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Basement Hostages Blissfully Unaware of Pandemic

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — 64-year-old captor Charles Lynn Gartner’s basement-dwelling hostages remain blissfully unaware of the global crisis happening right outside their cage, sources feeding them dog food twice a day confirmed.

“As much as I’ve wanted to say something to the captives, I felt it best to shield them from this information. I mean, this would be the first time they’d learn that asshole Donald Trump is president. I can’t do that to them. It’s just too cruel,” said Gartner from the living room of his dilapidated farmhouse. “Hell, even if I did release them now, all the things they’d want to do — eat out, go to a park, see their loved ones — are not options. And honestly, I don’t want them thinking their relatives are going to die before I release them. I’m too benevolent of a God for that.”

Despite Gartner’s efforts to keep morale high and spare his prisoners from the hideous truth, the captives are having trouble seeing the positives.

“I don’t know what’s happening… but for some reason, we’re no longer getting rice, and he’s now making us all stand six feet apart. Why is he like this? I’ve done everything he’s said since day one,” said Thomas Fielding, who has been missing for eight years. “It’s so dark here, and so cold… and now he’s rationing toilet paper. Something must be going on out there, because I can’t hear the neighborhood children laughing anymore. I always thought their joy made my captivity more painful, but now that it’s gone, I actually feel worse.”

While the urge to be honest with people is tempting, Sarah Heldman, the Director of Public Affairs for the Center For Disease Control, stressed the importance of limiting social strife.

“Oh, sure, it seems like the right thing is to let everyone know. But that just adds unnecessary stress and increases overall panic. For societal health, we really should skip telling the infirmed elderly, young children, and people trapped in dank, dark cages in an out-of-work auto mechanic’s makeshift nightmare prison,” said Heldman via Skype. “And to be honest with you, I’d rather drink my own urine and never see the light of day again than know what’s coming after COVID-19. Because that shit is fucked up.”

Gartner could not be reached for further comment, as he was busy screaming at a photo of his mother.