IN time, the storm that is covid-19 will blow itself out as our scientists finally unlock its DNA and provide a vaccine. Afterwards, it will be a matter of pointing fingers: which nations stepped up and played a blinder during the crisis and which revealed themselves to be paranoid and fearful.

Could Japan have responded better as the Diamond Princess cruise ship, anchored off Yokohama, slowly turned itself into a floating mortuary. In those crucial early days, could the UK have brought its nationals living in China home more quickly? Did China tell us everything it knew about the virus, including the numbers of those infected?

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Pub landlords all over the UK will discover to their surprise that many of their customers are keen amateur bacteriologists: “You’ve more chance of dying from halitosis”; “There’s loads of these infections jouking around the world at any one time”; “It’s a form of chemical warfare the Chinese have been working on for years”; and “It’s definitely linked to all that masturbating the Chinese did during their controversial one-child policy”.

The National:

Just as they did when other viruses have caused global panic, governments have put their differences aside to work against a common enemy that respects neither status nor ethnicity. It’s a shame they haven’t yet worked out a way to combat the biggest and most lethal virus of them all.

The virus I am talking about is entirely man-made and governments are knowledgeable about its DNA. We know what causes it; who is most susceptible to it; and what works best in defeating it. We stockpile the antidotes, yet refuse to share these with those nations and peoples who need it most. To make ourselves feel better about this, and as a means of salving our consciences, we conclude that many of the victims only have themselves to blame.

Let’s call this virus Multidep-01. It’s instantly recognisable but comes in many forms; we know it when we see it. It attacks the central nervous system of entire communities and renders them helpless. Among the early symptoms are paralysis followed soon after by depression.

As it metastasises, it leaves its victims vulnerable to an assortment of other ailments, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Some politicians claim Multidep-01 has been with us since the dawn of time and is simply incurable. Many attempts have been made to combat its proliferation, but never to find a cure. Some attempted to use religion: “Don’t worry about it,” they said, “the more you suffer in this world the greater your reward will be in the next.” Remarkably, this notion, which was popular in the first few centuries AD, still holds sway in many parts of the world.

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Soon, those who had gathered power and wealth – two of the known antidotes to the Multidep-01 virus – found other ways to mitigate its effects: they waged war in the certain knowledge that those who were most vulnerable to the effects of the virus would perish, thus diminishing the need to come to their aid.

Over time it became apparent that Multidep-01 seemed to flourish in certain types of communities: it was an all-inclusive thing, neither racist; sexist nor homophobic. All it required for this virus to thrive unchecked were poverty and weakness. In those places where there was a lack of food, shelter, work and land, Multidep-01 is there, too.

Another solution to the spread of the virus quickly became apparent to kings and governments. This borrowed heavily from how pre-Christian society dealt with lepers. They were cast out and made to wear a bell around their necks announcing their presence. They were forced to live together in ghettoes on the edge of civilisation, existing on handouts and the kindness of strangers.

This practice continues today with the emergence of the food bank economy. These have begun to mushroom in communities which have been historically susceptible to the spread of the Multidep-01 virus. Some governments have gone a stage further by successfully floating the idea that victims of the virus are actually to blame for their poor life choices.

They have managed to do this with the assistance of a willing press, owned and operated by those who stand to lose most if the nation were to use some of its resources addressing the root causes of the virus.

“What else do you expect if you insist on drinking and smoking and consuming kebabs,” they say. And just in case any other regime is thinking about breaking ranks and using its resources to find a cure for Multidep-01, they provide the right sort of people with lots of weapons to ensure that never happens.

Of course there will be the odd rogue regime such as Cuba that threatens to wreck this arrangement by actually using its resources to curb the effects of Multidep-01. But when this happens you just blockade them and get your well-placed agents in all the political parties to condemn them as rogue states.

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

A few decades ago, it became local government policy in Glasgow to identify those reckoned to be most vulnerable to Multidep-01 and herd them into hastily constructed settlements such as Drumchapel (below) and Easterhouse.

The National:

Others who were deemed to be not quite as hopeless were moved to slightly more desirable model towns such as Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. Gradually, it became apparent that the quality of basic repairs, maintenance and services in Drumchapel and Easterhouse were being eased back a little.

People in these places lived shorter lives, thus providing a solution of sorts. Some governments have now alighted on another method of combating the virus. It’s called eugenics. Some affluent western countries have virtually screened out Down syndrome.

What if you were able to do the same in communities most at risk of contracting Multidep-01? It would certainly save a lot of money and resources that could be better spent on military adventures and nuclear submarines.

Thus, affluent parents might be able to shop for embryos set aside for having the highest prediction of IQ. After that you simply withdraw all state aid from communities most at risk of the Multidep-01 virus and isolate them completely until they simply die out and take the virus with them. It’s how you deal with rat infestation.

Some people will die from the covid-19 virus and more will require hospitalisation. But on our own doorsteps thousands die each year from Multidep-01. Curiously, we don’t seem as exercised about this as we are about covid-19.