piece, man. Merry Christmas

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

10 months ago #17

#16
I agree. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do. Let us all do what we think it's best, after researching the matter. Even though we don't see eye-to-eye on this matter, I believe we are on the same page on the fundamentals. Merry Christmas to you too!

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #16

I've done considerable research, Zacharias, including the new studies of genome sequencing now being done by Oxford labs in Britain. The vaccines now being approved today are, as I've mentioned in the article "non-active." Outside of possible side effects (usually minor) these are safe vaccines. I say "safe" having spent 25 years in medical and, as such, realize we are short on 5 year trials. There's always some guesswork when you're dealing with short term release of data and the vaccine itself. It is not a "terrible idea," but I'm not here promoting vaccines. Each of us has to decide for ourselves. You do what you think is best. Merry Christmas.#15

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

10 months ago #15

#10
Well, if it's facts you prefer, I'd recommend doing some research on the matter. I have done enough to be almost certain that this "vaccine" as you call it is a terrible idea (see the relevant part of my Wakelet collection: https://wakelet.com/wake/guecWrbIQSBdxDBgTIHjd). Then again, facts can only do so much. If your whole stance is geared towards being against the naysayers (or any other group), then it's doubtful that facts can help you much. Cheers

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #14

#7
Figured I would.

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #13

#6
Quite true, Ken. I'm guilty of tunnel vision myself, especially in tunnels. Satire reminds me that I can be a big dope, too. Have a Merry Christmas, Ken. Hope we talk in the New Year.

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #12

#5
Your questions would require a whole new article, Lada, but thanks for asking. The reason Americans keep "military grade" weapons in their home is because they can't leave them in their truck. United they may be on freedoms, but theft is very American, too. And who wants someone breaking into your house—probably with more firepower—without having at least a full clip of hollow-points? America was built on "matching arsenals." We can't deprive them of that. Merry Christmas.

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #11

#4
We're all a little crazy, John. Wendy just got our lettuce, and I'll be damned if I give it to the rabbit. Tonight is "salad night," and watching a wonderful series from Iceland called "Trapped." If you can get it, you won't be disappointed. Merry Christmas, John. Hope the best for the New Year.

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #10

#3
As I mentioned, Zacharias, it's a "non-active" vaccine. Adverse events are very limited. If you want to stay on the balcony, that's your choice, but it'll be a crowded place, no doubt. The only reason I'm being a "straw man" here is I'm fed up with naysayers, Rather than spout venom, I thought some facts might be more constructive. I'm not a finger pointer.

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #9

#2
Thanks, Pascal. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Robert Cormack

10 months ago #8

Thanks, Mohammed. I try to stick to the essentials.#1

Ken Boddie

10 months ago #7

Further to below, you had me at giant gerbils and drag queens. 🤗

Ken Boddie

10 months ago #6

As Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic knows, Rob, I too have given up reading and commenting on this subject matter, which has become boringly pervasive on this and many other SM platforms. I couldn’t resist, however, the call of your renowned wit and, having become accustomed to your verbal entertainment, I overcame my initial hesitation. I was not disappointed. Doubtless you may be harangued by a few tunnel visioned stoics, but that’s one of the ‘benefits’ of satire is it not?

Lada 🏡 Prkic

10 months ago #5

I refrain from commenting on posts about the coronavirus disease, but I just wanted to say that I like your satirical approach to the whole issue. :) Reading your post, I can only conclude that common sense isn't common at all and appealing to common sense is even counterproductive. Just one example, how does common sense tell anyone (Americans) that it’s OK to keep guns (even military-grade weapons) at home?

John Rylance

10 months ago #4

#1
I have read that people are stock piling lettuces, under the headline Who stockpiles lettuces. Perhaps they are fattening up their pet rabbits in case other meat sources run out. Panic buying has set in one Supermarket in Northern England had a queue a mile long at 7am this morning. All socially distanced and wearing masks.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

10 months ago #3

Well, I don't want to go and jump from the balcony because I feel that the dragons who hide underneath the balcony may kill me. If that irrational rationale keeps me from jumping, does it make for a bad decision to stay on the balcony? Just because some people abstain from an experimental medication for whatever silly reason, does it make the decision to abstain wrong? Or are you so weak in rhetorics that you really have to pull out the straw man technique to make your point? Just wondering...

Pascal Derrien

10 months ago #2

Best article I have read in a while :-) :-) bravo

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

10 months ago #1

I give a chuckle at this: Say “plague” today and everyone runs to Walmart for toilet paper and canned sardines. :)

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