It was the day after the Great Collapse. North America had been ravaged by a highly destructive series of earthquakes and tsunamis, each one worse than the last. But besides the thousands of deaths, ruined cities, stock market crashes, and overflowing hospitals, the United Nations were in a panic about something else- A vial containing a sample of the Spanish Flu virus had smashed. Thus, everyone in North America, and possibly the world if the foreign relief workers spread it- were susceptible to becoming infected.
In a small town on the Canadian/American border, a girl named Audrey was trying to rebuild her life. During the quakes, her house had been badly damaged. Her father, who had been trying to repair the roof, was killed when a tree fell on him, and Audrey’s mother had broken her leg, so it was up to Audrey to do everything. While out trying to get some groceries, Audrey ran into her neighbour, Anita. Anita was a virologist working in the States, so Audrey hadn’t seen her in a while.
“Hi, Anita!”, Audrey called.
“Audrey!”, Anita cried. “You have to get out of here!”
“What are you talking about?” Audrey asked.
“ Where I work, we were experimenting on a sample of the Spanish Flu virus, which you might know better as H1N1. And during the great collapse, the virus escaped. When the H1N1 pandemic happened in the early 2000s, only a small percentage of the population was vaccinated for it, since the vaccine was in limited supply and very expensive. And of course, many people simply chose not to get vaccinated for it, because they thought that the vaccine would do bad things to you. But if you head up north, you might be able to evade the flu! Don’t forget to tell your parents!” Anita exclaimed, running off before Audrey could correct her.
Once she got home with the groceries, Audrey checked on her mom before grabbing an encyclopedia. She learned that during the 1918-1920 pandemic, the virus had preyed on the young, like her. Since it was transmitted so easily, Audrey could see why Anita had been so worried. But she didn’t know what to do. Anita had said to go up north, but if Audrey got infected, shouldn’t she go to a hospital, where it could be contained? Audrey also didn’t know if she had been vaccinated herself- maybe she’d be okay even if it did come to her town. Besides, it was quite dangerous up North if you didn’t know what you were doing or where you were. Eventually, she decided to wait and see if anything actually happened.
It was a month and a half later. Audrey’s mom’s leg had healed, and the town was almost back to normal, so it came as a total shock when a boy in Audrey’s class got the flu after visiting his Uncle. Of course, a bunch of his friends also became infected soon after. And a few of them died. This scared the mayor, so he closed the school, and ordered that the entire population of the town wear surgical masks, stay indoors if possible, and to not leave town so the virus didn’t spread. Meanwhile, the entirety of North America was in “lockdown” for the same reason.
“It’s just like it was in 1918”, thought Audrey.
While there were treatments, the medicine was in very short supply due to the collapse, and other countries were slow to send it.
Eventually, the medicine did come, and the virus slowly died out. By the time Canada was deemed “safe for travel” again, only 11 people in her town had died. Audrey had been infected when she went out to get groceries, but by that time it was easier to treat and she made a fast recovery. North America had also managed to recover from the Great Collapse, so for now, everything was okay again.