Reports are that California has its first case of “unknown origin” of COVID-19 reported. Since the origin is unknown, there is apparently no known contact with an infected person, nor did the person travel extensively or to China. This particular person was sick for at least a few days prior to testing, and of course we know may have been carrying the virus for a couple weeks prior to onset of symptoms. So who else has the disease? We’ll know for sure in about two weeks or so. Maybe. Fun stuff.
As you can see in the headline photo from the Drudge Report, which is WIDELY viewed, the stocks are starting to take a hit, the “correction” we all should have been expecting after our markets had a years-long stratospheric climb. We should have expected it because our fiat-based “just increase the debt ceiling” economy was always going to “correct.” I just didn’t know it was going to be a virus, a biological kind rather than a computer-based one, would be the catalyst. Of course we understand that we might get lucky and the markets might stabilize and recover before they crash into the bedrock, but that’s not what we prepare for. It’s just what we hope for.
There are now over 81,000 cases (up from the last update I posted a few days ago), with most still being in China, but numbers are increasing worldwide. There are 83 people being quarantined (voluntarily) in Nassau County in New York, because they exhibited a cough and a fever. Now, what else produces a cough and fever? Almost every illness. So if this thing really breaks out in the US, everyone with a cough and fever is a potential COVID-19 threat. The CDC is now saying that we are “likely” to see a pandemic. Once again, you’re still probably never going to come into contact with the bug, but you will come into contact with a panicky public, a shaky economy and an incompetent, heavy-handed government.
So you’re going to keep your head on straight.
The first thing I want to tell you, as a RN working in an emergency room, is that if someone in your home becomes sick with a fever and/or a cough, assess your situation. Have you been traveling? Did you go to China? Have you been around anyone who was sick with COVID-19 (that’s almost no one in the US for the moment)? It’s ok if you received mail from China, that doesn’t count. Is there a particular illness running through your town? Recently in my town, we had viral gastroenteritis wreaking havoc. A few months back, it was Flu type A. We were getting positive results on tests for type A. If you know that everyone in town is battling strep or the common cold, you’ve probably got that instead of COVID-19. Call your primary care doctor and get an appointment. Your cough and 100.6 temp is not an emergency. Go see your doctor. If you have prolonged or repeated shortness of breath, this might be something to come see us about. Probably still not COVID-19 if you haven’t been traveling to a hard hit area, or been in close contact with someone who has.
Hopefully you’ve already been looking for 3M brand N95 particulate masks, because that’s what you’ll use in a worst case scenario in public. If you haven’t found any, keep looking, they will be there eventually. Make sure to size it right. As far as I know, they come in small and regular.
If you’re so inclined, a more robust CBRN capability is available from MIRA Safety. This stuff looks great. It’ll be a force multiplier if you need it
Plastic sheeting, like 4 or 5 mil Visqueen, could be utilized in a scenario where you might want to quarantine someone in your group who is sick. This is also a worst case scenario, and might sound terrifying, but it’s not. Firstly, it’s not the aforementioned jackbooted “top men” forcing you into it and renditioning you off to some ET-movie-looking biohazard quarantine tent, and secondly, you’ve probably already done something like this a few times in your life. When a family member gets sick, you take care of them, but you try to keep your distance. Don’t get in their face. Don’t eat or drink after them. Keep the area clean and wash hands. In this case, due to the high communicability of the virus, you’re just going to add masks and use plastic sheeting to compartmentalize areas of your house, NOT JUST THEIR ROOM, because you don’t want them to be in a sealed, airtight space with no circulation. Just make sure you don’t suffocate them, please. If possible, we would ventilate the air in their space out of a window so the breeze can carry the virus away harmlessly to the woods. Please don’t vent contaminated air into your neighbor’s apartment.
Hand washing in town, of course. Just get a small bottle of hand sanitizer (because I see alcohol-based sanitizers are effective) and keep it handy. In a worst case national outbreak scenario, it’s going to be a body wash when you’ve been out and about. If you’re out all day in town, come home and scrub in the shower. No big deal. Many of you do that when you come home from work anyway.
As I mentioned in prior pieces, avoid crowds. Especially ones where it looks like a lot of them are… Ahem… Extensive travelers.
I’ve also mentioned before putting cash away. I know this sounds like a tall order for some readers, and I agree, you need put away an emergency fund of at least $1,000, and then put away money to cover monthly expenses for X number of months as you see fit. I don’t know how these market waves will impact you, but the market has the ability to impact all of us through prices of goods, most of which are brought in from overseas or manufactured in China. If a hurricane in Puerto Rico can short my ER on normal saline and Dilaudid, then a global viral outbreak that may or may not be that bad, but where the public is panicking like it’s the Black Death again can short you on things we import, like Chinese beef.
Yeah, the US is importing Chinese beef right now, which the farmers I live around are not pleased about. When do the Chinese decide to hold onto that for themselves and drive the price of beef up again? That may seem like small potatoes, but apply it to nearly everything, and you get the idea. If you’ve got money saved away, You won’t feel as much of that pain.
When you go shopping for food, buy twice as much, and go shopping half as often. I had mentioned that in centuries past, a trip “into town” was an ordeal, and depending on distance, could take a day or longer. They made up an exhaustive list that would last them a long time. If you adopt that same mindset, you’ll greatly limit your exposure to crowds.
If you’ve read this far, you get that I believe some simple preparation can buy you some peace of mind, which will allow you to keep your cool when everyone else is heating up. Go spend some time in the woods. The CDC is now saying that it is “likely” the virus will cause a pandemic. But they haven’t found COVID-19 in your local creek, and they aren’t going to.
Take a camping trip.