Whether some people find it realistic or not, I see the world being taken out by some type of virus.
There’s even an iPad app that you can play called Plague, Inc. [iTunes, Android] where you are the bacteria (standard level), virus, fungus, parasite, prion, nano-virus, or bio-weapon. The background music is from the movie Contagion [imdb], for those of you that have seen it. You pick a name for your bacteria, mine is usually N7H4, and choose a country to start in.
Countries that are more developed, such as the US, UK, China, etc, will begin work on a vaccine quickly and try to combat your bacteria, while those that are poor and/or have bad living conditions will spread quickly and kill a lot of people before public notice begins to take effect or vaccine research begins. Of course once it travels via livestock, airplane or boat it begins to spread to other countries.
The point of the game is to hit hard and hit fast before the people get you. You modify the genetic code by mutating and adding new symptoms (nausea, pneumonia, hemorrhage, etc.), selecting new environmental abilities (where it can survive), and transmission modes (blood, livestock, water, etc). Little news blips let you know how the public is reacting.
It’s actually quite fun and I love to play! I’ve never actually wiped out the entire world yet but not for lack of trying. I think I’ve gotten down to two people left alive, but of course they repopulated the world. Damn them. Despite the lightheartedness of the game, I actually believe in this so strongly that I’ve looked into changing my future degree to one in epidemiology.
epidemiology (n) /ˌepiˌdēmēˈäləjē/ – The branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of diseases.
So what does one’s future look like in this type of life? How will a person survive the end of the world by plague? While I have my own basic prep list, I’m basing my answers off of the movie Contagion and an amazing Twilight fanfiction called ‘Exposed‘ written by kdc2239 [Katie] (@kdc2239). Both follow a disease and it’s progress through the world-wide public based on previous epidemics.
The aftermath of the disease is tragic and gives the viewer an idea of what we can expect if something like this should happen in our current lifetime. Of course modern medicine is developing every day and maybe this could never happen – but viruses and bacteria are very smart in mutating so it is entirely possible.
- Relationships: I believe that relationships – romantic, friendly, and familial – will still exist. People will cling to their loved ones and do anything to keep each other alive. Though blood will more than likely be thicker than water and if it came down between a friend or a family member, I think the family member would win every time. This would be a scary time for everyone. If there was any hope on that horizon of finding a healthy individual of the opposite sex that could be a good match for you and to help repopulate the world, wouldn’t you take it?
- Privilege: Those that are considered ‘high priority’ or have loads of money will go underground and hide first. They will be taken to ‘secure’ locations to try and prevent from getting sick as long as possible in the hopes that a vaccine will become available.
- Environment: The government will slowly be controlling everything, from travel to the news to health care. Pharmacies, grocery stores, and banks will become over run. Borders will close down to quarantine individual counties. Curfews will be in effect. Mass graves will become a common thing. Some people will develop their own type of hazmat suit to walk around in. Houses will be stripped of supplies by either those packing up to leave or people who need more for themselves. Guns will more than likely be carried by each person or group for self-survival. I imagine bodies will pile up in houses and on the streets. Hospitals will be overflowing to the point of turning away people. Women are pregnant or who become pregnant will be giving birth at home using kits with the essentials, passed out from hospitals and other healthcare organizations.
- Politics: Politics has been essentially wiped out and now it’s every man for himself. Some could say that it will be ‘survival of the fittest’, whoever is smart enough to take the precautions will make it the longest.
- Technology: Phones will become a lifeline for those who have families long distance. Media will be important to spread news about vaccine progress, death tolls, tips and precautions from the government, etc. I believe people will become more dependent on technology than we do already simply for the fact of obtaining information.
- Gender roles: The bacteria or virus will not take into account gender when it wipes out a person. In the groups of people who band together the males will more than likely take up the leadership positions and become more aggressive in defense of those in their clustered groups.
- Food, water, shelter: Stocking up at the first hint of an epidemic will not be surprising, and supplies will most likely dwindle quickly as people have a tendency to over-estimate their supply and rations. For those that have houses they will probably stay where they are as it’s at least a reliable place to sleep and keep warm. There are such things as Pandemic Flu Protection Kits which contain respirator masks, gloves, goggles, gowns, germicidal wipes, hand sanitizer, and Gatorade rehydration mix.
- Post-humanity: It’s safe to say that the world would never be the same again after a pandemic outbreak. People would still be on edge and the survival instincts of ‘protect your own’ would still be at the forefront of the brain. It may take many years or decades before the world would be back to a semblance of normalcy, however immediately post-emergency the economy would be collapsed, there would be no jobs except the government, hospitals, and utilities (electric, water, cable, etc.).
This future looks very bleak but I do believe it will happen one day. Maybe not in my lifetime, you never know, but in the meantime I will be doing all I can to be ready. What about you? If this was our future will you be prepared?
Also many of these types of scenarios are the start of the Zombie Apocolypse. Ever seen The Walking Dead? [imdb] The most amazing show on tv within the last five years. Go watch if you haven’t yet!
Participate in this Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia!
CDC Emergency Preparedness
- Get a kit (disaster kit)
- Make a plan (develop a family plan)
- Stay informed (shelter, quarantine, and coping)
- Pregnancy (in depth info for expectant mothers)
Wanna know more about Plague, Inc.?
- Zombies overrun Plague Inc. in new expansion (pockettactics.com)
- CDC Invites Plague Inc. Creator to Give Lecture (escapistmagazine.com)
- Apps: Plague Inc. (puremassacre.wordpress.com)
Check out these other great bloggers:
- 26:2 Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia! (The Musical) (thebeltanedaily.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Challenge: Dystopia (storiestoshareblog.wordpress.com)
- Dystopia! Writing Challenge. (teaandtriangles.wordpress.com)
- A dystopia of our own making… (shannonturlington.com)