Speculation about the origin of the newest coronavirus circulates around pangolins, laboratories, a wet animal market in Wuhan, viral mutations and bats. I just had to put on my biologist hat this weekend and see if a little research might help to connect the dots. SARS-CoV-2 is the third animal coronavirus to burst into the human world in the twenty-first century. Chances are it’s not the last. And what is a pangolin, anyway?
“What a long strange trip it’s been,” goes the song. And it seems forever since New Year’s Day when the year was young and full of promise. If anyone had told me in January that we would be reopening in May, I would have asked, “Reopening from what?” But we don’t have to ask now. We know.
It was a hybrid weekend. Part opened up and part locked down and not at all “normal.” For me nothing since January and February of 2020 has been normal, so those are my standard. Those months had open stores, open beaches, open churches, birthday parties, and vacation plans. Now going anywhere seems daring. I was daring twice this weekend.
Why do we keep hearing the word “normalcy”? Is it because things will never be normal? Now I know about the word “normalcy.” I know it was Warren G. Harding’s campaign slogan, that he didn’t so make up the word as revive it, and that it sounded unusual even in 1921.
So why am I hearing that word more now than I have since the seventh-grade?
Rapid contagion makes a great movie device–the bite of a zombie, the bloodlust of a vampire, the sneeze that tells you the man is doomed. Always fast. Always fatal. No movie-goer would have patience with a plot where the victim might or might not get a fever in two weeks. But that’s more typical of the world we’re living in.
The COVID App developers have been busy. Did you know there are more than 20 COVID-19 apps for your cell phone or tablet? Find them in your app store under coronavirus or under covid. Some are for personal use and some (mainly under development) are designed for national tracking projects. There are way too many for me to review in depth, but I took a quick look at what’s out there now and what’s on the way.
Hope is in the air. I was going to write about contagion today–looking at how viruses spread, why some are so fast, and what difference this has made historically. But not today. I feel so hopeful after my morning scan of the news that I would much rather write about that.
Remember the headlines of March 17?
News coverage is an index of change. In the last two months I’ve ramped up to four newspapers (digital of course) and three free news apps grouped on the front of my iPad. My fascination with the news started two months ago when headlines suddenly centered on new viruses, outbreaks, quarantines, stranded cruise ships, sweeping travel bans, and history. Not history of the past, but history of the future, the leading edge of an era that will change life as we know it.