I've been working on this concept where a deadly new fungus starts spreading from two central locations. One in Europe and one outside of a major city in the United States. Over the course of 16 days, people have been getting sick, after being exposed to the spores, and I'm wondering where to proceed from here in terms of timeline.

This fungus and it's spores affect humans in a slowish manner, but it's completely novel to us so 99.99% of humans will be affected, with a minor population of people naturally immune. The people who are infected will start off with a cough, at the spores take root in their lungs, slowly growing releasing more spores into their lungs to be coughed out, eventually the fungus grows out of control, killing the host and growing out through the chest, the mouth, etc - like vines growing from the outside. At this point in the timeline, when people are sick, how fast do you think things like this should start happening?

Do hospitals start overflowing and twitter is ablaze with rumors? Does the government send in military to help with potential containment even though it's not truly feasible. How fast do things fall apart from here?


  • $\begingroup$ "Does the government send in military to help with potential containment even though it's not truly feasible." Why wouldn't it be feasible? $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Sep 6, 2019 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ What happens? is rather broad. It is a different flavor of "what are the consequences of x on society?" $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 6, 2019 at 3:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Ryan_L with spores in particular, and in general, by the time quarantine is enacted it tends to have been too late, as well as logistically how do you quarantine a whole city? $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2019 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch agreed- I could say it’s more of, I’m trying to get more ideas on how fast is too fast? Is it slow with the cdc being sent in, but then it gets bad fast, or does it jump straight into the chaos $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2019 at 4:03
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, we don't give ideas. We solve well defined problems. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 6, 2019 at 4:05

1 Answer 1


If you had used , or omitted , things could be holywoodian as you describe.

Given , though, most likely the disease would probably cause as much panic and less deaths than bird flu, or flash eating bacteria.

This disease you describe can be prevented by wearing a simple mask. As soon as the disease is found out, the japanese will tell the world they liked to wear masks on the streets before those were cool.

Another point to consider: fungi do not develop resistance to medicines as fast as viruses or bacteria. Ketoconazole works pretty well against most of them, and if it doesn't do the trick against yours, some other cheap imidazole will. These things go hard on your liver but if it's steatosis or death, people will pick steatosis any day.

Prognosis: the disease makes it into the news for a trimester, generates some memes and boosts the sale of the next iteration of The Last of Us. Some crackpots will cook up a conspiracy hypothesis linking the fungus to cordyceps and DARPA, but except for the Infowars fanbase no one will remember the fungus after a couple years.


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