Past Time to Tell the Public: “It Will Probably Go Pandemic, and We Should All Prepare Now”

NOTE: The expert risk communication team of Lanard and Sandman has given me permission to post their very well-considered reply to my question of them just on 24 hours ago, here. I’m not an expert in this space so I sought their very experienced thoughts about changing my tone around the COVID-19 multi-country epidemic before I started doing so yesterday. Here is what they had to say…

We are starting to hear from experts and officials who now believe a COVID-19 pandemic is more and more likely.  They want to use the “P word,” and also start talking more about what communities and individuals can and should do to prepare.  On February 22, Australian virologist Ian Mackay asked us for our thoughts on this phase of COVID-19 risk communication. 

Here is our response.

Yes, it is past time to say “pandemic” – and to stop saying “stop”

It’s a good time to think about how to use the “P word” (pandemic) in talking about COVID-19.  Or rather, it is past time.

It is important to help people understand that while you think – if you do think so – that this is going to be pandemic in terms of becoming very widespread,  no one knows yet how much severe disease there will be around the world over short periods of time.  “Will it be a mild, or moderate, or severe pandemic?  Too soon to say, but at the moment, there are some tentative signs that….”  

The most crucial (and overdue) risk communication task for the next few days is to help people visualize their communities when “keeping it out” – containment – is no longer relevant.  The P word is a good way to launch this message.  

But the P word alone won’t help the public understand what’s about to change: the end of most quarantines, travel restrictions, contact tracing, and other measures designed to keep “them” from infecting “us,” and the switch to measures like canceling mass events designed to keep us from infecting each other.  

We are near-certain that the desperate-sounding last-ditch containment messaging of recent days is contributing to a massive global misperception about the near-term future.  The theme of WHO’s and many governments’ messages – that the “window of opportunity” to stop spread of the virus is closing – is like the famous cover page of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach: “There is still time … Brother.”

For weeks we have been trying to get officials to talk early about the main goal of containment: to slow the spread of the virus, not to stop it.  And to explain that containment efforts would eventually end.  And to help people learn about “after containment.”  This risk communication has not happened yet in most places.

So here is one more pitch for openness about containment.  Officials: Please read Containment as Signal, Swine Flu Risk Miscommunication, which we wrote in 2009.  

One horrible effect of this continued “stop the pandemic” daydream masquerading as a policy goal: It is driving counter-productive and outrage-inducing measures by many countries against travelers from other countries, even their own citizens back from other countries.  But possibly more horrible: The messaging is driving resources toward “stopping,” and away from the main potential benefit of containment – slowing the spread of the pandemic and thereby buying a little more time to prepare for what’s coming. 

We hope that governments and healthcare institutions are using this time wisely.  We know that ordinary citizens are not being asked to do so.  In most countries – including our United States and your Australia – ordinary citizens have not been asked to prepare.  Instead, they have been led to expect that their governments will keep the virus from their doors.

Take the risk of scaring people

Whenever we introduce the word “pandemic,” it’s important to validate that it’s a scary word – both to experts and to non-experts – because it justifiably contains the implication of something potentially really bad, and definitely really disruptive, for an unknown period of time.  This implication is true and unavoidable, even if the overall pattern of disease ends up being mild, like the 2009-10 “swine flu” pandemic.

Validate also that some people may accuse you of fear-mongering.  And respond that hiding your strong professional opinion about this pandemic-to-be would be immoral, or not in keeping with your commitment to transparency, or unforgivably unprofessional, or derelict in your duty to warn, or whatever feels truest in your heart.

It may help to consider the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” fallacy.  Feel free to say that “Jody Lanard and Peter Sandman say” that officials or experts – in this case YOU – are “darned if you do anddamned if you don’t.”  You’re only darned if you warn about something that turns out minor.  But you’re damned, and rightly so, if you fail to warn about something that turns out serious.  

It’s simply not true, in principle or in practice, that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t!  Over-alarming risk messages are far more forgivable than over-reassuring ones.

Push people to prepare, and guide their prep 

This is the most culpable neglected messaging in many countries at this point.

The main readiness stuff we routinely see from official and expert sources is either “DON’T get ready!” (masks), or “Do what we’ve always told you to do!” (hand hygiene and non-mask respiratory etiquette).

The general public, and many categories of civil society, are not actively being recruited to do anything different in the face of COVID-19 approaching.

A fair number of health care workers and communication officers tell us their hospitals and healthcare systems are just barely communicating about COVID-19. They want to be involved in how to prepare for “business not as usual.”  We’re guessing that many hospital managements are in fact preparing for COVID-19, but we worry that they’re doing it too quietly, without enough effort to prepare their staff. 

Lots of businesses, especially smaller ones, are doing off-the-cuff pre-pandemic planning.  Several trade journals have articles about how specific industries should prepare for a likely pandemic.  Around February 10, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted interim guidance for businesses.  But we have seen almost nothing in mainstream media citing this guidance, or recommending business continuity strategies like urgent cross-training so that core functions won’t be derailed because certain key employees are out sick, for instance.

Pandemic planning research suggests that employees are likeliest to say they will show up for work during a pandemic if three specs are met – if they think their family is reasonably safe; if they think their employer is being candid with them about the situation; and if they have a pandemic-specific job assignment in addition to or different from their routine “peacetime” assignment.

Hardly any officials are telling civil society and the general public how to get ready for this pandemic.

Even officials who say very alarming things about the prospects of a pandemic mostly focus on how their agencies are preparing, not on how the people they misperceive as “audience” should prepare.  “Audience” is the wrong frame.  We are all stakeholders, and we don’t just want to hear what officials are doing.  We want to hear what we can do too.  

We want – and need – to hear advice like this: 

  • Try to get a few extra months’ worth of prescription meds, if possible. 
  • Think through now how we will take care of sick family members while trying not to get infected. 
  • Cross-train key staff at work so one person’s absence won’t derail our organization’s ability to function.
  • Practice touching our faces less. So how about a face-counter app like the step-counters so many of us use? 
  • Replace handshakes with elbow-bumps (the “Ebola handshake”). 
  • Start building harm-reduction habits like pushing elevator buttons with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. 

There is so much for people to do, and to practice doing in advance.

Preparedness is emotional too

Suggesting things people can do to prepare for a possible hard time to come doesn’t just get them better prepared logistically.  It also helps get them better prepared emotionally.  It helps get them through the Oh My God (OMG) moment everyone needs to have, and needs to get through, preferably without being accused of hysteria.

It is better to get through this OMG moment now rather than later.  

Offering people a list of preparedness steps to choose among means that those who are worried and feeling helpless can better bear their worry, and those who are beyond worry and deep into denial can better face their worry.  

Yet another benefit: The more people who are making preparedness efforts, the more connected to each other they feel.  Pandemic preparedness should be a communitarian experience.  When a colleague offers you an elbow bump instead of a handshake, your mind goes to those lists of preparedness recommendations you’ve been seeing, and you feel part of a community that’s getting ready together.

This OMG realization that we have termed the “adjustment reaction” (see http://www.psandman.com/col/teachable.htm) is a step that is hard to skip on the way to the new normal.  Going through it before a crisis is full-blown is more conducive to resilience, coping, and rational response than going through it mid-crisis.  Officials make a mistake when they sugarcoat alarming information, postponing the public’s adjustment reaction in the vain hope that they can avoid it altogether.

Specific pandemic preparedness messages

Below are links to specific preparedness messaging we drafted for a possible H5N1 pandemic.  The links are all from our 2007 website column What to Say When a Pandemic Looks Imminent: Messaging for WHO Phases Four and Five.  Each item is in two parts – a draft message (a summary sentence followed by a few paragraphs of elaboration), then a risk communication discussion of why we think it’s an appropriate pre-pandemic message.  Because these were written with H5N1 in mind, the pandemic they contemplate is more severe and less likely than the one we contemplate today.  So some changes may be called for – but frankly, in our judgment, not many.

  • We may have a window of opportunity now to make some practical preparations. We must make the most of it – even though the effort may be wasted if a severe pandemic doesn’t happen.
  • What matters most is how households, neighborhoods, community groups, and businesses prepare.
  • Individual and community preparations will focus on three tasks – reducing each person’s chance of getting sick, helping households with basic survival needs during a pandemic, and minimizing and coping with larger societal disruption.
  • Social distancing will be important but unpleasant.
  • School closings present a particularly difficult social distancing dilemma.
  • Hand-washing is far from a panacea. But it’s easy, it’s under your control, and it has no significant downside.
  • Like washing your hands, wearing a facemask may help a bit. But it has more downside than washing your hands.
  • Getting ready for a pandemic is largely about preparing for possible shortages.
  • It’s probably too late to stockpile much now, but do what you can.
  • Now is also the time to think about how you will care for loved ones at home.
  • To get ourselves through the hard times that may be coming, we will need volunteers. How can you help?

One of the scariest messaging failures in the developed world is not telling people vividly about what the end of containment will look like, for instance the end of contact-tracing and most quarantines. 

The FAQs on the Singapore Ministry of Health webpage (https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/faqs) can serve as a model that other developed countries can adapt to start talking to their publics about this now, to reduce the shock and anger when governments stop trying to contain all identified cases. 

What’s working for us

We’d like to share with you some of our recent everyday life experiences in talking about pandemic preparedness with people who perceive us as a bit knowledgeable about what may be on the horizon.  Some of this overlaps with the more generic comments above.

1.      We’ve found it useful to tell friends and family to try to get ahead on their medical prescriptions if they can, in case of very predictable supply chain disruptions, and so they won’t have to go out to the pharmacy at a time when there may be long lines of sick people.  This helps them in a practical sense, but it also makes them visualize – often for the first time – how a pandemic may impact them in their everyday lives, even if they don’t actually catch COVID-19.  It simultaneously gives them a small “Oh my God” moment (an emotional rehearsal about the future) – and something to do about it right away to help them get through the adjustment reaction.

2.      We also recommend that people might want to slowly (so no one will accuse them of panic-buying) start to stock up on enough non-perishable food to last their households through several weeks of social distancing at home during an intense wave of transmission in their community.  This too seems to get through emotionally, as well as being useful logistically.

3.      Three other recommendations that we feel have gone over well with our friends and acquaintances:

  • Suggesting practical organizational things they and their organizations can do to get ready, such as cross-training to mitigate absenteeism.
  • Suggesting that people make plans for childcare when they are sick, or when their child is sick.

4.      And the example we like the best, because it gives every single person an immediate action that they can take over and over: Right now, today, start practicing not touching your face when you are out and about!  You probably won’t be able to do it perfectly, but you can greatly reduce the frequency of potential self-inoculation.  You can even institute a buddy system, where friends and colleagues are asked to remind each other when someone scratches her eyelid or rubs his nose.  As we noted earlier, someone should develop a face-touching app – instead of a step-counting app to encourage you to walk more, how about an app to encourage you to auto-inoculate less!  And track your progress, and compete with your friends, even!

The last message on our list – to practice and try to form a new habit – has several immediate and longer-term benefits.

Having something genuinely useful to do can bind anxiety or reduce apathy.  You feel less helpless and less passive.

And you can see yourself improving. 

And you can work on your new habit alone, and also in a pro-social communitarian way.  Others can help you do it, and you can help them. 

And it yields real harm reduction!  It is arguably the endpoint of what washing your hands is for, and it helps when you can’t wash your hands out in the world.

Like all good pandemic preparedness recommendations, it helps you rehearse emotionally, as well as logistically. 

What Will You Eat When Coronavirus Turn Into Global Pandemic? Neither FEMA Nor Any Other Governmental Agency is Prepared to Take Care of You In the Aftermath of a Global Crisis

Neither FEMA nor any other governmental agency is prepared to take care of you. If you believe that they are, and you are depending on that just take a glance back at any of the recent weather events and think of the chaos during Rita or Katrina. People were affected not just at the storm center of the hurricane but for a hundred or more miles around the perimeter.

Think of the Mayor of Baltimore, speaking about the rioters and looters running wildly through the streets of Baltimore when she said, “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

This confusing statement was broadcast live as the rioters were wantonly destroying and burning businesses, churches, apartment buildings and toppling over police vehicles and taunting police. The mayor was saying ‘give the rioters space to destroy’!

Individuals and families should prepare to be self-reliant in times of personal and widespread tragedy.

In the aftermath of a global pandemic, just about anything can happen to your food supply.  This may include unexpected spoilage, theft, or other factors that cause your food supply to go dangerously low or run out.

Stocking up on your favorite foods is something preppers do. It is satisfying to fill your shelves with cans of meat, fruits and veggies that will keep your family fed, happy and healthy when there are no grocery stores to head to when you are hungry. Food is critical to survival. This is why preppers put such a heavy emphasis on storing enough food to last them at least a year. The goal of one year is flexible and some preppers will choose to store enough food for 6 months or several years. It all depends on the person, the available space, the budget and how long you have been prepping for.

Simplified Plan

Okay, suppose you are a family of five. Make out a complete seven-day menu that your family actually likes. Keep in mind that your health is affected by the foods you consume. If you feel your current meal plan needs any adjustment it is a good idea to try any new dishes on your family before stocking up on foods that might be rejected when they are most needed.

Cooking with some food storage ingredients such as dehydrated or freeze dried foods isn’t difficult, but it is a little different than cooking with fresh or canned ingredients. Before you make a major purchase of food for rotating through your food storage, try out different recipes that can help you make home-cooked meals so delicious that your family would never guess they’re from food storage.

Keeping Record

For a week (or two) keep a record of what is eaten, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Be detailed, including exactly how much is consumed, including fresh foods. Yes, this is a bit of work but it can pay large dividends in the long run and could actually save your life.

Sample Only: At the end of that seven day period, you should have a pretty good general idea of intake amounts. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, if your family consumed:

  • 4 cans of tuna
  • 2 gallons of milk
  • a pound of butter
  • a 2 lb. bag of carrots
  • a 16 oz. box of oatmeal
  • 3 pounds of chicken
  • 6 teaspoons of salt.

You get the point; then multiply those numbers by 52.

To last one year, you would need:

  • 208 cans of tuna
  • 104 gallons of milk (the powdered form of course) and water to reconstitute
  • 52 pounds of butter or a variety of fats
  • 52 bags of carrots (they must be dehydrated or canned)
  • 52 boxes of oatmeal
  • 156 lbs. of chicken (or any canned meat)
  • 312 teaspoons salt

This is just the beginning. It can be daunting but if done in a methodical way can be accomplished with good planning and family cooperation. Eg: I make sure to have on hand 105-pint jars of canned chicken breasts and thighs. That number ensures that we can use about 2-pint jars per week.

It makes quick easy salads, chicken gravy or sandwiches. I sometimes use a can of this home canned chicken in Brunswick stew during the cold late autumn days and winter months. There are so many uses for the same product.

After creating this list of foods your family eats, sit down together and tweak the list. This is an important step because depending on the season of the year the list would change. You usually won’t be having hot cocoa in July or lemonade in January.

Tweaking the list as a family has the added benefit of getting teens or even slightly younger kids on board! Their opinions are important in planning for any emergency, disaster, shortage, or adversity. Since you know your family, you will know best how to achieve their cooperation and physical assistance. Be upbeat and make it fun.

Adding steadily to your food storage as your budget allows will set you on the right track to get it done. After you have reached your goal, don’t let this food sit on the shelf as you will lose it. Rotate it, use it and as you use it replace it in “rotation” newest on the back of the shelf.

I usually can chicken, beef or venison meat every three to four months so that I keep our level never lower than an 8-9 months’ supply in rotating storage. Take the time to date each item before storing it away. If you have your food storage on a continual rotation system, you are unlikely to experience spoilage and waste. When there is a sale, check the dates to make sure the store isn’t using a “short sale” (nearly expired date).

If the dates are good then this is a chance to stock up, but only if this item is something in your menu plan or something that your family loves to eat.

NOTE: factoring in some food treats and surprises can help to lighten up tense or stressful times.

We used to keep a detailed list of when we used up a can and when we replaced it. Somehow, that went the way of the dodo bird and is now extinct. But for those longer term (20-30 years), stored out-of-the-way foods, it is essential to keep a close track because they are usually used up more slowly and it can be quite easy to forget to replenish that stock.

Keep in Mind

Store your food in a cool (70° or lower), dry, dark place—like a basement.Use a dehumidifier if needed. Never store anything, especially cans on a cement floor. They will be more prone to rust. There are four factors that contribute to how long your food storage items will last: light, temperature, moisture, and oxygen. The less interaction your food has with these four things, the longer it will last.

Use food-grade plastic containers to store food. If you plan to dehydrate, can, or store your own food, use containers made of ceramic, glass, or stainless steel. Non-food-grade plastic containers can leach chemicals into your food so they are not suitable for using long-term. Use the proper oxygen absorbers in cans and Mylar bags.

There is more to an effective rotation and there are other methods that you may be using that work well for you. The above is just one example and could include more detail but perhaps this small sampling will inspire some thought about where you are with your self-reliant food storage goals. If there is another way to tackle your food storage plan please share it with us. It might be just the system another reader is looking for!

A Few Shelving and Food Rotation Options

Cansolidators: Part of our shelving is ”cansolidators” shown below. They are adjustable and easy to use.

They come unassembled. Connecting the pieces securely take a little muscle but we’ve used them for about ten years, and they are sturdy and continue to serve the purpose of easy rotation. We waited for a sale and got them for 50% off. I think they go on sale twice a year.

They are stackable and can be configured to fit a variety of can sizes and can be used by sitting them onto sturdy shelving or the smaller ones can fit into kitchen cupboards. Using either option makes organization of canned foods more accessible and it’s easier to keep track of your supply as they rotate the older cans first. There are cupboard and pantry versions and their depths are different so make sure you are ordering the right one for your needs.

Yes, these do take up space on your shelves but for me it is much easier and more convenient to be able to go right to the consolidator and reach for the oldest can and see the next can in line roll down the angled shelf, than it is to root through stacked cans on a regular shelf. It all depends on what you want to accomplish: space or rotating accessibility.

One full shelf containing 14 to 16-ounce cans holds 10 cans (see the green peas) and the smaller configured shelf on the left holds 20 cans of tuna sized cans. I’ve never had a problem of sagging or buckling. If anything the weight seems to stabilize the unit.

If you are looking for a large complete rotating system there are several online options but you can also find great DIY options and blueprints giving detailed instructions including material lists. Using creativity, the options are endless and customizable to any space you have available, large or tiny. So if you are handy with wood or metal, get creative!

Food Rotation Systems, sometimes referred to as Can Rotating Shelves or Canned Rotating Racks are available in different sizes. They are designed to easily store and rotate a large number of cans. Many systems are adjustable and can accommodate small soup cans to #10 cans. All rotating systems that I have seen are “first can in, first can out” known as FIFO.

There are free standing options in various sizes but use Caution. If you have climbing children, this freestanding unit could seriously injure a child! There are units made to fit flush against an existing wall. Bolting all units to the studs should be done since these filled units can weight 100’s of pounds.

These units can be pricey but watch out for significant sales throughout the year.

Do-It-Yourself

DIY racks can be customized to your needs completely. This rack below can hold 112 cans plus it has two side panels for smaller tuna cans stacked sideways. For safety, it should be bolted to the studs in the wall. For my money, this appears to be a very space saving, durable option and much less expensive than the commercially available systems where you can easily spend over a thousand dollars!

I just think of how much food storage could be purchased for that money. You can’t eat shelving so if you can do the DIY or have a friend or family member who is handy, for my money that’s a better option.

shelf can diy

There are shelves on wheels that slide between your washer and dryer. They are meant to hold laundry supplies but also work well as a food storage cart. Choose a room in your house and look around to discover if there is an area suitable for storage. Think unconventionally. There are under the bed plastic boxes on wheels and since they are fairly shallow all of the contents could be easily viewed when pulled out from the bed.

Sturdy cardboard systems and creativity

While not as durable as heavy plastic, metal or wood systems, these cardboard systems are actually fairly nice because they’re, easy to assemble, inexpensive, and you can add more of them as your needs increase. They aren’t adjustable.

I have a friend whose husband saw these cardboard systems and made several of them out of plywood in a variety of sizes then he created a wall shelf mount. In one area, he secured a vertical row of these that were double sized and mounted them in a small otherwise wasted vertical space between two existing cabinet shelving units.

Be Open To Unique Solutions

In my canning classes, meat preservation is a favorite request and those classes are always well attended. I was surprised at the number of newly married young women who want to learn what they think of as “old-fashioned” skills.

I’m encouraged that this home art is definitely making a comeback. But finding appropriate storage space can be a challenge, especially for apartment dwellers.Making benches out of number ten cans, bricks and plywood with a decorative quilt or blanket on top works quite nicely for those just starting their storage journey.

File Cabinets

We have a friend who found a unique solution. She was fortunate enough to find a couple of large medical file cabinets in perfect condition for $15 each. Each of the five drawers holds 95 pints of canned produce! They are now bolted to the wall for safety.

These are great at keeping out the light; a good plus for long-term storage and glass jars. So keep an eye out at yard sales and estate auctions this summer and you may discover a file cabinet or other unique storage unit.

Amazon

There are options available on Amazon but be careful to read the reviews. I checked some out but most were not the greatest. The cost was cheap but so was the quality. Flimsy was a word often used in reviews. That said, I didn’t check all of them so you may find one you love and that works for your purposes.

Limited Space

Emergency Essentials suggests that you should not think you have too little space to store food. “Whether you live in a 3-story home or the tiniest apartment in the world, you can find a place for your food storage.”

It may not meet the ideal storage conditions, but it’s better than no storage at all! Check out some of these tips for where you can store your food if you’re tight on space:

  • Under the bed (you can hide your storage with a dust ruffle)
  • Use them to create bookcases/shelving to hold more cans by laying a wooden board across four cans (two on each end) and stacking more cans and boards until your shelf is the size you’d like.
  • Use larger bins, such as Super Pails or totes as end tables or coffee tables. Simply disguise it as furniture by covering them with tablecloths.
  • Stack them behind your couch where there is wasted space between the couch and wall.
  • Fill the dead space in your coat closet. Typically there is quite a bit of vertical space underneath your coats in the closet. It’s a great, accessible place to store your food.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be like I was when first considering food storage, with little knowledge and then just plunging ahead. Taking the time to Plan, Store, Organize and Rotate has made all the difference in having a successful experience and feeling the peace that my family and others have that cushion of food preparedness.

Keeping perspective in a changing society can help us focus on what really matters. When the grocery shelves are empty, whether it is from a snowstorm, trucker’s strike, civil unrest, economic crisis or job loss we still need to eat.

A well-planned food storage system can allow you and your family the time needed to get through a crisis. Not every crisis is of the “end of the world” variety; in fact, most of them are not. So good planning and gradual but steady advancement to your goal of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or even a year’s worth of food will provide some security and peace of mind for you when you are facing a challenge.

Individuals and families should prepare to be self-reliant in times of personal and widespread tragedy.

Neither FEMA nor any other governmental agency is prepared to take care of you. If you believe that they are, and you are depending on that just take a glance back at any of the recent weather events and think of the chaos during Rita or Katrina .People were affected not just at the storm center of the hurricane but for a hundred or more miles around the perimeter.

Think of the Mayor of Baltimore, speaking about the rioters and looters running wildly through the streets of Baltimore when she said, “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

This confusing statement was broadcast live as the rioters were wantonly destroying and burning businesses, churches, apartment buildings and toppling over police vehicles and taunting police. The mayor was saying ‘give the rioters space to destroy’!

As the Baltimore Sun said, “The images of cars on fire, officers felled by rock-throwing teens and looters pillaging and setting fire to stores were shocking and terrifying. People needed the reassurance of strong city leadership. They didn’t get it.”

Good people were hiding in their homesPolice were waiting to help but their hands were tied. The need for preparation is abundantly clear. There are many areas of preparation in our lives. The great blessing of being prepared is that it gives us more freedom from fear.

Collapse Reality: “If I Had to Be an Animal, I Was an Animal. It Was About Survival.”

Our friend Selco at SHTF School will change everything you may think about your life in a post-collapse world. For many of us, the idea that the world around us may fall apart and lead to the worst that humanity has to offer is mostly theoretical. For Selco, it was a reality. He experienced a total grid-down collapse in war-torn Sarajevo during the 1990’s – and he lived to tell the tale. He has shared his knowledge with our community over the last few years, and in the article below he changes our perceptions once again. Just because we are making preparations – stocking food, or supplies or guns – means nothing if the mind is not prepared to comprehend the absolute horrors that may come.

Do you want to know what it will be like when law and order breaks down, when people turn on each other, and when there is no one to depend on except for those in your inner circle?

Then keep reading.

THIS IS REALITY.

As many long term readers or members of my survival course know, I like to talk about the important but what some may call the “not so spectacular” part of survival that is not as much fun as, for example, talking about latest guns and gadgets.

Today I want to talk about dignity and what it means in a survival scenario.

At the moment of his writing hundreds of people were still dying and it was place of pure horror.

It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for those internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.

The importance of still being human and not becoming a complete animal is often overlooked for people who prepare for long term survival. I had over one year to fight against becoming like rats around our house during the war.

Expect to become more like an animal

You can have all equipment ready for SHTF – ammo, weapons, gear… you can even be perfectly well trained in lot of different skills and fields and still when SHTF you can end up dead in the first days just because you “refuse to believe” what’s happening.

It is that state of mind when a man simply does not want (or is not able) to comprehend the new situation.

It can be one quick life threatening situation like folks attacking your home and you just waited few seconds too long to shoot some attacker, and then you are dead, end of the story. Or it can be whole process of failing to recognize the new world around you and the new rules (or absence of rules) and then again you just not doing correct things for the situation, and again you end up dead.

Example would be that when SHTF you are trying desperately to have and use power generator and light all rooms in your houses just because it mean normal life for you. And that normal life is gone, and trying to bring it back in that situation usually means more troubles.

Holding on to all the comforts and behavior you are used to can be dangerous.

To make a long story short, what I am trying to say is that you may be trained and equipped like a SEAL team member and yet you can still be killed easily from some 70 years old dude, with even older rifle just because you were surprised when SHTF with amount of destruction and violence and you did not seen that old dude coming (or being so evil).

On the other side that old dude maybe lived through couple of SHTF events in his life, and he knows when it is time to act without hesitation and mercy.

There is still a fine line you have to walk between losing your human side and becoming pure animal.

One of the things that changed a lot when SHTF is fact that everything became really dirty.

It was something like slow process, first people tried to keep it as clean they could, but without all normal services, like garbage trucks, running water and all other community services that make normal living soon it simple became impossible.

Later all garbage was used somehow, but in beginning it started piling up everywhere, when you add to that ruins on the street, human waste and dead bodies it was very ugly picture.

After some time, we started to accept dirt outside and it then was priority to stay clean and keep clean only inside that small circle inside your home, and when I say „clean“ I do not mean „clean“ like today. Maybe as clean as we could be.

For example simply moving through the city in the middle of the night meant that you needed to crawl, jump, hide, walk or run trough all kind of things, and very often some real nasty and dirty things.

Many times I was hiding on places so dirty that stench was almost paralyzing, once in the middle of the night I jumped behind some wall because sudden shelling, and when I jumped there I realized that I landed on dead guy.

His face was smashed with broken wall, and partially buried, place there was so small that I had to actually lay on him for some 20 minutes. He died probably when wall from the house collapsed after some shelling, who knows.

Fire from the shelling was so strong that I actually loved that dead guy and that place in that moment. I almost hug him while I was trying to be as small as possible because pieces of steel and rock were flying around me just like some crazy rain, while my stomach was rising and floating from the detonations and smell.

All I was saying at that moment was „thank you, thank you, thank you“ like some magic words, and I even was not aware who do I thank to, that dead stinky guy, my brain for noticing that small space, or God for saving me.

Today years and years later I still carry that smell inside my nose. But I did not move from there before danger was gone. It is survival and luckily I was already used to dirt enough to just stay with that dead guy.

Some folks just stopped to care about cleanliness and hygiene completely. So for them washing and cleaning become something like not wanted luxury. They went complete animal.

They simply stopped to care about these things, so I also knew some guys with look and smell so awful that even dead guy smelled like perfume store.

It was easy to surrender to stuff like that, I mean in trying to keep yourself clean.

But it was stupid not only in terms of the hygiene and illnesses, also by surrendering yourself you admit that you do not care anymore, and when you admit that you are only few steps from becoming animal with what you do too. People give up on themselves.

For me being as clean as I could be had something like preserving one of the last connection with “normal” life, with life before sh!t hit the fan, when things like neighbors, breakfast, car etc, were just things we took for granted, like things that always gonna be there unchanged.

Of course I was aware that being clean is important in order to stay alive because all diseases problem, no doctors hospitals etc. but on some psychological level it kept me sane and it kept me normal man.

Even in survival situation you need to still care about few little things to keep your dignity, to keep spirit up, to not lose yourself. If you stop caring about everything it is like disease that eats you.

When I came back from trading or scavenging in the city, I would clean or wash myself thoroughly in my yard before entering my house, again of course because common sense, hygiene and diseases, but maybe even more important I tried to keep all chaos and violence, suffering outside of my home on some psychological level.

I try to stay out of the everything, or actually I tried to keep everything outside of my home, like some ritual. I would keep the clothes for outside in bag, my boots were in one corner, never entering my room in it etc.

One of my relative wears pink slippers (mittens) when he was home sometimes, he would say that he just felt that everything is fine when he wear it. It was spooky and strange to see him in pink slippers while outside world is going to hell, but we all have some strange ways I guess to keep ourselves sane. Maybe wearing those slippers after he was forced to shoot some folks kept him sane, reminded him on some normal times when grandma wear it in the evenings.

On the other side, like I said in beginning if you stick too much to old habits you are not doing best for survival too.

So if I had to be animal, I was animal. It was about survival. For example there was a period when I eat just to survive, like animal, without paying attention what I eat or how. If I found some food I ate it in quick way, if there was some food with worms in it, I would eat it in dark, without looking what I eat etc.

Point was (and still is) to be man, but to be ready to be animal if you are forced to be animal, and that’s it. It comes down to being flexible, adapting to situation and I hope this helps to crush the idea some Hollywood or fantasy survival scenarios show that survival is about being complete animal. No, it is fine line to walk.

You can (and you have to) have as much hand sanitizers, soap, disposable face masks etc. as you can but you can still end up dead if you are not ready to accept fact that one day you might be forced to „hug“ dead guy in order to survive, or eat roast rat or pigeon.

Once next collapse comes many people will wake up to reality and struggle to be human like they were or become animals and as skilled survivalist I hope you will walk fine line in between. The people who were walking that path were and I’m sure will be those who have biggest chances to survive.

We Could Easily Face a SHTF Disaster Which Causes One System After Another To Fall Like Dominos

Infrastructure systems include: medical care, transportation, power, housing, food and agriculture, finances, schools, and more. All of these systems are commercial in nature. They continue as long as there is sufficient money to fund their activities. But because they are commercial, they are always close to capacity. It would not be economical to run any infrastructure system with a significant amount of unused capacity. The money it would take to keep extra capacity at the ready would not generate any income. As a result, our infrastructure systems are always close to the breaking point.

For example, hospitals in the U.S. have steadily decreased the number of hospital beds over the past several decades. Hospital beds has decreased 35%, and the total number of hospitals has decreased 19%, all while the population was steadily increasing.

The situation with doctors and clinics is worse. When you try to find a new doctor, many are not accepting new patients. And when you have a doctor and need an appointment, often the wait is weeks, not days. What will happen if a major epidemic strikes the U.S.? The medical system will be quickly overwhelmed. We will run out of hospital beds. Doctors will have more patients than they can handle. And this occurs because we can’t afford to pay the money that would be needed for doctors and nurses to be less busy, and for hospitals to have lots of extra capacity on deck.

But other essential infrastructure systems also operate at near capacity. Schools cannot handle a loss of teachers, if a large percentage were out sick or otherwise unavailable. The electrical power system can’t handle a sharp increase in use of electricity. As it is, in a hot summer, the increased use of air conditioners strains the system. The entire transportation system is reliant on oil and gasoline prices, which (though they are rather low now) can spike for a number of reasons that are out of our control.

Agricultural is another case in point. The amount of farmland used for crops has been steadily decreasing, as yields have steadily increased. But if yields suffer a hit — due to drought or lack of fertilizer or government mismanagement — the current farmland capacity will not be sufficient. And we are more reliant than ever before on imported foods. So if there were a trade war with China or with a set of nations, we might also find ourselves without enough food.

I could go on to describe the problems with each infrastructure system. But I have a more important point to make. All these systems, as fragile as they are individually, are closely interwoven. We could easily face a SHTF disaster which causes one system after another to fall like dominos. And that would be far worse than a single-system failure

If there were a crude oil shortage or a large spike in price, the prices of many goods and services would jump higher, because gas prices affect the transportation of goods and the travel of persons who provide services. This price pressure could cause some businesses to fail, harming the overall economy. And many persons could lose their jobs, thereby also losing their healthcare. Food prices would jump, because food is mostly delivered by truck. And agricultural costs will spike because the machinery runs on fuel, and the crops are transported by truck.

If many persons cannot afford healthcare, because of job loss and a rise of prices in most economic areas, then the healthcare system will shrink. It will be able to service fewer persons. Then if an epidemic strikes, the system will not be able to grow to meet the sudden increase in need.

If the economy falls apart, and joblessness spikes, there will be an increase in crime. Police departments do not have much extra capacity to deal with this type of increase. So the populace and businesses will be vulnerable to various crimes, further harming the economy. The increase in injuries could overwhelm the medical care system. Then tax revenue will be down, due to joblessness and the decrease in profits from businesses, putting further pressure on government services to the population.

It’s all connected. And each system is close to capacity. So if a major disaster occurs, especially one that is long term, we could see the whole network of infrastructure systems unravel. Individual disasters are often discussed by preppers. But maybe the more likely scenario is a multiple system failure. Something to think about.

Preparing For A Quarantine: This is a good time to review your bug in plans to ensure that you can stay in your home for an extended period of time without exposure to other people if you have to

If you have been following the news, then you know that many states are concerned over the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Sadly, a disease that was once on the verge of being wiped out in the industrial world is making a comeback with alarming speed. As someone who was fortunate enough to survive the adult onset of a “childhood” disease, I can tell you that these diseases are deadly and they do leave you with lifelong problems.

No matter what you may or may not have been told about the MMR vaccination and several others for common childhood diseases – they are extremely important and should not be ignored unless you are already immune to the disease in question. At the very least, consider that millions of people that have served in our military have gotten these particular vaccinations and many others without harm. On the other hand, the diseases would have been deadly.

We now live in an era where we have millions of possibly sick illegal immigrants sneaking through the border every day with diseases that can be avoided with basic childhood immunizations. At the same time, it is impossible to know how many terror groups are working on developing various diseases into something that would require a massive quarantine. While vaccinations may not work in those situations, you can and should be prepared for a quarantine regardless of the origin of the pathogen.

Now is the Time to Get Your Vaccination and Immunity Records in Order

Regardless of your age and medical history, you may need to prove immunity to certain diseases. At some point, you may not be able to leave your home to go to work, or enter public places to shop if you cannot prove you have been vaccinated or are immune to specific diseases. I have heard people say many times “I don’t know where my childhood/military/etc vaccination records are”, or “I had these diseases, but can’t prove it”.

The best thing you can do right now is start trying to track down those records. If you were in the military, you should be able to get access to your vaccination records through the VA. Check with all your doctors to see if by chance your childhood records got transferred somewhere along the way.

If you have not been to a specific doctor in over 7 years, they may tell you that they no longer have your records. Always make these requests in writing, and make sure you keep a copy of these letters. They do not help prove immunity or vaccination record, but they do prove a horrible gap in the modern medical system when it comes to managing vaccinations during a crisis or an epidemic. Take these letters and forward them to political leaders and request the development of a centralized vaccination database. What’s one more database with sensitive information, given how much is already stored out there about you?

In situations where you cannot prove immunity to at least the main childhood diseases, you have two options:

  • Contact your primary care doctor and request blood work to see if you are already immune to the disease. If you are, this blood work will form the basis for getting a letter from your doctor that explains you are immune and do not require vaccination. All you have to do from there is keep the letter (or card) with you at all times, and keep copies in a safe place.
  • If you are not immune to these diseases, then this is the time to get the shots. As long as your overall health is good, you should be able to tolerate them. That being said, if you want to space them out, feel free to discuss that with your doctor.

Navigating Supermarkets and Other Germ Factories

When it comes right down to it, any public location can be a source of casually transmittable diseases. Aside from breathing contaminated air, you can also pick up pathogens by touching items that have germs on them. This includes your own clothing if it happens to brush into something contaminated. Here are some ways that you can reduce your risk as much as possible:

  • Wear a breathing mask that is certified for blocking viruses and bacteria. Most disposable masks will filter about 50 – 75% of the air that passes through them. To increase their effectiveness, wear an additional cover over the mask so that it fits more tightly to your face. If you live in a state where it is illegal to cover your face, then get a letter of medical necessity from your doctor.
  • Wear disposable vinyl or rubber gloves. When you bring items home, let them sit for at least five hours before handling them. This will ensure most bacteria and other pathogens are killed off. You can put perishable foods away as normal, since the cold will kill most disease bearing organisms off that may be on the wrappers.
  • Never wear the same shoes you use outdoors in your home. Take shoes and boots off, and leave them just inside the door. If you must make multiple trips to get all your groceries in, place them inside the door. Once you are done, remove your shoes, go into your home, and continue disbursing your groceries.
  • Spray down your coat and any other garments you were wearing with antibacterial spray. It will also help to completely change your clothes, take a shower, and wash your hair. While most diseases do not require this kind of decontamination, there are other germs that are deadly and may one day be released by terrorist groups. What sounds like too much cleaning now may save your life an a situation where deadly, easily transmittable pathogens are concerned.

Preparing Your Home for Quarantine

If you have been keeping up with basic preparations for bugging in, then you are already well on your way to being prepared for a quarantine situation. Here are a few points that you should go over to make sure that your home is as prepared as possible:

  • Rodent and insect control – from the bubonic plague to lyme disease, there are many infections that you can avoid by keeping your home free of rodents and insects. Use organic insecticides and good quality rodent traps to ensure your home stays as free of these pests and their diseases.
  • Water purification for all taps and faucets – cholera and many other diseases can easily reach you through contaminated municipal water supplies. While boiling water will kill these pathogens, it will not be of much help for the water you shower and wash your hands with. Make sure that you can control all water supplies to a point where any water you come into contact with has been thoroughly purified. For example, you can use a camp shower system and fill the tank with pre-boiled water, and then use other portable systems to wash your hands.
  • Capacity to grow food indoors sustainably – aside from eliminating the need to travel to purchase food, this will reduce your exposure to a number of deadly diseases that have been showing up in pre-packaged foods. Considering the current outbreak of swine flu in China and the high potential for catastrophic crop failure in the midwest, being able to grow your own food indoors is also the best way to ensure you can feed yourself during a major shortage.
  • Capacity to exercise indoors – when you can’t go outdoors for even short walks, you will become weak very quickly. Start off by choosing between an exercise bike or a manual treadmill, then choose a few weights to work with. Learning Tai-Chi and Pilates are also inexpensive ways to get good quality exercise without the need for fitness equipment.
  • Be able to eliminate the need to collect or send physical mail – This is the perfect time to set all of your bills up to pay online for free, as well as manage all other correspondences by email or phone.
  • Control air flow into the home – make sure you can seal off all points of air entry into your home. Make use of air filters and UV systems to ensure the air entering your home is clean. Keep masks and respirators onhand for backup and emergencies.

Across time, there have been all kinds of plagues and diseases that led to the need for a massive quarantines. While measles may not seem like much of a deadly disease, there are others that present far more danger. This is a good time to review your bug in plans to ensure that you can stay in your home for an extended period of time without exposure to other people if you have to. It is also a good time to create a comprehensive plan to prevent yourself from getting sick each time you go into a public place.

Theoretical Coronavirus Simulation Showed 65 million deaths in Uncontrolled Outbreak

In late 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-hosted a pandemic exercise that simulated a global coronavirus outbreak. The findings are extremely disturbing in light of the current Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, but it could give us a look at what could happen during a worst case situation.

I want to stress that we have no idea of knowing how serious the current Wuhan outbreak may become, the purpose of the article is strictly to look at the results of the Event 201 simulation. This was a worst-case scenario simulation; it was not looking at the current Wuhan outbreak or this specific virus; but instead a theoretical outbreak of an uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak.

The simulation, titled “Event 201” pandemic, the pandemic exercise “dropped participants right in the midst of an uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak that was spreading like wildfire out of South America to wreak worldwide havoc.” In the simulation, the CAPS (the coronavirus) resulted in a death toll of 65 million people within 18 months,” according to John Hopkins University.

Scientist and scholar Eric Toner, who helped run the simulation said in an interview on Friday with the business-news channel CNBC, that China’s efforts to contain the current outbreak of a fast-moving upper-respiratory illness are “unlikely to be effective.”

Toner told Business Insider during an interview that he hasn’t completed research on the current strain of the Wuhan coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, but claimed that the death toll could run in the millions if the virus were resistant to modern vaccines and was as easy to catch as the common flu.

Beyond the deaths, the simulation was focused on how society could collapse.

Toner said that his coronavirus simulation “was not [focused primarily on] the number of deaths; it was to point out that there could be societal and economic consequences from a severe pandemic, not just health consequences.”

Just last week, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, The World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for joint action and said that “The next severe pandemic will not only cause great illness and loss of life but could also trigger major cascading economic and societal consequences that could contribute greatly to global impact and suffering.”

The organizations jointly proposed the following:

  1. Governments, international organizations, and businesses should plan now for how essential corporate capabilities will be utilized during a large-scale pandemic.
     
  2. Industry, national governments, and international organizations should work together to enhance internationally held stockpiles of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to enable rapid and equitable distribution during a severe pandemic.
     
  3. Countries, international organizations, and global transportation companies should work together to maintain travel and trade during severe pandemics.
     
  4. Governments should provide more resources and support for the development and surge manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics that will be needed during a severe pandemic.
     
  5. Global business should recognize the economic burden of pandemics and fight for stronger preparedness.
     
  6. International organizations should prioritize reducing economic impacts of epidemics and pandemics.
     
  7. Governments and the private sector should assign a greater priority to developing methods to combat mis- and disinformation prior to the next pandemic response.

How To Protect Yourself From The Coronavirus: This interim guidance may help prevent this virus from spreading among people in their homes and in other residential communities

There are now more than 1344 deaths recorded as of the first week of February due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, surpassing the number of casualties from the SARS virus in 2003.

Some close to 35,000 individuals around the world. have been affected by the illness as well. These numbers have prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency due to this new outbreak and have named the disease as the 2019- nCoV Acute Respiratory Syndrome or ARD.

The majority of the casualties and infected persons are from China. However, the virus is fast spreading as infected persons are reported in different countries in various regions. There have been recorded deaths due to the novel coronavirus outside of China, particularly in HongKong and the Philippines. Several countries have already banned flights to and from Wuhan city, China, the ground zero of the virus. There are also moratoriums on flights to and from China by airlines.

The 2019-nCoV has caused alarm in many countries. These days, governments are busy procuring and distributing face masks. Individuals and families are also hoarding items such as surgical masks, alcohol, disposable gloves, and disinfecting wipes in the hope of avoiding getting infected.

The Origin of the Virus

The 2019-nCoV emerged from China, particularly in Wuhan City in the last weeks of 2019 from people who visited the Huanan animal and seafood market. Health officials say that the virus spread from an animal to humans.

One study showed that the genetic sequence of the 2019-nCoV highly resembles the genetic sequences of coronaviruses coming from bats. What’s baffling is that the Huanan seafood and animal market does not sell this animal. Researchers believe that an unidentified animal is a carrier that transmitted the present coronavirus to human beings.

Another study suggested that snakes being sold at the Huanan market could potentially be the source of the 2019-nCoV. However, this research is being disputed by other experts who say that it remains unclear if snakes can be infected by the virus.

Quarantine Enacted in China

Wuhan City and other cities near its vicinity were placed under lockdown by the Chinese government even before the WHO called for a global health emergency. The lockdown means that residents are not permitted to venture outside of the cities. This is considered as the largest mass quarantine the world has seen as the lockdown covered 13 cities and affects some 41 million people.

Chinese authorities said these measures were designed to prevent and control the virus from spreading. The quarantine also imposed a travel ban that prevented transportation such as planes and trains from leaving the involved cities.

The Chinese government has already prohibited the sale of wildlife in the country in all possible sale points such as restaurants, markets, and online stores. It also rushed the construction of a new hospital that would house patients infected with the virus.

World Health Organization Reaction

The WHO declared a global emergency after learning of the hundreds of deaths attributed to the 2019-nCoV and reports of person-to-person transmission outside of China. Despite this declaration, the WHO says it does not find any reason to recommend a ban on trade and travel of other countries with China given that restriction of movements of good and people at a time of public health emergencies may cause more harm than good.

The global organization praised China’s leadership in implementing swift measures to contain the spread of the virus. It also recommended that Chinese authorities continue implementing an effective communication strategy and enhanced surveillance of the disease. It also urged China to speed up efforts in finding the source of the animal-to-human infection.

Symptoms

The 2019-nCoV is part of the big family of the coronaviruses, which can cause a variety of respiratory diseases like pneumonia, common cold, and bronchitis, to name a few. Coronaviruses rarely spread from animals to humans. This 2019 coronavirus has already reported cases of person-to-person spread, which is why experts and health officials are warning the public to be vigilant by knowing the symptoms of the illness.

Symptoms of the 2010-nCoV include cough, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing according to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC). The incubation period of the virus is anywhere from two to 14 days from exposure. One study concluded, that on average, individuals infected would show symptoms roughly five days from the time they were infected. People who are worried about their symptoms are highly advised to see a healthcare provider.

There, however, reported cases of patients who were infected with the 2019-nCoV but were asymptomatic. This means they didn’t have any symptoms but were diagnosed as having been infected by the virus.

How to Stay Safe

The WHO and governments are asking the public to remain calm despite the alarming number of deaths attributed to the 2019-nCoV as getting infected can be avoided.

Good hygiene practices and other measures, experts say go a long way in helping prevent the spread of the virus.

Regular Hand Washing

Given the reported cases of person-to-person transmission, health experts say that frequent and proper handwashing can prevent the spread of the virus. This is because surfaces can contain the virus and a person who has touched a contaminated item or surface could be infected with any virus including the new coronavirus.

It’s not enough to let the water run through one’s hands for a few seconds. The proper way of washing hands should involve both water and soap. Individuals should place their hands under running water and soap them for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.

Unfortunately, there are instances when a person has no access to running water, sinks or faucets. In such cases, experts say that alcohol-based products that have at least 60 percent alcohol would be a good substitute for actual hand washing. These products would include alcohol, hand sanitizers or alcogel Likewise, disinfecting wipes that are meant for the skin can also be used.

Using High-Level Disinfection Products

Maintaining a clean environment and surfaces will also go along way in helping prevent the spread of the 2019-noROvirus. This means people should regularly clean their homes or work areas by disinfecting them as well.

There are plenty of options in disinfecting areas and surfaces. There are disinfecting sprays to clean the air as well as concentrates to be used for mopping floors and wiping walls.

Health officials have also been warning the public that frequent and proper handwashing should be accompanied by the disinfection of items that people regularly hold and use. For example, mobile phones should also be cleaned and disinfected as people are always holding their phones. One has the option of wiping the phones with clean cloth or tissue with alcohol. There are also disinfecting wipes that can be used not only for gadgets but for surfaces like tables or chairs, too.

Maintain Social Distancing

Avoiding large crowds is also a must in the prevention of the spread of the 2019-nCoV, which is why plenty of events with a big gathering of people have been canceled or postponed by many. Experts also advise maintaining social distances or keeping a certain distance away from a person. This is especially true for anyone who is sick.

A person who needs to talk to someone should keep a safe distance. Avoiding kissing, hugging and shaking of hands are also recommended by health officials and experts.

Avoid Touching, Eyes, Nose and Mouth

Experts have been reminding the public to be mindful of their hand movements as a preventive measure. This means avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth if they have been in contact with anyone and if they have not washed their hands yet.

Practice General Hygiene Measures in Markets Selling Animals and Animal Products

The 2019-nCoV is believed to have stemmed from a yet-to-be-identified animal. As such, the WHO strongly recommends being extra careful when visiting any marketplace that sells animals and its products.

As much as possible, people should refrain from touching animals and their by-products using their bare hands. It would be a good idea to wear disposable gloves if handling animals cannot be avoided. Washing hands thoroughly after being in contact with animals and avoiding touching the face until the hands have been washed should be done. Disinfecting wipes for the skin or any alcohol-based products can be used until one has access to water and soap.

Avoid the Consumption of Raw or Uncooked Animal Products

Based on WHO guidelines, one should avoid eating undercooked or raw animal products. Likewise, milk, animal organs, and raw meat are to be handled carefully so cross-contamination with other uncooked ingredients can be avoided.

Yes, the newest coronavirus has killed hundreds and has affected thousands of individuals. Yet experts are quick to remind the public that keeping calm and heeding health officials’ advice is the best way to move forward. Governments and the private sectors, after all, are working hard to prevent further spreading of the 2019-nCoV through various means. In the meantime, people regardless of their location can also protect themselves by practicing good hygiene, avoiding close contact with animals and consumption of raw animals and animal products.