As the COVID-19 toll continues to rise, there’s been a serious upping of wartime rhetoric from world leaders. Elsewhere, it turns out tigers can get it, and the World Health Organisation might just need a little peak at your quarantine search history.
Jerome’s in the house, watch your mouth
The rhetoric around the world regarding coronavirus has taken another turn for the grave, with US Surgeon General Jerome Adams telling Americans over the weekend that they should prepare for levels of tragedy comparable to September 11 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
As US blogger Dave Pell points out, this is a real shift in tone from the administration who were decidedly more chill about coronavirus as recently as February:
“Roses are red/Violets are blue/Risk is low for #coronarvirus (sic)/But high for the #flu” tweeted none other than Surgeon General Jerome Adams on February 1.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
A catastrophic turn
Meanwhile, just to really underline how calamitous things are in the US, the Bronx Zoo has confirmed a four-year-old female Malayan tiger called Nadia has tested positive for the coronavirus.
A group of big cats had developed a dry cough, but all are expected to fully recover, the zoo has said.
In keeping with the wartime theme, Queen Elizabeth II gave only her fifth non-Christmas national address in her 68 years on the throne. To put it in perspective, the others were: at the outbreak of the first Gulf war, the eve of the funerals each of Princess Diana and of the Queen Mother, and for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again,” she announced.
Her address comes as British Prime Minister and giant scarecrow baby Boris Johnson was admitted to hopsital with ongoing symptoms, and the writers room of The Crown presumably scribbled notes and wondered how the hell they were going to cram the last year into a three-episode story arc.
Don’t delete your history
If you were hoping for a silver lining from the whole surveillance economy thing, a New York Times op-ed outlines the potential for the use of search terms (say, “I can’t smell”) to detect virus hotspots:
Every day, millions of people around the world type their health symptoms into Google. We can use these searches to help detect unknown COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly in parts of the world with poor testing infrastructure.
Though, given hook-ups are pretty much illegal now, we’re sure that’s not the only thing someone’s search history might reveal.