Faces Smeared with Bird Blood: Life in The Pandemicene

Faces Smeared with Bird Blood: Life in The Pandemicene

A few days ago, someone posted this on Reddit: "Can I get sick from sleeping with a dead bird on my pillow for a few hours?"

A 30ish male was sleeping at a friend's place when "their stupid cat dumped a dead bird on my pillow." He woke up later that morning, his face smeared with blood and feathers. Apparently Covid had destroyed his sense of smell, so he didn't realize "I was basically french kissing a dead bird's asshole all night." He wants to know if he should worry about bird flu.

No, it's not just you.

Maybe you've noticed more coverage of deadly viruses lately. There's Nipah virus. There's malaria. There's bird flu. There's leprosy. There's mpox. There's ebola. On top of that, fungal infections are on the rise.

There's a reason.

Sure, there's the fact that Covid has trashed our immune systems. It's doing the opposite of what we were promised. Last year, that was fiercely debated by Covid minimizers. Now they're just ignoring it.

That's not all.

Scientists predicted that climate change would unleash an era known as the pandemicene. Now it's happening. Just like melting sea ice and turbocharged weather, it's hitting us decades sooner than we thought it would. Dwindling resources and habitat loss are bringing us into contact with more wild animals. We're trying to live in the same spaces now.

House pets are the perfect vectors.

Diseases love all this.

There's thousands of zoonotic diseases waiting to spill over into humans. There's no magic force field protecting us from them.

They just haven't met us yet.

They will.

Let's talk about our favorite nemesis, bird flu. Preppers have been waiting for that one to cross over to humans for years now. We've seen bird flu before. There's strong evidence the 1918 flu came from birds.

Humans have a gene that enables us to fight off most strains of bird flu. The ones that start pandemics learn to evade it.

That's happening now.

Caveat: Healthy humans have a gene that helps us fight off bird flu. We don't even know what Covid has done to that gene or its expression in our immune systems. Nobody has asked the question yet.

Well, consider it asked.

There's also strong evidence that this strain didn't evolve in the wild. It comes from industrialized poultry farms where thousands of hens are locked up under close quarters, creating the ideal conditions for diseases. Yes, our insatiable appetite for scrambled eggs and chicken fillets is coming back to bite us. Now add our industrial fur farms, and you get the ideal conditions for zoonotic diseases to practice infecting mammals.

Poultry workers have already been testing positive for bird flu and failing to isolate. In parts of the world, pop-up slaughterhouses are a thing. They slaughter birds and leave their carcasses in the streets.

We used to do that in medieval times.

Hence the plague.

So climate change is driving more crossover from zoonotic diseases. It's creating conditions favorable for rapid viral mutation and spread. On top of that, the same human mechanisms destroying animal habitats are also giving these diseases an even bigger boost by shoving a bunch of animals together, which we slaughter and then consume. Oh, and most middle-class Americans and Europeans don't understand how to keep their pets inside.

It's a real mess.

Here's the thing about the pandemicene: If we were just dealing with super viruses, we could handle it.

We have tools.

We know how to clean the air. We have the technology. It's getting cheaper. We have N95 masks and better. So far, the majority of humanity has utterly refused to adopt these simple measures.

The excuses are endless.

My favorite excuse has to be, "It's too expensive," followed by "People won't do it." These fall under the general category of self-fulfilling prophecy. No, of course people aren't going to do it if nobody encourages them. People generally don't want to do things that are good for them.

They need motivation.

Fun fact:

Over the last year, the U.S. has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion on a war that still hasn't accomplished its main agenda. They're eager to start yet another war, while this one is still toddling around in diapers. There's always money for the issues our leaders decide are important. The phrase "it's too expensive" means "I don't care enough."

What we're seeing now isn't healthy at all. It's a population that's giving up on trying to do the right thing because it's hard. It's a group of incompetent leaders who care about protecting themselves from threats while lying to everyone else, primarily for short-term gains.

The CDC talks about preparing for the next pandemic. Meanwhile, they relax guidelines for hospitals and healthcare facilities as we face more and greater threats from diseases than ever.

It's nothing short of criminal.

There's a number of psychological conditions that predispose humans to stupid decisions during emergencies. Instead of acting, they cling to outdated belief systems, even if a part of them knows better. Humans generally care more about fitting in than protecting their own interests. As we speak, people are actively admitting they're waiting for mask mandates to return because they're scared someone will ridicule or make fun of them.

It's ironic.

The same human behavior behind the pandemicene is the same behavior that keeps the public from adapting. It's the same human behavior that results in some dude waking up with his face smeared in bird blood.

Who would've thought?

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