The Coronavirus is here. At the time of this blog, we have over 82,000 cases reported in 47 different countries, and it has been increasing at the rate of over 1,000 new cases per day. Scientists are uncertain how exactly it is spreading, are having difficulty finding patient zero in multiple countries, and struggle to stay ahead of the outbreak. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and governments wrestle with the definition of the word “pandemic.” You need to know how this is going to affect your daily life. Whether you are feeling the impact of it yet or not, just the threat of a pandemic will dramatically impact our lives, our economy, and could even threaten our freedoms. Becoming infected by the virus is only part of the threat. You don’t need to be infected with the virus to have your life significantly impacted by it. You don’t need to come into contact with anyone with the virus. The fact that it is here can threaten your security in many ways. In this video, we’re going to look at 5 hidden dangers stemming from the threat of a pandemic. We want to go beyond the virus here and discuss some of the things currently impacting our lives and some things that will impact our lives should this or any other threatening pandemic become greater. If not this Coronavirus, at some point we will face a pandemic situation. COVID-19 is just one strain from the family of coronaviruses. We are at a sort of tipping point right now with COVID-19 where even if a full-blown pandemic doesn’t occur, the virus is changing how we live. You may have already seen the most obvious outward sign– a significant downturn in the economy.
1. The Pandemic Could Lead to a Global Recession
Summary: Here we discuss the larger macro-economics of the pandemic and lead to a micro-assessment of a few of the direct economic impacts.
Recently the World Health Organization warned the world to brace for a pandemic from the COVID-19 virus. Before that, Apple asked its investors to expect lower quarterly revenue as a result of the slowdown of Chinese manufacturing. Moody’s has slashed auto manufacturing and sales forecasts for the next economic quarter. The Dow plunged over 3,000 points in just 5 days, as a result. The signs are everywhere that COVID-19 is already threatening economies around the world. But these are the most obvious ways a potential pandemic can affect the world. There are more subtle and impactful economic ways it can impact our day-to-day lives.
Many American workers cannot afford to take too much time off work. With the long asymptomatic period of this virus and the symptomatic phase, workers in hospitality, food services, manufacturing, transport, education, childcare, even your local supermarket could all be working and unknowingly spreading the virus. Large scale panic about the potential of a pandemic or even small clusters of outbreaks in cities across the nation could grind businesses you rely on to a halt. Imagine an outbreak in your city. How many people would be brave enough to go to a restaurant to eat, to the movies, to school or to a crowded office? When fewer people are shopping, eating out, or going to events, businesses do not need as many workers nor as many products they are unable to sell. This causes a reduction in what is termed the “velocity of money.” Essentially, money does not travel as far nor does it buy as much. The dollar a person might pay for food was prepared by someone who was paid, someone profited from the sale, someone bought more raw materials to prepare the food, a farmer or baker got paid for their work, and so on and so on. That dollar is said to have velocity. Pieces of it are paying a great number of people. In a pandemic, however, the velocity slows. The dollars don’t travel as far. That’s the economics of it, but a pandemic will have more micro effects on you and your family.
If you work hourly in any industry that requires customers coming through the door, would your hours be reduced to match reduced traffic? What is your plan when your child’s daycare provider or school temporarily closes in an effort to stop the spread of the virus? Would you be able to take time off of work to tend to your children? If you are in a position to work from home a few days per week, this may be the time to suggest it to your employer. Preparing to be safe can involve just reducing your possible exposure to the virus by being at home. More importantly, though, in a significant economic downturn, it is important that you have the beginnings of a plan in place. These key conversations with your employer or asking your school what their plan is should things become worse can all prepare you to weather the pandemic storm. Remember, we plan to fail when we fail to plan.
The second hidden danger of COVID-19 is the possible disruption of services and scarcity of products you rely upon.
2. Understand What Services and Products You Rely Upon
Summary: Here we discuss a few simple methods to determine what services and products we rely upon to make certain we have adequate resources in place to survive for an extended period of time.
Should the pandemic worsen, you need to understand what services and products you rely upon and make sure that you can survive for an extended period without them. Not only is the scarcity of product a possibility, you don’t want to be forced into a situation where you absolutely have to leave your safe home to seek out a product you failed to adequately have on hand. The CDC issued a warning that it expects the Coronavirus to spread in the U.S. and that Americans should prepare themselves for “significant disruption in their daily lives.” Further guidance from the CDC suggested that Americans prepare as they would for a storm with regards to food supplies and possible interruption of services.
The world doesn’t have a tremendous amount of experience managing a pandemic, so we are in a little bit of uncharted territory here. While we don’t suggest you sequester yourself and max out your credit cards buying gear and supplies, we do suggest that you understand your interactions and needs from the world and make sure you have a supply of those things you rely upon.
The easiest way to do this may be to review several months of your banking or spending habits. What you spend your money on is also what you have some dependency upon. Did you eat out? If you did, ask yourself, are we prepared to make my meals at home. Maybe picking up the large jar of peanut butter, the case of Ramen noodles, or the case of canned flavored waters would be a good idea. Some honey, which has an incredibly long shelf life, could provide you with needed sugars or could be used as a natural cough suppressant. Once the threat of a pandemic has passed, you could use it in your food and drinks. The easiest way to build a supply of foods is with foods you will eat. If nothing happens, you can easily cycle through your extra supplies in the months after the pandemic threat has subsided.
There are other services you should consider, though. Here again you can assess these by what you commonly pay for. Do you pay a cable or internet bill? If you did, ask yourself if you have the printed materials you need to properly care for a sick individual should there be an interruption to electrical or internet services. Like most people, you probably turn to Google when you are sick or your child is sick. Do you know the proper treatment methods to reduce fever, increase fluids, or stop diarrhea and vomiting? Do you have that homeopathic recipe you used for cough suppression last time you were sick or the instructions to make that sterilizing solution you made from vinegar? You may want to print a few web articles from credible sites to have them on hand in case electrical or internet services are disrupted.
Trash, electrical, water, gas, all services you pay for– what is your plan should one of these services be interrupted due to a pandemic, civil unrest, a declaration of martial law, or some other interruption of service. Having multiple flashlights and batteries on hand may be a lifesaver in an extended power outage. Having an alternate method to get rid of your garbage may help to keep your environment contaminate free.
Do you have pets that you buy food for every month? This may be a good time to spring for the 30 lb. bag of dog food or the 16 lb. bag of cat food. Essentially, think about the purchases you regularly make. Determine your needed supplies, and prepare yourself, as the CDC says “for a coming storm.” Maybe the most important impact the Coronavirus may have is on the medicine supply, so I want to really emphasize this with the third impact this Coronavirus pandemic could have on you– medicines.
3. Medicines Could be in Short Supply
Summary: Here we discuss supply disruptions of medicines and encourage a supply of over-the-counter treatments which we normally do not think of until we actually fall ill.
One of the lessons we learned from Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico is that everyday, common medical supplies can swiftly become in short supply. Baxter International, the main supplier of saline to 50% of U.S. hospitals, suffered major damage to their facilities in that devastating hurricane. Saline is simply salt water — but proper manufacturing practices are required to keep it sterile and free from particulate matter. Severe prescription drug shortages have become a major threat to public health and patient safety. The first medical procedure someone suffering from an extreme case of the flu would undergo is a saline drip to restore hydration levels.
It’s not just saline that could become in short supply, however. China, still the epicenter of COVID-19 approaching 80,000 infected people, is a major supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients–APIs. These APIs are key ingredients in many generic medications used to treat the flu. Cough and cold medicines, stomach medicines, anti-diarrheal medicines, pain relievers, fever reducers, vitamins, and any prescription medicines should be well-stocked. You will not only want them should a pandemic break out and someone in your family falls ill, but you will also want them because the available supply in stores will drop due to reduced manufacturing and stores selling out of products. You do not want to wait until you have symptoms before you purchase Ibuprofen to reduce your temperature. Not only are a thousand people with actual symptoms trying to purchase that for their relief, but supplies could dry up from reduced manufacturing or from healthy people preparing as you are.
When there are runs on stores for common food products, that should also be the time you make sure your medicine cabinets are well stocked. While others are buying beans, rice, and Ramen noodles to wait out a potentially long period at home,
you should be stocking up on medicines needed to treat the flu. Of course you will want to get any prescriptions filled so you have any personally needed medicines on hand. Other medicines, however, we don’t typically think of until we actually need them, and you don’t want to have to find them when they are in high demand and reduced availability.
Typically, we go to the store for over the counter fever medicines when we feel the onset of a cold or fever or someone we love comes down with a cold or fever. If you’re like me, when my child shows signs of being sick, we have to make a run to the store to stock up on a few items. Those are the items you want to make sure you have on hand now. Those are the items which we will see a run in the stores on and those are the items that will be in short supply. With a looming pandemic, it is important we go through our medicine cabinets and check the expiration and quantities of the medicines we have left over from the last time someone was sick and fill in the gaps of medicines we may still need.
As you assess your medicine cabinet, check expiration dates and quantities. Do you have enough medicine on hand to fight the common symptoms of the flu virus? A fever reducer like Ibuprofen or Tylenol will also fight aches and pains. Antidiarrheal medicine and a stomach ache medicine may be needed. What cough suppressant liquids and lozenges do you have on hand? Saline nose drops or a Neti pot can help to restore breathing and flush mucous from the body. Mucinex may also help. This is not an endorsement of those specific brands, as much as it is intended to make you aware of the general over-the-counter medicines you should have on hand.
The symptoms of a virus can last from two days to two weeks. As a general rule, you may want to have ten days of dosages should half your household fall ill. For instance, if a medicine to relieve symptoms is suggested to be administered every 6 hours, a sick person will need 4 doses for maybe 10 days. Multiply that 40 doses by half the number of people in your household. Hopefully, not everyone in your house will become ill for a full 10 days, but this method will make certain you have a decent supply of medicines on hand for an extended period of time.
Again, we don’t typically think of the medicines we need until we actually need them, and you don’t want to have to find them when they are in high demand and reduced availability.
In a future blog, we will discuss a few of the essentials you may need for an extended pandemic that you may not have thought of initially. You want to make sure you have enough supplies to last one month or more. The fourth hidden danger isn’t medicine shortages as much as it is everyday products we may take for granted.
4. Run-on Stores for Traditional Prepper Emergency Supplies
Summary: Here we discuss the secondary items we may not think of normally. When others are stocking up for the apocalypse for the first time, we can target this specific threat and obtain items we will still practically use in life.
If you have been following our website for any period of time, you have probably prepared a food and water storage sufficient to get you and your family through at least a few weeks several months at a minimum. If there does appear to be a larger outbreak, and there are runs on stores as people panic to stock up and do the same, you should focus on getting secondary items and perishable items you will need like medicines, paper and hygiene products, garbage bags and the like.
The symptoms of a virus can last from two days to two weeks, so you should plan now as if you will be sick for an extended period of time beginning tomorrow. You can do this by making sure the product you have on hand is usable later should the pandemic pass you by. This makes sure you don’t have things that will go to waste, but you are stocked with essentials you will need. You also want to make sure you have tissues, an electrolyte restoring drink and foods you can eat that are light on your stomach. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and bread for Toast are the foods in what is called the B.R.A.T. diet. In a situation where someone has a full-blown fever, these are foods easy on the stomach when you need to get nutrients but can’t stomach more complex foods. So, make sure you have these items on hand. There isn’t likely to be a run on bananas or applesauce at your store just yet, but you can be prepared should the pandemic worsen by having extra bananas on hand. If you don’t become sick, Ramen noodles, PediaLyte, Gatorade, and other long shelf life, high caloric and restorative foods can get you through a long period of home confinement. When others are making a run on the rice and beans, make sure you have extra containers of peanut butter, pickles, and protein shakes. Others may not be thinking of these items, but they can sustain you for long periods of time, should staying in your home become essential.
You will need some supply of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, sanitary wipes, hygiene products, distilled vinegar, a large bottle of bleach so you can make your own wipes, an empty spray bottle, disposable or dish washing gloves, a protective mask, garbage bags and other things you will need to keep your environment as safe from the virus as possible. Should one of your family members or you become sick with the virus, you will be glad you took this extra step in stocking up. If you’re new to this channel City Preppers, we have made other videos about what you should be storing for events like this. In a full blown pandemic with a large rate of community spread, these products could disappear from shelves very rapidly and you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to compromise your safety by venturing out into the world to try and track one of these products down.
This brings us to our final and the potentially worst hidden danger of this virus…the possibility of civil unrest, riots, and martial law.
5. Civil Unrest: Riots, and Martial Law
Summary: Here we discuss how to stay safe through a close outbreak of civil unrest, the importance of alternate plans, alternate routes, and the possibilities of martial law being declared.
In a pandemic situation, it is important to realize that civil unrest, looting, or other forms of lawlessness may be more of a threat to your personal safety than the virus itself. When people panic, they are easily triggered into violent or explosive over-reactions. You should remain vigilant and aware of any civil unrest. Often times, civil unrest is confined to a specific area and grows out from that epicenter. Be prepared to move in the opposite direction of any actively violent or destructive area. Make certain that you know more than one route to any destination and have a plan in place to gather your family together. Be prepared to leave work if you live in a metropolitan area. Be prepared to pull your kids out of school. Coordinate with your spouse or partner to determine the responsibilities during a crisis situation. Hopefully, you will never need to implement an emergency plan, but if you do, you will be glad you have adequately prepared.
Make sure that your plan does not rely on your use of cellular phones. Often, after earthquakes here in southern California, cell services are overloaded with people contacting friends and family to check on their safety and ask if they “felt it.” Should you get a message that lines are busy, remember that text messages may go through when calls will not. To be the safest, however, make sure you have a plan in place should civil unrest occur.
Should a pandemic be declared, it is critical to understand that governments acting in an “overabundance of caution” may take drastic measures to restrict your freedom of mobility and your access to critical places. In China, for instance, entire cities and regions were quarantined. With only a few instances of stores being looted or general lawlessness, a state of martial law could be declared. Under martial law, Constitutional freedoms and liberties are suspended. Governments impose measures through military force. Even one instance of looting could lead to a declaration of martial law.
Probably the safest place in an urban environment is within your own home or apartment. The lower your profile and the more prepared you are, the less likely you are to need to venture out and risk possible separation from your family. Travel restrictions, including road closures, quarantine zones and curfews are all possibilities during a state of martial law brought on because of a full-blown pandemic.
In a pandemic where martial law has been declared, you should view your home as your own quarantine zone, leaving only when it is essential and you know that it is safe to do so. In a general outbreak and pandemic, you may still be required to go to work or school or to interact publicly. Public interaction is sometimes essential, and it is ill-advisable to sequester yourself with every occuring flu outbreak. Caution is the way to keep yourself safe. In a state of martial law or during explosive periods of civil unrest, however, you should definitely try and remain in your home at all times, and you should, as I mentioned earlier, have worst-case scenario plans in place.
Just to sum up this blog, the first is that this pandemic could lead to a larger global recession. Reduced productivity, lost worker hours, revised forecasts can all slow the wheels of commerce and impact our household incomes. Second, to survive this or any other pandemic, you need to make sure you know what services and products you rely upon. Now is the time to review your spending and determine what you would have a hard time living without. Third, realize before everyone else does that medicines may become in short supply. Make certain you have the over-the-counter medicines you need before you need them. Fourth, prepare on a potential run-on grocery stores and stock up on items not typically thought of when people are preparing for a long term, larger shutdown. Fortunately, we know what we are fighting against here, so we are able to focus a little more clearly on what we need instead of trying to protect and prepare against unknown threats. Finally, watch for hotspots and signs of civil unrest. People sometimes lose themselves in frantic and panicked situations. Keeping yourself and your family safe from the stampede is critical to your survival.
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As always, be safe out there.