Robert Kirby: COVID-19 — the after-party

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Kirby

I keep expecting an asteroid to hit Earth. After weeks of one thing after another, it seems next on the list of horribleness.

Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it. If it happens, everyone will blame me for calling it. On the other hand, if the asteroid is big enough, I would have to put up with the outcry for only about an hour.

As awful as it is, the coronavirus pandemic has been an inconvenience for me and those I care about the most. My elderly parents remain locked down in a good care facility, my grandkids are safe, my daughters are coping, and so far the only thing my wife is sick of is me.

The other bright side is that there might be a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. According to the experts — as reported by a not-so-expert media — the curve of virus-related deaths is starting to flatten.

As we take things more seriously by social distancing, washing our hands, not touching our faces, and sacrificing small animals, the number of coronavirus cases has started to drop.

Figures. We’re humans. It takes having the [stuff] scared out of us before we start taking things seriously.

Too bad we can’t reduce the number of gun deaths, DUI fatalities, and sexually transmitted diseases the same way.

For example, about 30 people die from drunken driving crashes every day, or about one person per hour. While DUI statistics have dropped over the past decade, there’s still room for improvement. And we know that fear is the answer — especially among the immortals: young people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millennials are the most likely to drive while hammered. Oddly, it’s the same group too often seen ignoring the demand for social distancing right now.

If you fall in this age group, don’t worry, you’ll get over it — if you live long enough, which brings us to coots like me who have.

The virus is the most lethal among boomers, people with preexisting conditions like geezerism, terminal grouchiness, and various projectile wounds. We need to take better care of ourselves.

One thing is certain to affect all of us, regardless of age, because of the pandemic: the aftermath.

Assuming the virus doesn’t mutate to the point that it cleanses the Earth of human life, there will be serious post-pandemic adjustments.

Just as domestic violence increased while we were shut in but couldn’t shut up, so, too, will more people conclude that their significant other is an alien life form requiring the help of a lawyer to get rid of it.

Panic-buying — especially of liquor, guns and toilet paper — will continue for a while. Hand sanitizer, which because of its dual purpose is already being referred to as a “COVID martini,” will remain a survival necessity.

Public coughing, sneezing and spitting are sure to become every bit as offensive as public urination — if not more so. Makes sense. Not many people have died as a result of the latter.

Worse, we may have to look at our pets more realistically. According to a Reuters story, cats can be infected with COVID-19.

There is some good news: Dogs, apparently, cannot.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.