An interview with Princess Aislinn, Monty and Storm on the CORONA outbreak

Earlier this week we talked to Princess Aislinn, Monty and Monty’s best friend Storm on how they perceive the entire Corona or COVID-19 outbreak. You may know the trio from the upcoming Young Adult Fantasy book Children of Little Might, soon to be published by Rhetoric Askew Publishing.

It’s a bright and sunny morning when we meet in a little cafe a bit off the beaten path at the border of Monty’s hometown. Monty has hot chocolate, while both Princess Aislinn and Storm take iced tea. We want to talk them about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, but to start off light, we first show them a Youtube song: My Corona.

My Corona – on the music of My Sharona

Both Princess Aislinn and Storm shake their heads when the video plays, but it’s Monty who is clearly annoyed by what they sing about.

Monty Hill: This isn’t fun.

Storm: They’re a bit laughing with the panic around it, rather than the outbreak itself, M.

Princess Aislinn: It’s really okay, Monty. I think they take it more serious than it shows from their video.

It’s obvious Monty doesn’t agree, but he keeps quiet.

Q: So, how do you perceive the COVID-19 outbreak? Do you think there is any need to panic?

Princess Aislinn: it’s easy from my perspective, really. If I ever catch the Coronavirus, I return to Kalpana, wish my health returns and I’m healed. For most of the Da-rìribhians that’s not really an option, I realize that.

Storm (intersects quickly): Da-rìribh is how Kalpanians call our world, but you discover that in the book on our adventures.

Princess Aislinn: Yes. Well, I think the scariest part is not the disease itself, but everything else that comes with it. Misinformation, we call it in Kalpana.

Q: Such as?

Princess Aislinn (thinks for a moment): There is this one story where the virus either escaped from a medical lab or was planted there to destabilize the Chinese government.
(She once more hesitates)
I discussed this with father’s commander. Let’s say it escaped from a lab. Maybe even a military grade one. Officially, everyone will deny that, of course. So how can you be sure that it didn’t happen that way?

The answer, so it seems, is far more straight forward. If this was meant to destabilize one country, they did a very poor job. Let’s look at the death toll. The commander pointed me to a dashboard of the John Hopkins University. More than half of the patients have healed and only a fraction of those ill, die. Also, look at how it spread. World wide. First in Asia due to the failure of the Chinese government, then in the Middle East because of Iran’s inabilities to cope with it and later in Europe because of a mistake made in an Italian hospital.

If you wanted to hurt someone, don’t you think you would chose something far more deadly? Like Ebola, for example? It’s far more aggressive. At this very moment 3 in every 100 patients die from COVID-19 and that number has come down dramatically. At first, it was around 15%, which really isn’t that lethal at all, if you know that with Ebola, 1 in every 2 patients die. From the flu, 1 in every 1000 patients die, but still it kills on average around 400.000 to 500.000 people. A year. With the corona outbreak, less than 4.000 people died. Even SARS killed more people: one out of every ten.

Storm: The main issue is of course that people fear something new. And they love to point to similar outbreaks, like what the Spanish flu did between 1918 and 1920. Some fear we will see the same problems with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Princess Aislinn: But people forget one thing, Storm. In 1918, when the Spanish flu presented itself, your world just overcame a very rough period. World War One had ended. A lot of people were weak due to starvation. You can’t say your world is in similar conditions. At the contrary, even. Economically speaking you guys really rocked these last years. So, there are a lot of differences and enough reasons to believe you start far better off.

Q: But there are a lot of myths going around.

Storm: Yes. Like it was ‘invented’ to scare anti-vaxxers into vaccinating their kids (laughs). There is but one problem with it. We don’t have a vaccine. THere are many more, even on what foods may help. M found a number of sites that explain these myths and show why they’re wrong. M, can you show them to us?

Monty: Uh. Ah. Sure.

John Hopkins University – Myths and Facts. (PDF)

Our World in Data: COVID-19. (an overview of what we found so far)

Brussels Times: Fake news around Corona spreads. (Especially food related)

Myth Busters (by the WHO – World Health Organization)

Coronavirus creates a fake-news nightmarescape. (Vanity Fair)

Fake Corona tweets spread as other sites take harder stance.

Thank you for meeting up with us. Keep it safe. And above all, have fun. And most of all, take care of yourself and your friends and family.

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