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A small, but wealthy, terrorist organization, (or "freedom fighters", or "savoiurs of the world", if you use their own language) sees the world as full of "sinners", and thinks that the only way to save the world is to kill almost everyone. The survivors, (including themselves, of course), would be "purified of their sins", and worthy to start over again. Their goal is therefore to kill 99.99% of the entire population.

How can they do it?

Seeing the world slow and inefficient response to COVID-19, they decide to make as many variants of existing retroviruses as they can, then select the deadliest forms of them, and release them all at once from as many locations as they can. Then go into hiding, in a biohazard safe bunker, and continue making new viruses for the next wave of attack. If one naturally mutated virus, started from one location, can cause the havoc we live in today, then multiple viruses released from multiple places should make a big impact.

What would prevent them executing their plan, assuming that they are detemined enough not to care if they are among the survivors or not?

What can the world do against it?

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  • $\begingroup$ If they can actually engineer something more contagious than the current viruses and deadlier then humanity is done. Corona told us that people and stats simply don't care and would rather risk human lives to keep the economy going. Now an 80% lethal virus would force the entire world into actual martial laws + absolute lockdowns and nationalization of assets in any country that cares. After a while the virus will be contained as it just dies down. Problem is the economy as it completely shatters since global trade is stopped. 99.99% too high I think. You can social distance to stop it $\endgroup$
    – Seallussus
    Dec 26, 2020 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ You do realize that human population grew in 2020? In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic had no observable impact on population growth. With couples spending a lot more time together due to lockdowns, we may even have a surprise counting babies born in 2021... Your thuggees would better choose a virus which is actually effective at removing people from this carnal plane of existence. The lock-downish response of authorities in developed countries was only possible because most stuff is made in China... $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 26, 2020 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ "Terrorists" don't want to destroy the Earth's population. That's more along the lines of a "wacko doomsday cult". The folks at the top of the cult, who control the lives and wealth of their devotees, have already achieved their goal of wealth and power. The ostensible goal of annihilation will never actually arrive. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Dec 26, 2020 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Seallussus 99.99% - you have to aim high, as the saying goes. And stopping economy is part of the "purifying" process. The questions is: can they do it? $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2020 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ It's unclear why variants of a single airborne virus would work. Seems like the same rather minimal countermeasures that prevent transmission of one would prevent transmission of all of them. Consider using a mix of virus and bacteria, some airborne, some contact-borne. Some fatal, some merely weakening. You will also have a final problem: All those other doomsday cults in their various bunkers with their guns and followers who were prepared for just this kind of apocalypse. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Dec 26, 2020 at 20:00

1 Answer 1

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What can the world do? Social distance. Masks. Contact trace. Etc.

The world hasnt had a slow and ineffective response against covid19. Some countries have have been extremely poor in their response. You know who they are. Some countries or states have been extremely proactive and their citizens have remained alive and well.

As an example my state: "South Australia". Population 1.6 million. 4 deaths. All known cases in hotel quarintine, 30 days since last known community spread. When the virus got out in the community last in mid November, we had what I believe was the toughest snap lockdown on the planet (couldn't leave home even for even exercise or work), with 12 hours notice, and masks were made compulsory in many places. That was kept up for 3 days before our contact tracers got on top of the problem (they requested 6 days but it ended earlier as the virus was less contagious than wed thought). We put 4000 people in quarantine and the cautiously reopened. Now life is back to covid-normal. Some big sporting events and some cross border travel but still staying 1.5m apart.

We have many of the problems other places did. Big open land borders with neighbouring states. Towns on the borders that couldnt easily be segmented. An international airport. Densely packed public transit and people packed like sardines in lifts and nightclubs.

The secret? A boring, forgettable, leader who listens to health advice and a population who may grumble but follow instructions for the good of their neighbour.

But what happened to your cults plan?

Your cults plan will definitely have another pass over the "I'm protesting cause I need a haircut" crowd and anyone living in a city with more than a few of them. Id expect several red American states to be wiped out. You may destroy several countries even: India, Brazil, UK, parts of Africa. Maybe the EU.

But those with border quarintine, contact tracers, mask wearers, lots of hand washing, and social distancing, will just sigh and continue life as normal.

Eventually your cult will accidently infect themselves in their lab and spread the disease within their bunker, killing themselves off.

The viruses they do release will mutate over time to become less deadly (they spread further if they dont kill host). A year after they wipe themselves out their super covid will be no more deadly than the current one. Existing vaccine research could pivot to include them (AstraZeneca stated it would take 6 weeks to create a new vaccine for a variant of covid).

2023 Will be marked by Australia, NZ, Oceania, Southeast Asia, China, and a few enclaves in the USA and EU dropping their borders, emerging from lockdown, and regretting calling 2020 the "worst year ever".

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