Archive for Biological Threats

THE LONG ROAD AHEAD

The Long Road Ahead

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

My childhood experiences make me predisposed to detect and expect survival challenges, and my career as a Hazard Control Manager provide me with the training, tools and experience to anticipate threats to safety and survival.  In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, I can foresee further challenges in the months and years ahead, and while I hope that the optimistic predictions of politicians come true, I am obligated to share the following observations.

  • There is no logical or statistical reason to expect that another epidemic or other disaster is less likely to occur next year or in a few years. In fact a weakened infrastructure and economy makes further disasters more probable.
  • While the effects of the lockdown and distancing combined with the warmer weather may reduce the spread of the virus through the summer months, the virus isn’t going away. Cooler weather combined with public apathy is bound to result in a resurgence   of the epidemic later in the year.  Better testing and better preparedness will help, but the number of infected persons who can spread the virus will be much greater in September than it was at the beginning of the outbreak, so a fast jump in cases could result.  The CDC has warned that the potential second wave could be “far more deadly” that the first. The effects of a second lockdown in winter could be truly catastrophic.
  • As of May the US had about 900,000 known cases of Covid-19 and 52,000 resulting deaths. Extending those rates through the summer could give us 2,000,000. Cases and 100,000. Deaths. Adding the expected winter bump could bring us to 4,000,000 cases and over 150,000 deaths, a truly horrific possibility.
  • The promise of a vaccine in twelve to eighteen months may be overly optimistic. There still is no vaccine for SARS, MERS, Avian Flue, or Ebola and they have been around for many years. Early results indicate that those who have recovered from Covid-19 may not be immune to future infection. This virus could be around for several more years or indefinitely
  • I totally agree that the economy cannot sustain a full lockdown for an indefinite period of time, but as a trained industrial hygienist and EMT I totally agree that expanded human contact will cost thousands of American lives. We absolutely have the right to gather, assemble, and work, but we absolutely have the patriotic duty to voluntarily observe distancing and other precautions to protect ourselves, our families and our fellow Americans. Don’t do it because of orders, do it because you care about others.
  • As expected the Russians and the Chinese are actively using social media to promote confusing and divisive narratives and conspiracy theories to weaken and divided America and deflect blame. The Chinese laugh while we point fingers at each other and argue about social distancing and whose fault the pandemic is. It’s the fault of China and the Chinese Communist Party, end of story.  We can expect the Democratic Party to focus attacks on Republicans for the spread of the virus and imply that they could do better. Of course it’s always easy to play political games with 20/20 hindsight and no actual involvement in the crisis.  Again: no one will be blaming the Chinese.
  • At this point our whole infrastructure, economy and society is unstable and weakened to the point where another major event such as a terrorist attack, cyber-attack, or political upheaval could result in the collapse of western civilization. Our enemies know this.
  • In late April the Chicago Police had to break up over one thousand incidents of mass assemblages of youths on the streets. While there were only a few arrests and minor resistance, this was in cool weather after only a few weeks of the lockdown. What will happen when the weather gets hot and the lockdown has continued for several months?  We can anticipate that gangs, agitators and opportunists will try to incite violence and looting on a massive scale. This was as we predicted, but the police misconduct incident served as a detonator.  The massive street demonstrations were as much about pent-up lock-down fatigue as it was about the police issue.  We can now expect a continuation of street protests and violence around the conventions and elections.  All of this will perpetuate and spread the virus.

When and if it’s Over

   The German psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) stated that “The most intense conflicts if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed”.  He was describing the dangerous false sense of security and tendency towards apathy and denial that is a part of human nature. In the aftermath of this pandemic we will be in uncharted territory with a devastated economy, a chaotic political and social infrastructure and all of the remaining threats such as terrorism, war, revolution, natural disasters, and famine still in place.  While the tendency may be to rejoice and relax, the necessity must be to be vigilant and rededicated to preparedness, survival education and self-reliance.  American life and freedom cannot survive another massive calamity if the public is unaware, unorganized and unprepared

We Saw This Coming and More

The following paragraph is from my article titled “Human Extinction” published in American Survivor newsletter in September of 2018*.  The point of the article was that we have over seven billion people on a planet that scientists calculate can only support about five billion people, and that nature and human nature would inevitably start to correct this imbalance through a number of catastrophic trends and event, one of which would be pandemics.  I also demonstrated how each disaster would cause a cascade effect that would create additional and worsening disasters.  Many readers felt that I was going too far with such grime analyses, but I am cursed with the necessity of logic over wishful thinking.

 

Impending Epidemics

The horrible reality is that epidemics, wars and famine are the most likely way that the population will be reduced.  The population density, migration and travel have set the stage for a world-wide epidemic that could kill millions or even billions. The source could be a deliberate act, a laboratory accident or simply a natural mutation of an existing pathogen. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization) agree that it is not a matter of if, but when this happens. When this occurs it will crash the already fragile economy, cause the infrastructure (police, fire, medical, sanitation, food delivery, electrical power and water pumping) in many cities to shut down for lack of personnel. Civil disorder and outright revolution may follow. The reduced population might or might not be able to recover civilization.

And here we are!

What’s Next? Prepairing for the Next Disaster

What’s Next?

By James C. Jones

  When the current crisis is past the odds of another pandemic or other world-wide emergency are exactly the same as they were the day before this one started. There is absolutely no excuse for a sigh of relief, or period of apathy.

I was talking with a few long-time members a few weeks before the coronavirus outbreak prohibited meetings and closed the stores. I mentioned that I had a stock of N95 masks and latex gloves at home and a few in my pockets.  I said “as am sure you all do too”, but instead of hearing “oh yea” or “absolutely” I got uncomfortable silence.  I realized that while I had gotten lip service, nods and even applause for my books, articles and presentations, many had ignored or procrastinated on actually following my recommendations.  Of course, by the time of that conversation N95 respirators and latex gloves were already impossible to find.  Yes! I actually meant that people needed to do the things that I advocated NOW (years ago) not wait until the emergencies occurred.  As a Safety Manager in industry, I was constantly fighting to keep employees safe by wearing safety-glasses, and safety-shoes. The employee’s priority was comfort over safety, until it was too late.  While in Oakland California examining how the factory there was recovering from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, I visited a local big-box store, and found earthquake preparedness kits on a “closeout sale” collecting dust as apathy had already set in.  Over my fifty-plus years of advocating, writing about, and teaching emergency preparedness I have been subject to disparagement and even derision.  It is human nature to not want to think about bad things. It is human nature to put off preparedness in favor of immediate needs. Disasters are things that happen to other people at other times, right?

Nature and human nature dictate that there will be a next major emergency and human nature dictates that many humans will not be prepared for it. Natural disasters are just nature’s way of adjusting geological, and biological imbalances. It’s nothing personal, but nature doesn’t care what gets destroyed (civilization) or what gets killed (us) in the proses.  Man-made disasters are the product of human pride, complacency, greed, hubris and arrogance. We make them happen or we let them happen and we make them worse. They are unavoidable because humans are human.

History tells us that after major disasters a period of lethargy and over confidence sets in.  It is natural for people and governments to focus on preparing for the most recent disaster at the expense of recognizing and preparing for other types of threats. FEMA was focused on the nuclear threat when 9/11 happened, they were prepared for Terrorism when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. They have been focused on climate related issues until the pandemic. We can be sure that FEMA will focus on being more prepared for the next (there will be a next) pandemic, they will be less prepared for other mass disasters including cyber-attacks, nuclear events, mass civil disorder and other “surprise disasters”.  Disasters are by nature, unpredictable in character and scope, and it is impossible for any national or state government to have everything and everyone needed to respond to every possible scenario.  In reality a major disaster like the current one will deplete resources, damage the economy, and create social instability, that makes further disasters more likely.

For those of you who ignored our recommendations in the past and were lucky enough to get through this disaster, now is the time to get serious about preparedness!  You have survived a “near miss” that should be a wakeup call not an excuse for complacency and procrastination.  You have been granted this opportunity to save yourself and your family in the future. Some get a second chance, few get a third.

  For those of you who were prepared and used your acquired skills and equipment to ride out the virus and the secondary effects of shortages, disorder, and unemployment, this is the time to restock and rededicate to preparedness like never before. The next disaster could be next week, next year or a few years off, and yes it could be even worse and of longer duration.

Again: being able to shelter in place and survive completely isolated from society and completely independent of the grid for food, water, sanitation, medical care, police protection, and other critical needs for from 60 to 90 days (minimum)  is the ONLY way to survive most serious emergencies.

Again: being able to evacuate from your home and community in the event that your home is destroyed or unsafe is a necessity, but should be avoided when possible.

Surviving one disaster does not make you any safer or less likely to be faced with another-one, but it should make you smarter tougher and more prepared

While you can’t shoot a virus or a hurricane, civil unrest often follows any kind of disaster and may kill as many or more than the original cause of a disaster. Having some form of firearm available must be part of your preparedness. Socio-economic disruption generates increased crime and the potential for civil disorder when police response may be limited or unavailable. I such cases you are responsible for the protection of your own life and that of loved ones.

Finally: we hope that we will receive more support from the public and more active support from our members after this first example of the new normal for the twenty-first century.  Membership has been declining for the past several years and members (even officers) have put very few hours into helping us. We are the only not-for-profit, tax-deductible organization dedicated to promoting individual and family emergency preparedness, yet our future survival is in doubt?  We have never received a sponsorship, grant or significant contribution.  We can only hope to be around to inform and educate good citizens to face future survival challenges.

 

What Has Past Is Prologue

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. The inevitably of a world-wide pandemic has been addressed in multiple ways for the past decade in issues of American Survivor. These back issues are available to all online members.

  • Asymmetrical Disaster, May/June 2019
  • Hunkering Down or Bugging Out: Jan/Feb 2019
  • Almost Human Extinction, Sept/Oct 2018
  • Surprise Disasters, July/Aug 2017
  • How Prepared is America, Sept/Oct 2016
  • Descent into Chaos, Jan/Feb 2015
  • Ebola and Other Frights, Nov/Dec 2014
  • Aftermath: Recovery from Disaster, Nov/Dec 2014
  • Viruses: Double Trouble for Humanity, May June 2013
  • Practical Hazmat Protection (including decontamination, proper us of N95 masks and six ways to protect against Nuclear, Chemical and Biological contamination) ,May/June 2012

SURVIVING A PANDEMIC NOW AND NEXT TIME

PANDEMICS!

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

A world-wide pandemic has been one of the survival challenges addressed in numerous articles in this publication over the past several decades. I will not review all of the information and disinformation related to this specific pandemic event, but must assure readers that it will not be the last. Overpopulation, urbanization and massive international travel virtually guarantee new pandemics within the next decade or two.  I will remind all that scientists calculate the earth capacity to support civilized human population at around four-billion, while we have over seven-billion.  At some point nature and human nature will begin to put the brakes on population growth and probably reduce it significantly.  In fact some studies predicted that the population at the end of the twenty-first century may be close to what it was at the start of the twentieth-century. Pandemics, famines, shortages, and conflicts are inevitable. Our interlocked centralized systems create a domino effect that has been clearly demonstrated during the Coronavirus pandemic event.  Even while the actual number of infections and deaths was far below that of the common flu, panic has generated a stock market crisis, and even some violence and looting. At this writing it is difficult to anticipate the full impact of this current pandemic, but I will enumerate the potential for this or for the next pandemic.

  • Hospitals and medical facilities will be overwhelmed leaving those who need care for other medical emergencies to suffer or even die.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and clinics will be hot-beds for transmission of the pathogen, and will be abandoned or quarantined.
  • Those requiring life sustaining care or medications may be unable to obtain it.
  • Medications, respirators, and cleaning supplies will be unavailable.
  • The shortages of respirators and protective clothing for workers in the chemical, medical and construction trades will result in layoffs and unemployment and the unavailability of products.
  • Vital services will be affected as medical personnel, firefighters, and police become ill or stay home to protect their families.
  • Delivery of groceries may be slow as drivers are affected by the illness.
  • Business will close and the stock market will fall into recession.

If the pandemic is sustained and the mortality rate is high

  • The stock market will crash
  • Stores and warehouses will be looted
  • Civil disorder may break out in urban areas.
  • Garbage pickup, water pump maintenance and electrical grid maintenance may be affected by employee absences and civil disorder.
  • Political unrest and oppression may develop.

Not all of the above effects may develop this time, but must be anticipated and prepared for.  Of course the chances of another pandemic occurring in a few years after this one are exactly the same as they were before this one, so preparedness is just as important going forward.

Epidemics and pandemics can also be the secondary result of civil unrest, the breakdown of sanitation services, shortages and economic chaos. Even a cyber-attack, electromagnetic pulse, or grid failure could lead to a pandemic and of course there is the potential for a deliberate distribution of pathogens by terrorists or hostile nations.   With that in mind let’s review viral diseases in general and some of the methods for prevention and treatment of viral diseases.

Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and are made up of a material with an exterior protein. Viruses cannot make their own protein like most other cells, and therefore are dependent on a host for survival. Each virus targets a specific body organ such as the lungs, liver or even the blood.  Viruses are not affected by antibiotics.  The best protection against viruses is a strong immune system and good personal hygiene.  While some viruses such as measles, rubella, mumps, and smallpox and polio are preventable through vaccination other are not.  Vaccinations for various forms of flu and pneumonia are only partially effective. The following is only a partial list of the most common viruses.

  • Influenza
  • Chickenpox
  • HIV
  • Ebola
  • Polio
  • Mumps
  • Hepatitis
  • Shingles
  • Lyme disease
  • Smallpox
  • Measles
  • Herpes
  • Some types of colds

Viruses can be transmitted from contact with infected animals such as birds, pigs, bats, rodents, dogs, horses. Other viruses can be transmitted from animal bites, and insect bites such as tics, flies, mosquitos and lice.  Human transmission can result from skin contact, oral contact, and sexual contact and close respiratory contact, such as coughing.  Viruses can survive in air for as long as three hours and on surfaces for two-to-three days to infect others who touch them.

Vitamins for Prevention and Treatment

It has been found that low levels of Vitamin D3 resulted in increased vulnerability to cold and flu. A strong correlation has been found between those with TB, and hepatitis C., and Vitamin D3 deficiencies. Vitamin D3 helps the body make an antibiotic protein called cathelicidin that is known to kill viruses, fungi, parasites and bacteria.  During flu season (during an epidemic) it is recommended to take 50,000 IU daily for the first 5-days and then 5,000 to 10.000 daily the thereafter

More than thirty clinical studies have confirmed the antiviral effects of Vitamin C against a wide range of flu viruses.  Vitamin C inactivates the virus while strengthening the immune systems ability to resist the virus.  The general recommendation is 10.000 mg orally, daily, but some stronger viruses’ (like Corona) may require intravenous doses as high as 100,000 to 150,000 mg.  If IV vitamin C is not available a gradual increase of oral Vitamin C up to 50,000 mg may be possible before bowel tolerance is reached.

Herbal Remedies

A variety of studies have shown that some herbal remedies are effective against some viruses.  Elderberry can be effective against influenza A and B.  Astragulus root is effective against the Coxsackie B virus. Licorice root has been use to treat hepatitis C and HIV.  Olive leaf has been proven effective in the treatment of flu, colds, hepatitis C, malaria, Gonorrhea, and tuberculosis.

Other foods that may be effective in prevention and treatment of viral infections include:

  • Wild blueberries
  • Sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Coconut oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turmeric
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Red clover

Non-Viral Infections

It is important to keep in mind that while most epidemic pathogens are viral, and not affected by antibiotics, but other non-viral pathogens such as Streptococcus, Salmonella, E Coli, Tuberculosis, Cholera , and Bubonic plague may beset the infected victim who may have a weakened immune system, be undernourished, or  exposed to poor sanitation.  For this reason antibiotics should still be kept available.  Antibiotics are available from pet supply stores, fish supply stores, and survival supply outlets.  These are exactly the same products as are prescribed for humans, but at a much lower price, without any prescription required. It is advisable to maintain a supply of these, but they are not to be used for viral infections.

Self-prescribed and obtained antibiotics should be used only when no other alternative is available and serious infections and diseases are evident or imminent.  Antibiotics are most effective against various types of plague pathogens that could be the primary source of an epidemic and against many secondary infections common in disasters    Dosages information can be obtained from the internet, the Merck Manual and are based on the type of disease and patient. Yes, in some cases the survivor may be forced to guess and err on the side of more.  Adult dosages of most antibiotics range from 250 mg to 500 mg every 6 to 10 hours.  Dosage decreases with child ages.

Penicillin is the first antibiotic that was developed in 1928.  It is also the longest over-used and some bacteria have become resistant to it.  Penicillin is generally effective against common Staphylococcus and streptococcus infections as well as Clostridium and Listeria genera.  These common bacterial infections would be anticipated in open wounds and contaminated water and food during a long-running disaster.  About 10% of the population may be allergic to penicillin.

Amoxicillin is effective in treating ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, skin infections, urinary tract infections and other types of bacterial infections.  It also is used for some kinds of stomach infections. It has been used effectively for people exposed to anthrax.  Its effectiveness against pneumonia and skin infections make it an essential survival medication, since these infections are most common in disasters and nuclear events. Amoxicillin should not be given to those who are allergic to penicillin.

Cephalexin is effective against infections of the middle ear, bones, joints, skin and urinary tract. It can also be used against certain kinds of pneumonia and strep throat. Cephalexin is not effective against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus known as MRSA.

 

The bottles of antibiotics above were purchased from BUDK  at www.BUDK.COM or call 800-543-5061.  Each bottle contains 30 x 250 mg tablets. Penicillin costs $16.99, Amoxicillin costs $12.99 and the Cephalexin cost $14.99.

 

Conclusions

While the full effects of the current Coronavirus have yet to be determined, we can anticipate that epidemics and pandemics will be part of the threat-matrix that modern, responsible citizens must prepare for.  Government agencies and the health system will never be fully able to anticipate and react to new pathogens, before they spread and affect the general population.  High population densities, combined with global travel, and immigration guarantee even more lethal outbreaks in the future. Ultimately the individual citizen, family and group must take strong independent preparatory and preventive action to survive the direct effects (illness) of an epidemic, but also the greater secondary effects on the economy and society.  A few key preparedness and preventive actions are listed below

  • The ability to isolate yourself from human contact to from 30 to 60 days is the most important and effective way to prevent exposure. This requires that you have sufficient water, food, fuel, medications and other critical supplies in advance.  This is sufficient for the any immediate and passing emergency, but an extended and more lethal event could result in the need for far more well developed and equipped survival and evacuation capacities.
  • Maintain general health, weight and exercise greatly improves your chances of surviving any illness. Poor eating habits, lack of exercises, smoking, and neglected health maintenance is an invitation to infections.
  • Always have plenty of N95 respirators, hand sanitizer, bleach, and disinfectants on hand.
  • Good hygiene including frequent hand washing, and avoidance of touching your face is important.
  • Frequently clean all frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, railings, table tops with a household disinfectant.
  • When away from home, clean hands before and after touching shopping carts, door handles, fire arms, money, and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • Have a clean handkerchief to cover your mouth when you cough. Carrying a N95 folding respirator is advisable, as you could be caught in a closed space or in proximity to coughers.
  • Avoid anyone who has flu-like symptoms or any location (e.g. schools, nursing homes, hospitals) where virus may be more prevalent.
  • Avoid large gatherings and close proximity to groups period.
  • At the first sign of flu-like symptoms seek medical help. Get tested and take aggressive treatment.  The sooner treatment begins the greater your survival chances will be.
  • Support your immune system with supplemental doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 as mentioned above.

 

CORONAVIRUS: A Wake Up Call

CORONAVIRUS: A WAKE UP CALL

 By James C. Jones, EMT, CHCM

Back in 2013  I published an article titled “Viruses Double Trouble for Civilization” in which I pointed out the similar side-effects of a biological virus epidemic and a wide-spread computer virus or cyberattack. My main point was that the psychological, sociological and economic effects of ether one would be more catastrophic than the immediate effect of the biological or technological virus itself. While the full extent and impact of the Coronavirus outbreak has yet to be determined it is already obvious that my original predictions were accurate.  The US and world stock markets are tumbling, oil stock prices have tanked, and the world’s second largest economy has virtual shutdown. China, being a totalitarian, communist, dictatorship has initiated total control of information disseminated on social media and arrested those who disseminate views critical of the government’s response.  Chines resistance organizations claim that the infection and death tolls are being greatly under reported. Foreign Corporations doing business in China or investing there are rethinking their “global economy” operations as there supply chains are broken. Even if this epidemic is controlled, the effects on the global political and economic community will be immense. The Coronavirus has several aspects that are ideal for ether a natural or man-made epidemic pathogen.

  • It is new and there are no known cures or vaccinations on-hand or in the pipeline.
  • It spreads from person to person though the air, although it is not known how close contact must be or if it remains on surfaces for any length of time.
  • It can be spread from a person who has not yet exhibited symptoms and therefor can contact hundreds of people before the carrier become aware that they are ill.

While authorities reassure the public that this virus is less dangerous than the “ordinary flu”, there drastic measures indicate fear, if not panic. N95 facemasks* are sold out and rationed in China and are in high demand throughout the US. All of Chinas neighbors have closed their border, including even North Korea. In the US, participation in large social and sports gatherings has already started to show decline. While this particular outbreak may or may not result in the catastrophic effects of postulated in my original article (below), it will certainly impact the economic and political climate in many ways. The general disaster preparedness and self-reliance steps advocated by Live Free USA together with the ability to stay home without outside contact for from thirty to sixty days must be attained, and maintained by every responsible family.

Original Text from Our 2013 Article

Virus is a derivative of the Latin word for poison.  This is an accurate description of what its electronic and biological forms can do to life and life as we know it.

Introduction

Even if we put aside the obvious threats of a changing climate, crumbling economy and the decline in food, water and energy supplies, there are two major and highly probable disasters that could end civilization as we know it even as we struggle with these other issues. Both of these threats come from destructive entities known as viruses.  The first danger is from the more traditional biological virus that has plagued (pun intended) civilization for centuries. The second is the more recent term “computer virus” that has very recent origins, but is no less of a threat.  These threats are greatly compounded by the highly populated, centralized and technologically depended society that only developed in the latter half of the 20th century.

Biological Viruses

For the purposes of this discussion we will include viruses and bacterial forms of infectious disease.

Probability and Sources

Most epidemiologists and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) state that it is just a matter of when not if a massive, worldwide epidemic occurs.  Based on the actions of governmental agencies in planning and stockpiling medications, this is their worst fear.  The combination of population densities and world travel guarantee that any virulent and potent biological agent will spread and be out of control before it is even detected.  The sudden emergence and rapid spread of the Zika virus is indicative of this potential. Plagues in medieval Europe and Asia killed from one to two thirds of the populations before the thinned population and surviving immune systems burned them out.  Modern medications and sanitation systems have reduced the occurrences and severity of plagues for the past few centuries, but these very defenses’ have created the probability of truly widespread and disastrous epidemics in our time.  The combination of an over-populated world located mainly in over concentrated cities and decades of being over protected with disinfectants and over medicated with antibiotics leaves us like a growth medium in a Petri dish with weakened immune systems Any new virus will find a “target rich environment” in today’s populations.  Modern mass transportation means that every one of us comes into contact with the biological residue left by hundreds and thousands of people.  Potential illness and death fly from Europe and Africa, take the buses and the train, ride the elevator and waist on shopping carts, door handles and products.  Of course most of these biological agents are harmless or cause only minor illnesses, but sooner or later (probably sooner) one of them will not be so harmless.  There are millions of unknown viruses and mutations that have not been recognized, much less prepared for that could take root.  Medical laboratories are continuing to experiment with various biological agents in their efforts to cure or treat existing diseases.  Many of these altered viruses would find the human body with no defenses if accidentally released.  Smallpox (Variola Major) was declared “eradicated” in 1980 and inoculations ended, but there are small stocks of the virus kept by the Russians and the US.  There may still be other hidden reserves. We now have a population with no immunities. An accidental release of such material or the deliberate spread of them by some unstable employees could end life as we know it or even life period.  And of course there are the rogue nations and terrorists who already have a variety of potent biological agents available.  Tuberculosis is still common in the third world nations and is highly contagious. Massive refuge populations are now flowing from those places to Europe and America. Many of these people may be carriers.  When you consider the above   realities, it is truly a miracle the biological “big one” has not struck already.  Being involved in the Emergency Medical Systems and community response planning for urban areas, I can tell you that the plans won’t work and they know it.

Impact and Effect

The obvious impact of a wide spread epidemic would be the disablement and deaths of millions or hundreds of millions of people.  Even if we assume a “best case” epidemic of say ten to twenty percent fatalities and fifty to sixty percent disabilities of two to six weeks duration the civilization still collapses and millions more die as a result of violence, starvation, cold, heat, and of other diseases.   Because of our highly dependent and technologically sensitive world, the lack of people to sustain critical systems would quickly demolish order and safety.  No one to respond to fires or police calls.  No-one to keep sanitation pumps, water pumps and electrical systems running.  No-one to deliver food, medications or fuel.  No-one to keep the virtual money in the banking and financial systems from evaporating.  They will all be sick, dead or at least home protecting their own families.

The resulting desperation and shortages will have the cities in flames and the streets like war zones within weeks.  The effects of failed water systems and sanitation (human waste and garbage) will initiate diseases like Cholera, Typhus, Malaria, and a host of other viral and bacterial infections.

* N95 Dust Mist masks are effective protection against most airborne pathogens when worn properly. They are available at most pharmacies and hardware stores.  Live Free USA has constantly recommended them as “every day carry” (pocket or purse) items and stocking a dozen or more at home.

Ebola Part Two

Ebola Part Two

If you think the recent Ebola epidemic is over then
you probably think that “denial” is a river in Egypt.
If we are lucky enough to have survived the circus of incompetents, lies and errors that resulted from the introduction of this deadly disease into our Country we have only seen the first phase of this threat. The idea that the federal government would put the American public at risk for the sake of political correctness is appalling. The CDC and the politicians will continue to reassure the public and reinforce denial while avoiding the real possibilities that this minor epidemic portends. Even these few cases sent shudders through the stock market and created confusion and discontent in all medical facilities. While it is true that Ebola is not an airborne virus there are plenty of ways to spread it intentionally. Surely the terrorists of all kinds have noted the effects of Ebola and are planning to use it as soon as possible.
Scenario #1
The people of Liberia and other Ebola infested areas are desperately poor and many are radicalized Muslims. They have access to plenty of blood and other contaminated fluids from Ebola victims. Such fluids can be easily gathered, preserved and transported to the US. Once here it can be dispersed in many ways where the infected people will never know they are infected until they have spread the virus further. Let’s say they just vaporized blood over a crowd on New Year’s Eve or maybe spread less visible fluids around shopping malls or airports. Weeks later hundreds of cases pop up. By the time we realize that it’s not just a flu epidemic there are thousands of exposed secondary contacts. Massive isolation is necessary. People stop going to school, stores, public events and even their jobs. The stock exchange drops dramatically. Serious shortages and even civil disorder could result. There would probably be 3 to 4 deaths from the secondary effects for every death from the actual disease. Whether-or-not the outbreak could be controlled short of a major population reduction is debatable.

Scenario #2
Suppose terrorist deliberately infect a group of suicide bombers and have them detonate in crowded areas. That would certainly spread bodily fluids all over hundreds of unsuspecting and unprotected people. Then the police, fire, EMS and other emergency responders would also be infected. Even if the presents of Ebola is detected early it would be difficult to prevent secondary and tertiary contamination. If the Ebola contamination was not identified very quickly the same results as scenario #1 would result.

The terrorists we face are intelligent, imaginative and fanatical. To hope that they will ignore this opportunity to kill “infidels” and do serious damage to America is wishful thinking indeed. For protection we are dependent on the folks who (1) can’t stop thousands from crossing our borders illegally, (2) never imagined the enemy using passenger planes as weapons and (3) failed to notice the rise of ISIS in the Middle East.
Now is the time to redouble preparedness programs and education at all levels. The prepared family must be prepared to sustain water, food, fire suppression, defense and medical care isolated from and possible defending against outside intrusion and interference for extended periods. Additionally: it will be necessary to protect against respiratory, and contact contamination if and when it is necessary to interact with others. Knowing how to decontaminate effectively will be critical. Obviously going to the clinic or hospital for other ailments or injuries will be out of the question once Ebola is spreading. Stocking up on medications and learning more advanced medical techniques will be more important than ever.

Viruses Double Trouble For Civilization

Viruses Double Trouble For Civilization

 Virus is a derivative of the Latin word for poison.  This is an accurate description of what its electronic and biological forms can do to life and life as we know it.

 Introduction

  Even if we put aside the obvious threats of a changing climate, crumbling economy and the end of fuel supplies, there are two major and highly probable disasters that could end civilization, as we know it even as we struggle with these other issues. Both of these threats come from viruses.  The first danger is from the more traditional biological virus that has plagued (pun intended) civilization for centuries. The second is the more recent term “computer virus” that has very recent origins, but is no less of a threat.  These threats are greatly compounded by the highly populated, centralized and technologically depended society that  only developed in the latter half of the 20th century.

 Biological Viruses

For the purposes of this discussion we will include viruses and bacterial forms of infectious disease.

 Probability and Sources

  Most epidemiologists and the Center For Disease Control (CDC) state that it is  just a matter of when not if a massive, worldwide epidemic occurs.  Based on the actions of governmental agencies in planning and stockpiling medications, this is their worst fear.  The combination of population densities and world travel guarantee that any virulent and potent biological agent will spread and be out of control before it is even detected.  Plagues in medieval Europe and Asia killed 1/3 to 2/3 of the populations before the thinned population and surviving immune systems burned them out.  Modern medications and sanitation systems have reduced the occurrences and severity of plagues for the past few centuries, but these very defenses’ have created the probability of truly widespread and disastrous epidemics in our time.  The combination of an over-populated world located mainly in over concentrated cities and decades of being over protected with disinfectants and over medicated with antibiotics leaves us like a growth medium in a Petri dish with weakened immune systems Any new virus will find a “target rich environment” in today’s populations.  Modern mass transportation means that everyone of us comes into contact with the biological residue left by hundred and thousands of people.  Potential illness and death fly from Europe and Africa, take the buss and the train, ride the elevator and wait on shopping carts, door handles and products.  Of course most of these biological agents are harmless or cause only minor illnesses, but sooner or latter (probably sooner) one of them will not be so harmless.  There are millions of unknown viruses and mutations that have not been recognized, much less prepared for that could take root.  Medical laboratories are continuing to experiment with various biological agents in their efforts to cure or treat existing diseases.  Many of these altered viruses would find the human body with no defenses.  Smallpox (Variola Major) was declared “irradiated” in 1980 and inoculations ended, but there are small stocks of the virus kept by the Russians and the US.  There may still be other hidden reserves. We now have a population with no immunities. An accidental release of such material or the deliberate spread of them by some unstable employees could end life as we know it or even life period.  And of course there are the rogue nations and terrorists who already have a variety of potent biological agents available.  When you consider the above   realities, it is truly a miracle the biological “big one” has not struck already.  Being involved in the Emergency Medical Systems and community response planning for urban areas, I can tell you that the plans won’t work and they know it.

 Impact and Effect

   The obvious impact of a wide spread epidemic would be the disablement and deaths of millions or hundreds of millions of people.  Even if we assume a “best case” epidemic of say ten to twenty percent fatalities and fifty to sixty percent disabilities of two to 6 weeks the civilization still collapse and millions more die as a result of violence, starvation, cold, heat, and other diseases.   Because of our highly dependent and technologically sensitive world, the lack of people to sustain critical systems would quickly demolish order and safety.  No one to respond to fires or police calls.  No one to keep sanitation pumps, water pumps and electrical systems running.  No one to deliver food, medications or fuel.  No one to keep the virtual money in the banking and financial systems from evaporating.  They will all be sick, dead or at least home protecting their own families.

   The resulting desperation and shortages will have the cities in flames and the streets like war zones with in weeks.  The effects of failed water systems and sanitation (human waste and garbage) will initiate diseases like Cholera, Typhus,  Malaria, and a host of other viral and bacterial infections.   

 Technological Viruses

  For the purposes of this discussion we will include both program infection viruses, electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), since both would have similar impacts on existing systems.

 Impact and Effect

   The interdependence of our life critical systems on advanced technology has occurred so recently that the great majority of the population cannot comprehend the vulnerability that it has created.  A few decades ago power generators, sanitation systems, emergency services (police, fire, medical) water supplies, transportation, fuel refining and national defense were “stand alone” human operated system that had to be physically destroyed one-by-one to stop them from working.  Even massive “carpet bombing” during World War Two failed to put Germany and Japan completely out of action.  Today virtually every motor, pump, valve, signal, lubricating system, electrical switch, financial transaction and defensive system is tied to computer controls.  Any kind of program “glitch can burn out a motor, start a fire, lose a fortune, cause a crash blackout a city, blow up a refinery or start a war.  Of course there are all kinds of tests and protective systems to prevent these from happening and the occasional “glitch” affects only a limited area or machine.  There are two scenarios that could do massive and permanent damage to life critical systems in a highly wired nation.  Unfortunaly, the United States is the most technologically advance and there-for vulnerable nation on earth.  The less developed and just developing nations still have lots of old-technology, human managed systems and the remaining old-school methods to fall back on.  In the United States we have totally automated  and networked most systems and the methods and the skilled people to revert to manually running things are long lost.  A recent airline computer failure demonstrated this.  There were the planes, the passengers, the fuel, the airport all undamaged, but because “the commuters were down” they could not do what a few decades ago was routine, GET THE FLIGHT IN THE AIR!    The first big hazard is from a so-called cyber attack.   The Internet has made every single computer and programmable controller open to destructive attacks.  Unlike most weapons, cyber weapons are just programs that can be created and launched from any nation, group are individual.  A tiny fourth rate nation or crazed individual with enough smarts could (theoretical) shut down the world.  The Chinese have whole schools devoted to training hackers and have already conducted raid and reconnaissance type actions against or systems.       Viruses can be programmed to hide and wait until they find the targets and then wait until a predetermined time to act.  Most experts believe that many such viruses are already inside the software of our power grid, communications systems, financial systems, and defense systems.  The US Secretary of Defense recently testified that it is just a matter of time before the US experiences an “electronic Pearl Harbor”

   The second threat to the majority life critical systems is an EMP, Electromagnetic Pulse.  These were original discovered as a side effect of nuclear detonations in the 1960s when nuclear testing had some effects on low-tech power and communication systems of that era.  Only in the most recent decades has the potential of an EMP become threatening to the entire civilization. 

   While computer viruses can have the effect of disabling all or selected systems by penetrating cyber defenses stealthily, EMPs can disable both high-tech and low-tech equipment in a given area rather violently.  There are various methods of “EMP proofing” most computers, motors and other system, but none of these are fool-proof.  There are a variety of way that an EMP event could damage part or all of the existing systems we now depend on to survive.  EMP bombs consist of a system of electrical coils, capacitors and conventional explosives that generate a momentary and intense pulse when detonated.  Depending on the size they can affect a small area or a whole city.  The military forces of many nations now have a variety of such devices ranging for massive missile delivered bombs to tactical hand-grenades.  Point and shoot  EMP guns are also under development and Boeing recently tested a drone that can selectively EMP the enemies power grid, command centers, etc.   These weapons are much easier for third world counties and terrorists to construct and deliver than nuclear weapons.  There is also the potential for a massive solar flair.  These events generate a natural EMP that can affect the entire world at once.  We have experienced a few moderate events in recent decades, but we have not had one of the larger, but not infrequent flairs since our dependency on high-tech systems.  No one know exactly how this would effect the world we have today.

   You may think that a national or world electronic virus (or EMP) would be a big problem, but not like a “real” viruses that infects people.  You would be wrong!   The effects would be much the same.  Yes, people would show up if they could get to their jobs, but nothing would work.  No one would know what was going on or what was needed were.   Hospitals equipment would be useless, sewers would could not be pumped, fresh water would not be pumped, planes would crash, traffic would be stopped, fuel would not be produced or delivered, power would go out.  These effects would be immediate and of long duration since the equipment would need to be repaired or rebuilt in a non-tech environment.  Most jobs world be gone and most wealth (computer stored records) would be lost.  The economy, the government and much else would simply stop working.   Just like the biological virus effects, chaos, violence, diseases, and shortages would result in massive lose of life and property.

 Conclusion and What You Can Do.

    Both biological and technological viruses posse a highly probably and highly dangerous threat to our highly tech-dependent and interlocked civilization.  These threats can only get worse as the population grows and technological dependency spreads.  These, nearly inevitable disasters loom against a backdrop of the environmental, economic and resource deletion challenges we already face.   A light that will not go on or a “flue like symptom” could be just that, or the start of a worldwide disaster.   While we cannot live in a cave or be perpetually paranoid, we can be aware of these hazards and avoid over dependency and vulnerability.  The ability to apply “old school” techniques to maintain life critical needs such as food, water, sanitation, protection and transportation combined with the ability to isolate oneself from an infected population for an extended period of time should go a long-way towards getting you through these and all other anticipated situations in the coming decades.  Basic computer protection software and basic health and sanitation (e.g. masks, hand washing, etc) may be helpful for ongoing and “normal” viruses and attacks of both kinds, but will have no affect on the massive kinds of events discussed here.   Even if you manage to avoid both kinds of infections yourself, the affect on the civilization and systems will expose you to all of the hazards that disaster preparedness,, survival training, and self-reliance development is intended to defend against.   Only real preparedness and real person-to-person, network development can provide all of the resources needed for a family to cope with living in a shutdown, turned-off world