Friday, March 20, 2020

Corona virus is not the major threat

I regret that I have not contributed to this forum for a very long time. 
Now that I am working as a EMT and have been very busy with work in South Africa I have not had the time to write and publish as often as I would like. 
Currently this Corona Virus is no worse than any other flu pandemic that we have dealt with in the past. 
It has risks and threat to unhealthy demographics as well as the elderly and infants. 
The vast majority of children and adults are safe. 
The real threat is the reaction from the private sector, government and the general population. 
I can tell you in the EMS and medical side of things we are worried. 
We are not worried so much about the virus we are worried about the red tape and hinderance this is causing in treating people and the strain it is putting on response. 
We are required to take units out of service for long periods of time from exposures. 
If first responders or medical staff have a slight cough or your temp goes over 98 fahrenheit you most likely will be taken out of work and will not be able to return until you are cleared for the virus. 
This is a serious strain and hinderance to first response and medical treatment. 
I am worried about the majority of our private sector being shut down for weeks and possibly months. 
I am certain we will all pull through this but not without difficulty. 
This is what we all have been preparing for and this is why we are all on this forum. 
God, Guns, Beans and Bandaids is what we need and a plan. 
I trust you all have been trained, informed and educated to deal with the possible challenges ahead and gray man has done much on this forum to aid us all in the future challenges. 
Take care of yourselves and each other. - Islands 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Over 100,000 views.

Sometime over the past couple of weeks this blog surpassed the 100,000 view mark, and I’m thankful for everyone who has taken the time to stop by.

Recently our traffic has dropped, however. It’s actually dropped by about half, and it seems it was pretty sudden. I admit that there has been a lack of posting recently due to my increased workload in school, but half seems to be a big drop. Whether that explains it, or if we’ve been bitten by something more, ahem, nefarious... Remains to be seen.

Rest assured I’m not going anywhere and posting will not cease. As always, feel free to contact me. All anyone on our side is going to have is each other when the fun begins.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Pay attention to Italy (COVID-19)

Italy has a modern, westernized medical system similar in quality to the United States. The country is quite a bit smaller and less populated than the US, but it's easy to look there and imagine it could be an example of what may befall us here if we are unable to stave off a massive outbreak of the virus. In my opinion, due to the lack of control over our border and ports of entry, we will be unable to stop the spread. We have already had one case of the virus land in my own county, and was treated by the hospital that cuts my paycheck. That patient, who was elderly and had multiple serious comorbidities, died, and we are basically in a holding pattern waiting to see if any medical staff were infected. According to trends worldwide, we will have some that are infected, and they will spread it. If not, we will be one of the only, or maybe the only, location in the US with a case of COVID-19 that didn't result in a larger outbreak. We will see. In a few weeks.

Back to Italy. Tourist sites are closed, schools are closed, stores are closed, streets are empty. More serious than that, is the fact that one region, Lombardy, has been hit so hard that Italian officials have been pulling retired doctors back into the field, and graduating nursing students early in order to get them into the workforce. A quarter of the population in the country has been quarantined, including tens of millions in Lombardy who require special permission to travel anywhere.

One woman in St. Louis has tested positive for the virus after traveling to Italy.

Imagine in your state that every single school, K-12 and colleges, are closed without a reopen date. Now add to that every major big box store, like Walmart or Target, and at least half of the smaller ones like Dollar General. Add to that most of your local government buildings, like tag offices. And on top of all that, every single bed in every hospital is full, and every ER, and patients are waiting in the halls, lobbies and parking lots. Maybe 15-20% of your police forces and Fire/EMS workers are either sick or quarantined, and 10% of the nurses and doctors as well.

That is what is happening in Lombardy, Italy right now, and it's probably going to be happening in the rest of the country within a month. They went from around 5,900 infections to over 7,300 in a single day. In that same day, the number of deaths went from 133 to 336. A modern, westernized society that has at least twice as much control over their borders and ports of entry as we do, is on the brink of having a collapse of their medical system, and this virus really just started it's worldwide warpath in January.

It is not time to panic, because panicking, by nature, is an irrational response to any stimuli. But while it's not time to panic, it IS time to take this seriously. No, it does not matter that the flu has killed more people, because this is much more contagious than the flu, and by all accounts it does have a significantly higher mortality rate (3.4% of all cases, but those include unresolved cases). No, this is not just the next hysteria like SARS or MERS, which will always be a nothing-burger. This is not Ebola, where even a mediocre second world medical system can control the spread (mainly because, mercifully, Ebola kills extremely quickly and burns itself out). This is different. Is this the big "Disease X", a term the WHO coined a while back? I don't know, probably not, but only because that is very unlikely. But it's the closest we've come since the Spanish Flu.

In my ER, and I suspect most or all of the others in the country, we have rolled out policies and protocols for treating suspected COVID-19 patients, protocols that are based in preventing spread of the virus. So far, nothing I've seen or heard seems likely to work well. We in the US simply do not have the system in place to handle this, and conjuring one up from scratch isn't really a thing that happens. As Aesop at RR has stated, every ICU in the country is already at 90% capacity on an average day with zero COVID-19 cases. I would add to that most of the hospitals in the US are at 90% capacity on an average day, not just the ICUs.

It's past time to stock up on things you don't want to be without. Once you've stocked up, take a trip to the woods. Like I said before, they aren't going to find the virus in your local creek or state forest. As for us, we will be in the mountains next week. Might be the last vacation any of us will be able to take for a while.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The panic begins, but you are going to keep calm.

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.
Youre going to get your updates from American Partisan and this CDC COVID-19 summary page.

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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A word of caution to the boomers.

There is a reason that older millennials (those of us born in the early 1980's) try to evade the millennial label and instead try to convince ourselves and others the we are part of Gen X. The reason is because none of the older generations have ever had a decent thing to say about us.

If you study Strauss and Howe, you'll see that yes, the millennial generation started in the early 1980's. The timeframe, despite the disagreement of most people born in that time, is correct. If you fall between the ages of 23 and 37 or 38, then you are a millennial whether you like it or not.

But that's okay. It's okay to be a millennial, even if your family members who are older think poorly of the generation.

Boomers and Gen Xers have gotten something very wrong about what defines a generational cohort. It's not the behavior of that cohort the defines it, rather it is the national and global events the shaped our coming of age that defines us. There is a wide range of behaviors and attitudes and ideologies presents in every generation, and these things are more influenced by geography, culture, upbringing, etc. than they are just by age.

The millennial generation is the only generation in history that has it's individuals shouldering the blame for the worst behaviors of our generation without receiving any credit for the achievements. Case in point; I am 33, a millennial, and I have to accept, by default, that my generation apparently eats Tide Pods (it's doesn't). I don't get credit for being part of the most educated generation in history (I'm finishing my B.S.), or for fighting America's wars for the last 18 years (I was in OEF), or for anything else people in my generation have done correctly. But rest assured our grandparents got to pretend like they, through the achievements of their generation, had something to do with the moon landing.

Speaking of education, this is part of why we feel we were sold a false bill of goods. We were all told that we needed to get a 4-year degree and then we would have every Fortune 500 company falling over themselves trying to throw money and corner offices at us just for having that degree. Get your degree and you won't have to do all that back-breaking manual labor. Meanwhile, that degree saddles almost all of it's recipients with crippling debt. If you are reading this and think that debt is the fault of the student, then you are out of touch and you should email me at so I can correct you. College should not be free, but it also should not cost what it does.

Suddenly now the older generations do nothing but make fun of our degrees and chastise us for avoiding the manual labor and skilled trade jobs, while ignoring the fact that most manual labor and skilled trade jobs are now filled by millennials anyway.

Politically, millennials are labeled as "liberal", but this is not the case either. Generation Z is on track to become the most "conservative generation" since WWII, but millennials are the generation that is turning conservative at the fastest rate since that time. And where did American neo-liberalism come from? You guessed it; the boomer generation. They're the ones teaching it in the American university system where we were told by boomers we needed to go to avoid the skilled trade jobs that are now sorely needed in America.

Millennials have been fighting in continuous wars since we turned 18. I see millennials in my town harvesting America's cotton. Our millennials are working the hospitals taking care of people who are mostly boomers. We are working your skilled trades, despite what you think. We didn't invent participation trophies, you did that, and we didn't ask for them. We went and got the degrees you told us we needed, and then some. We didn't import millions of brown-skinned savages from all over the world, you did. We didn't ask you to erase our borders. you did that on your own. We didn't set the country on this path. Hell, I'm only old enough to have voted in four general elections.

Look, if you have a negative view of the generation, then you have one or more of these problems:

1. You raised terrible millennials. If so, that's on you.

2. You are spending too much time around terrible millennials. Do you live in Kalifornia, or something?

3. You believe the media stereotype of what a millennial is, and mistakenly believe that a generational cohort is defined by it's behavior. I already went over that. It's not.

If you suffer from one or more of those problems, fix yourself.

Boomers and Gen Xers, ignore this if you will. The boomers probably will, and their response to it will be nothing new. Boomers as a group haven't had anything new to say since the Reagan Administration anyway. That's fine. Just keep something in mind, though, if you can remember it...

A generation that is unloved by it's nation may need to burn it down so they can finally feel it's warmth.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The anger and panic of the left, briefly explained.

During the 0bama Administration, or what I call "the eight year punishment", the left wing of US politics allowed themselves to forget that people like us existed. Or maybe they intentionally convinced themselves that we didn't. Or maybe they really thought we had vanished. Regardless of exactly what happened, when Trump was elected they were forcefully reminded that we did indeed exist, and that we still vote, we still have our guns, we still oppose abortion and homosexuality being forced into our lives and we still opposed having a wide open border.

Under Trump, some, or many, of these problems still exist. But much to the dismay of the left, we do too. We still exist. The anger and violent rhetoric we get from the left is the manifestation of their realization that we are still here.

Make no mistake, they intend to erase us.

Friday, February 7, 2020

News and analysis on Coronavirus.

Originally posted by The Gray Man at American Partisan

Over the last several days there have been a lot of updates, almost daily in fact, on the global situation with the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV). The reported numbers of infected have gone up significantly, the mortality numbers have gone up and several more countries outside of Asia have found cases or suspected cases inside their own borders. Person-to-person transmission has been observed in several places. Not much progress has been made in actually combating the virus itself, as it appears the entirety of effective treatment modalities are still focused on supportive treatment, that is to say that healthcare providers are treating the symptoms rather than the cause.

As of February 4th, China is reporting almost 21,000 cases with about 430 dead. This increase in both infected and dead is a significant increase in just a few days. The CDC is now reporting 27 countries with confirmed nCoV cases. As of right now, all of the deaths from nCoV have occurred in China, except for one that occurred in the Philippines. As of February 3, there are 11 cases in the United States, those cases being in California (6), Illinois (2), Arizona (1), Massachusetts (1) and Washington (1). The patients in Illinois were a husband and wife, and that is believed to be the first transmission between people in the US. Charts produced by various outlets are displaying the virus spread in China at nearly exponential rates. Keep in mind that in order for someone to be counted, they have to get sick, go to the hospital, get tested specifically for nCoV, test positive and get reported to their national health system (In the US, it would be the CDC). In China, the government actually has to then let the rest of the world know. That last step in China is not a guaranteed proposition, but neither are any of the other steps. It is a near certainty that the numbers of infected and the numbers of dead are lower than reality.

The increased spread may be due to the actual infectious processes, or it may be partially due to surges in reporting. We are dealing with an information-averse, totalitarian police state who's number one goal is the image of the power and control of the state above all else. The unprecedented reaction by China to quarantine over 50 million people (according to the last count I could find from a few days ago) is a telling message in itself. Imagine the Soviet Union suddenly evacuating a 100 mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl instead of the 6 mile zone they initially cleared out, all the while claiming the situation was under control. This reaction would have been disproportionate to the claims. This is how I feel about the Chinese reaction versus what they've been saying. Never before has the world seen a quarantine (however ineffective it may be) of 50 million people, let alone the larger numbers it must have risen to by now without my knowledge.

I do have some experience in the East Asian medical systems, as a patient. In 2012 I was hospitalized for a short time in Korea with an illness that I've deduced resulted from their drinking water. I recall being placed in a large ward with a large number of other patients and a janitorial storage corner. There was little concern shown for the possibility of passing germs from one patient to another. It's one thing to have the knowledge and training and research like they do, and entirely another thing to actually put it into practice.

I have serious reservations about China being forthcoming about the numbers, but I suspect that they aren't going to be able to cover up any part of the situation for much longer. The Chinese Communist Party has been working it's censorship apparatus overtime deleting Weibo and other social media posts as fast as they appear. A Chinese man was arrested for posting a photo of a pile of body bags at one location. Fortunately the rest of the semi-free internet has been able to take screenshots and repost the videos and photos.

nCoV is a respiratory virus that has an incubation period ranging from two days to as long as two weeks. It's believed that a person can be highly contagious during the incubation phase without having shown or felt any signs or symptoms. People often develop a cough and shortness of breath with a fever. It appears that most of the patients who have died had progressed to severe pneumonia-like complications. I suspect the odds are high that some people, probably mostly elderly, have been dying from pneumonia-like symptoms caused by nCoV, but may have never been tested for the virus at all. The virus spreads from person to person through airborne droplets coughed or sneezed into the environment, and some physicians in China, though later censored, claimed they had evidence that the virus can spread via contact with mucous membranes. This means it could possibly infect you if it contacts your eyes.

So, this is all good information to have, and the situation is changing pretty much daily. But you may be asking "What are they doing, what are we doing, what do I need to do?"

Firstly, countries like Russia are closing border crossings and US airlines are cancelling flights and suspending services to the Chinese mainland. No word yet on what will be done on the US border, assuming that we still have a border at all. It's debatable. The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency based on the spread to other countries and there are fears of what the disease could do if it spread to a poorer country that lacks the tools of modern medicine. Of course I think we are mostly talking about Africa, but a lot of people don't realize that most of China is still very much a third world place with third world hygiene. I think this is one reason we've seen it spread so rapidly. Imagine this virus arriving in San Francisco, where achieving third world status would be an improvement.

Another note of interest is that there are reports from Thailand and India that the virus appears to respond to re-purposed HIV medications, which is quite curious. Apparently one of the later stage problems with this virus is the progression from leukopenia (a critical reduction of your white blood cells) to full blown pancytopenia (a critical reduction in your white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets). My wife and mom both have years of experience treating patients with leukopenia and pancytopenia, and these patients are often lost to illnesses totally unrelated to their cancer. Pneumonia, once again, strikes hard in these cases.

As far as your own household:
-You need to have a supply of face masks, like the regular surgical masks, and some 3M brand N95 respirators if you can find any. In my opinion, the N95 masks are something you should already have if you are a prepper of any sort. It's not time to wear them, but when it is time, there won't be any on the shelves.

-Make plans to spend more time at home and less time in town. Once upon a time not everyone in America traveled into town every single day for whatever minor items they needed. There was a time when you had to plan and prepare and make lists before going into town on your horses or carts, and stock up for a longer period of time, because trips into town happened much more rarely. Adopt a similar mindset and cluster your errands. My wife and I try not to go into town (the actual town about 40 minutes away) more than once every couple of weeks. During the two weeks leading up to it, we make a list of the things we need to get done and try to put it off for that day. Obviously you will have to attend to more urgent and emergent needs, but if you can reduce you trips into town by half or more, you'll probably save gas, time and maybe save yourself from catching a bug.

-Wash your hands. This may sound obvious but I'm not just talking about hand sanitizer. The alcohol based hand gel "kills" bacteria. You can't use it to "kill" a virus. You need to use soap, water and friction to dislodge the infectious particles and wash them down the drain. Here is a 90 second video to show you how.

-Stock up on food, water and medication. I currently work in an emergency room and before that I made my bones on a trauma/surgery floor. It seemed like every time there was an earthquake somewhere on earth, or a typhoon, or a tornado, or a tsunami, or some random civil unrest, we would go on "nationwide backorder" for something, because everything is either made elsewhere, or part of it is made elsewhere, or the container is made elsewhere, or the packaging, etc. Some medication or medical supply or material would go short and we would have to go without. I've seen our hospital (based in a modern city of nearly 60,000 people) go empty on dilaudid, morphine, nubain, normal saline bags, plastic urinal cans, protonix, etc. at various times due to storms in the Caribbean or Typhoon in Asia, or whatever else was happening in the world, and we would often be dealing with the shortages for months. I'm sure you know that the society of the United States run largely on the flow of cheap Chinese garbage and cheap Chinese/SE Asian labor. If this virus has already affected the world markets, don't you think it could have an effect on our supply chain? Your family needs at minimum one gallon of water per person, per day. You can either buy water or you can buy containers and fill them yourself. Go shopping for some Mountain House meals, or buy in bulk and store rice and beans long term. Buy flats of canned goods cheap. Talk to your doctor and let them know you'd like an extra refill or two to cycle through at home. A lot of docs would be happy to give it to you if it's not a controlled substance.

-Put some cash away for a bad day. The world's economy runs through the US and China, and our two economies run through each other. Already Chinese stock markets have had their worst day in at least four years, and markets are continuing to drop. Of course, Chinese state media is telling everyone there is no need to worry. US stocks dropped initially but rallied afterward, and showing gains at this point. For now. Having cash on hand and other tangible assets (ahem) is always a good plan, but if you can put some more away right now, you'll still be ahead of the game.

-You need a good medical bag and a way to take a full set of vital signs. If you can learn to use a stethoscope to listen for adventitious breath sounds, then you can get a friend or family member, or yourself, to the doctor faster or quarantine people as needed. There are people in the US who have recently returned from China and imposing self quarantines away from their family for two or three weeks.

More updates to come as they happen. We haven't seen the worst of it yet. Stay away from crowds.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

It's not time to panic about the Coronavirus.

Yet again it seems we have a dangerous respiratory virus originating in China and threatening to spread to the rest of the world. The Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) belongs to the same family of viruses as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus and the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). From what experts can tell, this nCoV has been traced to a wildlife/meat market in Wuhan, China. The city has a population of more than 11 million people.

The recent outbreak seems to have started in late December of last year, and has accelerated to the point now where confirmed cases have also been located in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Nepal, Australia, France and the United States. My personal belief is that the Chinese government probably covered up knowledge of the outbreak for a period of time, and now their efforts to lock down and quarantine entire cities of millions of people are going to be futile. The virus has already escaped those limits and there is no sign they can contain it right now.

I work as a registered nurse in an emergency room, and I am usually unconcerned with the hectic and breathless news reports of the next pandemic that are supposed to wipe out the planet every year, like Ebola or SARS, despite the fact that our own regular old, boring flu has killed like 40 kids in the US just this past season. However, there are some differences going on here that prompted me to do a write-up on this one. I don't believe that this is the world killer either, but in less than a few weeks we are seeing some significant points with this. I've discussed the nCoV with some of my ER physicians, including three with overseas medical experience in the Middle East and East Asia via the military and one with medical experience in the Indian subcontinent.

One curious thing about this particular virus is the apparent reported ability to infect both cold blooded and warm blooded hosts, and pass from one to the other. It's being reported that highly venomous kraits (a snake) in China may be the original vector. These kraits hunt bats, and it's believed that some of the people who have been infected got the virus from eating bats (yeah...) that have possibly gotten the virus from the snakes. It's certainly not uncommon for dangerous diseases to spread from animals to humans in bushmeat markets, and there is high demand for the meat of wild and exotic fauna in China and other areas of East Asia.

Another thing of note is that China has undertaken a massive quarantine effort of at several cities with populations in the millions, and this alone has gotten huge international attention. Regardless of the prognosis of infected patients, the reactions of the Chinese has had a significant effect on global markets. The Chinese markets are often close during the Lunar New Year (LNY), which means there is going to be an information vacuum when they open back up. The US is dependent on cheap junk from China, so we may feel some effect ourselves. Reports are saying that approximately 56 million people have been quarantined, which is an unprecedented amount.

Like I had mentioned before, it's my belief and the belief of other analysts that, true to their nature, the Chinese authorities have covered up and obfuscated what is really going on with this outbreak, hindering quick action to contain the spread. You don't often see a viral event like this go from a local outbreak to suddenly being found on three different continents. It's apparently being investigated in at least 22 states last I saw, and we are only supposedly about five or six weeks into the game. There is something odd about that. There are healthcare workers in China making posts to Weibo/Tencent (Chinese government allowed social media platforms) saying that they are estimating 100,000 people infected, and that they are unable to keep up with the death tolls, to the point of lying dead bodies in the hallways. These posts are immediately censored by the government, but not fast enough to avoid being reposted on the free web. Are these healthcare workers exaggerating their reports? Or are they telling the truth?

A difficulty in diagnosing and treating patients is obtaining the specific testing kits. As far as I know, only three companies actually produce the kit and it doesn't appear they were ready for an outbreak to go from a dozen cases to into the thousands globally in less than a month. Add to that that at least one of the companies I know of is based in China, and many of those employees are working intermittently during the LNY.

Another problem with this occurring during the LNY is widespread holiday travel inside and even outside of China. This virtually guarantees that these large-scale quarantines are going to be ineffective. Pair that with the possibility that patients with nCoV may be treated like pneumonia patients or other patients with your run of the mill upper respiratory infections (URI). The treatments for those include steroids and antibiotics. A virus is not going to be susceptible to antibiotics. Current treatments for nCoV are supportive, which means medical staff are just treating the symptoms.

The physicians I've spoken to express the same thoughts I had on this nCoV, which is "how is this so different and so much more serious than the last several viruses we've had?" My only thoughts on it as far as prepping are concerned would be to watch closely how people are reacting. The illness itself is not likely to be any worse than SARS, or it may even be less dangerous as far as prognosis, but what is important to see is what a panic will cause in the global markets and in society. I don't predict pandemonium myself, but it seems like the public is ripe for a panic over something, and if, through initial Chinese failures, we see a large influx of infections throughout the US, we could see our own version of lock-downs and quarantines. People in the US are not accustomed to something like that and I think a lot of people would resist it. China has apparently quarantined about 56 million people at this point.

Johns Hopkins University ran a simulation about three years ago that showed a coronavirus-like pandemic could kill as many as 65 million people. Obviously that adds to the hype and isn't going to help the panic. The panic could be more dangerous than the illness itself.

My advice is to wash your hands when you've been out in town. Shopping cart handles and doorknobs will hold infectious particles and bacteria as long as people keep touching them. Bleach wipes are great, just make sure to allow the surface to dry, as that's when you know it's had time to kill the pathogens. If you're really concerned, wearing a mask can help prevent catching a contagious respiratory bug. If things got worse, 3M brand N95 masks are good to have, and if you're a prepper, you should already have several for each family member. If you have a person in your home who is sick, keep them at home. If you know someone who is sick, don't visit until they've had time to become non-contagious. Personally, I would not fret about the virus as much as the potential for others to panic and the markets to suffer a hit.

At least not for right now...

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Some thoughts on the ruling class.

It’s no coincidence that the people in media and journalism, the talking heads you see on TV all the time, and the professors of academia, the officials at the highest levels of the unelected bureaucracies, the most honored uniform wearers in the alphabet soup agencies, our elected officials in both parties and the celebrities of Hollyweird belong to the left-leaning political persuasion. Aside from their left-wing, neo-liberal, collectivist-socialist-communist philosophical beliefs, they share another common trait: They’re all completely, utterly disconnected from the reality that the average American lives on a daily basis.

This does nothing to prevent them from issuing edicts and judgments from their ivory towers and golden toilets on how we should live, behave and even speak. They are the cloud people, pontificating to us, the dirt people.

Study your history and take note of the habits of communists. Especially pay attention to what communists do when they feel like the dirt people aren’t lining up the way they want them to.

Sic Semper Tyrannis. Every single one of them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A hint about debating.

A common tactic people will use when debating politics (or really any subject that may be uncomfortable to them) is to respond to your points with some variation of the phrase “That’s not what I’m saying.” They might phrase it as “I wasn’t saying that” or “That’s not what I mean” or “I didn’t say that.”

This tactic serves three purposes:

1. It absolves them of the responsibility to actually respond to your point. If you’re making an argument that is hard for them to counter, then they’ll put themselves into a position where they’re not required to do so.

2. It gaslights you into being the one who is unable to understand their points. If you don’t understand what they’re trying to say, then obviously your responses are invalid.

3. It allows them to transform the argument into one of semantics instead of substance. No matter what words you use, they will never be the correct ones. With every point you make, they’ll simply return to “That’s not what I’m saying.”

Learn and practice the Socratic Method to avoid and defeat this debate tactic.