Like a novel

Hmmmm. How about this for a scenario for a novel?

CHAOS

A virus sweeps the Earth. It becomes clear that it mainly kills the elderly. Healthy younger adults recover easily and children seem to be unaffected. The result is that population demographics are shifted, world-wide, in favour of the young and especially children and adolescents.

Elderly people in aged care homes are simply left to die because there are no nurses for them and no carers are willing to go there. Healthy people with families are too frightened to care for them.

The disease progresses over several years, losing none of its toxicity, perhaps even increasing its virulence. Since there are now far fewer old people, it becomes clear that the budgets of many countries greatly improve. The long feared problem of the burden of ageing populations seems to be solved. After the disease has ravaged populations for a couple of years, it becomes clear that money is which was earmarked for increased numbers of aged pensioners and increased spending on aged care facilities is freed up to spend on the health and welfare of much younger populations.

Actual news quotes: Authorities have since relaxed restrictions, established an emergency hotline to help doctors and invested millions in private companies developing quick-turnaround tests. (My emphasis.)

It also establishes a testing system that looks somewhat like South Korea’s, with big-name corporations operating drive-thru clinics.

The average emergency room visit in the US costs $2,246 AUDand that’s without the standard COVID-19 precautions like isolated rooms and specialised care.

Taking the time to get tested is another financial obstacle.

Nearly one-third of all Americans do not receive paid sick leave, and the current tests can take days to yield answers.

America is waking up to the fact that it has almost no public capacity to deal with this crisis. The crisis builds into public panic. Much of industry shuts down, starved of workers. Yet many, many people are forced to work, regardless of their illness, since they have no sick leave pay, no social security, no annual leave stored up. It’s go to work or your family starves. There is no government support and proper medical care is far too costly. Therefore the virus spreads with almost no control.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labour and a Professor of Public Policy at U. Calif. “Instead of a public health system, we have a private for-profit system for individuals lucky enough to afford it and a rickety social insurance system for people fortunate enough to have a full-time job.

My book scenario continues: As the disease progresses, it kills millions, including hundreds of thousands of hospital and medical staff. The U.S. in particular, enters a crisis caused by years of neglect by the Trump administration, including the disbandment of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Pandemic Response Team of professionals which has left the already overloaded U.S. medical and hospital system unprepared.

The U.S. government relies on private companies to come to the fore by providing testing kits, essential medical supplies and rooms in privately owned and run hospitals. Since these are all in the hands of mega-millionaires and billionaires who see this as a very profitable opportunity, only the well off get help and treatment, those who can pay.

The result is chaos in America with the mega rich and the billionaires profiting from the crisis.

The disease then mutates and becomes even more contagious, even more severe. The vaccines are nowhere near ready and due to the mutation are rendered largely useless.

It becomes clear that although children don’t get sick, they are still major carriers of the virus. Parents are faced with the need to keep their children out of school, off the streets, at home but at the same time, they must practice isolation from their own children. They must especially keep their children from contact with any vulnerable people, the elderly including grand parents and anyone with any sickness at all.

The children do what children do, try to escape these restrictions, so the police and armed forces become involved, policing the streets, keeping children away from any public areas and returning them to their parents. Anger flares, escapes grow, chaos grows.

Geopolitical issues arise. European countries close borders completely, even within the Schengen area of the EU. Troops patrol the borders although the disease takes its toll even among the soldiers. Poorer countries see disproportionate power and funding being used as political weapons and react. Mass migration attempts begin from poor countries, the Middle East and Africa, dwarfing anything seen up to now.

Russia, which had kept a very low profile, decides it is time to show some muscle while the US is in chaos. Russian troops annex parts of Hungary and more of Ukraine. The West is powerless to do anything, being preoccupied with the disease controls.

China sees its opportunity to tighten its grip on the South China sea, prohibiting passage through the Strait of Taiwan without express permission. Taiwan goes to a high state of military alert since the prohibition on shipping blocks access to its ports. The USA makes threatening talk, but China knows that there is little chance of any military response.

Etc etc etc. What do you think? Anyone is welcome to write this novel based on my outline. Just acknowledge me, OK?

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I’m fine. As I’ve said, in all my life I don’t think I’ve ever had even the normal winter ‘flu. I’ve had a bad cold and I get a mild one each year, but never anything serious. And as they say, you’ve got about as much chance of winning Lotto as catching Covid-19.

There have been, what, 28 cases in the whole of WA? That’s 0.0014%.

I had to laugh this morning – there’s talk of closing our border with SA and the NT! By road, that is, and even by air. Oh, I laugh. I’ve been joking about that for years. We should require people from the eastern states to show passports to get into WA.

The problem is, the reverse could apply, in even worse form. Hmmm.

I think I’ll delay my plan to escape North, though. I don’t like the idea of being away from competent and comprehensive medical and/or nursing help. Maybe later.

____________________________________

I’ve bought a beautiful Super Audio (SACD)/DVD player to go with my new s/h Sony amp:

Denon A11. It’s heavy!
SCART connectors! I haven’t seen those since the ’90s. I have a couple of SCART leads and was nearly going to throw them away.

The amp was going to come ‘sometime this week’ and as there was a medical appointment cancellation at midday for one hour, I grabbed it. When was the amp delivered? In that time slot! Grrrrr. They don’t say when they’re coming. Now I’ve had to rebook the delivery and they have to make another trip out here tomorrow. This is crazy and infuriating. They have three ways to contact me: phone, SMS and email. Do they try? No. Grrr. So it’s coming tomorrow.

_______________________________________

My Mazda MX-6 is laid up in the garage, my garage that is, with an auto transmission problem. It won’t let me move the selector into Reverse and then through to Park. It’s in Neutral, but that means the key is stuck in the ignition switch. Since I can’t reverse it, it’s immobile.

Knowledgeable friends tell me there’s a switch or solenoid on the brake pedal that’s there to ensure you have your foot on the brake before you can select Reverse. That’s to stop you putting it into R while the car’s moving. Good idea. Anyway, they say to get that looked at. Also a good idea.

______________________________________

I had the roof lining in the Verada replaced yesterday. Advertised on Facebook at $100, it turned out to cost $230. It gets your attention, that’s the thing.

It turned out to be in Canning Vale. That’s 1 hour’s drive! It’s freeway all the way except for South St at the end, but I’m tired of all the roadworks on the freeway. They’ve been going on for years. It’s both north and south of the river. How long is this going to go on? Large parts of the freeway are down to 80Kmh or even 60Kmh in a few places.

The guy was a very offhand kind, as if he’s doing you a favour. He works at his home and there were five cars parked on the road and two in his garage. It’s a wonder he doesn’t get complaints.

Before he started on mine, he asked if I had a plastic bag for him to put all the screws and plastic fittings in. What?! He’s the workman, how come he doesn’t have trays for this? I found him a plastic chamois cloth container.

He said it’s not the glue, it’s the foam that the cloth is glued to that deteriorates and gives way. All cars do it, and none is worse than any other. About 20 years, that’s the life. Foam plastic breaks down, that’s all. That means we’re breathing the breakdown products, though!

Anyway, he had a suitable colour so I walked to the local shops while he did the job, about an hour. He had to be paid in cash (no pay tax, GST, OK?) and when I got in I found two small plastic caps left over on the floor, left over from screw heads. Grrrrr. I can’t see where they’ve come from, so it will have to be.

All in all, would I recommend him? I would not. I wouldn’t use him again. At least the job is done.

Combined with

  • the power radio antenna being fixed (thanks Danny!),
  • the LH headlight being polished clean and clear,
  • the new RH driving light being fitted in place of the smashed one,
  • the RH tail light assembly being replaced,
  • the new brakes and
  • the new exhaust;
  • a new battery;

it’s now a fine, good condition car. There’s a very intermittent misfire occasionally, and the power steering pump needs topping up from time to time, but all else iss gut. Good enough to sell? Maybe.

4 comments on “Like a novel

  1. Martin says:

    The plastic caps are likely to be from the screws on the grab handles above the doors.

    • Peter Croft says:

      Thanks Martin. I did look there, but I couldn’t see any exposed screw heads. There are covers over the ends of the grab handle mountings. I’ll look harder. I wasn’t in the mood or the place yesterday.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. I think your scenario looks quite possibly a reality unless the US in particular gets its act together. No volunteering to write the book😀

    • Peter Croft says:

      Yes, the first part is pretty straight forward. What worries me is if the big powers, which now must include India, start to get ideas and get territorial. India has already shown its designs on Kashmir. Russia has seemed pretty quiet but I suspect there’s bad news still to come from there. The potential for a HUGE novel is all there. But like you, I don’t think I could write it. Some blockbuster author must be thinking similar thoughts. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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