About 8 weeks ago, we were hearing of a respiratory virus going around China. A short time later, the Chinese government essentially locked down the country in order to help halt the spread of the Coronavirus. If you want to see the latest maps and information on the COVID-19 outbreak, The Johns Hopkins University and Worldometer have near real time information on cases, locations and outcomes.
This isn’t the flu
As a new virus, you have people calling it the next great calamity (which it might be) or “just the flu” (which it definitely is not). While the flu kills tens of thousands annually, it’s also been around a lot longer. COVID-19 is new. So while of the 129,842 people who have/had it, “only” 4,751 have died. That’s 3.6% mortality, versus the 0.1% for the flu. To put into perspective, if we use the flu mortality rate, that is only 130 people dead. A huge difference.
If we assume 40,000 people die from the flu, and the mortality rate is 0.1%, then the number of people with the flu was about 40 million (40,000/0.001). If we take that 40 million and apply the 3.6% mortality rate so far, that is 1,440,000 people dead (40million * .036). Coronavirus lives for days on hard surfaces, has a very long incubation time and spreads faster than the flu.
This isn’t just the flu.
In addition to China, Italy has locked down the country, even closing bars, restaurants and most shops as their death toll rises. Norway is following suit, pretty much shutting down the country until this passes.
And now we find ourselves (U.S.) right in the middle of the chaos. The NBA has suspended the remainder of the season after a player tested positive. Numerous conferences in the U.S., such as SXSW, Facebook F8, and Google Cloud Next ‘20 have been canceled, postponed or switched to online events. Even Coachella has been postponed. Worldwide, several large events, such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, have also felt the pain.
I won’t even get into the fights over toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
We’re in it for the long term
Well, it looks like the Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) is here for the long-haul. As a prepper, it’s ironic to see people scrambling to do the things we’ve done for years. And while it’s humorous to poke fun at people making runs on toilet paper and hand sanitizer, it underscores the serious lack of preparation in this country.
I’m from the tail-end of the baby boom generation, and can still remember visiting my maternal grandmother and watching her and my great-grandmother (when she was alive) canning fruits and vegetables. As dairy and hog farmers, they had plenty of meat and dairy. Grandpa was a real handyman, as I’m told, and used whatever he could find to fix things around the farm. Having a farm during the Great Depression teaches you a lot…necessity being the mother of invention, and all that.
Given most people’s financial and living situations…heavy mortgages, rampant consumerism…preparation is often the last thing on people’s minds as they try to live their lives. I read in an article recently about a couple, no kids, who couldn’t scrape together $1,000 cash for part of a downpayment on a home they wanted. Their combined income was well into the six-figures. What do you think the chances are they have 2 months or more food and necessities available?
Preppers are ahead of the curve
So when I read or see stories of people wiping out the toilet paper section, it’s clear they’ve not given any thought to preparation. If the U.S. government imposed Italian-style movement restrictions, a dubious endeavor to begin with, these people would be well set to wipe their butts, but not a lot else. It appears the aftermaths of numerous hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters has taught us nothing, collectively.
I’m hoping that most of our readers have been prepping for some time. But if you’re new to it, here are some resources to get started:
Pasta and rice don’t take up much space. As long as you’ve water and a way to heat it, you’re good. Even if the Coronavirus causes actual logistical shutdowns, government services such as water, police, fire, power, etc., *should* still operate, albeit at reduced personnel.
Other items you might consider stocking up on are canned and boxed goods, such as vegetables, cereals, trail mixes, etc. You need to get through the next 2-6 months, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it going bad. One caveat: Make sure it’s food you will actually eat. When this blows over, having 5 cases of canned brussel sprouts will do you no good if you hate brussel sprouts.
If you can, extend your supply of multivitamins and any prescription meds you may require. If you can, switch your RX medication to 90-day supplies instead of 30-day. If you get sick and can’t leave, or the government imposes internal travel restrictions, running out of medication can be deadly.
If you live in a major town as I do, then having an everyday carry bag (EDC) can literally be a lifesaver. Also consider a Get Home Bag in case things devolve and you have to abandon your vehicle to make it home. Hopefully it’ll never come to that..but isn’t that why we prep?
The Prepper Journal Archive
Readers of TPJ, continue on with what you’re doing…you’re ahead of the wave. If this situation gets worse, we’ll be OK for a while.
If you’re looking for a one-stop ‘shop’ of prepper articles, the Prepper Journal Offline Archive maybe just what you’re looking for. It contains all our articles plus 28 military manuals in PDF format. All for only $12.99 (plus any applicable tax).