We Knew It Was Coming
We have been talking about the inevitably of a global pandemic for a while now, so it was no surprise when Coronavirus showed up. We have had more minor examples happen just this century. There was Swine Flu in 2009 (that infected 60 million people, hospitalized 275,000 people and killed about 15,000 people in the US). There was SARS in 2003 (minimal exposure, 115 infections, 0 deaths.) *It is interesting to note that the US used travel bans to successfully contain SARS in 2003
We can go back further and look at the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. Because Spanish Flu occurred during World War 1, it was truly the first ever global pandemic and it opened our eyes to the dangers of a globalized society.
If We Knew It Was Coming, How Did We Mess It Up So badly?
The simple answer to the question of how we were able to contain SARS in 2003 so easily, and fail at containing COVID-19 is that the experts were wrong. If you check the timeline in the link above, you can see that the World Health Organization and the CDC both were able to identify the threat and put action into place (travel restrictions, etc) well before the first case ever arrived on American soil.
In contrast, As late as Mid January of 2019, the World Health Organization was still telling us that Coronavirus was not contagious. Yet the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the US was on January 19th in Washington state (although this case was not confirmed to be COVID-19 until January 21st). This patient had traveled from Wuhan China on January 15th. Because we now know that symptoms can take up to 14 days to develop, it is clear that this patient had the Coronavirus and was transmitting it to others during his flight back to the US and during the 4 days between his arrival and hospitalization.
On January 30th, in Chicago, we got confirmation of person to person spread of Coronavirus. On January 31st, the US implemented travel restrictions on people entering the country from China. But by then, it was too late.
This delayed reaction was only exasperated by the current political climate in the US when opponents of the president took this as an opportunity to attack him, and urge people to continue to congregate as a form of “defiance” to him (as seen clearly here here and here, going so far as to call it the coronavirus scare)
Why Were the Experts So Wrong?
However, it was not just the WHO that got everything wrong. The United States response to the coronavirus has been based on the advice of other experts as well, and they have also gotten it wrong.
For example, the “stay at home” orders that many in the US are currently under was based on projections of 240,000 US deaths due to COVID-19. If that was to be the case, our hospital systems would quickly be over run. Therefore, it seemed wise to drag out the infection rates to limit the amount of concurrent hospitalizations to a number that our healthcare system could accommodate.
Keep in mind, “flattening the curve” was never about stopping people from getting sick. It was about stopping to many people from getting sick at the same time. It was about dragging the process out so that our hospitals would not be overwhelmed. The same amount of people would get sick, just not all at once. This would allow the people who were sick at any given time access to the best possible medical care and, ultimately, save lives.
However, now those same models are only predicting 40,000 to 70,000 deaths. At the current rate of infection, our hospitals are no where near being overwhelmed (except in certain areas like New York City (whose local government initially pushed back at social distancing recommendations as a form of “defiance” against the President).
This new information would suggest that it is necessary to rescind these “stay at home” orders and let people get on with their lives despite there still being a risk of COVID-19 infection. Why? Because higher unemployment rate also increase mortality. (there is more information on that here and here). The projected deaths from COVID-19 are now lower than what studies have concluded the projected deaths from the “lockdown” would be.
Of course, many of the same experts that have been wrong about everything else so far, think we need to keep the lockdown.
Now there are even studies coming out that claim that COVID-19 has been around much longer than we originally thought. And other studies that suggest it has spread much further than we realize. The implication of this is that it is far less deadly than even the modest projections say it is. You may have even had it and not realized it.
Should We Open Up The Economy?
The reality is: The experts can’t be trusted. More people may die if we keep the economy shut down, or more people may die if we open it up. It is really a crap shoot at this point.
So how do we decide?
I believe that the principles of the United States Should determine how we proceed. I was raised in an America where it is better to live on your feet then die on your knees. A place where it is honorable to risk your life to preserve our way of life. I was also raised in a country that says You have the right to choose what is best for yourself.
From that point of view, the only choice is to open the economy and rescind the stay at home orders. If you don’t think that is the right thing to do… than fine. You can stay at home. No one is stopping you. Order everything you need from the internet, work a job that lets you stay at home and live your life in captivity. But don’t try to force that on the rest of us.
So Why Are We All Doomed?
I have laid out my opinion that the COVID-19 pandemic is more of a failure of the process of handling a pandemic than anything else. What we have learned here is that the worlds governing bodies were not prepared to handle COVID-19, and are therefore not prepared to handle a far more deadly pandemic that is inevitably down the road. We have seen the experts get it wrong, the governments flounder and the people panic. Imagine if some new disease appeared that was along the lines of the Black Death. Something that would kill half the worlds population. What would happen to society in the face of such a pandemic?
It is clear now that if one wishes to survive such a future event, one needs to prepare now. That means looking at what the panicked population hoarded in the face of COVID-19, and making sure to have that on hand. That means reducing your reliance on a fragile supply chain. Growing your own food, hunting and fishing, and having on off grid plan.
Coronavirus has been a test run for SHTF. This is the time to look at how your preps worked and didn’t work… then adjust accordingly.
Many people dismiss preppers as paranoid fools waiting for WW3 or Civil War 2, But that is not the case. I have lived most of my life in either California or Florida. I prep for Hurricanes now, and for Earthquakes when I lived in Ca. Sure, I prep for the possibility of war and social unrest. I also prep for the possibility of pandemic. That is the point of prepping: being prepared for the unforeseen. If history tells us anything, it is that all of these scenarios are not only possible, but inevitable. It is just a matter of when.