Am so — R-Naught

As we speak, COVID-19 is raging through Indonesia.

Now, normally, I’d not pay too much attention to this bit of information except that, my friend and artist/illustrator, Yulian Mulyono ( lives on the island called Lombok (just east of Bali) and has had a rough time of it. His story is, well, tragic and I feel for him. His mother died of the disease in January, he caught it, probably at the funeral, and spent a month in the hospital trying to recover. He still suffers long-hauler’s symptoms and his entire existence is now living in his tiny apartment, telecommuting, leaving his door unlocked so that if he dies the authorities don’t have trouble retrieving his body — his words!

He’s pretty much lost the desire to do anything but work (funny how that survival instinct permeates us humans). I try to call him from time to time, he’s 15 hours ahead — scheduling is rough — but he’s trying to keep his spirits up.

OK, now, why all this?

I got to thinking about the delta variant of COVID that is shredding that country and many others similar in economic and political station. We, in the US, in progressive states where our vaccination percentages are 70% or higher, are feeling pretty good about the situation. We’re rational beings. We’re protected. If you’re too stupid or stubborn to get the vaccine well, good riddance.

Folks in places like Indonesia are not so lucky as to have the choice of getting vaccinated or not. And herein lies the rub, in places that continue to be decimated by COVID, the disease continues to evolve.

First we had Wuhan’s variant. Then the:

  • Alpha (Britain),
  • Beta (South Africa),
  • Gamma (Brazil) and
  • Delta (India) variants.

Now there is the Lambda (I think they’re skipping around with the Greek alphabet) from Peru. And undoubtedly there are other variants in the works.

“I am so immune.”

“You R-Naught”


The CDC estimates that the R-0 (R-Naught) of the Delta variant is around six or seven. For every one person who gets that strain of COVID, roughly six or seven available, unvaccinated, previously unexposed folks will also contract the disease. And this disease is less than two years old. It’s got ages to continue to recirculate within the world’s population, evolving, mutating into variants even more virulent and deadly than Delta. We, the vaccinated, will not be protected for long.

So, sorry Yulian. You’re getting a shitty deal. Keep at it, though. Get back to drawing — your so damn good at it. And if there are other folks out there who find your instagram account, maybe they’ll heart your recent efforts.


One of Yulian’s illustrations that is included in my novel The Gribble’s Eye. Here the “Gribble”, Argus Panoptes of Greek myth, helps build Gobekli Tepe — the ancient Anatolian temple. Pretty cool, huh?

25 thoughts on “Am so — R-Naught

  1. @Tom Being Tom…I’m in Australia and I’m unvaccinated, but only partly from choice. As an over 60, the only vaccine currently available to me is the AstraZeneca. I’m holding out for the Pfizer because I’m not a ‘lucky’ person. With my luck, I’d probably be that one in 100,000 who dies in a horrible way from AZ caused blood clots. You can also say I’m a coward. I can live with that. But…I’m not being stupid. I’ve been self-isolating for close to a year and a half now. It hasn’t been easy but while I have the internet and a garden to walk in, I can live with not socialising in real life. Don’t throw your life away. Even if you survive an acute case of covid, surviving with long covid is almost as bad. Life is good. Hang on to it!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Definitely not! I’m in a fortunate position in that I can continue to self-isolate, which protects both me and those I might come into contact with. As soon as either Pfizer or Moderna become available for my age group, I’ll be first in line.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Once again this seems to be a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. I do however like that you employ an Indonesian for illustration Anonymole. Of course to Americans in general that makes you “a bad guy”.

    Anyway hopefully the powers that be will get the vaccines where there most needed. And obviously that would only be because we rich end up deciding that it’s in our own best interests, but still.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This made my head hurt on so many levels I became a bird in the hand looking before it leaps walking on the sunny side of where ignorant greener pastures are blissfully counting unhatched chickens. Free Brittany!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Sorry to hear about your friend.

    The discrepancy between rich and poor nations right now isn’t good, not just for humanitarian reasons, but because the rich nations aren’t protected until all the poor ones are too. The politics of this is probably going to make it last far longer than it needs to.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I was hopeful, for a minute, that the worst was behind us. Now I’m not so sure. We’re in the dead (no pun intended) of summer and we’re spiking in the states. Those who refuse to get vaccinated – most of my family and friends, to be sure – will double down on that. It’s still just a flu. It’s still the biggest hoax ever. I even have a very progressive-minded neighbor who refuses because she’s “Already had the virus, twice. Immune, now, don’t you know?” Follow that logic to the grave.

    The Spanish Flu came in two winter surges. Winter 2 approaches. I’m vaccinated and living in a town that’s fairly isolated from the waves, so what’s a soul to do? I’ve only recently returned to the world (re: “church”). Should I abandon that already, hunker down, wait it out, or continue to be in the world with the other, clearly unvaccinated humans? A question I ask myself all the time.

    Okay, time for some Madden now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This era seems to be our divisive moment. There for a while, the 80’s, 90’s and perhaps the ’00’s, at least to me, our differences seemed minor, our common challenges, great.
      The Orange Idiot and this disease have split us down a glaring line, the two sides of which appearing irreconcilable. That line has always been there, but subtly evident. Today, it defines us.

      I used to think we (humanity) needed a common cause — an alien enemy — to unite us, force us to see our similarities. These days I don’t think even that would help.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hard to believe a virus has been politicized…but here we are. Sinking into the abyss denying it all the way down. (It’s not turtles all the way down. It’s denial all the way down. ) LOL!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I have a terrible feeling that we’ll plough through the entire Greek alphabet before this is over. Your friend is a beautiful artist and his situation sounds so depressing—I hope he makes it through.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I agree with Duke. The planet sneezes, we’re gone. However, forget Indonesia for a minute and consider the lunacy that drives the “disproportionate” number of Covid cases “inflicted” on the various shades of black and brown population. All over the news in a dozen languages – stay home, wear a mask, don’t gather in large groups. So here’s this Latina holding a picture of a birthday party held last summer, maybe 30 people in it, no masks, pointing out the dead ones. I don’t have a housekeeper (except me) but my daughter does. She got re employed, rehired the housekeeper. How ya been? Well, both parents and a brother are dead. Got your shot? No. WTF? The biggest drive through vaccination hub in Dallas sure as hell wasn’t in the White/Asian burbs, it was smack in the middle of the “marginalized” demographic. Door to door canvassing. No shot? That’s not crazy redneck Trump bullshit, that’s just dumb. The rumors around black and Hispanic fears are as stupid as my brother in law’s. Covid nor the vaccines are ‘targeted”. There is no conspiracy – some people are just too fucking stupid to save their own lives. How many vaccines an$ supplies have we sent out, no strings? 600 million people in India still shit outdoors. In the words of Steve Hardin/Point Blank “What the hell did you expect?”

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Hi A. Mole,

    Well, as I was reading your post, I thought, when did I write this? You have done what I use to do … try to get rich people/governments/agencies to give a damn about places where strangers were dying. It is hard to work in some lousy place and fund raise at the same time. It makes you cynical, unhappy; and you end up absorbing a sense of doom in everything you see. A friend just taught me the word catastrophazing. Yeah, sounds more literate than Murphy’s Law or SNAFU. We live in a time where all of these very negative things are coming together at the same time. People say, well look at WWII or the Middle Ages. Aren’t we better off? I don’t think so. Which brings me to Indonesia. What is going on now, reminds me of the Toba eruption about 70,000 or so years ago. Although there is plenty of debate about the effect of Toba on humans, there is little doubt that it produced significant reductions in the human population worldwide, along with a host of other species. Did it almost wipe us out? Maybe. Did you ever watch “The Last Man On Earth”, with Vincent Price? Anyway, I think we are in that region right now. Anything could happen. We have so many choices to put us all under ground. I guess ultimately, we would all return to the sea, assuming it is still there. Like another friend of mine say, the Earth is going to do just fine, but the humans are all going to die. I argued back, Oh yeah, well, I’ve noticed that so far it’s just everybody else that dies and never me, so there. Thanks for the post. Duke PS, I realized I didn’t write the post when I saw the drawing. I can’t draw.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You should have seen the mock-ups I drew to *guide* Yulian. Mine were hilarious caricatures.
      His story gets worse. His preferences put him at a cultural (perhaps life threatening) disavantage. To assuage his mind, I told him to get on his scooter and tour the islands, take photos, swim the seas around such a beautiful place. He says, it’s too dangerous — bandits.
      Sheesh, no wonder he’s stressed out.

      Your worldliness must certainly give you a perspective that few could match. I can see how you would easily empathize with this post.

      “The Last Man on Earth” — sounds like Mary Shelly’s novel. She sure had it out for human kind. I’ll look for the Vincent Price version.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I left this out.

        They’re rioting in Africa,
        They’re starving in Spain.
        There’s hurricanes in Florida,
        And Texas needs rain
        The whole world is festering
        With unhappy souls.
        The French hate the Germans,
        The Germans hate the Poles;
        Italians hate Yugoslavs,
        South Africans hate the Dutch,
        And I don’t like anybody very much!
        But we can be tranquil
        And “thankfill” and proud,
        For man’s been endowed
        With a mushroom-shaped cloud.
        And we know for certain
        That some lovely day
        Someone will set the spark off,
        And we will all be blown away!
        They’re rioting in Africa,
        There’s strife in Iran.
        What nature doesn’t do to us
        Will be done by our fellow man!

        Those great prophets and truthtellers, The Kingston Trio.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Cheesus, man, no improvement in sight and you may or not be aware…a residual Trump effect…”they” are not reporting the true numbers of infections here in the states. At least you won’t see it on major brainwashing media.

    Liked by 3 people

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