“Globally, we haven’t seen a drop this big ever, and at the yearly level, you would have to go back to World War II to see such a big drop in emissions.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced countries around the world to enact strict lockdowns, seal borders and scale back economic activities. Now, an analysis published Tuesday finds that these measures contributed to an estimated 17 percent decline in daily global carbon dioxide emissions compared to daily global averages from 2019.
The only way I can get this story out safely is to call it fiction. However, I assure you, it is not. I have written it in the fashion of a movie treatment, thinking this was the best way to disguise its intention. However, things have changed since I wrote this in 2017 and even though it was optioned to be made into a movie, I fear that it was actually optioned in order to be shelved so that this story never sees the light of day. Time is running out, so what you see before you is the act of a desperate man.
This is a warning to all of you out there, something has been unleashed and I must accept responsibility for it. I can only hope that once you have read my confession, that you can forgive me or at least understand how this happened. If you are reading this, you are the recipient of my message in a bottle. Please don’t let all my efforts be in vain. – Cameron
“Monumental… powerfully intelligent… unflinching… Barry’s book is not just a masterful narrative of events of 1918 but also an authoritative and disturbing morality tale of science, politics, and culture… One of the strengths is that it goes well beyond medical facts and figures… a sweeping style that consistently focuses on real human beings… Barry has done a remarkable service in writing The Great Influenza.”
The Charlotte Observer:
“Sometimes the book reads like a detective novel; other times it reads like science fiction… A fascinating and frightening account of sickness, fear, stupidity, scientific exploration, and occasional heroism… If this book were merely about the causes and effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic, it would be an engrossing tale, but the story encompasses much more. Ultimately, Barry brings his narrative into the present with provocative implications.”
Journal of the American Medical Association:
“Here is a writer of distinction with a deep philosophical underpinning… I loved the range of this book, how it gives us so much more than its title… compelling and brilliant.”
The Seattle Times:
“Immensely readable… and as a piece of social history, invaluable. It shows the courage and cowardice of individuals under great pressure; it shows how institutions, captive to the ethics of the time, can rise to the occasion or abjectly fall… It’s a lesson to ponder in our times.”
The New York Review of Books:
“Magisterial… evocative… unusual literary panache… impressively up-to-date understanding… very artfully constructed… His message for our time is clear.”
“An enthralling symphony of a book, whose every page enthralls.”
“Terrifying… The lessons of 1918 couldn’t be more relevant.”
American Society of Microbiology:
“Barry provides enormous insight into the very nature of science… The Great Influenza is a must read for its unnerving relevance to today’s scientific challenges of emerging and reemerging diseases and the society’s tragic confrontations with war and terrorism… alarming similarities to today… gripping.”
The New York Times:
“Gripping… Easily our fullest, richest, most panoramic history of the subject.”
We have received notification from several of our friends in the Pacific Northwest area of the USA that a text message, coming from an anonymous source, has landed on several people’s mobile phones. The following is the text of that message. It’s a little more newagey than we would prefer, but as they say:
An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans:
Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high-speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the frenetic, hurried rush of illusions and "obligations" that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you -- in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about the quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Stop. Just stop.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you if you listen.