Viral Overload

‘It’s very small. I can hardly see it.’

’Well, yes, it’s a virus, it’s sub-microscopic. Here, let me turn up the magnification.’

‘Ah, yes, that’s better. Goodness, it’s very colourful isn’t it? Red and blue. Reminds me of a pin-cushion I’ve got at home.’

‘A pin-cushion? What’s that?’

‘Hah, men! You wouldn’t know a sewing basket if it jumped into your nose.’

‘Like this virus you mean.’

‘If you say so. It looks too small to do any real harm.’

‘The smaller the nastier. Like Napoleon or Hitler or Dec.’

‘Dec? What’s that.’

‘You know, Ant and Dec. Maybe I mean Ant. Ant sounds as though it should be smaller than Dec.’

‘I don’t think that’s fair. Neither of them seems particularly nasty.’

‘You’re probably right although they do make me want to throw things at the telly. Anyway, what do you think of our little virus.’

‘Well, I wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark alley, cuddly pin-cushion or not. Where are its eyes?’

‘Eyes? It doesn’t have eyes. It’s an infection, not an animal.’

‘Oh. How does it see where it’s going then?’

‘Well, it doesn’t need to. It just goes where the wind takes it. Most of them don’t find a new host at all; they just wither and die as it were.’

‘Did you say wind? Now that’s interesting. I always thought they came out of your mouth and nose – coughs and sneezes, you know – not your, well, rear end… ‘

‘I’m sorry, I don’t quite follow.’

‘Just as well. You’d be in direct line of fire if you were following, wouldn’t you? I mean, ordinary farts are bad enough but if these little blighters are involved as well, it would be doubly unpleasant.’

‘Oh, I see what you mean. No, I think you misunderstand. I wasn’t referring to passing wind, just, you know, wind in general. The fact is that if you were a carrier and coughed, millions of these viruses would travel over four feet.’

‘They travel in feet, do they? Why do we all have to stand two metres apart then? Surely it should be, let me see, about six and a half feet.’

‘Yes, it’s the same thing.’

‘Is it? I suppose foreign viruses think in metres, English ones probably in feet and yards.’

‘They don’t think at all.’

‘Really? I mean, they must have a plan. There’d be some thinking to do, I imagine. You know, meetings, focus groups and so on. They surely can’t just be shutting their eyes and hoping for the best.’

‘Like our government you mean. And anyway, as I said, they don’t have eyes.’

‘So, no eyes and no brain. Ears? Are they particularly good listeners?’

‘No, no ears either. Nothing really.’

‘They should be easy to defeat then, surely. We can just get out of the way when they attack. They won’t know where we’ve gone if they can’t see or hear us. And if they die after four feet anyway, I can’t see the problem.’

‘Ah, but they’re the invisible enemy. That’s what President Trump calls them.’

‘Well, you don’t want to believe a word of what that man says. They’re definitely not invisible, are they? I can see them here on your machine: red and blue pin-cushions. If we put posters up with their picture on, everyone can keep a look-out. Easy. Don’t know what all the fuss is about, frankly