December 25th 2013
ERIA QUINT: Hello and welcome to Showdown, where we take a look at the topics that have seized the public’s attention from two very different viewpoints. I’m your host, Eria Quint. Almost a week ago, scientists identified a new virus, unofficially called Lynch Fever, in six separate patients on ArcCorp in Stanton. Within days, the virus inexplicably appeared in Nemo and Goss. Virologists could not establish a connection between the new cases and the first batch, igniting a firestorm of fear and panic of a new pandemic. Today we have two special guests. First, from the UEE’s Public Health Society, Dr. Illeana Byrne.
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: Hello.
ERIA QUINT: Dr. Byrne, you’ve recently presented a report to the Senate summarizing the effects and projections of an unchecked spread of Lynch Fever. Would you be able to elaborate?
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: Of course. The report was broken into several parts, first an analysis of the disease as we know it and second, possible methods for containing the virus so we have time to try to work out an antibody before it gets out of control.
ERIA QUINT: Have you identified the virus itself?
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: No. It seems to act similar to a norovirus. Initial symptoms are the titular fever and sweats along with a gastrointestinal pain, but over time, the virus transforms into something resembling a bacterial meningitis, which can cause inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.
ERIA QUINT: Have you isolated how the disease is transmitted?
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: Not specifically. Close contact has been a leading theory, but it doesn’t account for the appearance of the virus in the other two systems.
ERIA QUINT: And that’s what led to the second part of your report, your methods of containment, which caused some controversy and brings us to our second guest. We’re pleased to welcome Garet Waldon, Associate Director in the Trade & Development Division.
GARET WALDON: Thanks for having me.
ERIA QUINT: What was it about Dr. Byrne’s report that you found so disagreeable?
GARET WALDON: I’m happy to let Dr. Byrne explain.
ERIA QUINT: Dr. Byrne?
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: I was simply suggesting that we act within the accepted parameters of any quarantine and lock down transportation and trade until we can definitively identify and isolate exactly what’s causing the spread of the disease. It could be food or specific ingredients in food.
GARET WALDON: ‘Simply’ being the operative word.
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: This is a very real danger, Mr. Waldon.
GARET WALDON: I’m aware of that, but I don’t think you appreciate the extent of your request. Secondly, as of now, Lynch’s isn’t fatal, correct?
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: Not that we know of.
GARET WALDON: Right, so I wouldn’t say that we’re in an apocalyptic-level pandemic scenario that would justify grinding the entire Empire’s economy to a screeching halt.
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: With all due respect, I think you’re being rather dismissive of the course of action outlined in the report. All we were suggesting was instituting a series of scans and additional questions at commercial jump points to determine if the cargo or the pilot and crew were positive for the virus.
GARET WALDON: You’re talking technological upgrades as well as training the border agents to be able to identify infected pilots. That takes two things: time and money. What happens in the meantime? Do we lock down the jump points? Seal everyone in their systems? Who’s going to institute that quarantine? The military? My point is, it’s simply not possible to enforce this kind of action instantaneously.
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: Then maybe we need to start building some contingency plans that have the capability for rapid action should a situation that satisfies your ‘apocalyptic-level’ scenario arises, because I can assure you, at some point we’ll need it.
GARET WALDON: Look, I would fully support designing systems to handle the appearance of a deadly virus. It’s not my area of expertise or my department, but I would absolutely help if I could. However, what you’re asking now won’t stop the spread of Lynch Fever and will only damage a struggling economy.
DR. ILLEANA BYRNE: Mr. Waldon, I suppose my question is, how do you equate a credit amount to the number of people that could be affected by this disease?
GARET WALDON: I suppose I have faith that our gifted scientific and medical community will discover a vaccine. In the meantime, the rest of us have to do what we can to keep the gears of commerce turning.
ERIA QUINT: With that, we’re going to take a quick break and reload before another round of Showdown!