17. COVID-19: The Covidiots

My dear learning community,

Bryant Culpepper, a county commissioner and former paramedic in Okeechobee, Florida, told the public that heat kills COVID-19, so all you need to do is use a blow dryer to heat your nose to 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). Culpepper said, “So you hold a blow dryer in front of your face, you inhale, with your nose, and it kills all the viruses in your nose.”  


Wait, what? Someone with a medical background and serving in the capacity of county commissioner said this? Yes. COVID-19 not only infects our respiratory tract, but in some cases, impairs our critical thinking skills and we become covidiots – COVID idiots. Covidiots suffer from covitis, meaning they are compelled to give advice that is not based in medical science.


In fact, in this particular case of using a blow dryer, medical professionals say you can actually harm the lining of your nose and mouth, the very lining that is supposed to protect you from becoming infected with COVID-19. In short, do not use a blow dryer to try to kill the virus. Don’t be a covidiot!


This letter will be about COVID-19: The Covidiots


Covidiots can be found all over the world, from the top leadership positions to the average university student on spring break. Below are some examples:



Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, played in a hockey game on Saturday, March 28, exactly one month after the first case of COVID-19 was registered in the country, saying to reporters, “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!” Pointing to the hockey arena, he added, “There is no virus here. This is a refrigerator, it is the best thing for your health. Sport, especially on ice, is better than any antiviral medication. It is the real thing.” While a packed arena watched President Lukashenko play hockey, Belarus recorded 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. In fact, Belarus has not placed any restrictions on sporting events, and has not issued any quarantine or lockdown orders. Earlier in the month, President Lukashenko also said saunas, vodka, and working in the fields were the best prevention against COVID-19. “The tractor will heal everyone, the fields heal everyone.”


Belarus, along with other former Soviet bloc nations, are not spared from COVID-19 (440 confirmed cases and 5 dead).


And yet, professional football matches continue (spectators now have their temperature taken before entering the stadium though). Some shops have closed voluntarily, but Belarus is open for business.



Rina Harun, Malaysia’s Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development, released a series of statements about COVID-19 prevention. These statements, which were released on social media with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, included, “Don’t nag your husband,” “Refrain from being sarcastic,” “Dress up and wear makeup in the home.” 


The notices have since been removed, after backlash from the community. Malaysia has also closed schools and businesses and banned international travel.


Malaysia leads Southeast Asia with the largest number of people with COVID-19 (3,483 confirmed cases and 57 dead).



In late March, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continued to dismiss COVID-19, attending a large rally, where he hugged and kissed supporters. President Lopez Obrador claimed he uses “protective shields,” which are religious amulets he keeps in his wallet, to protect him from contracting COVID-19. Later, in an online video, President Lopez Obrador says, “….continue taking your family out to eat … because that strengthens the economy.”


Mexico finally declared a health emergency and modified lockdown in early April, admitting they are not immune from COVID-19 (1,890 confirmed cases and 79 dead).


United States

Brady Sluder, an American university student, defied orders against large gatherings and traveled to Florida with his friends for spring break. He said “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying,” adding, “We’ve been waiting for Miami spring break for a while, about two months we’ve had this trip planned. We’re just down here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.” Everyone saw the photos of the spring break students on the beach in Florida, and now we learn that dozens of them have been diagnosed with COVID-19.


Brady Sluder did finally understand he was wrong, posting an apology for his reckless behavior, “I wasn’t aware of the severity of my actions and comments. I want to use this as motivation to become a better person, better son, better friend, and a better citizen.” 


President Trump has declared a state of emergency and invoked the Defense Production Act, and 45 out of 50 states have issued lockdown orders.


The United States leads the world in the largest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (311,637 confirmed cases and 8,454 dead).



So who are the covidiots? They are people who ignore public health warnings, believing they are immune from the virus, or provide advice about false cures. They do not practice social distancing, not understanding that even if they are symptom-free, they can be carriers of the virus and spread it to others. Maybe China should assign a special color code for covidiots, signaling everyone to stay away from them!


Stallions, I am glad you are not covidiots.


Always, with best regards, stay safe, Semper Gumby


Dawn Dekle, PhD

AUN President (Vice-Chancellor)


Teaser: stay tuned for the next letter from the desk of the AUN President, on the topic “COVID-19: Generosity”