Day 57 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

All this to say, Dr. Swan is not a wacko. Still, flatulence as a carrier for Coronavirus…I don’t know…sounds like some weird idea Winthrop Dijkstra-Baum would come up with.

Monday, May 11, 2020 – Live to Blog in a Well Ventilated Room


There are so many things we don’t know about COVID-19…yet. Some things we are learning are quite serious. Other things…well, you be the judge.

Does Passing Gas Spread COVID-19?

Catching up on episodes of The Late Show with Stephen Cobert over the weekend I learned of some new scientific research on the spread of COVID-19 which could have serious implications for all of us who love beans. According to Cobert, scientists in Australia have been studying whether the Coronavirus can be spread through flatulence.

I wasn’t sure whether that was an actual thing or if it was part of the comedian’s schtick for the night. Turns out the New York Post reported on April 20th that Dr. Norman Swan said in his podcast that people may pass COVID-19 when they pass gas. When you navigate to the New York Post site in the link above, be sure to watch the brief video so you can hear Dr. Swan make his case personally.

Dr. Swan, it turns out, is nearly the counterpart in Australia to Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN here in the U.S. Gupta is a neurosurgeon in Atlanta who actually does practice medicine, performs surgery, and teaches at Emory University School of Medicine. If you’ve been following Dr. Gupta during the COVID-19 pandemic, his coverage and reporting has been some of the best. He is my “go to” guy on television for information when Drs. Fauci, Birx, and Redfield are nowhere in sight. Dr. Swan is a medical journalist though it does not appear he is currently practicing medicine.

All this to say, Dr. Swan is not a wacko. Still, flatulence as a carrier for COVID-19…I don’t know. Sounds like some weird idea Winthrop Dijkstra-Baum would come up with.

When I am filled with uncertainty I go to the source of all knowledge – Google, not Winthrop, to be clear. I asked Google to search for answers to a question worded exactly like this: “Does passing gas spread coronavirus?” Here’s some of what came up in the search:

USA Today: Fact check: We know about coughs and sneezes. But can coronavirus spread through farts?

Forbes: Can Farts Transmit COVID-19 Coronavirus? Here Is What Is Being Said

The Sun: Load of Guff? Doctor says coronavirus could be spreading through farts – but experts aren’t so sure

The Jarkarta Post: Smelly and dangerous? Scientist, doctors on whether farts transmit COVID-19

I hope you took a few minutes to look through some of those articles. Really, it was an education at so many levels and in so many ways.

So, does passing gas also pass the COVID-19? There was some research conducted and reported in the British Medical Journal back in 2001. It had to do with passing gas into petri dishes, really. I think you’ll have no problem sniffing out the article. Once you open the link above (or the next one) just scroll down the page and keep your eyes open for Hot Air? Ironically, the research presents a compelling case for why wearing a face mask helps prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Because, you see, in the case of flatulence, our pants are also masks. If you know people who really can’t understand the value of wearing a mask, share this article with them…seriously…maybe they’ll get it then.

Of course, these days, whenever we need a lift from the news, we just turn our ears and hearts to the music of “Frozen.” Enjoy!

The Adventures of Chickenman

Rhyme is running crampant in Midland City and the call goes out to the Fearless Foul for help.

In Reality…

We know far less about COVID-19 than we think we do. For months millions, if not billions, of dollars have been invested in learning its origins, how it spreads, and what it does to the human body. While we have learned much, there is still much we do not know.

Yes, we had some fun with the question of whether it COVID-19 can be spread through flatulence. The truth is nobody really knows for sure. Just when we think we have a handle on the virus, we learn something new. So, as ridiculous as it sounds, and as much fun as Cobert and other comedians have had with the topic, the most honest response is to check the box “Unknown” for right now.

In the meantime, there is some really disturbing news about COVID-19 that is being reported. On Sunday The Washington Post reported that doctors continue to discover new ways COVID-19 attacks the body.

Today, there is widespread recognition the novel coronavirus is far more unpredictable than a simple respiratory virus. Often it attacks the lungs, but it can also strike anywhere from the brain to the toes. Many doctors are focused on treating the inflammatory reactions it triggers and its capacity to cause blood clots, even as they struggle to help patients breathe.

Lenny Bernstein and Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post, Sunday, May 10, 2020

Despite the occasional therapeutic diversion into the absurb, let us never lose sight of the fact that this is a real disease that is killing many people. On February 29 the first COVID-19 death was reported in the United States. In the 72 days since there have been (up to this very minute) 80,238 more deaths.

That is 8,023 people per week; 1,114 per day; and 46 people per hour. Think about it…people in the U.S. are dying from COVID-19 at a rate nearing 1 per minute. And we still don’t know how and why it is they are dying. We though we knew…it was respiratory. But now…is it circulatory? Or it something else altogether?

This is why I believe we are in this for the long haul. We still know too little. For this reason, it still makes sense to do things that protect ourselves and others: keep physical distance, wash our hands, don’t touch our faces, cough into our elbows, and wear a mask anytime we leave the house. None of that seems so onerous does it if it means we help save lives?

Lessons from Mom Needed

I’ve been getting a few responses to the question I posed yesterday: What lessons have you heard from your mother in the past that are now good lessons for staying safe in a pandemic? You can respond by leaving a comment on this blog below, you can respond to the posting on LinkedIn or Facebook, or you can follow this link to a Mother’s Lessons for Being Safe in a Pandemic (a Google Form) where you can answer the question. Later this week I’ll share (anonymously) what I’m getting from folks.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and, remember, your pants are a mask for your hiney.


Author: The Driveler

Tom Klaus is the Driveler. On March 16, 2020, the first day of the Novel Coronavirus shelter-in-place order for his state, he started writing a daily blog to keep himself from stressing too much about the pandemic situation. He thought the daily blogging would last for only a couple of week but it stretched on to 77 consecutive days. Then he continued writing daily for a while after that as well. At some point the blog became The Daily Drivel...mostly because he was mostly writing the stream of consciousness drivel that was pouring out of his head, running down his face, and, sometimes, out of his mouth. In November 2020 he launched The Daily Drivel as a free-standing website/blog.

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