There is no need to fear, my fellow Americans. The zombie apocalypse is not upon us.
Yes, I know all about the face-eating episode that recently happened in Miami. Although there is no reason to rule out the theory that this incident is zombie related — at least at this point — there is also no cause for alarm.
As a zombie expert, I can tell you quite certainly that even if this is a case of zombie-ism, the actual risk of a full-scale zombie apocalypse, either at the national or worldwide level, is nearly non-existent.
When it comes to zombies, there are two kinds of causes: the biological and the supernatural. If this is a case of the former, we have nothing to fear. If it's the latter, then we may indeed be fucked.
For the cause of this particular case of zombie-ism to be biological in origin, then it must behave in a manner fitting all known biological diseases.
One, if the source of the transmission is a bite wound, then the zombie matter, let's say a virus, must travel through the blood stream or through the nerves to the brain (the latter is the more likely route given a zombie's behavior).
If this is the case, then the time from bite to full-on zombie-ism should be similar to other known viruses. It could be several hours, days, weeks, or even months before the bitten becomes a flesh eater. And it goes without saying that the infected will likely have to develop full-blown zombie-ism before it begins to shed the virus in its own saliva and/or blood.
This should give authorities plenty of time to quarantine the infected and either put them down or hold them for further observation. It is impossible for a biologically based zombie virus to be spread instantaneously from person to person as we have seen in 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake and, as such, a sudden and uncontrollable outbreak is highly unlikely.
Two, a zombie that has been biologically infected is highly unlikely to possess so-called superhuman strength or speed. The human body can only do what the human body can physically do. If the infected person is overweight and out of shape, then it is doubtful that the zombie's abilities could exceed those of the person prior to infection. In fact, the zombie would likely be physically impaired, especially when you take into account the significant amount of nerve damage an infected person would experience in the zombie-conversion process.
Three, if the zombie is biologically created, then it must consume calories or else it will ultimately starve and cease to function. Just as you and I and every other living creature on this planet requires food, so does the zombie. If you remove the food source, a zombie will die.
So even if a zombie outbreak does manage to reach a critical mass — one in which the number of living dead rivals that of the living — then all we need to do is lock our front doors and stay inside for several weeks.
The zombie must also expend waste, and when it is doing so — chances are that it would be in the same manner as uninfected humans — then it will be ripe to be captured and/or killed.
However, if the dead are rising due to the whim of a vengeful, petty deity or an evil sorcerer, then the normal rules of biology do not apply.
In the case of the former, there's not much you can do to undo a command by the Almighty, especially one that makes the dead rise from the grave.
If it is a case of the former — an evil sorcerer — then there is certainly a chance that the outbreak of zombie-ism could be limited to an isolated area, perhaps even a single residence or a family or person. In this case, there is also the chance that a zombie spell, if cast, could be undone.
Of course, given that there are few if any actual recorded supernatural occurrences in recently recorded memory — and those of recorded historical note are highly questionable — then any cases of zombie-ism will most undoubtably be biological in origin. And for that we should all breathe a sigh of relief.
UPDATE: Here's a link to a Miami man describing the zombie attack. And, yes, he does use the word "zombie."
UPDATE: The Miami New Times has identified the attacker and has posted what may be a photo of the victim.
UPDATE: Authorities believe the so-called Miami zombie was likely in a state of drug-induced delirium, perhaps from LSD or bath salts, which until recently were legal in South Carolina. One man under the influence of bath salts reportedly ripped his own scrotum off because he thought it was filled with centipedes.
Speaking of zombies, this is a fun, choose-your-own-adventure-style game by New Zealand pizza chain, Hell Pizza. Watch it and choose wisely.
Oh. And one final thing. I Love You Sarah Jane is a rock solid zombie short from Australian director Spencer Susser (Hesher), starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland). Watch it below: