‘Where Have All My Fans Gone?’ Inside The Thoughts Of The Kraken COVID Variant
A new version of COVID-19 is slowly crawling its way through Canada. Dubbed the Kraken subvariant, XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible version of the disease yet, and seems to be immune evasive, meaning it spreads regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Nevertheless, it hasn’t appeared to shake Canadians’ mounting disinterest in COVID-19, and their wariness of any return to public health sanctions.
In Dear Diary, the National Post satirically re-imagines a week in the life of a newsmaker. This week, Tristin Hopper takes a journey inside the thoughts of the COVID-19 virus.
I’m not too proud to admit when my 15 minutes are up. And who am I to seem ungrateful? It was only three years ago that I was just some podunk novel respiratory virus flitting around the markets of Wuhan, China. Three months later and I’m the biggest thing since bubonic plague: Magazine covers, celebrity sightings, entire sports leagues closed in my honour.
But I became a victim of my own success. “Do it like Ebola; hit hard but always leave them expecting more,” they always told me. But no, I wanted it all: Airborne transmission, breakthrough variants, zoonotic jumps to cats, deer and even captive lions. And the result? I’ve been so pummelled by mutations and vaccines that there are times I think I’d be lucky to get a residency in Branson, Mo.
There’s no shame in being an endemic illness. Sure, I can’t shut down entire economies anymore, but I’m still giving flu and pneumonia a run for its money. No matter how low my confirmed case rate dips, there’s still nothing quite like the phrase “I’ve tested positive for COVID-19.”
And it’s why this Kraken subvariant may be just the comeback I need. It’s smart, it’s sexy, it captures all of the mystique of the original while giving the public just a hint of something new and exciting. Before I inevitably get tossed into the “where are they now?” realm of epidemiological history, let’s go out with one last hurrah.
Where are all my fans? The legions of admirers who wore N-95s to go on a walk? The teachers’ unions who forced kindergarteners to spend months telecommuting to story time? The celebrities shaming anyone who so much as flashed a glimpse of their uncovered mouth in public?
Sure, I’ve still got public health officials issuing “strong recommendations” to mask indoors, but it’s just not the same without the implicit threat of death or social ostracization. People are sanitizing their hands more, I guess, but they’re not reporting their neighbours for having a BBQ. It all just feels so forced. I just thank providence the Delta variant isn’t still around to see this.
People seem to be missing the key detail that Kraken is the most transmissible COVID subvariant ever. It’s immune evasive. And it’s named after a sea monster! It’s a giant tentacled beast from Scandinavian folklore, except that it’s invisible! It’s literally floating in the air you breathe!
And need I remind everyone that civil society is back open. You’ve got unmasked people packing into concerts, young people swiping their way through Tinder queues, randos crossing borders without so much as a glance at their vaccination record. My god, seniors are hanging out with their families instead of sitting alone all day! Kraken thrives in these conditions. And yet, crickets.
You want to guess what virus they were talking about on cable news this morning? Was it Kraken, the terrifying, unstoppable new edition of the deadliest infectious disease since the Spanish Flu? No; they were talking about respiratory syncytial virus. I’m losing out to RS freaking V! At this rate, I’m going to get steamrolled in the ratings by meningitis.
They said 2016’s Ghostbusters was the most lacklustre reboot of all time, but what if you’re a reboot so lacklustre that people don’t even notice?
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