• Hi Jo, I wish I'd had more time to read, but here are my comments (attached).

    The concept is intriguing - the idea of a new kind of pandemic, and what effect it would have on society. Karen and James are potentially rounded characters that we can have sympathy with (Karen in particular). A short story with a word target is hard work. Every dot and comma has to earn its keep, and I think there is potential for tightening here.

    I think the main issue I have is with the point of view. I think a deep point of view would work better for this, possibly alternating with a 'news report' style indicating how the pandemic progresses. (Only now I think of this: begin each 'Week N' section with a news headline, possibly ending with the usual drivel "More after the break!" - perhaps a little 'Don't Look Up'.)

    Other than that it's a fun piece. I wish you the best of luck with the competition.

    Cheers, S.

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