COVID-19 and Prepping for Survival

Here is a great write up from a group I belong to for the sharing of medical information – Prepping 4 Survival.

 

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If you have noticed a dearth of posts on this page regarding the latest viral scourge making the rounds then you have probably figured out that this is by design. There is a HUGE amount of information and content being generated and shared throughout all forms of media about this bug and not all of that information is good, factual or even useful. We as humans are bad at assessing relative risk. And if you have been around prepping forums for a while you know that this is especially true of folks who are woke to the fact that not “everything in our world is just peachy” and “the government will save us if things go wrong”. We know better, that’s why we gather in groups like this to share information that will help us all live and thrive in good times and in bad. But the first step in responding to any threat to our thriving is performing a good assessment of that threat. Only then can we begin to formulate an appropriate response that does not worsen our position out of panic and ignorance. This will be a VERY LONG post. This is a very complex topic. Before you post below please read the complete article.

The admins of this page recently posted an initial sit-rep (situation report) on the coronavirus found here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/EverythingPrepper/permalink/1230226963840853/

We felt it was time to update this post now that additional information has come to light in the intervening 2 weeks.

 

What do we know?

As of this writing on February 24th, 2020 the official numbers are 2,627 known deaths from this virus out of 79,551 “confirmed” infected. 25,180 are believed to have recovered

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

Even the best experts in epidemiology concede that these numbers are likely significantly low as there are many people who get the disease and are never tested for it since their symptoms are minor and resolve without them ever seeking medical care. In the initial month of the outbreak test kits for the virus did not exist and once they became available researchers have gone back to test samples from people who died previous to the kit’s availability and added those deaths to the total – but they did not test others who recovered.

In many parts of the world test kits are still not available so we have no way of knowing who has this virus and who has some other viral illness. What this all means is that if anyone tells you they know the fatality rate or even the case fatality rate of this virus they are guessing. It could take a year or more before that information is known for sure so we have to work with the estimate which has not changed in the past 2 weeks. 2 to 3 people out of every 100 who get very sick from the disease will die.

 

Coronavirus has an incubation period of three to twenty-seven days, i.e., infected but without symptoms. Fourteen days is typical. Fever and cough are common, diarrhea is not. For detailed information regarding the clinical presentation of the disease see this Lancet article here:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext

 

The virus is (so far) only known to spread through droplets coughed or sneezed from an infected person. Some reports have come out of aerosolization of this virus making it capable of lingering in the air much longer than the seasonal flu. There appears to be a possible fecal-oral transmissibility which may explain the increased prevalence of viral spread in certain countries with different cultural bathroom practices (though you are not likely to hear that on the PC MSM). The virus was not found in amniotic fluid or breast milk (meaning it is not automatically transmitted to a fetus from an infected mother). This means that in addition to the standard mask and gloves precautions we give for flu it would also be wise to wear eye protection when exposed to someone with COVID-19.

 

Consistent hand washing, avoiding crowds and public bathrooms, and staying away from hospitals and healthcare facilities where people with the virus may congregate are other wise precautions. A few reports are emerging that it is possible to get re-infected by the virus after an individual has recovered but this is not confirmed. If it is true then it means that the human immune system may not be able to develop a good immunological defense against this virus – which would complicate further the search for a vaccine. A good source to read about transmission of the virus is here:

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/how-covid-19-is-spread-67143

This is no longer a virus confined to China. South Korea has over 800 known cases. Italy has more than 150. Both of these countries are enacting significant measures to contain and mitigate the virus within their borders. Towns are being locked down with military enforcement. Something not seen in Italy since World War II.

What we don’t know?

We don’t know how infectious this virus is. The R0 (r-naught) is a measure of how many people one infected person can transmit the virus to on average. We think it is between 2 and 3 with this virus but there is not yet enough data to make this determination for this bug. For comparison the R0 for the flu this year is about 0.1, for measles it is about 14. Any R0 over 3 is considered self-sustaining meaning it will not go away on its own even with significant restrictions on travel etc. As you know the flu in the US is seasonal – meaning once the weather starts to warm it tends to decrease so significantly in frequency that rarely see cases of it. We do not know if COVID-19 will be have in a similar manner. If so then you may have a reprieve this summer – but that does not mean it will go away.

We don’t know the true fatality rate of this disease. There is simply not enough data to conclusively state this number but it is believed to be somewhere between 2 and 5%. For comparison the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic had a case fatality rate of 2.5% and it infected nearly 1/3 of all people on the planet at the time. And yet, life went on.

What is concerning about this?

From nearly the beginning of this outbreak there were sources claiming that this virus was “manmade” and either was released or escaped from the Level-4 biocontainment lab in Wuhan China located a mere 300 yards from the fish market presumed to be the epicenter of the outbreak. Some are saying that the virus has genetic material from HIV and specific receptors that indicate it was genetically engineered as some sort of bio-weapon.

This large study involving 27 geneticists from multiple countries seems to refute that:

http://virological.org/t/the-proximal-origin-of-sars-cov-2/398

One researcher tested indigenous people who live in close proximity to bat populations in Asia and found that they had been exposed to a nearly identical virus at some time in the past. Nature is the ultimate bio-weapon manufacturer and could just as easily have caused the mutations we see in this virus. But at the end of the day, what difference does it make? The virus is out there, and it’s a bad one. How we as individuals prepare for it is not affected by its origins.

Next concern is that the test kits (that are currently available in only 3 US states) are very poor and we are seeing multiple cases of false negatives and false positives. As of today only 114 people in the US have even been tested according to the CDC’s own numbers and these were mostly repatriated Americans from cruise ships. I can only assume that the CDC is not encouraging more widespread testing because they know the tests are crap and would not result in useful information and could even cause more unnecessary panic.

Another concerning thing about this virus is that it appears to be capable of inducing something called a Cytokine Storm in infected individuals.

 

 

From YouTube video above:

image

 

You’ll find plenty of explanation of this online but suffice it to say that this response is an over-reaction of the immune system that winds up becoming so severe it leads directly to the person’s death. The prevailing theory of why the 1918 Flu Pandemic was so deadly is attributed to this reaction. It explains why otherwise young and healthy individuals succumb to the disease when normally it is the old and very young that do the worst with flu.

If this is true then those of us who normally rely on things like Sambucol (elderberry) to boost our immune response to seasonal flu might want to re-think that approach to this virus. Elderberry has been shown to upregulate cytokines which is fine in seasonal flu but has the potential to induce a cytokine storm in COVID-19 sufferers. Check out the studies on melatonin if you are interested in something that down-regulates cytokines.

Another concern with this virus is that it appears it may be able to be spread by asymptomatic carriers. These people are positive on testing for the virus but did not show symptoms while they continue to shed the virus. This makes containment near impossible. Additionally, the virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 9 days. That means that someone without any symptoms but who is infected with the virus can use the gas pump days before you come along and pick up the virus from the handle or keypad. I’d call that concerning.

The biggest concern (for us anyway) about this potential pandemic is the response of governments, businesses and individuals to the virus. Sooner or later the COVID-19 virus is coming to an area near you. The average citizen has still not figured that out yet (although the stock market is showing signs that investors have caught on). Once the public becomes aware of this they will both begin hoarding of things they think they might need and demanding that their government protect them from this threat. Medications to treat cold and flu (many of which come from China) will disappear from the shelves just like N95 masks are already. And resupply will be delayed until China opens their factories again. This will create a domino effect of shortages, real or manmade, that heightens people’s panic and reactionary behavior.

What is encouraging about this?

The amount of published research that is coming out about this virus is unprecedented and overwhelming. For only the 3rd time in recent history all major medical journals have dropped their firewalls for articles submitted to them regarding COVID-19 and are allowing anyone with internet access the ability to view this information. There are pre-publication websites for scientists where studies can get uploaded without the time consuming process of peer-review so that information can be shared widely and quickly.

During the Ebola scare in 2014 only 75 such articles were uploaded. With the Zika-virus outbreak in 2014 there were 174 such articles published to these sites. Today several hundred are already available for this virus and dozens more are added daily. This unprecedented level of collaboration is virtually unheard of in the science community today and is a very encouraging sign that nation-states and universities have gotten out of the way of their researchers for the good of humanity, or, more likely, the scientists are just ignoring them. We need this level of cooperation to continue.

Children do not seem to be especially hard hit from this virus. The few studies published so far show that kids have less disease and less severe illness than adults. The few children born to infected mothers were not born with the infection (though some got it in the usual ways after birth).

What you can do?

COVID-19 is coming to an area near you. Neither you nor I have any control over preventing that. So what can we control? We can control our own personal exposure through the smart use of personal protective equipment. We can avoid the panic buying of over-the-counter medications used to treat the symptoms of viral illnesses by topping off our own stocks now – before the general public rush.

We can keep our eyes and ears open, educating ourselves about this illness and ways to avoid it or treat it. Avoid the conspiracy sites. Focus on the reputable sources including those outside the mainstream medical news (we’ll list some examples at the end of this article). We can make sure that we are prepared to shelter in place or self-quarantine if necessary by having sufficient food, water (or the means to purify it), toiletries (TP, soap, hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, etc.) on hand for at least a month.

Remember, you may read that the quarantine for this illness is 14 days but there will also be a disruption to local re-supply for days or weeks after the quarantine is lifted. We can make sure that our finances are in order, use online bill pay to avoid going out, have sufficient savings to make your bill payments if you are restricted from going to work, avoid running up huge credit card debt that you will regret later. Which leads us to other things we should not do.

What you should not do.

In a word, don’t panic. Panic causes us to make poor decisions that will lead to worse consequences. Do not spread fear in others by posting click-bait claims you saw on some conspiracy site. You all have the intelligence to be more discerning than that. You have at your hands the world’s most advanced research tools when it comes to investigating the claims you are hearing. Do not take anyone’s word for it when it comes to matters this important – not even ours. Some people just want to see the world burn – and they are posting fake videos and stories designed to stir up emotion and spread misinformation. Don’t be their useful idiot. If we see that sort of behavior on this page your post will be taken down and you will be banned.

Some sources of reliable information regarding this viral threat:

There is a YouTube channel you may want to check out run by Dr Roger Seheult, MD, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. In his latest series Dr Seheult has been doing a daily summary of what we know and what this means about 2019n-CoV. These short summaries are a rational look at the data and the growing body of literature surrounding this disease outbreak.

Another Doctor – this one from the UK who has been on top of this since the beginning is Dr. John Campbell, a retired physician with a distinguished teaching career behind him who has an amazing ability to relay information to the general public. He has been dissecting the various developments and studies about COVID-19 in videos, often 2 or 3 times a day and explains in layman’s terms what we are up against.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching

Not a physician but still a smart guy nonetheless – Chris Martenson over at Peak Prosperity has been putting out good preparedness information since before the 2008 financial crisis. He continues to put out good content has really stepped up in response to this threat. His series on this virus has been some of his best work. Check him out at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisMartensondotcom

One of the more reputable medical sources is the Lancet, a well-respected British medical journal that has been around for over a hundred years. Their staff has dropped the paywall for all things COVID-19 and here is a great article that dispels some of the myths you may be hearing about this bug.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30379-2/fulltext

After you read that, click on their link to COVID-19 Resources to access ALL the studies and information from medical researchers around the world.

Of course the World Health Organization has some information about this virus. We found the following link to a list of Myth-Busting questions about this virus to be helpful:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Over the course of the past month we have watched the numbers of members of this page swell to over 90,000! It is clear to the Admins that people are scared and seeking information. While Facebook can be a source of information in is also one of the lowest regulated media around. In some ways that is good.

If all you consume is the official government run media all you will see is what they want you to see and there is ample evidence that this “official story” is rarely completely factual. But if you don’t trust your own government for critical threat information you certainly should not trust a billion random strangers on Facebook.

Rumors and conspiracy theories are meant to be scary so that they will be perpetuated. But if you are truly Prepping 4 Survival you cannot rely on rumors or conspiracy theories to make critical decisions for yourself or your family. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Fact-check what you hear or read. Don’t share something without confirming it yourself. Focus instead on making a plan for your unique situation and execute your plan.

 

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  Prepping 4 Survival,


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