2012 (Mayan doomsday) was a great excuse to prepare for all the unpredictable global catastrophes that could happen any time.
[Marburg? - see below]
Scientists have been warning us that a global pandemic is overdue, and Ebola could become a pandemic – based on its progress to date. This is also a great excuse to prepare. Even if you were convinced that your local health authorities will be able to protect you from Ebola, surely there is enough lingering doubt to inspire you to store away some food and water?
How Real Is The Risk?
We keep being (officially) told that Ebola is not airborne, and can only be spread via direct contact with bodily fluids. That sounds reassuring, unless you did deeper….
First of all, Ebola patients have a tendency to vomit – that’s a lot of sudden, random, bodily fluid going all over the place. This regularly occurs before Ebola is diagnosed.
Yet health professionals who are taking great precautions are also catching Ebola. The most vivid example is the nurse in Spain who was reportedly wearing the correct protective gear. It is almost as if Ebola has mutated and become airborne.
Well, it kind of has.
This information is via ThreatJournal.com – I strongly recommend subscribing to this unique service:
Though public health authorities and government officials publicly state that Ebola is not airborne, there are a multitude of published, peer reviewed studies firmly establishing transmission of the Ebola virus via aerosols. The general difference between airborne and aerosol transmission rests, in large part, on the size of the particles and thus, how long they can remain suspended in the air.
Threat Journal cite 5 studies showing Ebola being spread via the air – here’s one example:
Demonstration of fatal aerosol transmission of this virus in monkeys reinforces the importance of taking appropriate precautions to prevent its potential aerosol transmission to humans.
And there is this from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota:
“We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks.”
Unfortunately many health professionals are dying because they used the minimum protection suggested by their superiors.
Snowball Effect / Death Spiral
When Ebola arrives in your country, and it is quite likely it will – if not now, then later – how will your fellow citizens react?
Hopefully it will be in a more educated manner than we have seen in Africa, where we have seen people breaking Ebola patients out of hospital due to fear, rumour and poor education.
The best example we have so far, in the western world, is parents pulling their students out of schools in Dallas:
Among the 12 people being closely monitored were five children – who attend four area schools. Panic-stricken parents in the area pulled their kids out of classes after they received Ebola fact sheets and notes which said ‘everything is fine’. Schools were also scrubbed down and extra nurses brought in to monitor any students with fevers or flu-like symptoms.
That’s four schools affected from one patient. Once cases multiply, more and more schools, social venues and workplaces become too risky for some. Before long a sneeze is enough to clear out a work building. Many workers will decide that they should stay at home, even though nobody at work has yet been diagnosed.
How many workers staying at home causes society to shut down?
When society shuts down, people will run out of food. That of course leads to social unrest and violence. In a British survey, 40% of respondents said if Avian Flu arrived locally, they would not go to work.
Maybe that won’t be a problem for banks (unless there are mass panic withdrawals) and insurance companies (unless there is a spike in health and death insurance claims), but what about supermarkets struggling to deal with demand, or hospitals, or key government agencies? As an extreme but possible example, what if the Minister for Health is scared and in hiding?
The point is, we just don’t know how it might play out. The last significant pandemic was more than 100 years ago – in WW1 more soldiers died of the flu than from battles – and communication and awareness were a tiny fraction of today. They certainly didn’t have Twitter spreading facts and rumours.
Worst Case Scenario
Everything about society that you rely on could end. Supermarkets could run out of food. The police and armed forces could lack the manpower to deal with the spread of disease. Your neighbours could refuse to speak to you. Trust in information from the government could fade. Rumours of a more readily-spread, mutated Ebola could become rife.
What Should You Do?
First and foremost you will need enough food and water to see out the pandemic. That could mean 6-12 months or more. The good news is that bulk bottled water, bulk rice and pasta, bulk tinned tomatoes and vegetables, spam, jam and homey are not only quite cheap to acquire and easy to store – if nothing bad happens you can still consume them at your leisure.
The other part of the equation is avoiding infection. For many people there will be occasions where contact with the outside world will be necessary. I propose that a member of your group – in my case it is me, the father – is isolated from the rest. You can still converse from a distance, you can still drop off essential supplies, but you will be doubly certain that any illness won’t be passed on to your loved ones. Living in a tent isn’t so arduous if it means your family are safe.
Oh yeah, get some face masks. They are cheap in bulk from places like eBay. When the pandemic kicks in, it won’t be weird to wear one. Japanese folk currently wear them to stop spreading the common cold…
Good luck and fingers crossed that it has peaked already.
(in which case we can start worrying about Marbug – very similar to Ebola and breaking out in Uganda right now…)
Hide from the authorities. If you believe you are infected, hand yourself in. But if you aren’t infected, paranoid government officials could still imprison you with many infected people, and you could become collateral damage.
Quarantine fails when an infected person is placed in a group of uninfected people…
Read more here: