I do like to delve into the tinfoil hattery layers of the internet when it’s late and I can’t sleep. Absolutely masses of story ideas down there. Mostly I can’t sleep tonight because I’ve begun editing another short story collection, this one is by Wandra Nomad and should only take a few days. There’s another possible one in the works by Gastradamus but that needs illustrations so it’ll take longer.
Anyway. A few nights back I came across a rather long video of three guys chatting about all this coronavirus stuff. They had a very interesting take on it and they were able to back it up with actual real world references. Whether they are right or not, it’s an excellent basis for a story. I can’t find the video now but if I do, I’ll post a link.
They showed an animation of the currently known near-Earth-orbit rocks (there are a lot of them, and more are found every day) and a couple of weeks back, the animation showed around ten of those rocks intersecting with the Earth on its orbit. This was an actual animation of actual rocks using actual data, not some gamer-geek’s Sims game.
Now, these animations can’t really be to scale. We are talking rocks a few metres across and the entire planet Earth. So where the animation shows all those rocks bombarding the Earth, there is enough leeway in the scale for them to all miss by maybe a million miles. Still, that was a very risky moment and there would have been astophysicists somewhere trying to work out the actual level of risk of a strike.
In fact there was a strike, in Nigeria. Not a big one but it still made a fairly big hole. Fortunately well away from anywhere populated.
Well, these guys’ thesis was that if astrophysicists were watching this convergence of rocks on their models, they might have considered the risk of a major strike to be pretty large. What can they do though? If governments announced the possibility of an extinction level event there would be mass panic. Uncontrollable rioting. Everything would collapse. Then, if all the rocks missed, fingers would be pointed…
But if they did nothing and there was a big strike, the devastation could be enormous. How would they cope? Again, fingers would point… ‘Why didn’t you warn us?’ It’s a no win scenario.
Ah, but along comes Flu Manchu. Which Trump’s Dr. Faust was initially right about – it’s a bad flu, it will kill people, the elderly and those with serious medical conditions need to take care, but it’s not the end of the world. He later changed his tune. Why?
Well what if there really was an ‘end of the world’ possibility coming along in the shape of a massive space rock? The governments of the world would be informed and they also know they can’t just blurt it out. So, what if they use the virus as a reason to boost up hospital capacity and get people to avoid large and vulnerable gatherings…
Almost none of that extra hospital capacity has been used. Anywhere. Most of that extra capacity was ill-equipped to deal with a respiratory illness, they were just plain old field hospitals. Many of them are now being dismantled. That rock cluster has passed by leaving only a minor hole in Nigeria.
Coronavirus figures have been reported in a way no other flu figures have ever been reported. People are getting Covid-19 on their death certificates when they die from any cause. The virus has all but wiped out deaths from flu, pneumonia, heart attacks, stroke, falling anvils and anything else. Currently, if you don’t get coronavirus you’ll never die. Why? Why ramp up the fear like that?
The NHS put out a call for volunteers. Many people volunteered. As far as I can tell, not one was actually called upon. Around eight thousand people applied to be ‘contact tracers’; not one was hired. NHS nurses have been putting dance videos on TikTok filmed in empty hospitals. Hospital staff have been furloughed because they aren’t needed.
It is true that some hospital staff have died of the virus, in the same proportion as the general population. No massive increase in deaths or infections in the hospital environment.
The gradual rollout of antibody testing is already showing that the virus has spread far more widely than first thought, and many people have had it without showing anything more than symptoms of a cold. Others have had a bad flu, a few have been hospitalised and some of those went on to intensive care – but that happens every year with the flu. It’s horrible when a family member dies – but it’s also inevitable. Nobody lives forever. I’ve had to come to terms with that myself this year.
One thing the tinfoil guys said that caught my interest – Trump shut down America when there were around 250 deaths. In a population the size of America that is not a national emergency. Yet he trashed the economy he had spent three years bragging about building up for a number of deaths that doesn’t even touch the annual flu death toll.
Were the tinfoilers on to something? Was the virus used as an excuse to prepare for a different kind of disaster? I mean, astrophysicists are pretty brilliant people but on the scales they work with, even a tiny statistical deviation can mean the difference between a space rock hitting us and that same rock missing us by a million miles. With a cluster of them arriving at once, they’d be concerned.
They also wouldn’t be able to pinpoint where such a rock would hit, not until it was so close it would be too late to do anything about it. It might land in the sea, in the desert, or in a major city. Although if it’s big enough it probably wouldn’t matter where it landed.
Lockdown was a separate issue. It was based on a model created by Neil ‘Beware the Ides of March’ Ferguson, who has predicted so many disasters that never happened, I wonder that government were still listening to him. They did though, and we are now likely to kill more people with this lockdown than the virus would have. Especially in Scotland and Wales where lockdown continues just to spite the Tories.
Maybe the guys are just plain old tinfoil hatters. Maybe they’ve read this wrong. Or maybe they really have picked up on something. Tinfoil hatters exposed Common Purpose long before anyone else (including me) believed it was real. They do sometimes get it right, it’s just that what they find is so bizarre we don’t readily accept it. At least they didn’t try claiming that some people are lizards. That’s still a red line for me.
Anyway, if it was a risk of collision, it appears to have passed. Now the challenge is to remove the fear of a virus that’s clearly nowhere near as deadly as we’ve been told. That won’t be easy, not least because certain governments are revelling in the new authoritarianism and don’t want it to end.
Whether it’s true or not, it’s a great plot for a novel. Major disaster about to strike Earth, governments need to prepare without letting the people know what’s really happening and thereby avoid mass panic. Disaster averted – but now, how to remove the artificial fear they created?
There will be those in government who don’t even want to. Quite an intriguining potential story there, I think.