What Can Citizens Do To Protect Themselves?
With each successive day since the man (Thomas Eric Duncan) who flew from Liberia to Texas was diagnosed with the first case of the Ebola virus in the U.S., more and more unsettling facts are starting to emerge. As we are seeing, Americans are the ‘last to know’ when it comes to our safety.
It turns out that Mr. Duncan actually reached U.S. soil via two separate United Airlines flights. Why is this important? Do we all need one of those yellow suits?
The CDC and other related agencies are desperately trying to calm the American public as the stock market started to tank yesterday. And part of their strategy is trying to downplay the ease of transmission of this deadly disease, which kills approximately 60-70% of victims who are not treated by the most advanced medical treatments, which as anyone knows is available on a very, very limited basis! That means that if thousands of Americans are suddenly infected, there won’t be the same results we are seeing with the few cases being touted by the CDC… they just don’t have the facilities or trained personnel to deal with an onslaught of Ebola cases here in America.
And keep this in mind as you listen to the re-assurances of the CDC spokespeople:
All of the missionaries and doctors who were infected with Ebola Virus and who returned to the U.S. from Africa for treatment were trained specialists and who had a medical understanding of exactly how the disease is transmitted; yet they still contracted this deadly disease! If they got sick, knowing what they knew, how much more vulnerable is the average person?
The bottom line is this virus is easily transmitted via bodily fluids… this means that if someone who is carrying the virus, who may even be asymptomatic, sneezes or coughs in a confined airspace, that aerosol of bodily fluids can potentially introduce the virus into the respiratory systems of nearby people, thereby potentially infecting them.
Further, if an infected carrier has any bodily fluids on their hands, and uses any fixtures in a restroom or touches any surface that is subsequently handled by other uninfected individuals within a few minutes, those uninfected individuals who have touched one of the those surfaces and then touches their eye or any tissues inside their nose or mouth, are also subject to potential infection!
As we begin to see, if we have 200-250 people on a jet with an infected individual who has used the restroom (sink, toilet, etc.) there is the potential to infect many people on that flight, who may subsequently in turn spread the disease during their travels.
So the new disclosure as to Mr. Duncan’s travels seems to infer that many people could have been potentially infected. So where are all these people now?
Making matters even worse, the Texas hospital that first saw Mr. Duncan sent him back home after initially misdiagnosing his illness as a flu-like illness! Of course during the period that he waited to be seen in the waiting room, he may have infected others in that room; and if he used the restroom, there may have been further exposures stemming from there, and so on… remember, this disease spreads exponentially!
So as the CDC tries to calm the public, this insidious and deadly disease may already have a significant start in our country.
My advice to Americans is to prepare, and do it now! It’s too late to prepare if there is an epidemic! How, you may ask?
Here is the advice that I am giving my own friends and family:
1. As we have already witnessed, we cannot depend on the CDC or the U.S. Government to contain this disease (or even give us the facts up-front without delay), so their quarantine measures may also be unreliable. Look at where we are today! They let at least Duncan easily come into the U.S.; how many others may have also made their way here into the U.S. and make be actively ill and yet to be discovered. The first stages of the disease resemble a flu and even fooled the doctors at the Texas hospital! And with the upcoming Flu season, the Ebola virus would have plenty of camouflage if begins to spread!
So we can only rely upon ourselves; if you are unsure if an epidemic is happening in your neighborhood (a sudden rash of people with the ‘flu’), it may be smart to isolate yourself and your family until you are doubly sure you are safe. Make sure you have a basic battery-powered radio receiver to monitor the news.
It is also possible that if an epidemic should occur, the Government itself may order martial law and require that everyone stay in their homes (means you cannot go outside for supplies). In order to comply with such an order, or to make use of the effective tactic of isolating yourself and your family, you will need supplies! Make sure you have enough water, food, clothing, medicines, fuel and any other must-have items to last at least a month. And keep 72 hours of these kinds of supplies in your vehicle or Bug-Out-Bag in case you have to evacuate an area fast.
2. Make sure you have plenty of face masks with at least an N95 rating. I would also make sure you have a box or two of nitrile-rubber surgical gloves in a couple sizes to accommodate the people in your family or group.
3. Make sure you have some spray bottles and a gallon of chlorine bleach. You can make a 20% solution of chlorine bleach mixed with water as a disinfectant (it will kill the virus that it contacts… do not use this on people or pets). You can use this disinfectant as needed; such as spraying on the soles of your shoes, contaminated surfaces, etc.
4. Maintain a careful awareness of the items that you bring into your home. For instance; any chilled item that is contaminated with the bodily fluids of an infected person (sneezes-coughs on some packaged goods that are in a cooler, etc.) will remain a potential source of infection longer than something that is exposed to the sun, or even a surface that is dry and at room temperature. Wash fruits and vegetables very carefully and completely before serving or consuming same.
5. Personal hygiene needs to be significantly enhanced: Buy quality soap and use it to wash your hands anytime you are exposed to any surface that may be contaminated. Pay particular attention to avoiding touching your face with your hands unless they have been thoroughly washed. The eyes, nose and mouth (as well as any open wound) are pathways for viruses and bacteria to enter the body.
The best possible protection is by far obtained by isolation and avoiding anyone who may be possibly infected. This is not easy and requires planning and discipline. If you are fortunate enough to be in an area that is not immediately involved in an outbreak, then you may have time to secure some form of isolation. For those people who have taken to the concept of ‘Nautical Prepping’ this process is actually quite simple as outlined in my book on that subject.
The way this situation is progressing so far, we’ll be lucky if we don’t have some form of epidemic in the U.S. Here again… pray for the best outcome, while preparing for the worst.
Cheers! Capt. Bill
Frequent contributor, Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, who has successfully survived long-term off the grid at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family using sailboats that he equipped for that purpose. Capt. Bill holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial inspected passenger vessels, including, power, sail and assistance towing vessels. He is also the author of many articles on sailing and the book ‘The Nautical Prepper’ (Ulysses Press) You can read more from the Nautical Prepper on Capt. Bill’s personal site at www.williamesimpson.com