Coronavirus For Most of Us, or How To Avoid The Bigots, Price Gougers and Hustlers

Well, it took about a month or so, but COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus has finally made its way to the United States. And some folks are PANICKING. Over the past few days alone, I have seen more news broadcasts showing the lines of people at stores like Costco, Target and Home Depot clamoring to purchase masks and hand sanitizers. (Some have also decided to go for broke and pick up boxes of condoms and loaves of bread. How those go together, I don’t know and won’t judge.) There is a distinct and eerie feeling of dread about this disease which is essentially on the verge of being a global pandemic since the outbreak’s origins in Wuhan, China at the end of January. Since then, this coronavirus has done more hops to different nations than a chess hustler on a winning streak out on the boards in Washington Square Park. Iran has been hit hard along with South Korea and Italy, and this past week it sure feels like we’re in a Michael Crichton novel come to life.

And who is in charge of making sure that the tide of this infectious disease is stemmed?

Mike Pence? Mike “I can’t be in the same room alone with another woman” Pence? EVIL RACE BANNON Mike Pence? Oh yeah, the pooch might be screwed. This is the same guy that as governor of Indiana delayed a response to an outbreak of HIV among those using drugs via injection by
enacting state cuts that closed the only healthcare facility in that part of the state that was doing testing — a Planned Parenthood office. Donald Trump, the *President of these United States taps him to lead the efforts. And so far,what we’ve gotten is a roller derby of confusion and incompetence that surpasses terror. I mean, think about this — you have someone in the Oval Office who when asked about how the government is preparing to handle new coronavirus cases and testing, goes on to blame…former President Barack Obama. Who hasn’t been in office since December 2016.

More on that in a bit. I want to take this space to talk about what you should do in these times, good people. Information you need to go along with the tried and tested data about washing your hands vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, along with utilizing antibacterial sanitizers
and wipes. I’m here today to basically give you a gentle reminder to stay away from the bigots, the social media conspiracy theorists and the shameless hucksters out there all within a click’s reach.

“But Chris,” you might say,“what in the name of Jada Pinkett Smith are you talking about?” And this is when I hit you with this face:

We’re in an age where people get got every day, B. Ask yourself how many times you’ve had to go to one of your older relatives who showed you something they received on WhatsApp and you had to tell them it was a hoax. Think about how many times that one homie you had from back in the day kept sending around some dumb-ass YouTube video that was half fever dream inspired by Kennedy Fried and Cisco and half conspiracy. I bet you a jerk chicken dinner that you have come across one or two people sharing false info about the coronavirus on Facebook. Twitter, not so much since they make all batshit individuals stick together over there. But it seeps through on that platform as well. So let’s do a quick rundown of things that you should stay FAR AWAY from online, shall we?

  • any videos purporting that the coronavirus came from Chinese people eating “bat soup” in Wuhan. This has made the rounds on Facebook, and has led to a surge in racist remarks against Chinese people across the globe. It’s been debunked, but just a couple of days ago, Jesse Watters of Fox News decided to double down on being a racist douche and assert that these videos were the truth. This kind of nonsense has resulted in some heinous attacks by the favored toliet paper — I mean, tabloid newspaper of note, the New York Post. There’s been attacks on Asian Americans here and overseas, and businesses in their neighborhoods have suffered because people have avoided going there. Seriously, don’t take this epidemic as your grand opportunity to show off your racism against those of Asian descent even if you’re trying to joke around for the ‘Gram.
Jim Bakker, ripoff artist and reverend. (Photo Credit: Raw Story)
  • beware of janky preachers claiming they’ve got cures for the coronavirus. This is one instance where open and brazen greed unites across borders. You’ve got one preacher in Nigeria claiming he’s got a cure and would go to China to destroy the coronavirus. Another of his countrymen sent out a claim on WhatsApp that pepper soup would defeat the illness. And then you’ve got stubby-ass Jim Bakker (who I literally thought was out there in the ether with Tammy Faye) WITH HIS OWN SHOW pushing a product by some quack named Dr. Sellman (yes I’m serious)that can “kill” the coronavirus within 12 hours. Bakker, who literally got convicted on 24 counts of fraud and did five years in the bin, is out here helping to sell a product that is called “Silver Solution”. Because it contains colloidal silver. Given that there’s a slew of evangelicals and right-wing trolls who tune in to Bakker who now looks like a Hobbit who hit the tables at Vegas and got lucky, I think they all believe that they’re trying to ward off vampires like Whistler said in the first Blade movie.
  • price gouging. Amazon is being riddled with unscrupulous vendors who are literally selling Purell hand sanitizer two-packs that would be $21.99 normally for $350. And the company has stated that they’ve been having difficulty to stop it.

I get it if you are saying “nah, I’m not going to fall for these things. I know better.” But let me put it to you like this — think about how many people have said that yet you see the same meme circulate in text messages and online. It’s the same principle that applies to the coronavirus and hand-washing. Just because YOU take the time to wash your hands and tidy up after yourself, doesn’t mean others are doing the same or have been doing it. I can’t keep count of how many nasty-ass individuals I’ve seen leave the urinals and stalls all sloppy, walking out with a trail of bologna dart farts behind them, not even stopping at the sink. Oh, this applies to some women out there too. I’ve got friends who have told me of some of the horrors in ladies’ restrooms with no one washing their hands.

Stay safe, wash those hands and stay away from all racism and false memes out there folks!

Freelance writer. Author of 3 books of poetry. Raconteur. Queens is the county, Jamaica is the place.

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