We were told the project would change the world. *chuckles* It did, just not in the way they led us to believe. Damned scientists should never be allowed to play God...
The infection has spread and worldwide enemies have taken full advantage of its emergence in all societies. War briefly ripped apart the surface of the planet and society remains on its last legs, walking into a new world. The World of Tomorrow. Twilight.
The economy is crap; the currency of the land is food, services and goods that one can trade. This includes skills that one has, from farming to weaving to everything in between. The more resources one has, the better a tradesman is at his craft, the richer they are considered. Even such commodities as coffee and sugar are valuable! Money has reverted to gold and silver; what was once used as dollar bills have become useful only for the fireplace.
The environment has changed as well: areas that were once overflowing with human population has become overgrown from lack of maintenance. Lands that were once in danger of being wiped out due to development or other human interference are now getting the chance to grow and recover from what humans had once tried to destroy. Rain forests and jungles are thriving with wildlife, many of the world’s endangered species are starting to recover, while humans now become the endangered of the world; deserts have expanded in some places to twice what they were, the terrain become more hostile and deadly than ever before. With the lack of humans to interfere, wildlife has become more fierce and unmanageable. Some have become so vicious that not even weapons can keep the wildlife populations under control. And if you aren't worrying about that, there are all the freaking zombies walking around!
Technology has come to a standstill. It still exists, just there have been no advances in the last decade, and with so few people still surviving after the outbreak, there are no means to research any new advances in technology. Those that know how to maintain the current technology are few and far between, and people are finding it more and more difficult to keep it up. What functioning devices there are for cross-country communications are treasured, with so few working devices left, it is more likely that you will find ones that have been cannibalized for parts to keep others working, much the same as transportation. Most of the electricity is now powered by solar energy, water where possible; with so few to maintain power plants, they soon fell to ruin, leaving the small communities to figure out how to supply their own power. Most smaller outposts have degraded to the point of near medieval survival with a lack of power, however there are outposts that have banded together to share resources such as solar panels and what little coal can be found or mined in the area. Petroleum production still exist, but barely; it has become one of those rare commodities that a person would pay dearly to acquire.
Yeah, let's talk about transportation a moment. It sucks. Remember hearing about the days way back when cars were first invented, how few there were? Yeah, well, that's how it is now. Working cars and trucks are rare, so when one is found, it is considered a commodity that will have you set for the next few years! Ah... that is, of course, if you can find the gas to make it work! Petroleum production still exists, but barely (see technology). It's one of those things like a working hospital: where they once thrived, they are now rare. You might be lucky to find one on the continent, but it will be so well guarded, as though it were Fort Knox! There are even still boats and cruisers in the oceans, but good luck getting near one of them! There are rumors of a place, a floating island of ships, one of the only truly safe places in the world. It is said that this island is self sustaining. Not sure how true that rumor is, but it sure would be nice, eh? The few known ships still functioning to go trans-oceanic are rare, kept working only by using the parts off other ships that have not been maintained as well. Such is the way with pretty much all mechanical things these days, cannibalize the non-working to keep the working going! And airplanes? Those died out shortly after the outbreak! There have been a few helicopters kept maintained, and those are hard to come by, mostly used by those who have them to keep peace in their areas.
Speaking of working hospitals... The medical community is one that is really hurting. With the severe lack of technology being kept up, medical research and advances have ceased. What was once easy for doctors has become difficult as operational hospitals are few and far between; you might be lucky to find a hospital in the few remaining major cities, but in between, forget it! Diseases such as cancer and gangrene, which once were treatable, have become deadly. Medications and vaccines that the world had become so dependent on, most people fear after the outbreak. Anyone with medical knowledge more than the basics of setting bones and stitching up cuts is mistrusted and treated as though they have the plague. Even so much as the common flu has become deadly as communities tend to ostracize and cast out those who become sick from fear of a relapse of the outbreak. Only after the sick have healed are those that survive allowed back into the community, and even then they are watched for months with suspicion and caution. The olde days of "Witches" and herbalists has come back. Those herbalists and natural healers who once were outcast and burned as Witches are now revered as they are called upon to heal the colds and flu and other minor maladies that have now become major diseases if not cured quick, provided, that is, that those herbalists can get the herbs they need!
And what does the government do about all of this? What government?!?! Formal government crumbled and crashed. There are some who have tried to bring order to the chaos that engulfed the world, but those are rare. Most have become dictatorships, at best, and at worst, a rule of brute force. It has become known that one has even adopted the fictional "Holn's Rules of 8", while another tries to rule the area as a democracy. One of these such places is what was once the United States. A 'New American Government' is trying to come to power to pull the nation back together. However, there are several opposing factions who wish to have the power for themselves.
It has been rumored that the infection was unleashed by government scientists, but that's just a rumor, isn't it?