High anxiety goes viral


Swamp Rabbit was reworking his coronavirus song today. Last week it was a bossa nova, but now it’s a blues sung to the melody of “Corrina, Corrina”:

Corona, Corona
Gal, you’re on my mind
Corona, Corona
Gal, you’re on my mind
I’m a-sittin’ down, thinkin’ of you
I just can’t keep from crying

It must have dawned on the rabbit that we might be screwed, especially those of us who have to work and have no health insurance or well-off relatives.

I told him the good news: Universal health care will cover all costs related to citizens’ exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Then the bad news: This is happening in Thailand, not America. The Thai government plan is for Thai citizens, period.

“I knew you were putting me on,” he said, putting down his guitar. “Ain’t no universal anything in this country. Most peeps got lousy insurance. Thirty million got no insurance at all. Trump don’t even want the peeps to have Obamacare.”

Don’t worry about insurance, I told him. Worry about treatment. The Trump gang watched the chaos in China but didn’t even think about making sure we’d have enough hospital beds to deal with the virus when it crossed the ocean.

Swamp Rabbit sipped his beer. “At least we can get tested for the virus. I heard it on the TV the other night.”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, but there are hardly any test kits. Fifteen thousands South Koreans get tested for the virus every day, compared to a tiny fraction of that number in this country. No one knows how many Americans are already infected.”

Complacency has given way to high anxiety in recent days. South By Southwest was canceled, Tom Hanks has the virus, the NBA and NHL suspended play, Christian zealot Mike Pence is “spearheading” the White House’s efforts to defeat the virus. Help me, somebody!

Swamp Rabbit was depressed but defiant. “If I get sick, I’m gonna keep working.”

“Don’t be crazy, rabbit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says sick workers should stay home so they don’t infect others.”

Swamp Rabbit laughed. “That’s easy to say if you’re with the CDC and get benefits. Ain’t no paid days off where we work, Odd Man.”

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