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Safe sex, unsafe world

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

(Important note: I’m not a doctor but I do have terrible handwriting.)

In the words of the great philosopher Billy Ocean, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

And so this week we were treated to the (non) sight of U.S. President Donald Trump hiding in a bunker underneath the White House to avoid protesters furious at the death of George Floyd. The lights were off and someone was home, which is the exact opposite of what people normally say about Trump.

It didn’t take long for the president to have a large fence erected around the White House perimeter, which means he finally got that wall he always promised (and all U.S. territory south of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has now been ceded to Mexico).

Meanwhile in the U.K., the government has scrapped its coronavirus press conference on weekends after claiming too few people tuned in to watch it on TV. Yes, it seems vital public health information has to compete with “The X Factor” and soap operas for it to have actual meaning.

But there has been some good news this week — as long as you are the Phantom of the Opera, Zorro, Hannibal Lecter, Catwoman or Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th.”

According to scientists from Harvard University, the coronavirus could be spread during sex so couples should put on masks before getting down to it. The researchers ranked different sexual scenarios, based on how likely you are to catch coronavirus during them. Sex with people within a household, and with people from other households, were ranked as “high risk” activities.

Of course what we really need in these tough times is some positive news for all of us, and we sure aren’t getting it from Dr. Michael Greger. His new book, “How to Survive a Pandemic,” warns that a virus emanating from overcrowded and unsanitary chicken farms has the potential to wipe out, er, half of humanity. He ranks COVID-19 as a weedy two or three on the scale of pandemics, and “The Big One, the typhoon to end all typhoons, will be 100 times worse when it comes, a Category Five.”

So congratulations to Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who boarded a Space X flight and headed to the International Space Station, where presumably life is less awful than it is down here on Earth.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

“It’s fun to stay at the YMCA.”

Can you do better? Email pdallison@politico.eu or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

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).

“If I drive like this to Durham do you think anyone would notice?” by David Spence

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.

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