COVID19 Update 20 Feb 20

There are a number of topics I want/need to cover, but time is a hard enemy to beat. There is containment, which has not worked as well as hoped. There is some serious weirdness with how this virus is spreading and who it hits, for example there are effectively zero (statistically speaking) cases in younger patients. The economic impact is going to be huge, far more than expected if things don’t change for the better and soon.

First up for today is an interesting take on the horror-show that was the quarantine on the Diamond Princess. I don’t think there is a single expert out there who doesn’t see it as a disaster. By rights, done right, it should have been a model for quarantine and containment. So, what went wrong?

According to this man, Iwata Kentaro, it was the bureaucrats. For what it is worth, he is an MD, Ph.D., with Kobe University’s Division of Infections Diseases Therapeutics — in other words, he is a specialist in things like this. Listen to what he has to say, look up his background, and make your own informed decision.

I will say right now that if you plan to travel to Japan for the Olympics this summer, I recommend against it. To be honest, I recommend against any travel to SE Asia at this time, and for the foreseeable future. Have to attend a meeting? Telecommute.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new data (covered here by the Irish Times) which indicates that COVID19 is 20 times more deadly than seasonal flu. There are also some other oddities in there. However, keep in mind that this is still early data; and, moreover, it is data approved and issued by the Chinese government. The Chinese government has lied about COVID19 from the start, and apparently continues to do so even as they seek to censor their own people and others who expose those lies. Take it with a huge grain of salt.

Let me continue to note that it will be weeks, if not months, before there is sufficient accurate data to begin to understand COVID19 and what is going to happen. No matter what you read, any effective vaccine is probably at least a year away.

An interesting note while I’m thinking about it. There are a number of people crowing about bringing various types of manufacturing back to the U.S., including drug and medical supply production. Yes, it can be done. Personally, I hope it is done. However, re-tooling facilities of any type to do any new manufacturing means at least a year lag, as it will take that long to re-tool, reconfigure, and start producing products.

As for some of the industries being affected by COVID19 outside of China, see this update from Apple. There are more like this coming out in a variety of industries, feel free to share links to them in the comments if you like.

Oh, by the way, despite a degree and a goodly number of published stories (and even a couple of awards), WalMart says I’m not a real journalist. I contacted them in regards a shortage in rubbing alcohol that has been noticed. I asked if this was related to the situation with China. Deafening silence. No idea if it is or not, since they won’t talk to a mere online journalist/blogger/whatever.

If you have not implemented the steps I discussed in this post, I strongly urge you to do so now. Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not Yet. Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Depending on how a couple of parameters go in the next few days, I am considering raising my personal DEFCON from Sit Up to Really?!? Much depends on what we see outside of China in that time. At this time, I still see the major impacts as economic.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, then follow with hand sanitizer, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. In other words, standard flu protocols.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID19 Update

There has been a massive jump in cases and deaths, pretty much all from/in China on the quick look.

There have been several previous reports that COVID19 spreads before symptoms appear (asymptomatic), but this NEJM article would seem to confirm that. Such a confirmation will change both how it is handled and the models on spread. It may also mean that efforts to contain it outside China may be in severe trouble.

Efforts to develop an effective vaccine continue, but are most likely a year away. That said, the U.S. government is providing direct funding to both vaccine and treatment development.

In light of this previous post, I do find it interesting that Xi had far earlier awareness of the situation than previously reported. This, along with asymptomatic transmission, are two things I would have expected were it some form of bioweapon that got out. Again, that is not saying it is: in fact, I still remain somewhere between neutral and no-it’s-not camps. But, these are two interesting data points. As is the Chinese Ambassador’s comments on the speculation by Sen. Tom Cotton. Note that he does not deny, but pivots to a different point. Again, an interesting data point.

There is more to discuss, including the apparent failure of many quarantines in China and with the cruise ship. In regards the ship, as noted in the linked article yesterday, something went very wrong.

Meantime, per the interactive graphic, it is still an epidemic and not a pandemic. Should you panic? No. Should you be paying attention and making preparations as discussed yesterday? Yes. Hell yes. Do I still expect the major hits to be economic? Yes, based on what we know right now.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, then follow with hand sanitizer, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. In other words, standard flu protocols.

And while I’m thinking about it, there are two books I highly recommend for those interested in preparedness. Neither applies directly to this situation, but both capture the right mindset almost perfectly. The first is Alas Babylon, and for it’s age the lessons in it remain timeless. The second is Pulling Through by Dean Ing. Dean has written extensively on preparedness and survival, and I highly commend his works to you. And, yes, I am an Amazon Affiliate, see the disclaimers as you cheap jerks have yet to buy enough through my links for me to get paid.

Also, if you would like some good bio background as well as a fun read, allow me to recommend Under A Graveyard Sky by John Ringo. It looks at an engineered bioweapon that does a number on humanity. I’ve not been into the whole zombie thing (at least on a literary front), but as with almost all of John’s work, the series has been a fantastic read and well worth re-reading. Let’s hope we never live a Ringo novel of any type, especially this one or The Last Centurion.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparation

First, while keeping in mind that both WHO, the CDC, and other agencies are political agencies first and foremost, here is an interesting interview (with some truly great weasel-wording) about the virus. There is a lot of good info in here, even with having to do some reading between the lines.

Second, I do believe in preparation. Unless something changes rather dramatically, I expect the major impact will be economic rather than in terms of public health. Longer post needed on that, but here is an article that lays out some of what has been discussed here before about the folly that was our former China policy — an idiocy that gave them control over several critical resources.

It’s not just medical and medicines, it’s automotive parts, it’s about the precursor components for a host of other products, it’s the things we often take for granted until they are gone. Ladies, do you know where your feminine hygiene products come from, or the components for them? Men, do you know where your razors come from? In both cases, some do and some don’t.

If you are going to prepare for this to hit the U.S., the first thing I would do is talk to my financial advisor on planning for both short- and long-term hits to the economy. Right now, I don’t think anyone has truly gamed out the cascade effect that is about to hit. It may be short and not bad (for us), or it could be worse and longer. For other countries, it won’t be recession but depression.

Second thing I would do is make sure I have as deep a supply of medicines, supplements, and basic supplies as I can. Check with your pharmacist: which of your medicines (if not all) are dependent on China in whole or in part? Get 90-day supplies if you can, and encourage your pharmacy to keep them in stock ahead of demand. It’s what I did a few weeks ago, now working on stocking up on OTCs and supplements.

Third, look at what other supplies you get that may be dependent in whole or in part on China. Me, I keep a few months supply of razor blades on hand (esp. after dumping Gillette and the other expense brands), but I plan to up that to a full year. I have a several month stock of toilet tissue, but even though it’s not linked to China (as far as I know) I plan to add more (see the story on the great toilet paper robbery in Hong Kong). Thinking about a new phone? Might want to do it now. Oh, and as with toilet tissue, boost your stock of feminine hygiene products.

Fourth, I have increased my ready food reserve. Since what I’m adding are things I already use, I can add it into regular use if not needed or things reach expiration date. The strategic coffee and hot sauce reserves are being upped a bit, and I’m slowly making sure I have water, the capability to store additional water, and other basics beyond my normal 3-5 day reserve.

Finally, and it is a finally, I have masks. I’ve always had some around given my allergies, and I use them for yard work, woodworking, metalworking, and other projects. Masks are currently my lowest priority here in the U.S. I have some (at lest one pack put up in a very good safe place, call if you know where it is) and while I may add a few more, the items above are a higher priority than the masks. Again, as I’ve stated before, I recommend the R95 masks as they have far more day-to-day utility and emergency use than just the N95.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, then follow with hand sanitizer, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. In other words, standard flu protocols.

More later, I hope. Going to be a long day at work. Be safe, Be prepared, and keep an eye out.

Also, hat tip to Instapundit for the two articles linked.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Expansions On A Theme, A Mental Exercise In The Hypothetical

In the post that went up earlier today, I added an update that briefly explored the idea that the virus was indeed a bioweapon. That is something that deserves a fuller treatment than was possible this morning.

I’ve argued that the R value and the death rate are too low for a WMD bioweapon. That is based off severely incomplete (and false) information from the Chinese government plus what little has been observed in patients outside of China. There appears to be a trend towards COVID19 having a R3 level, but again the data is incomplete and it will still be several weeks before we can develop better data.

But, there are two cases where the spread rate and death rate could actually be the sign of a bioweapon. But first, some background.

A couple of decades ago, there was an effort to develop a series of weapons that could be used to temporarily disable enemy troops rather than kill them. This non-lethal force initiative had some very good ideas and looked at a number of systems that could disrupt, disorient, and disable both humans and mechanical devices. This led to a some serious thought, and some re-adjustment in terms of how a number of parties came to view weapons/systems development. NOTE: I am not saying anything now comes from this, but that knowledge of the effort is a necessary link in the chain.

If memory serves (and it may not) there were also some other programs by various parties to develop weapons that were not necessarily world-enders or otherwise function as weapons of mass destruction. Rather, they were designed to incapacitate an enemy without totally destroying them.

The key point here is that there was some serious examination of finding weapons that would either not kill at all or not kill everyone, but would make it impossible for an enemy to fight/resist. It was and is a radical change of mindset from Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and the idea of wiping entire populations off the planet.

For a MAD bioweapon, you would be looking at something highly contagious and with as high a death-rate as possible. You would also want it to be something your own side (and friends) could be vaccinated against. Also, in a perfect world, you would want it to spread easily and fast before symptoms appeared.

Typical development would start with something promising, work through a number of stages where it is “improved” over time, then result in the production of a final product. The number of intermediate stages would vary based on technology, refinements, and success/failure in testing.

Now, with a change in mindset from wiping everyone out to more controlled damage, it raises a possibility. And, yes, the U.S. has said any chemical or biological attack is the use of a WMD and would be treated as such. Yet, under the previous administration, there were reports of chemical and biological attacks by Syria against rebels (and others) that were not dealt with as promised. That was noted by many parties.

Now, there are two possibilities for a bioweapon that is either not very transmissible or potentially as transmissible as the flu and has a solid but not huge death rate. One comes from efforts to develop a WMD weapon, the other from a more targeted economic attack.

The first is that what we see spreading is an intermediate-stage WMD bioweapon that was accidentally released. Being intermediate-stage it does not have the transmission rate or death rate that an end-product weapon would have. It could even be a fizzle: a project that looked promising but didn’t deliver what the developers wanted to get.

The second is that what we have is the accidental release of a bioweapon being developed for targeted economic attack. The weapon itself has a spread rate and a death rate that require it to be taken seriously by public health officials and other government agencies where released. It can’t just be ridden out like the flu, but takes quarantines, active treatment, isolation, and suspension of normal work and related activities. It would be devastating to a national economy and tie up quite a bit of total national resources (food, medicine, etc.). In short, pretty much what we are seeing happen in China right now.

In both cases, the accidental release means there are no vaccines yet developed for the weapon. Which means the disease has run rampant since there was considerable delay in effective reaction to the virus.

Again, this is simply a mental exercise. Does it tie in with some of the evidence? Yes. But, there are a number of areas where it does not/may not match. The two big labs in Wuhan both have a history of protocol problems/breaches. So, the theories are not improbable; but, that does not mean they are yet probable based on current data.

They are, in my opinion, mental exercises that should be held up to the data along with other theories to see what pans out.

I also want to thank Alberto De La Cruz of the excellent Babalu Blog for letting me bounce some things off him today. His comments were most helpful, as always.

Now, a challenge to the reader: shoot holes in these mental exercises. Or, if you prefer, show where they correlate to actual data.

For now, I remain neutral on if COVID19 is man-made. While there are two scientific papers claiming to show that it is, there is no peer-review and frankly the peers that understand things on the levels being discussed seem to be divided on the issue. Until more is known, there simply is insufficient data for me to make a useful and informed decision about it.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Well, Maybe I Was Wrong

Edited to add an interesting possibility at the end

It’s early yet, but in last Friday’s post on 2019-nCoV/COVID-19 I had my doubts about the virus coming from either the BSL-4 National Bio-Safety Laboratory or the Wuhan Institute of Virology. As I noted then, I remain agnostic on the first paper suggesting that it was engineered and still feel that the response would have been different had it been a leak of a bioweapon.

That said, there is a new scientific study and additional analysis that would appear to support both the original paper and the theory that the virus is bioengineered. Is it proof positive? No, not even close. It is additional data, and until other studies take place — and the White House has directed that research into the origin be a priority — we simply have some more data.

I maintain that if it were a bioweapon, it was not an end-stage product. We would be seeing many more dead and a higher infection rate if it were an end-stage product. That said, there is reason to believe it is more infectious than previously reported and good reason to believe that the death toll is much higher than the Chinese government has admitted.

Inside China, by all reports, the situation remains very bad. Outside China, provided it does not spread into Africa (where it could form a natural reservoir as has happened in China), there will be more cases but if quarantine and proper procedures are followed, it will remain an epidemic but not become a pandemic. I will caveat that by saying that this is based on what we know at this time, and given how little we truly know about it so far there is room for error.

Outside of China, the largest impacts will be economic and non-virus medical. Again, keep in mind that China provides quite a bit of the medicines in the world, as well as a large amount of the precursor materials for medicines, vitamins, etc. They also provide a great deal of disposable medical equipment, including masks.

So, where do we stand this morning? Per the interactive graphic we have the following:

Epidemic: Yes

Pandemic: No

Total cases as of 0545 Eastern: 71,810

Total cases in mainland China: 70,553

Total Deaths: 1775

Total Recoveries: 11,258

Alert Status: Sit Up

Best way for personal prevention outside of China? Wash your flippin hands frequently, then follow with hand sanitizer, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash; cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze; and, keep your bugger hooks out of your eyes and nose. In other words, standard flu protocols.

Hat Tips to Rod Dreher and Instapundit/Ed Driscoll.

UPDATE 1: It occurred to me a few minutes ago that the belief that this is not a bioweapon because both the R value and death rate are too low could be very sadly mistaken. About 20 years ago, there was a lot of work on forms of non-lethal/non-world-ending weapons. And, yes, there has been a lot of speculation and probably even efforts over the years to develop chemical and/or biological weapons that would incapacitate a population for a period of time. During that period, of course, actions could be taken such as invasion, disarming, etc.

Suppose that COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV was not intended as a weapon of mass destruction, but as an economic weapon? Release it into a target area and the spread as well as the deaths would have a severe economic impact (for China, it may well be crippling) but not totally destroy the target population. In that case, the R3 that seems to be emerging makes more sense from a weapons perspective. Purely food for thought, and to keep in mind as we start to get real and accurate data on the disease.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

I plan to do a longer review of things soon, but this morning there are a couple of things I want to touch on very quickly.

First, a few days ago, I provided a link to a paper which claimed the virus is man-made. As there are two labs in Wuhan that experts believe have been/are involved in bioweapons research, there has been a lot of uninformed (with a small amount of informed) debate on the subject.

As for the paper itself, I remain agnostic as the levels of microbiology involved are well outside my area of expertise. I will state that if this were a finished bioweapon that leaked, we would be seeing a huge difference in spread, modes of infection, and fatalities. So, not a true bioweapon.

In getting to bioweapons, however, there are several (sometimes quite a few) stages of development. You get the basics of what you want then start refining. Is it possible that what we see could be one of those middle steps that got out? It is a possibility, but for right now I’m discounting that as well. Though I do think there’s a great novel to be written on this topic.

One of areas that makes me doubt it was an accidental release of some kind is the official response to the incident. It is a given that the Chinese government has lied from the start. It is also a given that the cover-up started at lower levels before going to the very top.

In that wonderful form of governance that is communism, particularly Chinese communism, one does not make waves unless they are the right and expected waves showing competence with and adherence to doctrine and policy. I’m willing to bet that even if doctors and public health officials had gone to local/regional leaders right at the start that they were ignored or told to treat but deny. Failure to protect the State and the Great Leader at best results in the gulag, and more likely either being shot or having your organs harvested while still alive.

The leadership at almost every level would be devoted to cover-up and denial. Keep the bad news from going higher, take ineffective steps designed more to cover asses than effective treatment/prevention. By the time the lid blew off, things were more than a bit out of control. At this point, the head of the government has to deny, mitigate, and pretend that things are not as bad as they are lest his control slip. He has cracked down, and the people are fighting back against that — and it is a good thing to see.

The thing is, I would expect a different type of denial/cover-up response were this a leak from a bioweapons lab of some mid-range effort. So far, all I’ve seen is a fairly typical bureaucratic effort. Had it been a release, I would have expected to see the top leadership involved sooner, since the local party bosses would have the head of the lab to toss under the bus.

In my last real update, I mentioned that my personal Defcon on this was between concerned and worried. Well, that really works out to being between Sit Up and Really?!? At this point, I think we are going to see a lot more cases in the U.S., though I don’t think we will get the death totals/percentage of China.

I strongly suspect the economic impact and the impact on normal life will be far greater. When I say “impact on normal life” what I mean is the amount of products that come from China or those where key components come from China who’s loss will be profoundly felt. While the bulk of this are disposable medical materials, drugs, and vitamins there are many other areas that will be hit as well. Given that others have been publicly sounding the alarm for a while, perhaps we shall see both an immediate reaction and some long-overdue discussion on having one of our greatest foes responsible for production of many critical supplies including medicines.

More to come, for now I must run. May you have a good day and a great weekend.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Coronavirus Update

Again, I have to start by saying there is no need to panic (yet) if you are in the United States. Running around in a mask and/or exposure suits is not helpful or smart, nor is making a “joke” and saying you have it: both types of things just point out that you are a dumbass.

Is there reason to worry? Yes. Now that even the WHO is reported as saying that there are likely more than 100,000 cases (mostly in China), it provides some validation to this study, this study, and this study.

As I’ve said before, the Chinese government has lied from the start about the disease and how bad it is. Read this article about what is coming out of China, and this article by Rod Dreher. The last also brings up two things that you do need to know about, along with some heartbreaking information from inside China.

The first is that the medical gear/drug shortage in China is not just a Chinese problem. It is also a problem here, in that there are already shortages here. It is going to get worse before it gets better. A number of people have argued for some time that it was not a good idea to become so heavily dependent on China for medicines and medical gear [not to mention electronics (including efforts to make us dependent upon them for military electronics) along with other finished products and raw goods]. Using regulation and other tactics to push things overseas was seen as a positive foreign policy in regards China and trying to control it. I would call it what I think of that policy, but am trying to some degree to keep this PG-13. Is this all going to have an impact on the US, Chinese, and global economies? Yep.

The second thing was a twitter link that Rod added to the article. I pulled up the source site for the graphic, and found it interesting to look at China and compare it to the interactive graphic from Johns Hopkins I’ve been linking to on a regular basis. I’m still playing with the data a bit, but I do find the correlation between high sulfur dioxide levels coming out of the cities with known high contagion rates interesting. Yes, it does appear to suggest that crematoriums are working overtime. And possibly in areas where there are no official cases…

If the models are correct, and if even the current official reports from China are correct, it appears that 2019-nCoV is more contagious than originally thought (hoped). The death rate, based on official figures, is approaching five percent however. If the unofficial reports coming out of China are correct, it is potentially much higher.

I wish the travel restrictions had been implemented much sooner. Then, you might not be reading about new cases in England and elsewhere, and the efforts to locate and test everyone those tourists contacted/interacted with during their trip. If the current restrictions and quarantines had been implemented even a week sooner, it would have taken thousands of potential transmission opportunities off the board. This article from Scientific American looks at some possibilities that are not good.

For all that I trust the WHO about as much as I do the Chinese government, they have daily situation updates that are a resource as you monitor what is going on.

So, should you panic? No. Should you be concerned? Yes. What is going on worries me, which on my personal defcon levels is a step above concerned. What am I doing? I’m watching, reading, and researching. Yes, I have started beefing up some of my normal levels of preparedness. If nothing happens, what I’ve gotten will get eaten, used, etc. in the normal course of life. More on preparedness later.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Be Prepared

Two simple words. Yet, words that can and have had tremendous impact on myself and others. I came to embrace them as a Boy Scout, and have found over the years that preparedness always, always pays.

The media likes to portray all who prepare as poorly educated nuts preparing to fight off the government. Yes, there are nuts just like that, but most who prepare are simply being prudent. Keep in mind that almost every household has at least some, occasionally small, start at preparedness.

We keep bandaids just in case. Preparedness. We have batteries for toys and more serious things. Preparedness. Some of us have multiple lighters, and even matches, in case we need to light a cigar or a candle. Preparedness. Most households have cans of food in the pantry and things to eat in the refrigerator that can feed us for several days. Preparedness.

The degree of preparedness taken is up to the individual. Given where I live, I tend to keep 3-5 days of food, water, medicines, and basic supplies simply because we get ice, snow, tornadoes and damaging winds, and even the occasional (small, thankfully) earthquake over the course of a year. In short, there are things that can happen that could trap me in my home for a day or three. If so, I have what I need to survive in style.

If there is something else happening — civil unrest, terrorist attack, epidemic, major earthquake — I have the means to quickly up my level of preparedness. I can and will fill emergency containers with water while it lasts. I have several tanks of propane for the grill (actually my landlord’s grill), burner (closest I can find to what I have), and smoker, and they provide one means of cooking food at need. Another is a portable chef’s stove (note: link similar to mine) I’ve used for years at events, for which I keep a reserve of butane.

And, yes, I am an Amazon Affiliate and if you use those links and buy something I may one day finally earn enough to get paid.

Note something with the above. These are all things that I use on a regular basis. They are things many people have. Preparedness isn’t about getting things you never use except in an emergency, at it’s core it’s about making the most of what you already have or are likely to get to improve your life. Yes, there are some things that you may not use except in an emergency, but most have everyday uses.

A good example, and an good example of preparedness paying comes from collapsable water containers. This one is great for camping or backpacking; this one for camping; this one is very good for emergencies (and this one is double the use) but may have other uses. Don’t backpack or camp? Keep one in the car.

Why keep one in the car? A number of years ago, some people I knew had a hose rupture on their car as they were on a remote section of interstate. Using materials they had on hand for an emergency, they fashioned a patch for the hose that would hold until they could reach an exit where they could replace the hose. They then took a collapsable water container down to a nearby creek and filled it up. With that, they refilled the radiator so that they could drive the car. The state trooper who stopped to check on them just as they were finishing up was shocked and pleased with what they had done.

Note also that they avoided being stranded for hours or longer, avoided a major towing bill, avoided having to be towed to a mechanic they did not know and had no choice about, and avoided their car being further damaged by unsafe operation. They were, for about $20 worth of preparation, able to safely drive to a location where they could safely obtain a new hose and put it on/have it put on with only relatively minor inconvenience.

Does the fact that there is an almost infinite list of disasters keep you from preparing? If so, take heart. While the list of potential disasters is indeed almost infinite, the list of types of damage boils down to a total of three: People, Places, Things.

In the days ahead, we are going to explore these topics. My goal is to introduce you to practical preparedness and help you disaster-proof your life as much as possible.

Quick Update

Sorry, work has had me hopping, but hope to get back to more regular posting tomorrow. Keep an open mind, and remember that good preparedness always pays off.

This paper has created a lot of controversy, with scientists of varying stripes jumping in to say it is trash or that they may have something. Things hit in threes it seems, as on top of swine flu and coronavirus, China now has a new outbreak of bird flu. Rare occasion that I link the NY Slimes, but good article on this becoming a pandemic. Some good food for thought on transmission.

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Because your government is not in many cases. In fact, depending on where you live, to call what passes for disaster preparedness as preparedness is on par with calling prostitution virginity.

Here is a report (and more) on global health security that you really should read, or at least skim. While the US rates high, my own opinion is that there is still room for improvement on this topic and on many others.

As before, here is a page at Johns Hopkins that includes a very good interactive graphic that allows you to display current data on 2019-nCoV.

More soon.