A virus is a weird thing. So far, we don't see them as alive. And yet they hijack your cells, take over your body to reproduce themselves because they can't do it on their own. If they don't live, how can their only purpose be to survive?
We've got speculation now, after the disease has passed, whether eradicated or just whiling away the time in some muddy puddle somewhere just waiting for someone to pass by, cut themselves and start the cycle again, that viruses exist solely for the purpose of control.
After all, if we didn't have viruses to prey on bacteria, then bacteria would exist in multitudes, blocking the surface of water ways and killing plants and fish, deoxygenating the water so nothing can survive under there. And if the water dies, and the plants die, and the fish die, then the birds die, the surrounding area dies, and it spreads.
So we have bacteriophages.
But what stops the virus? We've even found virophages that prey on the huge Mimi and Mama virus strains, who themselves live on bacteria. In fact, the first of these monster viruses (Mimi) was found not too far from here. In Bradford.
Although, in Britain, nothing seems to be too far from anywhere else. And that's where the States had its advantage, where Africa and Europe had their advantages. They each had inhospitable places, places where the virus froze, or burnt itself out before it could claim another victim.
We were trapped, our only hope to barricade ourselves in. One wrong move and we were dead.
Round about 1/95th of the British population survived (although I use the word die figuratively, because, like the virus itself the nature of death is being reclassified). We were on 62,218,761 people when it struck. Now, maybe we've got 600,000. That's half the population of the borough I grew up in. And I'm a northerner. Truth is, we don't actually know.
And the rest of the world has been equally devastated.
People are becoming obsessed with the notion that a higher force was at work, that something beyond us created a super-force in the shape of the virus to wipe out anyone 'unworthy' of living. To stop us from 'destroying' the planet, to give it time to 'heal', to create a better future.
These are usually the people who didn't suffer great losses, who managed to hole up somewhere and stay relatively safe throughout the entire battle. The people who didn't have to fight their way through blood covered teeth, avoiding teeth and claws on things that used to be us, that were more than capable of hunting us down, that could outrun us over time because they didn't tire, they didn't hurt.
The people that are left on their own, they don't tend to see a future, and the population is declining more, in recent times, because of the mass suicides that seem to be taking place. The clean up teams terrified in case one of them gets back up and starts walking again, setting out in the Kevlar suits that were provided too late to do any real impact.
Others, well, we're just worried that it'll come back. Because, I know biology, I know how viruses work. And I know that there's a greater chance that it's lurking in some temperature gauged hole and waiting for exactly the right moment to strike and come back for the rest of us.
Times are uneasy, and the lab work puts people on edge. You hear them whispering when you walk past. "Remember that time they let foot and mouth out of the lab? Well what if that happens again?"
Our lives are governed by what if.
They don't like the lab work, don't realise we're trying to save them, trying to develop a vaccine. They also don't realise that whatever we try seems to fail. The virus is a nasty fucker.
But I'm not here to write down the failings of the scant laboratory equipment and dangers of testing the virus. I'm here to recount what actually went down, how I got to where I am, instantly being drafted, by the army, into a lab to play around with things I don't fully understand because I did a couple of modules of my degree on microbiology and they need all of the knowledge they can get.
So, well, I suppose I should start from the beginning.