COVID Confusion

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like it may be safe to lose the grocery gloves. We can take it easy with the Clorox wipes, too.

No longer must we let Amazon packages marinate on the porch for days. Or scrub milk cartons with bleach in case some super-spreader touched it in the supermarket refrigerator case and left invisible viral bits on its waxed surface.

Yep, in a reversal of its earlier hair-on-fire warnings, the CDC admitted this week that it appears the Covid-19 virus is not easily transmissable from surfaces.

The CDC made another key change to its website, clarifying what sources are not major risks. Under the new heading “The virus does not spread easily in other ways,” the agency explains that touching contaminated objects or surfaces does not appear to be a significant mode of transmission, reported The Washington Post.

Now they tell us, 5,000 Clorox wipes later.

This is the exact opposite of the warnings issued on March 17 when the National Institutes of Health teamed up with Mensa members from the CDC, UCLA and Princeton to scare the bejabbers out of all of us with dire warnings about how the virus could remain infectious on cardboard for 24 hours and for two to three DAYS on plastic or stainless steel.

In other words, nothing was safe. Every single thing we touched might be crawling with death. Made you want to put on a Hazmat suit to walk the dog or get the mail.

Cities promptly closed playgrounds lest children touch contaminated monkey bars, and people were scrubbing their lettuce with Lysol as soon as they came home from the supermarket. Online stores sold out of disinfecting shoe trays that promised to kill the virus on the soles of our flip-flops.

After a tiger in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus some dog lovers put masks on their mutts.

I’m not mocking the ultra-careful among us. The “experts” told us this was some kind of virile virus that was lurking everywhere. Who wanted to take a chance?

These warnings not only led to cautious behavior by us, but to bizarre edicts by state and local potentates, some of whom clearly knew less about science than you and I.

For instance, as recently as last week, Nassau County on Long Island banned doubles tennis and declared that players must bring their own balls and not touch the balls of another player.

The jokes write themselves.

Rules all over the country were nonsensical. In Michigan, which has the worst governor in the country, people were free to paddle canoes, but were forbidden to use motorized boats. In Illinois, people could use their boats but with a two-person restriction – regardless of the size of the vessel. In many places, golf courses were open, but golfers had to ride one to a golf cart. Even if they’d driven to the course together. In New York City, folks can go to Coney Island, but if they venture into the water, the mayor has promised to drag them out.

Here in Virginia Beach, our magnanimous governor agreed to open the beaches in time for Memorial Day weekend, but he banned music from speakers and “group sports” such as volleyball, Frisbee and tossing a football.  Wait. Frisbee is a group sport?

Apparently, the governor believes that merely touching a plastic disc that’s been touched – however briefly – by someone else, will spread the virus.

Don’t question Northam. He belongs to the party of science.

Now that the CDC has done an about-face and declared that it is “not likely” the virus spreads on surfaces will Virginia’s governor rescind his order and allow people to toss a football or Frisbee?

Will he at least allow music on the beach?

Don’t count on it.

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