Final Four? Nope. NBA regular season? History. Opening Day for baseball? Not gonna happen – at least for a while. And Masters’ passes are just taking up space on coffee tables. To say the least, this latest coronavirus is no friend to the world of sports in America. Not to mention soccer fans around the world having to absent themselves from stadiums and arenas where their local favorites usually play.
And those are just a few of the fun things that are supposed to provide a diversion from the usual really nasty stuff the regular workaday world has to offer. Lives of hundreds of millions, if not billions, on planet Earth are being disrupted mainly because, it seems, sanitary conditions in a certain part of Wuhan, China left quite a bit to be desired. (On a side note, had you ever heard of Wuhan before this? Why must we always have to expand our geographic knowledge when something bad happens, like wars in places such as Vietnam and Kuwait?)
If I read some reports correctly, the indication is that the virus originated in an outdoor food stand. The offending germ first incubated in bats who were then eaten by snakes that were purchased by customers at the Wuhan market. Evidently those snakes are on the regular menu of Wuhanites.
Other reports indicate there were a few medical people near the epicenter of the outbreak who tried to sound an alarm. They were promptly “re-educated” by local authorities and had to recant their clarion calls for help.
Now, apparently, if you listen to Chinese state-run media (which I personally don’t do as a rule), Wuhan is nothing but a scapegoat. It seems President Trump personally went to China and released vials of COVID-19 on unsuspecting men, women, and children. According to the powers-that-be in Beijing, the U.S. is the real perpetrator behind the virus. Fortunately, I haven’t heard of even one cable network in this country suggesting The Donald did that. And there are at least a couple news organizations that would jump at the chance to pin this outbreak on Trump. Not even Bernie nor Biden has cast blame for that particular malfeasance on the White House. So, we can probably discard that notion.
Plus, I really can’t remember the last time I saw either bats or snakes available in the Kroger meat department. And I’m guessing our inspection guidelines for consumer consumption are a tad bit more stringent than those in Wuhan. So, chances are, the virus did not originate here.
There was one other theory I chanced to hear. The Chinese aren’t really enamored of President Trump, right? He’s also over 65. COVID-19 has, thus far, attacked senior citizens. Was Trump a target of some nefarious Chinese ne’er-do-wells? (How’s THAT for a conspiracy starter?)
Regardless of where the virus began, the facts remain we’re all dealing with it. And it’s costing everybody in one way or the other. Some are suffering health setbacks and even life-threatening situations. Many, many others are losing money through lack of work or cancellation of games and other public events. Until proven otherwise, COVID-19 is going to be identified with Wuhan forever.
Unfortunately, the latest virus isn’t the first less-than-desirable health-related export from China. Remember Bird Flu? And SARS? And the ever-popular Asian flu? China was castigated for trying to keep the lids on those as well.
As part of a Public Relations move, the Chinese government is reportedly donating $20 million to the World Health Organization to help in the global fight against COVID-19. That’s nice, but I’m thinking it comes up a little bit short, especially if it’s partly an attempt at restitution payment for the havoc that has ensued.
Atlanta was supposed to host the NCAA Final Four this year. That one event is worth roughly $100 million to the local economy. Do you suppose Beijing would be open to sending the city a check to cover its losses? And what about all the other events, the school closings, businesses that have to cut back or shut down all together? I mean, were you going to a movie anytime soon? How about out to dinner? Are you skipping your gym workout? (Probably so since it’s closed.) And let’s not even start discussing 401(k)s and the stock market performance of late. All of those instances don’t even take into account the fact that several European countries have virtually shut down, with undoubtedly more to follow.
So, here’s the question: Can the world send China a bill for damages? Maybe that country could just forgive all the debt everybody owes them. Just thinking out loud here.
©MMXX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer