A Very Different World

Truthsayer, Going Postal
“Carnaval 2014 – Rio de Janeiro” by Ndecam is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Imagine it is just a few years ago and the usual winter respiratory virus is going round. Some years it is heavy, some years less so. This year in question, from a few years ago, let us imagine it is a fairly strong flu. Perhaps even the one from the winter of 14-15 when there were many excess deaths and flu that year was the cause of 28,000 of them.

Now imagine that the government decided to really monitor it this winter, the imaginary one from a few years ago. They decide during the previous summer that they are going to introduce testing to all NHS patients, a testing method designed for something else really, but it will do for testing for flu. A few experts criticise this, and say this test throws up a few false positives, but the government perseveres anyway. Let us call this imaginary test from our imaginary winter a few years back the PBR test.

The PBR test is used on any patient admitted to hospital, and then every five nights, and the records of positive tests are kept. Should a person die within 28 days of testing positive for flu then they are recorded as a flu death. No attempt is made to discern how much of an impact the flu had on them and the circumstances of their death, they are just recorded as a flu death.

Then let us imagine that the government in our imaginary winter publishes the flu deaths every day and as time elapses, the data is published in charts and graphs. There are many flu deaths each day and week. Some days it is very high, on others it is lower. Some weeks during our imaginary winter the flu deaths are higher than others.

During our imaginary winter let us imagine that the press and media are lazy, feckless even. Rather than cover issues and stories that require research, thinking, or field work, they prefer alarming headlines, clickbait stories for their websites, and hysterical commentators. So, during our imaginary winter from a few years ago, all we get from the 24/7 new cycle is 80% coverage of flu deaths and 20% other news.

As time goes on the charts and graphs our experts publish before and during our imaginary winter all show low flu deaths in July, August, September, then a slow uptick during October and November, and a final rise during December to a generally high level which is far higher than in the summer.

Due to the fact that a positive PBR test within 28 days of a death means that someone died of the flu, then the death levels become very high. Some imaginary observers in our imaginary winter point out that this is because the method of measuring the deaths has altered; they are shut down by the media, and the printed press. On social media their accounts are suspended, their posts are deleted or marked with warnings “These claims are disputed!”. They are not chosen by the government as advisers even if they have a better track record than the government’s existing advisers.

During our imaginary winter, many media and political commentators become very upset at the high level of flu deaths. They demand that something must be done. Many become hysterical. The government publishes advice on hygiene to help the public reduce the risk of catching it. Some imaginary observers in our imaginary winter point out that the flu hardly kills anyone of working-age, but they are shouted at and threatened by the hysterical commentators.

The flu deaths stay at a high level as the winter develops, and the demands for something to be done get louder. The government introduces rules about staying away from other people when out and about, then widens the scope of PBR testing and starts publishing figures on how many people have got the flu. This is very high, far higher than in the autumn. Some observers during our imaginary winter point out that the more flu tests you conduct, the more flu cases you will find.

The imaginary commentators in the media in our imaginary winter become very loud and shouty. They point to the graphs and daily death tallies, claiming that the flu is out of control. Finally, the government shuts down all the hospitality sector, many shops, the schools, the gyms, and many services. A million people lose their jobs and bankruptcies hit record levels.

As the imaginary winter goes on, some observers show different graphs from those the government published that show not just flu deaths, but all deaths. Their graphs are based on government records and show all deaths from previous winters. These graphs show that this imaginary winter has had no more deaths overall than previous winters. Their graphs look quite different to the graphs the government publishes and which the media republishes every day. These observers are castigated as evil, unfeeling people by the media and the commentators. The police go round to their imaginary houses and arrest them, while another hundred thousand people lose their jobs due to the shut-down imposed by the imaginary government.

Just be thankful that our imaginary winter is not real. After all, if it was, then the 28,000 recorded flu deaths of 2014-15 would have been far higher and there would have been calls to shut the economy down and seriously impair our civil liberties.

© Truthsayer 2021

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