What if instead of a virus, we had a world wide pandemic of panthers?  It would be millions of panthers  all over the world.   There would be panthers just about everywhere.  They would be in people’s yards, in the trees, and wandering about town.  They could not be missed, these large predators.   You could describe them as biomechanical; They have jaws, claws, and four legs that could outrun anyone.  Being hungry, they would be a visible threat.  If you were in your pajamas at home you would think twice about putting on a pair of pants and going outside if a panther was lounging on the patio.  If you wanted to go to the library there might be a panther or two in the fiction section.  In your church, there could be panthers in the pews or lapping out of the baptismal.  The parsonage could have a panther in the pantry.  The presence of panthers would make for a strong effort to deal with the pandemic.

The virus that causes covid-19 is tiny.  It is about one tenth of a micron and the cell it invades is about 10 microns.  It takes an electron microscope to see it.  The virus is also biomechanical.  There is a spike protein on it that acts like a key to get inside the cell.  It latches on to a receptor on the cell surface and then can get in.  If enough viruses do this, it becomes a disease.  But unlike a panther, it is too small to be seen and it is easy to think it is not there.  Also, many people seem to think such a tiny thing won’t hurt them.  I can think of all the times on interviews I have heard people discounting it.  More than once I have heard people say that Jesus would protect them so they don’t need to wear a mask and want to go to a crowded service.  Many young people, thinking they are invincible, want to party.

All of the countries in the European Union understood the threat posed by this virus and gave a strong response that brought the disease down to a manageable level.  Many of the Asian countries such as China and Taiwan did even better.  You could say they saw the panther in the pandemic.  Because of their efforts, they didn’t damage their economies as deeply, and are in a much better position now.

In the US that did not  happen for lots of reasons:  It was a “hoax” created by the democratic party  to make the president lose the election.  Masks became a issue of party loyalty and was not a prophylaxis against a dangerous disease.  It was just a “cold”.  Businesses were pressured to open and schools were as well under threat of defunding, and so on.  Too much emphasis has been put on a vaccine that will save the day.  It may be a long time for the United States to get back up.  We may need to take the measures being taken now for some time even with a good vaccine.  It’s a bit like the poem from Ogden Nash:

                          The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn’t been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don’t anther.


I wonder what witty poem Ogden Nash would write about covid-19.  I thought of one involving  Friar Tuck but the rhyme that came to mind was not appropriate.  So. . . . . . I’m stuck.

by Paul snoey

About Paul Snoey

I have a degree in Biology and Environmental Science from WSU Vancouver
I am very fond of Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek and do a lot of volunteer work to restore these creeks.

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