The annual estimate for flu deaths in the United States is between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths per year (out of 9 million to 45 million cases). As of this moment, our confirmed death count for coronavirus is 248,584 (out of 10,880,536 cases (granted these are the known cases so doesn't truly reflect the number of people who've had the disease, which is likely much higher than this and which should soften the death rate a little)). This is not the flu. I repeat: this is not the flu.
Some people get lucky and have a mild case. My friend in Finland just got out of quarantine—their whole family had to quarantine because their daughter had a classmate test positive, so was sent home to quarantine and then she tested positive so the whole family had to quarantine (which was fine because the school decided to just require all the upper grades to quarantine for a few weeks by that point). Anyway, only the one daughter got sick and her symptoms were very mild. And I think that's great!
(And they're not COVID-deniers so this next part doesn't have anything to do with them, I just offer it in contrast)...
BUT I've had other friends who have had a really hard time recovering from this illness, friends who've lost loved ones because of this illness, friends who are now widows or parentless because of this illness.
And that's not cool.
So I don't really find this pandemic funny.
Last night I was apparently really cold when I went to bed. The thing is, I didn't feel cold, at least not very. I just was cold.
Usually I can tell that I'm cold. Like, when I climb in bed and stick my feet on Andrew, I know they're as cold as ice. But last night I was surprised when he jerked away and complained about my feet being cold because they weren't that cold.
"You are so cold!" he said.
"I'm not," I said. "You're just warm. In fact, you're very warm. I can feel the heat radiating off of you."
"I'm not warm," he said. "I'm normal. You're cold."
"I don't feel cold," I insisted. "I'm normal. But you're too hot! Seriously—do you have a fever? It hurts to even touch you."
"Because you're cold."
"No. I'm fine. You have a fever. You're burning up!"
"I don't have a fever. I feel fine."
"I've heard that's a symptom of COVID," I said. "Having a fever but feeling fine."
"I don't have COVID."
"But you have a fever. Take your temperature."
"I don't want to get a thermometer. It's cold out of the bed."
"It's not cold. I'll get a thermometer. I'm not sleeping in the same bed as you if you have a fever."
So I got a thermometer. And Andrew took his temperature. It was normal.
"See?!" he said. "I don't have a fever. I don't have COVID. I'm a normal temperature. You're just cold."
"Fine," I said. "I'm cold."
And then the funniest idea struck me.
"I just put on chapstick," I said. "Kiss me and tell me what flavour it is."
He kissed me and said, "Just...regular...like no flavour."
Now, I knew perfectly well that I had indeed put on regular, no-flavour chapstick. But we also have candy-cane flavour chapstick floating around the house. That stuff is so minty it makes my lips tingle.
"Wrong," I said, letting my eyes pop open with faux-alarm. "It's candy cane."
"What?!" Andrew gasped, his eyes widening with real alarm.
"Just kidding!" I sang (because that's not really a joke you want to let sit for too long). "It's no-flavour. You're fine."
Do I need to explain to future readers that a loss of the sense of taste is a fairly common symptom of coronavirus? Probably. It is. And that's why this was funny.
But also not funny. Because this thing is wildly out of control.
But also funny. Because we have to laugh at something.
We don't get out much.