You’d think the winters would be the worst.
Easy mistake to make now they last pretty much six months of the year. Winters now are better than they used to be, though. The cold is more.. ‘defined’. I mean you know the mercury’s going to hit minus 4 or minus 5 Fahrenheit every day (unless you live on the Northern latitudes above, say Geneva in Europe or Santa Fe, New Mexico in the US. But nobody tends to live there anyway now the polar ice caps have melted.) So down here in the Mediterranean you can guarantee the same temperature everyday in winter. And as the Scandinavians used to say — before they were forced further South by the floods — “There’s no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothing”. Dress up warm and you’ll be fine. The government-supplied Polar Ice Jackets certainly help stave of the bitterness.
But what makes the biggest difference is the lack of humidity. As it’s nice and dry there’s less moisture to get into the lungs. For those of us without the gene it’s hard enough. For those with the gene it must be terrible. That’s why the summers are worse. Once those temperatures hit 100 degrees and the humidity builds it becomes a battle to breath. It used to be fatal for a lot of people. But now we have home ventilators it’s less of a challenge than it used to be twenty years ago.
There’s an irony there, of course. Ventilators used to be something of a death sentence back in the day. You went in to ICU, they put you on the vent and they only took it out as they transferred you from your bed into the wooden box in which they carted you down to the funeral director. Nowadays the vents are like those inhalers asthmatics used to carry around — self administered medication. Not that you can self administer a ventilator, of course. But it’s something two can do at home without some PPE covered nurse from ICU trying to force a tube down your throat. It’s more of an inconvenience than a discomfort now. Like those nasal swabs once were back at the very start of the Coronavirus outbreak. Remember those?
Seems like ancient history now, right? So much water under the bridge since then: the Anglo-European conflict, the 2nd US Civil War, the food shortages, the polar ice cap melting, the mass migration. So many things to fog our memories. So many triggers from the past that serve to confuse us about what happened when. Like when you find out your best friend’s son is now 30 years old when you thought he was still at high school.
But the worst things were those we couldn’t forsee. I mean, sure, everyone could see that once Trump won his second term he was going to try and make the position permanent. Civil war was the only way out of that. In Europe eveyone quickly realised that Brexit was never going to provide the benefits Vote Leave touted. So we knew that was all going to come to a head. The global warming, the rising tides, the rout of civilisation — nobody could look back on that and say they weren’t warned. Everyone could read the tea leaves. They just chose to ignore them as long as possible.
But the genetic changes? Nobody forsaw those. Well, almost nobody. There were those two scientists from the University of Reading who wrote that paper, of course. But they were scientists and nobody listened to them anymore. Doom mongers all of them.
They were right though, weren’t they?
They saw what was happening to the lungs. They reviewed all those autopsies back in 2020. Saw the damage that had been done. But what they did was follow it through to the next level. They realised that so many survivors with damaged lungs would be an issue later on. ‘Herd immunity’ is all well and good when you’re talking about a disease we need to survive. But when one of the side effects is damaged lungs for so many people that’s going to have a knock on impact further down the line. With five years of Covid-19 flare ups before the immunity kicked in we certainly had enough people suffer with the virus. I mean the Johnson/Cummings monster certainly went about it the right way from the start. They opened up the country without waiting for the virus to die down. In their defence (and I think this was an argument their lawyer put forward at their genocide trial) “The lockdown was never meant to stop people getting the virus. It was to manage the number of people who got it at the same time so the NHS could cope”
As for the US? Well I don’t think they even went to that level of thought. Or if they did the population wasn’t having any of it. ‘Freedom or tyranny?’ ‘Mask or No Mask?’ Those were the battle lines drawn in 2020 — and in the subsequent civil war.
So people got the virus. Lots of them. Hundreds and thousands of them every year for five years. Several million people all going through life with damaged lungs as a result. Then we started seeing the impact of that. Babies being born with malformed lungs. Most survived. Some died. Each year the numbers rose, so much so that doctors started naming the phenomenon NeoNatal Covid Lung Degeneration.
It took researchers a while to work out what the cause was. I mean we had herd immunity and a 93% effective vaccine: surely this wasn’t a viral issue? Then one of those scientist from Reading come back with his paper and blew the doors off everything. He pointed out — just as his earlier paper had suggested — that the children with lung issues were only born to parents who had survived Covid-19. That meant the lung defects were genetic. Darwin had come through again and DNA has been changed. Worldwide, millions of people were being born perfectly healthy apart from having one DNA switch turned off when it should have been on.
In countries where nationalised health care was still in place things were less of a problem. You got the testing as part of your pre-natal care and took the decision there and then about whether you wanted to go through with things. Birth. Adoption. Abortion. Those were your options. Each one a major decision for somebody. Each one had consequences for the mother. Some good. Some bad. Were you going to bring a child into this world knowing that for a lot of the year they were going to struggle to breath as well as some of his or her friends who didn’t have the gene? Back in the early years the struggle got so bad childhood deaths peaked as a result. So many young, healthy lives lost from a genetic malfunction we couldn’t deal with.
So all the world leaders got together and had a fruitful discussion about what had to be done. Because they were all women they took the humane decision and had the new style ventilators designed and mass produced.
Which brings us back around to where we started. If you’ve got the NeoNatal Covid gene winter is generally the best half of the year for you. As spring comes and the temperatures start to rise it becomes pleasant to be outside but leads to moisture on the lungs. The four months of 100 degrees plus temperature are where the ventilators come in useful. Then autumn brings blessed relief for about 30 days until the temperatures drop and we hit our constantly cold winter.
Funny how things that happened two generations ago can have ripples that are felt nowadays.