AUTISTIC NICK, THE CORNOVIRUS, MELBOURNE AND THE VIRGIN BANK CLOUD
The villagers of Joondalup awoke to a blazing sun shining in on them, they showered, ate breakfast and went about their daily business, commuting into the heart of the CBD, they looked down onto their phone screens, some took calls, other shook hands, and they thought nothing of it.
But a dark cloud was on the horizon, this would come be known as COVID-19 or to give it it’s proper name Coronavirus.
Currently with this virus spreading it reads like the plot of the 2011 movie Contagion.
Returning from a business trip in Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff has a layover in Chicago to have sex with a former lover. Two days later, in her family home in suburban Minneapolis, she collapses with seizures. Her husband, Mitch Emhoff, rushes her to the hospital, but she dies of an unknown cause. Mitch returns home and finds that his stepson Clark has died from a similar disease. Mitch is put in isolation but is found to be immune; he is released and returns home to his teenage daughter Jory.
In Atlanta, representatives of the DHS meet with Dr. Ellis Cheever of the CDC and express fears that the disease is a bioweapon intended to cause terror over the Thanksgiving weekend. Cheever dispatches Dr. Erin Mears, an EIS officer, to Minneapolis to investigate. Mears traces the outbreak back to Beth. She negotiates with local bureaucrats, who are reluctant to commit resources for a public health response. Mears later becomes infected and dies. As the virus spreads, Chicago is placed into quarantine and looting, and violence break out.
At the CDC, Dr. Ally Hextall determines the virus is a mix of genetic material from pig and bat viruses. Work on a cure stalls because scientists cannot discover a cell culture within which to grow the newly identified MEV-1. University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor Dr. Ian Sussman violates orders from Cheever to destroy his samples and identifies a usable MEV-1 cell culture using bat cells. Hextall uses the breakthrough to begin work on a vaccine. Other scientists determine the virus is spread by fomites, with a basic reproduction number of four when the virus mutates; they project that 1 in 12 of the world population will be infected, with a 25-30% mortality rate.
Conspiracy theorist Alan Krumwiede posts videos about the virus on his blog. In one video, he claims he has cured himself of the virus using a homeopathic cure derived from forsythia. People seeking forsythia overwhelm pharmacies. During a television interview, Krumwiede discloses that Cheever secretly informed friends and family to leave Chicago before it was quarantined. Cheever is informed he will be investigated. Krumwiede, having faked his illness to boost sales of forsythia, is arrested for conspiracy and securities fraud.
Using an attenuated virus, Hextall identifies a possible vaccine. To cut out the lengthy time it would take to obtain informed consent from infected patients, Hextall inoculates herself with the experimental vaccine and visits her infected father. She does not contract MEV-1 and the vaccine is declared a success. The CDC awards vaccinations by lottery based on birthdate. By this time, the death toll has reached 2.5 million in the U.S. and 26 million worldwide.
Earlier in Hong Kong, WHO epidemiologist Dr. Leonora Orantes and public health officials identify Beth as the index case. Government official Sun Feng kidnaps Orantes to use her as leverage to obtain MEV-1 vaccine doses for his village, where she remains for months. WHO officials provide them with vaccines, and she is released. When Orantes learns the vaccines given to the village were placebos, she runs to warn them.
In a flashback, a bulldozer knocks down a tree in a rainforest, disturbing some bats. One flies over a sty and drops a piece of banana, which is eaten by a pig. The pigs are slaughtered and prepared by a chef who shakes hands with Beth in the Hong Kong casino, transferring the virus to her.
We haven’t gotten to this stage with the Joondalup villagers are pilfering and smashing in shop windows, but we have had toilet paper show downs so, so far so good.
But this virus has affected my week as follows.
I spent half of the day on the phone to Virgin Airlines, the IBIS hotel and my insurance company cancelling my up-coming trip to Melbourne due to the Victorian government declaring a state of emergency, because the thought of them closing the Perth boarder and being stuck in Melbourne for two weeks in isolation was too much for me to bear. I don’t mean that I didn’t want to spend two weeks in Melbourne, but rather it would be how would I afford to stay in a hotel for that amount of time? Who can afford that? Certainly not me. My money from the hotel and the airline are now currently in a cloud bank account. I have a year in which to re book and reuse the money I paid out. I am at a low ebb right now. I had a tuna salad sandwich for lunch and this ultimately proves it.
Still at a low ebb. Not even a virginal brand spanking new un-used puzzle book can pull me out of this slump. I send an email to the person whose workshop I was meant to be attending informing them of my decision not to travel. They unlike Virgin and the IBIS hotel will refund me the full amount that I had paid out to attend the workshop.
Still at a low ebb due to my trip being cancelled and me and the rest of Australia being held hostage by COVID-19. Even scrambled eggs on toast won’t put a smile on my face.
I spent an hour with my support worker. We went to my local shopping centre (the quieter one of the two). I’m still being very vigilant around being safe with social distancing (Four Square Metres per person) is the required safe distance. My support worker had her hand sanitiser ready to pump into our hands. Lunch is home made muffins. A slight smile has come back to my face.
I’m mentally, physically exhausted. This blog post will be very helpful to those who are feeling anxious and stressed https://autisticnick.com/2019/10/29/autistic-nicks-guide-to-de-stressing-yourself/.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
I have had a very quiet weekend; I have also been quietly stock piling essential items just in case the worse comes to the worse.
Carry On The Conversation
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.