‘Here is a fact,’ Camp stated after we made ourselves comfortable on our perch on the glassed-in veranda at Gramma’s Pub. ‘After Trump’s first term in office a quarter of all federal judges, including two supreme court judges, will have been appointed by him, changing the judiciary of the USA for a long time to come.’
‘And now Trump has declared himself the top cop in the land as well as judge and jury. As of today, Trump has pardoned twenty-five convicted criminals, some of them pals of his, undoing years of prosecution and legal work,’ Camp said.
‘Let’s switch to the other hot topic of the day,’ I said.
‘Here is another fact: The Corona virus has increased from two dozen a couple of months ago to seventy thousand. And those are only the official numbers. Estimates and models range more in the 400’000 to 600’000 infected persons, Jeremy Farrar, an infections specialist points out. He also says that the world has not seen an outbreak like this in the last one hundred years and he doubts that the virus can be contained or even eliminated. It’s only a question of time until the virus is everywhere, in every country. He is watching how Singapore deals with the infection, having one of the most advanced healthcare systems and being an island at the same time.
‘Scary stuff,’ Camp said, ‘and the figures are mostly supplied by at best case a reluctant and at worst a lying, cheating China and so many conspiracy theories swirl around this outbreak. Anything from the ‘wrath of God’ to man-made and released on purpose scenarios to the big die-off of humanity that will save it from annihilation. From Armageddon to salvation. It’s out there.’
‘Maybe Trump will bring the solution by invoking a Chinese travel ban,’ I said. ‘On the other hand, this is not a joke. There are no antidotes, no immunizations on the horizon, no cures and no sure methods of containment. According to this guy Farrer, each infected person can pass the virus on to 2.5 new people. Influenza only has a factor of 1.4.’
‘This virus will be tough on modern health systems and rich countries but it will be devastating for the poor ones.’ Camp said, shaking his head of grey curls which are in dire need of some grooming but he doesn’t seem to care and apparently neither does Muriel who likes the shaggy dog look of her partner.
‘What can we do but read and weep,’ I said, sipping my beer which suddenly didn’t taste so good anymore.
‘Reality can be a depressing mistress,’ Camp said. ‘We must be positive and look forward to every new day and enjoy the good things in life, like this fine pint of crafted beer. No use getting all morose and twisted in knots. We’re only useful when we stay positive and keep our sense of humour, even in the face of disaster.’
‘Nicely put but mere words won’t change anything. Action is required but apparently not from you and me.’
‘What happened to you two?’ Vicky asked, when she replaced our empty glasses. ‘You used to tell jokes and have a laugh. Now it’s all doom and gloom, misery and calamity.’
‘Ok, I got a joke. Here goes: A Roman walks into a bar and holds up two fingers like a victory sign and says. Five beers please.’ Camp slaps his knee with glee but neither Vicky nor I got the joke until it dawned on me. ‘V is the Roman equivalent of five.’ I said.
‘I got that,’ Vicky said, I just don’t know what’s funny about it.