Cases c.500 

The numbers are climbing impressively and I must admit that I’m a bit surprised that we’re all still talking about it. It was days like this that the word exponentially was made for. One of those beautiful words that languishes in the back of our minds and waits for its day. 

The numbers are rising and my old man in wales thinks that he has the disease. In truth he’s been through most of the others in his mind and now that he knows how to access google, can self-diagnose in an instant. I’ve told him to use the web for what it was meant for but he says he’s too old for porn. I don’t believe him. 

Some of my overseas students have jumped ship and gone home for a couple of months to see out whatever it is that we get hit with. The Chinese have gone back there since it seems to have peaked. In Europe they say we have weeks – months even before it peaks. We’ll have to see about that. I’m still not sure. 

What I am pretty sure about, though, is where it’s all come from – and that’s great as I plan to start on the next book. 

There are some countries that can get away with this sort of thing. They’re the ones with brutal but effective regimes; the countries that put the national interest before the interest of the individual. Communism helps in this regard, but it doesn’t need that sort of emotive tag. Simply a country that can put the squeeze on without too much of a fuss; that can expect almost total obedience from its citizens. These nations are vilified by us western liberal states, but they do work.  

Sometimes they work too well. Look at China. Home to a quarter of the world’s population and yet still with a boot firmly on the throat of the lot of them. So when that power needs a boost or looks like it might slip, measures need to be taken to regain the grip. In the past wars have helped to shake things up – and you think those natural disasters are all, well, natural?  

But this time it’s something new. Something new cooked up by the boffins unfettered by developing actual weapons for actual wars. A new weapon: a way to do a number of things: 

  1. Control a population 
  1. Target that control at the useless aged 
  1. Deplete small renegade businesses and mop up the margins 
  1. Remind the population who the boss is. 

Gee nee us. 

A place as vast and dense as China can spread an artificial virus in a flash – and then lock it down. The people that need to die: tens of thousands of ill and elderly, briefly mourned and then gone. Billions saved in health, social care etc etc. The authority reaffirmed. Job done. Six months. 

That’s all good. China takes strides towards world superpower through means that not many other nations could because of their inability to exert the same pressures upon their people as the Chinese more than any moral dilemma. There’s little doubt that they all know about what’s going. No doubt that they with they could do the same. It’s become pretty clear that the Western Way is in serious regression as it spends more time on fringe issues than things that matter (though that’s a different thing). 

But what if one of those western nations suddenly has crazy ideas of recreating its former grandeur with an growing economy run my fresh-faced youngsters while the rest of its neighbours age and fade away.  

Somehow Italy managed to get hold of China’s virus and had a go at its own little purge. The oldest population in Europe would soon be the youngest; its health care system, only having to deal with a fraction of the usual cases would be the envy of the world; cash spend on the elderly would go into manufacturing and innovation. Rome would once again rule. 

Trouble is that the European authorities, like the Americans, can’t put their big boots anywhere near the throats of their citizens without major revolt. Recent and more distant conflicts resonate loudly still and previous wars have not faded. People move where they want; they do what they want; they know their rights. And so the virus runs out of control and we all get a piece of it. 

In the long run we’ll all benefit, of course. And in close circles the Italians will be lauded as the world breathes a sigh of relief. 

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