The coronavirus, and fear that it could turn into a pandemic, are dominating news headlines and social media sites. Governments and citizens are beginning to take measures to deal with what looks like the inevitable – coronavirus becoming a local issue….
The comments I’ve seen on social media sites have run the gamut from “it’s fake news” to “the sky is falling” to “REAL preppers are already prepared for this.” This is certainly not fake news. I’m not going to tell you the sky is falling (yet), and as for “REAL” preppers already being prepared, that’s just unfair. Remember, before anyone was a “real” prepper, they were a novice prepper. People starting out in personal preparedness don’t know everything they should prepare for, let alone how to prepare. People new to prepping should not be criticized for just getting started. They should not be ridiculed for their fear. They should be welcomed! After all…
Fear is What Drives Preppers
I’ve been in the prepping world long enough to see the impact that fear has on prepping. Whether it’s Y2K, climate change, or this coronavirus, fear is what drives people to prepare.
Fear isn’t a bad thing. It’s an innate survival response. It helps keep us safe.
Each event such as these brings new preppers to the prepping community who then become “real” preppers. Today’s novice preppers afraid of a coronavirus outbreak will become tomorrow’s veteran preppers.
Whether people are unnecessarily afraid of a pandemic or not doesn’t matter. The reality is we just don’t know yet what an appropriate level of fear is. It’s entirely possible that this virus could come and go like many others before it, doing little to nothing to impact our daily lives. It’s also entirely possible that the virus could spiral out of control and turn into a full-blown pandemic on the scale of the 1918 Spanish Flu.
Yes, it’s true, that veteran preppers should already be ready for this. However, not everyone is a veteran prepper and even those who are may now be prompted to evaluate exactly how ready for a pandemic they are.
What does it mean to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic? Will get into that, but first…
What is the Coronavirus?
“Coronavirus” is a broad term, encompassing a large family of viruses capable of infecting humans and animals. For the most part, the coronavirus has done little more than cause the common cold. However, three times now in the 21st century, new iterations of the virus have caused serious concerns of a global pandemic. First, in 2003, there was SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Then, in 2012, there was MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Now we have a new form, 2019-nCoV, coming out of Wuhan, China. According to ForeignPolicy.com:
The coronavirus is a physically large virus—in relative terms, at just 125 nanometers with a surface of spike projections, too big to survive or stay suspended in the air for hours or travel more than a few feet. Like influenza, this coronavirus spreads through both direct and indirect contact. Direct contact occurs through the physical transfer of the microorganism among friends and family through close contact with oral secretions. Indirect contact results when an infected person coughs or sneezes, spreading coronavirus droplets on nearby surfaces, including doorknobs, bedrails, and smartphones.
Like its cousins SARS and MERS, this version also causes pneumonia. Complications move on from there, including septic shock, acute kidney injury, and virus-induced cardiac injury. This virus is no joke. It is serious. It is lethal. So now…
How do You Prepare for a Coronavirus Pandemic?
First – the good news. As of this writing, you still have time. People are getting nervous, evidenced by stores selling out of surgical masks, but there are no U.S. quarantines, grocery stores still have food, trucks are still delivering, and if you really want face masks, they can still be found on Amazon here and eBay here.
So, what does preparing for a coronavirus pandemic look like? In many ways, it’s not any different from preparing for other events – with a few exceptions. Start by considering the implications. You could get sick. A loved one could get sick. You could be subject to a quarantine, whether you’re sick or not.
- Store (at least) a two-week supply of food and water. This doesn’t have to be “wasted” preps. You can go to the grocery store and simply buy extra of what you already eat. That is not wasted money as you’ll eat it anyway.
- Make sure you have enough prescription and nonprescription drugs on-hand. This means pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, vitamins, and whatever personal drugs and medical equipment you might need.
- Talk with family members about what will happen if they (or you) get sick. Who will care for them? Having a plan in place beforehand will allow a faster response should the plan need to be enacted.
- Have protective equipment stocked away. This means having protective face masks, nitrile exam gloves, and hand sanitizer.
In all likelihood, even if it hits full pandemic, you won’t need a backup energy source, a survival knife, or a water purifier. Those are prepping basics that aren’t likely to help you during a pandemic. However, if emergency services are strapped, having a police scanner for home preparedness will keep you informed on what’s happening in your area.
How do You Stay Safe During a Pandemic?
So you took (or have already taken) the steps necessary to prepare for a pandemic, and now one has hit. How do you stay safe… or at least reduce your odds of getting sick? Simple…
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. Don’t go into public spaces unless you must.
- Wash your hands OFTEN – and don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth!
- If you can work from home, do so.
- If you can stay home altogether, do so.
There’s no need to panic about a pandemic. Stay calm and prep on.