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.
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!