Common Topic

Pandemic

Keywords: medicine

We live in an age where pandemic disease has considerably receded as a daily concern. Even here in the Free States, this is actually by dint of considerable and ongoing effort on the part of the New World Order. In the past century, pandemic disease was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, including people whose deaths are usually attributed to a larger factor such as war. Many of the victims of war of the past century actually died of disease that spread in its wake and the collapse of healthcare systems. The pandemics of the 21st century were instrumental in shaping the world in which the Order arose, and the New World Order views fighting pandemics as one of its central missions.

Historical Context

An epidemic is a disease outbreak that quickly spreads to a large number of people in a given population. A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads over a very large scale - continents, or even the whole world. In a globalised world with rapid international travel, pandemic is a constant worry, because a disease could in theory spread globally very quickly and be difficult to contain. In Common, a pandemic or an epidemic is called 'ny awkenpolny', with the sense of 'pandemic' clarified as 'ny onpas awkenpolny' if necessary.

Throughout human history, people have lived in dread of virulent plagues that would sweep through an area and kill a significant percentage of the population. For something to qualify as a 'pandemic', this type of mortality is not a necessary characteristic, but this is the fear in the minds of the public and policy makers when they think about 'pandemic' and what the public health measures to contain and combat pandemics are trying to prevent.

The pre-Collapse authorities took this possibility extremely seriously, and some of the most effective global institutions were those like the World Health Organisation dedicated to responding to and containing outbreaks of communicable disease. As a testament to this, the last really catastrophic global pandemic had been the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 which killed 50-100 million people, mostly young and healthy, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic of the late 20th century, which killed tens of millions in more of a slow burn and absolutely devastated certain especially impacted communities. These outbreaks were bad, but the potential for much worse was routinely averted and even the technically challenging HIV was eventually made a treatable chronic condition and somewhat contained.

The Global Collapse had conflicting influences on the spread of pandemic, but mostly negative:

  • There was a severe reduction in global travel and trade, which was a positive impact that served to slow the spread of disease.
  • However, countries had a harder time controlling the flow of people, and in most areas, some form of global trade persisted or else the region was in communication with nearby areas that in turn had global connections. So disease still spread globally.
  • The disintegration of global institutions and international cooperation impacted national and global health organisations as well, making the response to outbreaks much less effective and creating a much reduced focus on communication and preventing spread across borders.
  • Panic about disease caused many countries to periodically try and block off international trade and travel, which proved to have limited effectiveness in stopping the spread of disease, but did exacerbate the Global Collapse, which in turn deepened other factors that were making pandemic disease worse.
  • The ruined economy was less effective at producing medicines, or making the ones it did produce available where they were needed.
  • Damaged or destroyed global institutions were less effective at studying and developing new therapies for new diseases.
  • The collapse of public water and sanitation and electrification caused an explosion of waste and water-borne illnesses. Cholera, for example, made a huge comeback worldwide.
  • The spread of impoverished and essentially anarchic areas where people lived in close quarters with animals and the continuing incursion of human populations into natural habitats created ideal incubators of new disease.
  • Vaccination all but collapsed, except in the major cities which were the nuclei of the reemerging states, and was inconsistently applied even there. There was a high rate of vaccine refusal due to the paranoid conspiracy theories  about vaccines which had been circulating since even before the Collapse. Many areas actually made people pay for vaccination, which not everyone could afford, and not all areas had access to all of the recommended vaccines due to the overall problems with global trade.
  • For a century pre-Collapse, antibiotics had taken the terror out of bacterial infections. Starting even before the Collapse, antibiotics gradually became essentially useless due to the spread of bacterial resistance, and localities tended to have fewer locally-produced options to try. Deadly bacterial infections made a huge comeback - the days returned when a simple wound could be a death sentence due to infection.
  • The overall deglobalisation of the economy meant that manufacturing was overwhelmingly local, and many localities could not produce the full range of recommended medicines. So aside from the spread of pandemics, there was quite a lot of previously-preventable death during the Collapse as economies grappled with the transition from global to local.

Britain, of course, was part of this overall process and experienced the same problems. From the late 2020s right through to the 2060s and 2070s, people lived in terror of communicable disease and overall life expectancies plummeted worldwide. However, by mid-century the world started to see a turnaround.

Modern Context

The reduction of pandemic and disease from an existential dread to a level of control much more characteristic of the 20th century, even in the Free States, is attributable to the New World Order's considerable public health efforts and is possibly the Order's single greatest accomplishment. By saying this, to be clear, I am in no way condoning the evils the Order has done, nor am I saying that a restored nation-state-based international order could not have accomplished the same feat - clearly, the 20th century American order achieved it. But objectively, it is necessary to give credit where it is due.

The New World Order made combatting communicable disease its top priority. Reglobalising the supply of medicines, especially vaccines, was its first economic goal. It made vaccination mandatory in the territories it controlled and administered vaccines by force if necessary, and used the people-tracking technologies it developed, such as implanted identity chips, to make sure no one could slip through the cracks and escape vaccination. The Order also identified certain medicines as essential and set a  mandate to ensure they were available and affordable throughout its territory.

The New World Order has excellent capabilities in biotechnology, well beyond the capabilities of the early 21st century. It developed these capabilities in part to find ways to address food shortages arsing from global warming, but also in efforts to curb existing and new diseases that rose up in the wake of the Collapse.

For example, while the Order does not yet have a 100% effective vaccine against HIV, it does have a partially-effective vaccine, and HIV infection is completely curable (where in Britain we are still using early 21st century medicines which are merely able to control it).

The Order has also solved the antibiotic resistance crisis, which tragically we have not been able to accomplish in Britain. The Order is able to use its advanced biotech to develop new drugs and stay ahead of the development of resistance.

In general, in the Order you will always be given combinations of drugs that are designed to attack the pathogen in several different ways at once that are much harder for the organism to successfully develop resistance to. Single-drug medications to fight infections are essentially archaic. Medication in the Order is very effective, and at least as far as communicable illnesses are concerned, the Order is at pains to make it cheap or free and readily available.

The New World Order has not been above exploiting its mastery of disease for political purposes, such as to entice nonmember states to join the Order, by conditioning aid to deal with epidemics on political integration, or using the excuse of controlling a disease outbreak as a cover for an invasion.

The Order has even been accused of deliberately starting epidemics in order to exploit them for these types of purposes. This is a very understandable suspicion, but I personally don't think it's true. The NWO elite lives in much the same dread of communicable disease as anyone, and in previous decades has felt the ravishes of disease despite their privileged position. If anything, the NWO's focus on stopping the spread of disease may be fuelled by the elite's concern for their own safety. However, the NWO is certainly willing to stoop very, very low to achieve their ends, so it's hard to say definitely that they haven't done something like this before, either.

The Order has struggled more with the spread of diseases attributable to poor public sanitation and/or hygiene. Such illnesses are very class-based, where the upper classes are much less impacted than the lower classes, due to access to better water supplies and sanitation. The Order has been rather more lackadaisical in combatting the causes of these illnesses than with illnesses that are less selective based on social standing, but has still made significant progress towards introducing better water supplies and public sanitation and educating the public on good hygiene habits to curb the spread of disease.

Pandemic in the Free States

As noted, the Free States experienced the same breakdown of public health and the same rise in pandemic disease as the rest of the world, and today has enjoyed a significant decline in many of these illnesses. I can speak personally to Britain and Quebec, but the same factors would be at play in the other three Free States.

The cause of the decline has been the public health efforts in the Order, and the embargoes. The embargoes have significantly reduced the flow of people, acting as an inadvertent quarantine, insulating the Free States from diseases originating in the Order. And the Order's successful efforts to fight pandemic disease have in turn ensured there is less disease for the traffic that does exist to carry.

The Order does not share medical technology with us, though, regardless of what they may tell the public. Therefore, we struggle with the need to produce the medicines we use locally. Today our economies are aligned to ensure we can make what we need, but during the transition period of deglobalisation, we suffered from severe shortages and lacks of certain essential supplies that impeded our ability to make adequate supplies of many necessary medicines. Regardless, we simply cannot match what the technology and production the Order is capable of. We are way behind them in antivirals and antibiotics, and many of our advances have come from stealing or reverse engineering tech from the Order.

Medicines are an important product for smugglers in both Britain in Québec - although Québec, with its huge, porous border with the Order, is able to smuggle in goods like medicines much more effectively than we are.

As a generality, healthcare in the Free States falls far short of the best healthcare in the Order, but is also much more equal.

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