When COVID-19 hit Northern Italy, the highest concentration of tango events in the world, I assumed we’re probably all going to get it. And when the first encuentro-related infections surfaced, not one tanguero in the world was surprised. The Dutch prime minister clearly doesn’t know tango. He still believes there are only eighty infected persons in the country. Our weekly milonga in Amsterdam is moving to the damage control phase. We wash hands religiously and invite dancers to give their email address, so when a COVID-19 infection is reported, we can notify them. This way, they can avoid contact with elderly family members or neighbours. But there is a better solution to all of this.
A lot of things are still unknown about COVID-19 but we know that it is not the name of an obscure rapper. We also know that the little motherfucker has caused about 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide and is only warming up. It could also have a number of evil twins. The death toll of your household flu is around 0.1%, COVID-19 killed between 1.4% and 2.3% in China. The mortality rate goes up from age seventy (8%) to eighty and older (14.8%). Its older brother, influenza, caused 32 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths this season, in the US alone. Talk about a dysfunctional family. A fun fact is, that COVID-19 travels faster than influenza, so maybe it is just some kind of flu that simply infects more people. In short, it’s just what the tango world has been waiting for.
Before I go on, I want to talk about my mother-in-law, who is eighty-nine. She is not a statistic. She is the last remaining of our parents and going for two more good years, but might also live to be hundred. We moved her to our village, to be close. She doesn’t want to die too soon, because of ‘all the trouble we went through’, moving her. Given the fact that there is a high likelihood I’ll get infected, and may even be infected now, without knowing it, I am focusing on not touching or hugging her, keeping my distance and washing my hands until they are wrinkled. ‘That’s alright’, she says, ‘but will you still clean the slippery terrace, like you promised? It’s dangerous.’
If it is true, that our little rapper hitches rides in warm bodies faster than the flu, which infects 5-10% of us every year, maybe 30% -50% of us huggers might catch it. This is why I say: let’s get it over with. Active dancers have effective immune systems, our chances of beating this thing are fairly good. We should all travel to Italy and dance for three or four weeks until we are bug free. Isn’t a tango marathon just like the ideal quarantine? We could have medical staff hanging around, while we cough and sneeze our way through tandas. I am looking forward to that solution, and also to seeing the face of my boss, when I explain it to him.
(Last week’s story: https://tangofolly.com/story/please-stay-a-bit-longer-158441/)