Whether it’s Left 4 Dead’s Green Flu outbreak or Dying Light’s Harran Virus, the use of zombies, and more importantly, parasitic zombie outbreaks, has existed for as long as the horror genre has existed within video games. It’s a metaphor. The problem with the games I mentioned is that those occurrences are still pretty unrealistic, and The Last of Us is no exception. With the remake on the market and Outbreak Day fast approaching, there’s no better time to see how The Last of Us-style Outbreak works in the real world.
To know how feasible an outbreak is, we must first look at the infection itself. Cordyceps Brain Infection, or CBI for short, is a fungal infection that begins and grows in the brain, controlling the nervous system and eventually pushing against the skull, disfiguring the host. A stem sprouts from the body of the host and spreads the spores. Now, this may seem far-fetched to the average bystander, but as anyone who has seen the planet Earth clip now widely circulated knows, the notion is a reality. It is rooted in world phenomena.
The video depicts Cordyceps-infected ants reaching the tops of trees, where the fungus releases spores through large buds that emerge from the ants’ tops. Recent research suggests that rather than controlling the nervous system, the fungus actually grabs muscles and controls the ant that way. The core principle of “zombifying” them is still there.
stage of infection
Assuming fungal infections have made the giant leap from ants to humans, how might Naughty Dog’s depictions differ from actual infections?
From the in-game FEDRA (Federal Emergency Disaster Response Agency) pamphlet, we can see that the hypothetical stage of the disease is quite different from the infection it’s based on, but the mutations required for the infection suggest it. is not unreasonable. To jump to humans, there would be fungal growth in the host.
The Stage 1 Infected, or “runner” in the style of the game, is the most realistic form of the Infected. Here, the fungus reaches the brain and begins to grow, damaging certain parts of the brain and causing facial deformities. It becomes irrational. This may explain some of Ellie’s reckless behavior in the second game (such as jumping off a dinosaur statue). Because a fungus is known to grow inside Ellie’s head.
Runners tend to move in packs and can be a formidable force in large numbers. However, being unarmored and relatively lithe, Runners are very easy to deal with in small numbers.
Stage 2 Infected, or “stalkers,” are especially unique because they have both the speed and vision of a Runner, but the aggressiveness and strength of a Clicker (Stage 3 Infected). A stalker’s appearance doesn’t look much different than a runner’s, except that he has a fungus growing around his head. Their behavior is what sets them apart from runners and clickers. Rather than bombing enemies, stalkers stalk their prey (hence the name). Worse, they like to inhabit gloomy, damp environments, so with numbers greater than zero, they become a force to be reckoned with whenever possible, sneaking up behind you and unknowingly killing you. Rip the jugular vein.
Without their actions, the second-stage infected would have been fairly consistent with the fungus’ growth methods, but because of their attack methods, their uninfected brethren, Runners, would have made some inferences as well. I had to. Not enough.
You’ll hear the familiar clicking sound, which is harmless in itself, but in the context of The Last of Us, this sound is enough to send chills down your spine. let’s meet.
Infected individuals become clickers about a year after infection (if they have not yet died), at which point plates of fungus completely cover and deform the host’s face, rendering them completely blind and forced to resort to lose. A primitive form of sonar known as echolocation. To accomplish this, a Stage 3 infected person makes a signature clicking sound.
It’s not too much of an exaggeration that the infected class uses echolocation as a means of vision. I think I was playing the game on headphones and got a rough idea of the direction of the sound when footsteps were approaching. Blind people can also use sounds to navigate. This is because other senses (e.g. listening) have been shown to be enhanced due to the lack of other senses. So even looking at everything before this point, the clicker isn’t so unreasonable.
If it wasn’t clear by now, we’re in the realm of very cool rules.Infected in Stage 4, which includes both “Shambler” and “Bloater”, purely to present a challenge to the player. exists in These can be considered the most unrealistic for two reasons. First, most infected die before reaching the clicker stage, so the chances of a Shambler and Bloater encounter are very low. Finally, their complete fungal plating and acid spores/acid spheres are so different from other infected individuals that they feel less consistent. It’s safe to say that it should be ignored.
We know from the first game that the fungus first spread to America via contaminated crops from South America, particularly coffee and cocoa beans, but other crops were also infected. Given the large portion of the population that consumes coffee, it will be a while before manufacturers issue food recalls, so it’s fairly easy to say that the infection spreads quickly. Come to think of it, how Joel survived remains an unsolved mystery.
More and more people are becoming infected through the bite of contaminated food or an infected person. The number of infected people grows exponentially, some die from disease and military intervention, but the sheer numbers are enough to overwhelm the military, resulting in the formation of quarantine zones. So the statistic that 60% of mankind has contracted or died from the virus isn’t all that surprising, especially given the speed at which real-world viruses (such as COVID-19) spread.
As the outbreak progresses, the infected start dying, and the spores spread everywhere, fewer people actively hunting prey can start to infect fewer people. Some people will accidentally step into a spore or encounter an infected person who can still attack, so it’s unlikely that there will be zero infections. Developing vaccines for fungal infections, even if they are small, has proven difficult for scientists around the world. is not possible.
From that quick analysis, it looks pretty awful, but there’s hope.Ant infections are very quick, but humans are hundreds of times larger than ants, and it can take up to two weeks for a fungal infection to actually take hold. This could theoretically cause more people to get infected, but we have a second trump card they didn’t mention in the game (if they did. , would have been a very boring game): antifungal drug that works by killing fungi to make cells grow or stop them from growing. And if it does happen, there’s always amputation shown in Left Behind to be the proper way to stop the infection.
So, in the unlikely event that this zombifying Cordyceps fungus does invade humans, you probably don’t need to worry as modern science and the lack of sick plot armor are holding you back.
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