President Trump is putting non-medically-trained “experts” in charge of the COVID 19 problem. What could possibly go wrong?
Night was a clammy blanket over the jungles of Nambia. In the poorly-constructed corrugated tin hut that passed for the medical centre in the town of Mabula, crisis was never more than the next patient away. The team of medical specialists, who had once served here so proudly, was now reduced to a skeleton crew. Tired minds and tired bodies worked around the clock to keep up with the constant stream of emergencies: malaria, ebola, cholera, typhoid — each had done its worst. Epidemics had come and gone, but the funding? The funding had mostly gone. Nambia was, after all, a shithole: in the brave new world of medical aid you didn’t fund shitholes when you could be funding insurance companies’ dividends.
Doctor Shaw, a one-time army medic and a veteran of more years in so-called “shitholes” than she cared to remember, wiped the sweat from her eyes and tried to concentrate on intubating the emaciated baby before her. A precision job, given his tiny airway, and one not made easier by her stinging eyes and the unreliable light grudgingly thrown by the ancient generator. At last she succeeded: another Phyrric victory, probably — the baby would almost certainly be dead by the morning. Too little, too late. Just one more small body to add to the ever-deepening grave in her conscience. As she hooked the child up to as strong an antibiotic as was available, she shrugged the feelings away. Self pity wouldn’t help her patients. She went to find the boy’s mother, to offer what small words of hope she might be able to excavate from a barrel that had long since been scraped dry. Hours later, as she fell into a restless sleep, she could not escape the despairing hope in the mother’s eyes.
A few hours later, in Washington DC, a President — whose most major contribution to medicine had been his own consumption of pharmaceutical products down the years — was looking forward to receiving large donations from pharmaceutical companies. He had a meeting with them later that same day and he could almost smell the opportunities. He congratulated himself on his knowledge of plague. One of the Four Horsemen, right? Useful, in the right hands.
In Nambia, a doctor, whose entire career had been dedicated to fighting actual plagues, awoke to find that real science had wrought a minor miracle and brought a young child back from the brink. Savour the victories, she told herself, as she relayed the good news to the boy’s mother: fighting plagues, be they viral, bacterial or Presidential, was a forever war.