This plague takes some of the worst from every zombie movie you might have seen and puts it together. It's airborne and can survive for a week in the air, and it is transmitted to humans through all body fluids. There is a minority of people (5%) who are immune to the airborne form, but not to the transmission through fluids in contact with mucous membranes, and they won’t know before a week. The virus turns people into zombies. After a bite, for example, it would take 10-20 minutes. The airborne virus takes 1-2 hours.

Add to this the fact that the zombies are as fast as humans but fearless. Even though they decompose over time (making them weaker), consuming human blood will allow them to recover. Blood from other mammals can feed them but not regenerate them.

They can only be killed with a head hit that would cause a head trauma to a normal person (an average boxer punch to the nose won't suffice). They don't have other likely weaknesses. The dead turn into zombies only if infected within 10 minutes of death. The zombies want to touch you to infect you, not only feed from you.

In order for humankind to recover after the plague is controlled, let's suppose there'll need to be at least 100 communities of 10 or more survivors in one continent, or one community of 10,000 (or similar combinations) left – any less or more dispersed populations wouldn't make it.

What would you take in account to guess the outcome? What chances would we have?

put on hold as too broad by Philipp, Cyn, JBH, bilbo_pingouin, elemtilas yesterday

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  • Does the zombie virus itself kill people, and if so, how long does that take? And when you say "they don't have other likely weaknesses" - do you just mean in comparison to humans, or are they supernaturally immune to non-head damage? (For instance, if you hit a person with a car, they go flying and break a lot of bones. If you hit a zombie, does that happen, or are they immune?) – Cadence Dec 6 at 18:30
  • Please indicate what proportion this "Minority of people who are immune" represent. Also, please let us know the intelligence of the Zombies, can they: Drive cars? Use guns? Disguise themselves as non-Zombies? And, do the zombies have a sixth sense allowing them to know where humans are? – Mathaddict Dec 6 at 18:49
  • I'm editing to answer, thank you for your comments. – Tomás Dec 6 at 19:30
  • "What would you take in account to guess the outcome?" Netflix. Virii need human contact to spread, and people are becoming increasingly antisocial - you're not going to get a disease from someone else if you never meet anyone else. – Renan Dec 6 at 20:39
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    This question is either too broad (asking us to invent an entire post-apocalyptic culture) or too story-based (so dependent on the circumstances of your story that no factual answer can be given). Worst of all, it's likely also primarily opinion-based, meaning we can't objectively vote for an answer and you can't objectively choose one as the best. I'm going to VTC as too broad, though it could have been any of the three. – JBH yesterday

Unless the zombies are intelligent (and malicious), this virus cannot cross the planet.

What a virus needs to spread is a lengthy incubation period. This is the time between when an individual is infected and when symptoms appear. Often, especially in the case of viral infections, victims are themselves infectious during this period, so the virus can spread, but because they have no visible symptoms, they have no way of knowing that they're doing so.

With an incubation period of only a few hours to full-grown zombiehood, your virus will have a hard time hopping from continent to continent. If you have a plane crossing the Atlantic, for instance, its passengers and pilots will turn into zombies somewhere in the middle and it'll crash. Ships will lose guidance and drift. More importantly, once it's clear what's going on, quarantine measures will be put in place. Quantantines in the real world can be tricky because with many diseases, it can take days or weeks for symptoms to show - and during that time period, it's impossible to say whether a potential victim is infected or not. With this, however, anyone who stays for more than a few hours without turning into a zombie is safe.

As for dealing with the zombies themselves, that's the easy part. Although aggressive, fast, and malicious, they're still basically animals. They can't protect themselves effectively from airborne attack or tanks. Finding them all in urban environments would be tricky - there'd probably be a very strong temptation to simply obliterate infected areas with firebombing - but is ultimately still possible. You would simply need to be meticulous about it, with a great emphasis on dividing the area into sections that can be checked, cleared, and kept clear one by one. The good news is zombies can't react to your strategy, so focusing your efforts on one zone at a time is a lot easier than it is against humans.

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    The zombie, as Mr @Cadence mentions, lacks the most powerful weapon: intelligence. That deprives them of tactics & tools. Are we afraid of rhinoceros? Nope, we shoot them or avoid them. Also the zombies lack of intelligence makes them static, since they can't learn. – Gustavo Almeida Dec 6 at 20:56
  • Thank you for your answer, although very interesting and true, I don't see enough in it to exclude a world infection. For example if the virus was purposely released in all continents. I simply didn't cover that aspect but I didn't established it was a natural virus or that there wasn't any other way for the virus to survive. – Tomás Dec 6 at 21:13
  • There is a way the virus can cross the ocean--infect a high tech ship. Everyone goes zombie but the autopilot takes it to it's destination anyway. It goes adrift outside the destination port, it may wash up on land. Of course quarantine measures can stop this. – Loren Pechtel Dec 7 at 0:32
  • By the time a ship reaches its destination the news will be out that there's a problem where it came from. If it doesn't respond it'll be "contained" far out at sea – Separatrix Dec 7 at 11:20

Our odds would be pretty good.

You would get the initial hit from the airborne virus. Billions die. Second wave is those that killed by zombies, mostly due to not understanding what they are up against.

By the end, you have people who know what they are facing against mindless machines incapable of even self preservation.

People would bunker down and wait for it to die out. Viruses are like a candle. The brighter they burn, the faster they burn out.

People would also trap and kill any that are left. Zombies are attracted to noise and light so they are simple to bait.

Finally you have a military response. They have weapons, vehicles and are already prepared for biological attacks. The navy is pretty safe if they can filter the air before being hit and nuclear subs can be underwater for six months without surfacing.

Throw in government and civilian bunkers, the rich bolt holes, doomsday preppers, uninfected antisocial survivalists and finally just the lucky few.

Zombies are not a thinking enemy. They cannot get out of the way of a tank let alone dig survivors out of a fortified bunker. People would win in the end.

  • That is the book World War Z – Willk Dec 7 at 3:15
  • The US army has 68 submarines, that's a pretty good number, you are right! – Tomás Dec 7 at 3:15
  • Then you also have every other country's subs – Thorne Dec 7 at 3:58

100 communities of 10 or more survivors in one continent, or one community of 10,000

There is a minority of people (5%) who are immune to the airborne form

5% of 7 billion people are 350 000 000. That's roughly the amount of people in USA and Canada combined. Or twice the population of Russia.

There will be communities of people not affected by the airbone form at all (like all the islands, maybe Australia or New Zealand, All the remote science bases) AND to that you have that additional 5%.
People who turn into zombies would not have enough people to feed upon and regenerate. So they will decompose.

So the way for humanity to survive is to wait.

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