Not what any of us talked about, but seemed timely. And I got my Irish up.

Wherein Meemselle Discusses COVID-19
Posted on March 14, 2020by meemselle

I am not a doctor, and unfortunately, due to SAG/AFTRA, I have never even played one on TV. I would have been perfect: big, wide, Irish face: very trust-inspiring. Very comforting voice and just enough body fat not to seem too unhealthy, yet accessible.

So, having gotten that out of the way, I am talking about COVID-19. Corona. The pandemic.

Beloved Son is not going to like this, so I’ll tell him not to read it. Although I am listening to him and self-quarantining (which I still think is SCHTOOPID, but that’s a personal matter. He just doesn’t want to come here to bury me. Although it would be to his great financial advantage were I to expire.)

Wait: I need Beethoven on vinyl to write this. I think “Eroica.” Yes. The 3rd in E-flat major. Hang on.


So: the facts, ma’am. Nothing but the facts.

The world’s population, based on 2019 statistics, is 7.7 billion. That’s a lot of zeroes. Since 31 December 2019 and as of 13 March 2020, 133,860 cases of COVID-19 (in accordance with the applied case definitions in the affected countries) have been reported, including 4,967 deaths. The deaths have been reported from China (3,179), Italy (1,016), Iran (429), Spain (84), South Korea (67), France (61), United States (40), Japan (19), United Kingdom (10), Iraq (8), International conveyance in Japan (7), Germany (5), Netherlands (5), San Marino (5), Switzerland (4), Australia (3), Belgium (3), Egypt (2), Philippines (2), Albania (1), Algeria (1), Argentina (1), Austria (1), Bulgaria (1), Canada (1), Greece (1), Guyana (1), India (1), Indonesia (1), Ireland (1), Morocco (1), Norway (1), Panama (1), Poland (1), Sweden (1), Taiwan (1) and Thailand (1). Stats from

There have been exactly 5 confirmed cases in the Dominican Republic, 4 of them foreigners and 1 Dominican. Nobody has died.

Math is decidedly not my thing. But do you see where I’m going with this?

The relationship between Trump and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the US remains unclear. I ran it through to fact check. What’s true is that the administration’s proposed budget for 2021 includes cuts to the CDC’s activities related to chronic disease.

What CDC says on its website is this: Check the link. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019

Side two of “Eroica. “ I’m working slowly. Fact checking and all.

Quite frankly, I feel far safer in the DR, here in the 2.5 World, in This Dusty Whore Town I Call Home, Darlinos, and let me just give you a Few Words about why.

Yes. I know. This country is home to approx. 10 million people, many of whom live without basic sanitation, clean water, or easy access to health care facilities. We receive approx. 8 million tourists from all over the world, who arrive by ship (self-contained virus incubators, sort of like children) or by plane, where the same air is circulated for the duration of the flight, whether it’s 3.5 hours or 18. Have you ever run even a damp cloth over the hand-rests on your airplane seat? I have, and it’s not pretty.

We actually have clinics where we can go and get tested without waiting 2 weeks for an appointment and 3 weeks for results. We have doctors who make house calls. We have nurses who will come to your house. We have ladies who will scrub your house from techo a piso with Cloro. (They LOVE using the Cloro!)

I can’t believe that people still cough and sneeze into their hands and then touch everything and want to shake your hand. Don’t EVEN get me started about Dominican nose-picking! I never touched a subway pole in NYC without wearing gloves and I lived there 23 years. I went through a lot of gloves. And I love gloves. In case you ever want to buy me anything: size small and I like the ones from the shop just off Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. Red or yellow are the preferred colors.

Since the birth of Beloved Son 25 years ago, I have been a fairly obsessive hand-washer. The frequency increased when I moved here. Now, I’m washing my hands even more. Instead of stockpiling hand sanitizer and anti-bac wipes, I should be stockpiling moisturizer because my hands are like sandpaper.

But clean. Very clean.

I was in the supermarket today, and there was some kind of gringo (I don’t know what flavor. US? Canada? Germany? Italy? Some kind of gringo.) And he had on a surgical mask, which my friends in the health industry tell me is the worst, because you just keep coughing into yourself), and plastic gloves, and I sewanee, a hat like bee-keepers wear. And I’m like, dude. We have staff who can do your shopping if you’re that worried.

Maybe I’m being unkind. Wouldn’t be the first time. Won’t be the last. Maybe his immune system is compromised. All the more reason to send staff out to do your stuff in public. And I purposely chose a time to visit the supermercado that’s not prime-time.

WAIT: “Eroica” just ended and I’m not finished. Maybe it’s a sign.

All I’m saying is that although math may not be my thing, I look at those numbers and the disparity is striking. Even to me.

As I said, all the stores are out of hand sanitizer and anti-bac wipes. But they’re not out of soap.

WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS! I suggest singing “La Marseillaise” all the way through.

Soap is your friend. Elbow-bump only. Wash your hands the minute you walk in the door. After handling money. After touching door handles, subway poles, bank machines, anything at the airport, carport, rail station, grocery store. Anything not your own. I taught nursery school and that’s Rule #1: “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.”

The stores may be all out of chemicals, and lav tissue, and ice cream, and I deeply bemoan the latter. But they’re not out of flippin’ soap.