Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.
Disclaimer: Obviously there’s nothing funny about coronavirus, which is claiming lives across Europe, and that makes writing a satirical column rather tricky. At the same time, we need to keep our sense of humor in these difficult times, so let’s try and do that.
Picking out truth from fact can be hard enough at the best of times, but even more so now that most of Europe is at home trying to juggle work with childcare. That’s led to a huge amount of false information about coronavirus being spread online. Here’s the Declassified guide to things that categorically do not stop you getting coronavirus.
(Important note: I’m not a doctor but I do own records by Dr. John, Dr. Dre and Dr. Hook, which is effectively the same as seven years at medical school.)
Bad news for U.K. cabinet minister Michael Gove, but Colombian marching powder does not stop you getting the virus. That didn’t stop such claims being made online, forcing the French health ministry to post a message on Twitter making it clear the claims were not only wrong but also dangerous: “No, Cocaine does NOT protect against Covid-19. It is an addictive drug causing serious adverse effects and harmful to the health of people.” Meanwhile, Health Minister Olivier Véran is sparing no efforts to correct false claims, especially when they come from not so well-meaning fellow politician Ségolène Royal.
The Blue Ridge Poison Center in Virginia was reduced to warning the public that bleach is for cleaning, not drinking. Of course if you drink enough bleach, it will kill coronavirus — and also you.
Bad news for our old friend, ex-Paris mayoral candidate Benjamin Griveaux, but doctors say that knocking one out does not boost your immune system. Hands up if you’ve tried it during lockdown! On second thought …
Charles de Gaulle said that “faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own.” Liam Gallagher thought he had coronavirus but it turns out he just had the heating too high in his house! He made the confession when a fan asked him on Twitter: “Liam what’s ur thoughts on coronavirus?” The ex-Oasis singer replied: “It’s very confusing and scary … I feel like I’ve had it 7 times the last few days then realised the house is just hot.”
As if we haven’t suffered enough, the U2 frontman, with crushing inevitability, has written a song to, er, help. Called “Let Your Love Be Known” it contains the line “I walked through the streets of Dublin, and no one was near.” Who wants to tell him that’s that got nothing to do with coronavirus?
“What’s for dinner? Same as yesterday, toilet paper and hand sanitizer.”
Last week we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our post bag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).
““Two faced? Not me” By Anthony Reeder
Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.