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Apr 07, 2020 10:28 PM
A novel coronavirus in Cascadia
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A pig farmer in southern Cascadia has a cough.

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Her girlfriend Thoreau feels fine and goes off to work! She just got started at her new brothel and she hasn't built up a base of regulars yet. 

It's a Friday night, and unfortunately it's really slow. She only sees two clients and both of them only pay for half an hour. Thoreau has to spend all night in the crowded main room trying to get clients. She flirts a lot, gets in a lot of guys' laps, kisses six or seven guys who bought her a drink. (The bartender gets her water, of course.)

What's worse, she forgot her makeup at home and has to borrow her coworkers' lipstick and eyeliner.

Not a great day. 

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Now the pig farmer has a nasty fever and Thoreau is coughing too.

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Thoreau stays home from work!

Her clients go to their jobs at a school, a hospital, a grocery store, a marijuana farm. 

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The co-worker who loaned her the lipstick gets it too. Some of the hospital worker client's patients get it; two of them deteriorate quickly and have reason to be very grateful they were already in a hospital. The client who works at the grocery store feels kind of under the weather.

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A doctor, noticing that her patient has pneunomia, orders a test to see what caused it. 

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It's not this thing or that thing or the other thing or zebra-itis! It's some other thing! Kind of similar to the common cold except definitely not that.

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Doctor sends a report to the CDC of a potential novel pandemic that causes pneumonia and reassures herself that it's probably something weird they didn't bother to test for or a defect in the tests.  

(The coworker is having such a good night-- six clients! The client who works at the grocery store coughs on the food! A coyote purchases his marijuana from the marijuana farm and is coughed on by the farmer.) 

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Four of the six clients are coughing, and one of them is in the ER with a fever of a hundred and four. The guy who bought the coughed-on food is coughing himself, and his grandma is coughing a lot more. Even between coughing fits she feels like she can't get enough air.

The CDC says they've never seen this thing before and they don't like it.

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The coyote is feeling great and takes his load of marijuana, psychedelics, abortion pills, Depo-Provera, and condoms to Gilead.

Every day care and elementary school in California is immediately closed. High schools begin distance-learning programs for teen parents. One caregiver per child receives indefinite paid leave from work; the rest are strongly encouraged to work from home or stay with friends. It is quite impossible to escape reminders-- on every Cascadian news source, website, social media website, and graffiti area-- that there is a MYSTERIOUS PNEUMONIA and PNEUMONIA KILLS BABIES and if you are a parent you should STAY INSIDE YOUR HOUSE.

Parents in Oregon, Hawaii, and Washington pull their kids out of school and talk to their bosses about working from home. 

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A couple of the clients infect their housemates, but nobody's babies are affected. The grandma is deteriorating and needs a hospital. 

Some of the coyote's customers are sick now too. Coughing, fever, generalized feeling like shit.

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The CDC reallocates some researchers to developing a test, begins contact tracing, and sends all the information they have to the forecasters. 

The Gileadites assume they have the flu. 

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In a house in Portland:

"did you hear about the new virus?"

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"The one they closed a bunch of schools over? Yeah, I saw they sequenced it and it's like the common cold's way eviller twin. How worried should we be about it?"

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"Well, if they had any information about it, my job would be easy, wouldn't it?"

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"Well, you should know more soon; a couple different labs have decided this is shinier than whatever else they were doing."

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"Might be bad. Really bad." 

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"Think we should punt on visiting my aunt in Sacramento next week? I'd hate for Rosalind to get it."

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"Probably a good idea just to be on the safe side." Kiss. "There hasn't been a death yet."

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Kiss. "Yeah, I'll send her a pile of photos and she can coo over Rosalind another time. I'm glad there hasn't been a death yet. There hasn't been a good treatment yet, either; bugger viruses for not being vulnerable to antibiotics."

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Sure enough, one of the old people dies despite the doctors' best efforts. And some of the Gileadites with "the flu" have it bad enough to go to the hospital themselves.

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Gileadite doctors discover that the virus is novel. Gileadite doctors send it in to the Gileadite CDC. The Gileadite CDC investigates the novel coronavirus, but doesn't do anything big yet.  

Forecasters can't do anything without data! Cascadian CDC begins contact tracing to try to collect the information necessary to figure out the R0, and hopefully let everyone's kids go back to school soon. 

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R0: is unnervingly high in default circumstances! Looks like bit spreads via droplets from people coughing or talking. Also at least some of the people who have it now got it from someone who was asymptomatic at the time, so it's got a pretty long and contagious incubation period.

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".............holy fuck."

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"It's not good! Have you figured out what you're going to recommend?" He keeps getting the urge to wash his hands despite not actually having learned any new information about his hands and he's not sure whether to indulge the impulse or not.

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"I don't recommend things, the parliament recommends things, I just give probabilities associated with outcomes," Lev says, with the tone of a person who has explained this many times.

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