Harvey’s Flu: how we survived the Pandemic of 2039
The oversights that allowed veterinarian Harvey Reynolds to head research on BECD, bovine enteric coronavirus disease, while ill with multi-specie infecting H7N7 and the lack of follow up for the epsilon mutation in bovine herds were the last mistakes of the pandemic of 2039. See how the pandemic began here.
Once WHO, the CDC, and all other infectious disease agencies caught up with the unfolding pandemic, the response rolled out in well rehearsed fashion. Quarantine zones were created. Travel halted. In cities that were the most impacted, businesses were closed and military personnel trained in quarantine procedures delivered food and water rations.
This is not to say there was not significant deaths.
At its total reach, an estimated sixty percent of the worldwide population became ill, which meant over 5 billion people became ill with BECD during 2039. Symptoms could take up to ten days after exposure, and death resulted in four to six days after initial symptoms. The average death rate reached thirty-five percent. However in areas with poor follow up care or where the disease caused panic and abandonment of those who were ill, death rates from secondary causes elevated total deaths to over fifty percent of those infected. Still some pockets of the world never saw a single case of BECD. Over 1.3 billion people died from BECD or secondary infections such as pneumonia during 2039. The total population loss on the planet was 15%.
In the northern hemisphere, 2039 was a terrifying winter followed by a deadly spring. The pandemic built quickly, remaining ahead of all efforts to control it until mid-February. Quarantine methods felt draconian and the closures of businesses impacted worldwide economy, creating an instant recession.
The enforcement of quarantines fell most often to the military. Panicked citizens raided stores for supplies, congregated to demand answers, or held ill advised vigils seeking salvation beyond a doctor’s care. Major cities fell under martial law in order to maintain necessary controls while those in the countryside felt the least impacts, though were often left to fend for themselves for food and water supplies.
By mid-April, new infection rates had fallen and in early May, there were signs the pandemic was ending. Attention turned toward the southern hemisphere, which was just entering its fall season. BECD occurred in Brazil, Peru, Africa, India, and Australia during their fall, but had been contained before spreading.
Fears for a new mutation during winter in the southern hemisphere altered policies and created stronger quarantine and travel restrictions. The measures helped. Though BECD did flare worldwide throughout 2039, by the end of July the new infection rate approached zero and quarantines were being lifted in many areas throughout the northern hemisphere.
The worst was over. At least with BECD.
Health and Emergency agencies congratulated themselves for a proven response to stemming BECD infection. The pandemic feared since the beginning of the twenty-first century had finally happened. The world had survived even if the population fell to 7.3 billion.
New policies on health and working with infected animals were initiated and many cities reviewed guidelines to tighten enforcement of quarantines and to strengthen punishments if broken. When the impact of secondary infections became clear, health officials strategized new ways to ensure the most vulnerable would not be left to die, especially from preventable causes.
By August of 2039, attention turned to restoring the economy, fueled by campaigns to embrace a zest for life and health.