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April 2020

1 April 2020

This edition of Anna's News Clippings unmasks a cornucopia of Covidiots. It may help to wash your brain frequently while reading.

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South Korea's River of Grace Community Church gets the (spiky) ball rolling with its attempt to use salt water to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. At a service in Gyeonggi Province, church leaders sprayed saline solution into the throats of believers, one by one, all with the same nozzle and without disinfection between sprays. According to Lee Hee-young, who leads the province's coronavirus task force, among the roughly 100 people taking part was 'a follower who was later confirmed as a patient'. Through the power of sprayer, 46 people in the procession ended up infected with the virus, including the pastor and his wife.

In contrast, alcohol can be effective against the virus. Heeding rumours that drinking it can cure or prevent the disease, several hundred people in Iran have ended up in hospital as victims of methanol poisoning. For at least 44 people, the approach did prove successful, in that a corpse cannot easily contract the coronavirus.
Health Ministry official Ali Ehsanpour stated that those preparing the anti-virus concoction used bleach to obscure the colour associated with denatured alcohol. Seven bootleggers have been arrested.

We now take you to Phoenix, Arizona, where a couple in fear of the novel coronavirus recognised the connection between a substance at the back of a shelf in their home and a heavily publicised Presidential news conference addressing the treatment potential of chloroquine, often used to treat malaria in humans. Chloroquine phosphate was on the ingredient list of an aquarium-cleaner cum parasite treatment left over from when the woman kept koi, so she and her husband each mixed a teaspoon of the substance with soda, ingested it, and fell extremely ill within 20 minutes.
When 'my husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand', the 61-year-old woman rang the emergency services. Shortly after the couple reached a Banner Health hospital, he died. The woman, who was in critical condition at last report, summed up her conclusions by telephone from her hospital bed: 'Don't take anything, don't believe anything, [...] call your doctor.'

C[IMG: Bits from the video]ody Pfister is a 26-year-old Missouri man who decided to tempt fate by licking various items for sale at Warrenton's Walmart. In a video of this act, which he later posted online, Pfister proclaims 'who's afraid of the coronavirus?', prompting people from as far away as Ireland and the Netherlands to contact the local police department with their answer. Pfister has been taken into custody and faces charges of making 'terrorist threats' that constitute a 'low-level felony'.
In addition, major US media have reported on a call to the police in Wisconsin prompted by a woman licking the handle of a supermarket freezer. This attempt to undo the work of a manager who was trying to disinfect the store was reportedly 'to protest the virus'.

In another act of reality-defiance, several young adults in Kentucky convened for what they dubbed a 'coronavirus party', thumbing their noses at state orders to keep their noses two metres apart. Governor Andy Beshear has reported that at least one of the attendees has developed coronavirus symptoms and tested positive for the disease. Beshear concluded: 'This is one that makes me mad. We have to be much better than that.'

Joanne Rust, Labour councillor for King's Lynn and West Norfolk, wanted to enjoy her holiday in Tenerife and wasn't about to let quarantine orders stop her. Considering the hotel room she shared with her husband so small that she 'couldn't stay there all the time', she decided to go for a swim. This did not sit well with Paradise Park Hotel staff, who ordered her to return to the room. She refused. In the end, Spanish police officers jumped into the pool to arrest the 53-year-old Rust. Other tourists cheered as she was led away in handcuffs.
After a night in jail, Rust stated that the rules had been unclear. She added: 'The police asked me why I didn't get out of the pool, but it's because they were hostile and aggressive and I was scared.'

A hotel in Florida is the setting for our next veritable SARShole. Angel Hernandezcinto, 31, was arrested for stealing 66 rolls of toilet paper from Orlando's Marriott Hotel, where he worked as a cleaner.
He confessed after a security guard spotted him loading a bin liner and another bag, both with suspicious bulges, into his SUV. Hernandezcinto later offered the defence that was worried about how an impoverished female friend would get by at this time of shortage and that he'd hoped to give the rolls to her.

It isn't unheard of for people to call in sick when not truly ill. On occasion, a malingering employee even forges a physician's note. An 18-year-old employee at a McDonald's in Hamilton, Ontario, took things a bit further by faking a doctor's note declaring her to have tested positive for COVID-19. As soon as the note was given to her supervisor, the fast-food outlet was closed for disinfection, and all the workers there were sent home to self-isolate for 14 days.
According to Constable Lorraine Edwards, the young woman is being charged with fraud and mischief, among other actions having a significant impact on the restaurant, local customers, and employees.

Daniel Reardon had a clever idea for helping to reduce infection-friendly actions: a necklace that buzzes when the wearer's hands are near his or her face. This Australian astrophysicist became frustrated when it ended up having 'the opposite effect - it buzzed continuously until a magnet was put close'. While thinking about what angle to take next, he began idly playing with the magnets. This was not a problem until, having used a pair of magnets to create a 'magnetic piercing' in one of his nostrils, he did the same with the other nostril, whereupon 'they all pinched together, and the ones on my septum got stuck'.
Pliers didn't help, and neither did his final two magnets, which ended up merely adding to his cluster of woes. Reardon ended up heading for the local hospital in Melbourne, where his partner works. They solved the problem. As for the necklace idea, Reardon has given up for now.

A show at Liverpool's Hot Water Comedy Club prompted a concerned Facebook Live viewer to report the venue to the police for violating the national ban on large gatherings. One of the club's owners, Paul Blair, recounts that the convenience store next door rang to report that a full police squad had arrived. As CCTV footage verified, about 20 police officers proved unable to shut down the comedy show, however. This is because it consisted of comedian Paul Smith presenting a series of clips from two weeks earlier, when the club was still holding live events. Although Smith made references to pre-recorded content at several points, Blair believes that the waste of police time was not deliberate.

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