Day One Of My Corona Quarantine

Never in my lifetime has the government been so worried about a virus threat. Today, begins a shutdown of many public spaces. My Lions Club activities are shut down, the library is closed, all bars and restaurants are closed, only drive through windows will be open. For the first time in my life I missed a Sunday mass because the church was closed. Food suppliers will remain open. Hopefully, they will have stock to sell. I’m not sure about banks.

Back in the nineteen forties during World War Two we experienced shortages, and blackouts, but I don’t recall shutdowns of any sort. My parents were issued a ration booklet with coupons. The coupons were for food items, gasoline, etc. I know my Mom used them to barter food with friends. Dad did the same with his gasoline coupons. Back then we were fighting Germans and Japanese not an invisible microscopic virus. The Civil Air Patrol watched the skies for enemy airplanes and the Coast Guard patrolled our shores to ward off enemy ships. I remember when we traveled by car to see my grandfather in Michigan we raced PT boats along Lake Michigan shores. Every car trip involved fixing flat tires on the roadside because tires were not available and our car had some pretty bald tires. When we reached the bridge over the St. Joe river there was always a huge navy ship tied up there.

In the nineteen fifties we did have a serious virus attack, Polio was the enemy. It was headlines everyday in all the newspapers, and on radio news. Because we didn’t have TV’s we didn’t have 24 hr news programs spreading panic all about the world. The pictures of people in iron lungs were enough to get our attention. The government recommendation was to stay away from crowded beaches and from mosquitoes. It was August, and I just turned fifteen, I was invincible. That morning I played golf at Jackson Park GC with my buddies, in the afternoon I delivered groceries for a grocery store that was several miles from home. I rode my bicycle to get there. After work, I hung out with the neighborhood gang until ten. The following morning I couldn’t wake up, I had a headache that felt like my skull would blow up, my throat was on fire, and my neck was so stiff I couldn’t bend my head. Mom took my temperature and called our family doctor. He came by at five o’clock after his office hours. An ambulance arrived within two hours to haul my sorry ass to the Contagious Disease Hospital on 26th and California. That is where I existed until October. It wasn’t fun, and I am one lucky man because I recovered with a minimum of paralysis. I thank God for that everyday. The vaccine for polio came a couple of years after I recovered from it. I still think about all the kids I met along the way that didn’t make it. I laugh when reporters question medical authorities for how quickly will a vaccine be available. During polio the vaccine took years to develop. In fact it didn’t happen until the electron microscope was invented and researchers could finally see the virus. President Roosevelt started a private enterprise called the March of Dimes to raise money for research and help for victims. He did that because he had first hand experience with the disease having been paralyzed from the waist down from polio.

At this moment I have two workers in my house sanding my wood floors to refinish them I am sealed off, and by myself in self quarantine. This time I believe the warnings are valid and pertain to me. I am in the primary age group for this bug. I must do everything in my power to stay healthy and away from contagion, or face the music. At the end of February, a close friend of mine died. I went into shock when I learned of it. She got sick suddenly with a lung infection that took her out.  Her family swears it wasn’t Corona, but in my heart I believe it was.

Pray, pray, pray that we will stop this virus in its tracks.

Another Nightmare From Obama

To finish my year I spent a few hours reading the book The Hot Zone by Richard Preston to reach my goal to read twenty books in 2014.


What I didn’t know when I began this story was that it is in the horror genre. Even Stephen King, renowned author of horror stories commented that “The first chapter of The Hot Zone is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever read in my whole life . . . and then it gets worse.” The problem is that King writes fiction, and The Hot Zone is fact. After hearing about Ebola on the news, and the firestorm of controversy the virus caused in the USA, I thought it appropriate for me to learn the facts. All I can say is that if Ebola hits Illinois, I’m putting on my running shoes, and I will run away not to stop until I reach the North Pole.

What we don’t know is that in the nineteen eighties Ebola invaded the USA, and took residence in Reston, Virginia within sight of the Washington Mall. The virus hit a  group of monkeys in the inventory of a company that supplies monkeys to labs for research. They had five hundred or more monkeys on hand with more coming in a steady stream from Africa. The monkeys were dying and the caretaker did not know from what. His assessment was that they were hit with a Simian hemorrhagic fever. Eventually, the problem became known to the US Army. At the time, the US Army was among the few organizations that could identify the virus. What they found was beyond Simian hemorrhagic fever, they found Ebola. They also recognized Ebola as a threat to the safety of the country, and took necessary action to protect us. Unlike our current President who believes the virus is just another few days off with the flu.

Those who worked in the labs dissecting monkeys described the inner organs of victims looking like they had been dead for a couple of weeks. A flu virus does not eat you alive. The typical survival rate for Ebola is around ten percent. In other words, if you get this virus, there is a very good chance you will die from it in a very short time.

Another thing we don’t know is that the Ebola virus is very adaptable and shows up in different places with slightly different symptoms, but with the same result. There are already three different strains known, Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, and Ebola Reston. Because it is so adaptive, it makes the virus more dangerous than we can imagine. The adaptive part is confusing, because Ebola-Reston was ultimately discovered to have infected several people who worked with the monkey population dying from it. Yet, these people survived without any harm.

Experts who work with these diseases claim Ebola makes AIDS look like a piece of cake. Aids is not a piece of cake. Aids kills, and had we not developed medicines to deal with HIV and AIDS the world population would be smaller by a large percentage.

There is a lot of argument about whether Ebola is airborne. If a person dying of Ebola vomits, sneezes, defecate, or coughs he sends droplets of virus laden blood, sputum, and moisture into the air. If any of it lands on you, and makes contact with your eyes, nasal passages, mouth or any open wound there is a very good chance you will catch the disease. If it lands on your skin it is also highly likely the virus will find its way into your body. As long as you are living, the virus multiplies in vast numbers feeding on your cells. Remember, the pores of your skin are openings into your body.

No one knows where the virus originates. They do know that if it gets one person sick, it spreads from person to person rapidly by contact. The original virus itself may already be in hiding as it spreads from person to person. That is why it is so important to keep it from spreading. To date, the origin of the virus is still unknown.

I often wonder why the Ebola scare in the news died as suddenly as it arose. After reading The Hot Zone, I can only surmise that our government froze all news to prevent panic. I am grateful that they did so, but I admonish them for the blasé treatment of people coming from African countries.

It is my opinion that we must keep Ebola out of the country at all costs. The word quarantine should become a household word as it was in the days of scarlet fever, and small pox. Quarantine should also be imposed on those unfortunate enough to come into contact with the virus. It is sad to have to treat people with more discomfort, but better safe than sorry.

I am also grateful for Vice President Dick Cheney who saw Ebola as a terrorist threat and convinced Congress to pass legislation to spend money on research to develop vaccines and medicines. I abhor the CDC and NIH under this administration for spending that money on frivolous research instead of on Ebola cures. Remember, that one of the very first laments of the CDC was that it did not have money to fight Ebola. I guess 5.6 billion dollars is just not enough these days to satisfy the lust of a government gone wild while the rest of us spend our days fearing a disease worse than the plague.

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