Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sherlocking in the Time of Coronavirus

Okay, let's step out of the non-lethal Victorian fogs of fictional London for a moment and get to our current miasma, that lovely, lovely coronavirus. All of our chickens seem to be coming home to roost with this little pandemic, and even our comfortable haven of Sherlockian joy cannot remain unaffected.

Every spring brings such delights as Holmes, Doyle & Friends in Dayton and 221B Con in Atlanta, and their timing this year could not be worse. Especially if one was intending on flying to one of those spots, with all the human contact air travel brings, as well as that traditional ailment known as "con crud" that tends to infect folks in the aftermath of fun social weekends.

As a lifelong Sherlockian it's very much in character to swing a fist and go, "Damn the tapanuli fever, full steam ahead!" But as a guy who works in the hospital business and fully aware of how overfilled our medical facilities get during a normal flu season, the idea of a rampant viral spread is pretty scary, even if ninety-five percent of the victims do get over it. If all the hospital beds, etc. are occupied with virus patients, the normal things people need medical treatment for have to be triaged in as well, and collateral damage is a very likely possibility. And that's just one factor.

As a son, as a nephew, a son-in-law, and friend, there are still a lot of folks in my orbit who are more at risk than I, and given recent birthdays, well, technically I guess I'm in the "at risk" category now, too. And while 221B Con as a whole is maybe a little younger and a little healthier than many another gathering of Sherlockians, it's also one of the largest gatherings in the hobby. And large gatherings mean adding a few points to the percentages. 

We're still twenty-three days out. Quarantines are currently being set at fourteen days. If everyone and everything behaves, we could see things level out, but humans are notoriously unreliable when it comes to a mass coordinated effort toward any beneficial effect. And the horses could be out of the barn at this point, in any case.

Soooooo, tonight I sent a little notice off to the 221B Con panel organizer that I am taking back my panel applications. The plane ticket is paid for, the hotel reservations are there, so there's still an open window if twenty-three days see a different scene that what we're seeing happen elsewhere in the world. But at some point, one has to be a little responsible in one's Sherlocking, no matter how much the love of the hobby, and think of those we might affect.

Take care of yourselves, my friends, and pay close attention to the world around you. Don't mess with fevers or dry coughs. And don't bother looking for Sherlock Holmes quotes about washing your hands.

"He must have stayed in the room some little time after the murder, for we found blood-stained water in the basin, where he had washed his hands, and marks on the sheets where he had deliberately wiped his knife."
-- G. Lestrade, A Study in Scarlet

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