A Far Future Reflection On The Plague

“Wow, that early 21st Century plague was wild. I guess they didn’t know what we know now.”

“They didn’t have some of the tools we have, but they knew most of what we knew.”

“So why did they let so many people suffer?”

“A few reasons. They were very concerned about money.”

“Money? Like the made up barter proxy stuff?”

“Yeah. Some of them would hoard massive amounts of it, like more than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes, while other people didn’t have enough to eat.”

“That’s sad! Why did. . . “

“It wasn’t just about money. They were worried that people staying home would mess up how much money the hoarders could make, so they were willing to sacrifice some vulnerable people to prevent that from happening. But they also were concerned about freedom.”

“Huh? How are you free when you could just get sick at any time? I mean, you’d go into temporary residence at a medical facility, so not a big deal. . . “

“Well. . . “


“They didn’t cover everyone’s health care back then, so you would go into their medical facilities, their ‘hospitals’, and then you’d pay a lot of money. Some people lost all their money from going into them.”

“That’s awful. All that risk, no vaccines. . . “

“No, they had vaccines. But some people thought that the money hoarders were trying to control their minds using the vaccines. Others thought it was a sterilization project. In fairness, people had done those kinds of things not too long ago, but still, there was no evidence. Still others thought getting vaccinated made you _more_ contagious, or getting sick made you stronger, even though the disease mutated like a cold, and we now know acquired immunity is idiosyncratic and doesn’t guarantee comprehensive immunity.”

”I know they’d had vaccines for a couple hundred years by then. That’s nuts. So, no vaccines, no medical facilities helping, what else could they have done?”

”Wearing air filtering masks became popular, and was at least somewhat effective, as not all the masks were the same. But some of the freedom cults got really angry about the masks and protested, and made their governments stop requiring masks.”

”Like the masks we had to wear during the Bad Summers when the pollution got crazy? So people had masks that could stop them from getting sick, and they didn’t wear them. No vaccines, no medical facilities, no masks. They were out of luck, huh?”

“No, there was one other thing. Ventilation. They could have opened windows, run filters, made sure more fresh air circulated in buildings and did more things outdoors.”

“What? You’re telling me that all someone had to do was open a window, and they wouldn’t even do that? No disrespect, but it just sounds. . . primitive.”

“Try not to judge them too harshly; people will look at us one day and think the same. This is something we have seen happen a lot when humans are on the verge of a point of enlightenment. It’s scary to come into the light, and it hurts your eyes. So some people prefer to just stay in the dark where it’s dangerous but familiar.”