Famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil coughed while searching for his shadow this morning, which means that there will be six more weeks of worrying that any sign of respiratory illness might be the dreaded new coronavirus.
Onlookers prayed fervently that Phil would not cough, so that they would not have to worry about the spread of this coronavirus. They hoped to focus their anxiety on other matters like the precarious state of democracy worldwide, or unseasonably warm temperatures causing wildfires, or what they should bring to the Superbowl party less than twelve hours away, but no such luck. Phil coughed, so now they have to worry about the coronavirus for six more weeks.
If not for the fateful cough, there would have been a chance of a reasonable response to this health scare after the initial panic. Most people might have realized that this strain of the coronavirus is primarily confined to animals, and while humans can spread it they cannot do so as easily as they could with the flu. They might have realized that while this virus poses a severe risk to those with compromised immune systems or damaged respiratory systems, the same is true for most viruses affecting the lungs and bronchi. And they might have realized that eight confirmed cases in a country of over 300 million means it’s very unlikely they will come into contact with the virus. But the groundhog coughed, so there will be panic.
Many Americans are now avoiding people who were in Asia like they had the plague, and there are also talks of a temporary travel ban and racism to go along with it. But it will get worse. Bats are expected to be banned everywhere, as well as all things associated with bats. The Harley Quinn movie will be watched by even fewer people than expected. The start of spring training will be pushed back a few weeks, and Major League Baseball might get that shorter season its players have been hoping for. Lamborghini would have stopped producing its Murcielago model, except it was discontinued ten years ago and most who couldn’t afford one didn’t notice.
Corona Beer, however, will not have its business interrupted. The worried population is likely to drive the demand for beer higher than it has ever been.