Virus of the Year Awards
Juvenal (Book I): difficile est saturam non scribere.
Oh, gee, I mean, sure, I was hoping and all but this is really, no, honestly, I mean it, a total honor. I was proud to win in 2020 and here I am winning again in 2021. I want to thank everyone who made it possible but, of course, most of all the media. If it hadn’t been for all my supporters in the mass media I truly wouldn’t be standing here today, clutching this amazing award.
How do I feel? Honestly? I feel awesome! Wouldn’t you? I mean, when was the last time a microscopic entity was credited with so much power? Headlines like World Economy Reels From Coronavirus and Coronavirus Throws One And A Half Billion People Into Penury say it all. I have to look at myself every morning in the mirror and remind myself that, hey, know what? It wasn’t really me at all.
I mean, let’s be truthful here. I’m a microscopic particle. At least 90% of people don’t even notice they’re infected by me. Worst case, only three people in every thousand die, and most of those deaths are due to my wonderful friends in the medical profession who insist on putting people into coma and artificially ventilating them — a truly magnificent procedure that risks killing even perfectly healthy people! I mean, really and honestly, I wouldn’t be standing here today if it weren’t for the amazing efforts of all those doctors who just keep on doing it even when all the evidence shows it’s totally the wrong thing to do. These people are the real heroes! I certainly wouldn’t be here without their tireless help behind the scenes.
But hey, like I said at the beginning of my acceptance speech, I know that most of all it’s the newspapers and TV I have to thank above all else. Without the endless stream of sensationalist scare-stories full of context-free numbers to terrify the masses, the hard truth is that no one would even have noticed me. I mean, nearly ten times as many people die every day from lifestyle-induced illnesses, and who notices them, right? Nobody! But thanks to all the help I get from my dear friends in the media, you all think I’m the deadliest threat to humanity since they canceled Friends after only ten seasons!
So yes, sure, I feel honored and lucky and when I let myself go I feel just a little bit powerful too. But, you know, I didn’t actually do anything. I mean, c’mon, I’m just a virus. Let’s get real! It was you out there who panicked. It was you out there who destroyed the livelihoods of millions and millions of people by shutting businesses and closing borders. It was you who wrote a death sentence for millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children by suspending life-saving vaccination programs across the developing world.
Me, I did nothing.
It was you who decided facemasks and hand sanitizers and elbow-bumps were talismanic, magic, and good juju. Sure, they seem maybe a little more plausible than garlic and leeches, but let’s face it: the science was never there. You ever read any of those studies? Hilarious! I mean, sure, everyone needs their RO1 grant money, but still… And if facemasks and sanitizers work so well, why did you impose all those lockdowns? I mean, it seems like they weren’t working and if that’s the case then why keep doing it? Just asking…
But hey, I’m certainly not complaining, right? The media was truly awesome, making you all terrified and then telling you about the magic wonders of facemasks. Shit myself? Well, as a virus I don’t actually have an anus, but I nearly died laughing.
Now it’s not all been smooth sailing for me. When some of the world’s most eminent researchers, doctors, and scientists published the Great Barrington Declaration that pointed out how your glorious coronapanic was causing much more harm than I was, I got seriously worried. Fortunately, you humans are so great! Not only did you ignore these people entirely but you also censured them! So much so that their website is now unavailable! As an administrator of a particularly famous university wrote to one of the signatories, “The general public is of the belief that SARS-CoV-2 presents a major threat to their wellbeing. Under such circumstances the facts, whatever they may be, are irrelevant. We, as an institution, cannot be seen to be undermining official government policy. We therefore require you to cease propagating information and opinions that could be of detriment to the University.”
Seriously guys, you’re the best!
You want to know my favorite moments? How about the deal with restaurants, right? Gotta wear the mask on the way to your table otherwise everyone will die, but when you sit down, it’s OK to take off the mask! Because, like, I’m the world’s most totally well-mannered virus. I won’t attack you when you’re trying to grab a bite to eat or wash your food down with a drink! No sir, I wait patiently until you put that funny old mask back on and only then do I try to pounce!
I also loved all the cleaning and sanitizing. Oh boy, do I wish I’d bought shares in cleaning products companies! Watching people earnestly cleaning staircases in case the soles of someone’s shoes would catch coronavirus! And then watching people slipping and falling because of the wet stairs! Man, I was laughing for months with that one. And you know what? It’s just as well for all you poor humans that I can’t be transmitted by physical contact. Because, just think about it (which you certainly won’t, thankfully, otherwise I wouldn’t be here receiving this award today): all those sanitizing fluid dispensers all being touched desperately by everyone just like religious people rush to touch the bones of a saint…those sanitizing dispensers are the perfect transmission vector!
But hey, even if I can’t take advantage of it myself, some virus in future surely will. And then we’ll all of us little viruses be laughing hysterically!
And speaking of laughter, I can’t help but guffaw when I’d see people wearing facemasks in their cars, with the windows rolled up. Or those rules that say folk have to wear facemasks whenever they go outside. Like the risk of transmission in the open air is a real thing! Hilarious! What are all those numbskulls they thinking? Oh, right: they aren’t thinking! Thanks again, good buddies in the media! Great job! Terrified people equals empty heads. And nobody’s got emptier heads than politicians. Totally love it!
So I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me to clutch this fantastic award for the second year in a row. Though there are way too many of you to name individually, a special call-out goes to my friends at The Economist magazine who keep writing articles where the data shows one thing but their conclusions are the exact opposite. Seriously, I love you guys. You validate all the crazy nonsense churned out by the tabloids and TV stations. In fact I’m gonna mention you to my friends at Saturday Night Live so you can expect a call real soon! My favorite moment? Your hilarious stuff about how the mortality rate has fallen in the West not because all the old and sick people died a few weeks earlier like the few smart and not crazy-scared people predicted, but because — now get this, it’s a totally awesome argument — because all those facemasks magically saved people from diseases that weren’t even spreading at the time!
And these are supposed to be the smart journalists, not the dumbos on TV!
But seriously folks, even though I’m just a microscopic virus and don’t have anything like your central nervous systems, even I can’t help but wonder at just how dumb you all are. Take airplane flights, right? You only let people on airplanes who’ve either had their vaccinations or have tested negative for me. Which means that the very last place on Earth anyone’s at risk of catching me is on an airplane. So what do you make all those poor saps do? You make them wear facemasks throughout the flight! Boy oh boy, do I love this one! It’s like making dead people wear warm clothing so they don’t catch cold! But then, because I’m this totally well-behaved virus, you let the passengers remove their facemasks while they’re eating and drinking! Because it would be rude of me to try to infect them before they’ve got their facemasks back on!
You guys crack me up, you really do.
But hey, you’re only human, I get it. Your brain mass is basically there to stop your heads bobbing around when you walk. Actually using your brains isn’t in your job description. And frankly, as a virus, I love that. I am totally one-hundred-percent appreciative. But now, after so many months of doing almost nothing, I know I have to step up and play my part and become worthy of this award you’ve graciously bestowed upon me for the second year running.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m teaming up with my friends the doctors and my other good buddies in the media and we’re launching our sure-fire can’t-miss Protect Yourself Against Coronavirus product. You get six hungry leeches and a plastic bag. You carefully place the leeches on your groin, in your armpits, and behind your knees. Then you pull the plastic bag down over your head and fasten it tightly around your neck. This is way better than facemasks! Nothing can get in or out! You’ll be totally 100% safe!
Make sure you follow the instructions carefully, ’cause I’ll be watching! Oh — and if you should, by some terrible chance, happen to die of asphyxiation? Well, we’ll just add you to the list of deaths attributed to me. Because, hey, I’d really like to be back here again next year to pick up this fantastic award in 2022!
And with your continuing help, I feel confident I can do it.