Short Note on Facing Vulnerabilities

While shows like this serve as fear p*rn for some; they also illustrate some of the core vulnerabilities of our civilization. Look around your home at all the things you depend on like the water, power, natural gas, flushing toilets, etc. Do you rely on these things, or are they only there for comfort? What would life be like if these things were gone? Do you have a back-up plan?

Most folks dismiss questions like this because they assume the chances of a wide-spread calamity is unlikely. But did you know that large corporations ask themselves these questions and write-up business continuity plans to prevent disaster when unexpected occur? Prudence and planning isn’t paranoid… it’s what people who live strategically do every day.

Someone Dumping Gold Futures

Tonight, with over 13,000 contracts being flushed through Gold – amounting to over $1.5 billion notional, gold prices tumbled $20 to $1151 its lowest level since April 2010. Silver is well through $16 and back at Feb 2010 lows. The USDollar is also surging.” – Zero Hedge

Might be a good opportunity to buy physical gold and silver. I bet the Chinese are cheering since they’ve been buying it by the ton and are in for the long haul with the physical stuff.

Bellevue Staffers Call In ‘sick’ When Ebola Arrives

An extraordinary number of Bellevue Hospital staffers called in sick on Friday rather than treat the city’s first Ebola patient — and those who showed up were terrified to enter his isolation chamber, sources told The Post…

Dr. Craig Spencer is being treated by nurses working in teams of two, “with one serving as a buddy watching the other,” said Health and Hospitals Corporation spokeswoman Ana Marengo, who denied there was a sickout.” – New York Post

The fear of the thing is going to be a bigger problem than the thing itself. Buckle-up.

 

Data Point: Number of Ebola-linked cases passes 10,000

More than 10,000 people have been infected with Ebola, according to figures released today by the World Health Organisation, as the outbreak continues to spread. Of those cases, 4,922 people have died… The UN health agency said on Saturday that the number of confirmed, probable and suspected cases has risen to 10,141.” – Hindustan Times

Another data point the President missed in his weekly calming talk.

Data Point: One Man Can Bring a City to It’s Knees

The heart of the Canadian capital was thrown into panic and placed in lockdown on Wednesday after a gunman armed with a rifle or shotgun fatally wounded a corporal guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier the National War Memorial, entered the nearby Parliament building and fired multiple times before he was shot and killed.” – NYTimes.com

Now imagine a trained team of terrorists who are not suicidal, but aiming to create fear, panic, and chaos. What would you do?

 

Day 20: Life in Voluntary Quarantine for Some

While most neighbors understood there was scant risk that Mr. Mann, 41, had carried the disease home, rumors nevertheless coursed around town that he had tested positive for Ebola and would soon be medically evacuated. Mr. Mann said an anonymous commentator on a local news website had suggested burning down his house. “People had this lynch-mob mentality,” he said.” – NYTimes.com

Disheartening potential data point illustrated here. Voluntary quarantine may bring danger to those suspected of contracting disease. This must be part of the powder keg the White House is hoping to avoid detonating.

Data Point: Obama Says He ‘hugged and kissed’ Ebola Nurses

“I shook hands with, hugged and kissed not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory, because of the valiant work they did in treating one of the patients. They followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so…” – President Obama via story at RT USA

This could be bad if the healthcare authorities are wrong about how Ebola is transmitted. I guess we’ll just wait and see if the President and his entourage show signs of Ebola. I can’t even imagine the government’s response if The President gets Ebola so early in this (likely) pandemic.

ISIS Capable of Making Dirty Bombs with Chemical Weapons

A former commander of the British Army’s chemical and nuclear weapons protection forces has warned that the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham ISIS has the capability of making battlefield dirty bombs.It emerged that hundred of shells filled with poison gas are stored unguarded in areas controlled by the jihadists.” – National Post

Could the world go to hell any better? It’s like a bad movie.

Data Point: Texas Ebola Hospital Cafeteria Becomes Ghost Town

DALLAS, Texas — The cafeteria, where employees and patients at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital normally take a meal break, is looking more like a ghost town since the outbreak of Ebola. A cafeteria worker said their business had taken a major hit in the wake of Nina Pham’s becoming symptomatic after treating Thomas Eric Duncan while he was ill at this hospital.” – Breitbart.com

This is how the free market works. People make choices based on perceived risks versus potential rewards. Clearly eating food in a hospital that has failed to protect at least two of its staff members is not enough reward for the perceived risk.

Now take this up a few notches and see how if this trend line grows we will need to be ready to fend for ourselves. Nobody is coming to the rescue but ourselves. Those who can make the transition to increasing self-reliance, will better adapt during hard times.

Day 16 of Ebola in the USA: Mixed Messages

Today is Day 15 of Ebola in the U.S.A. and we’re continuing to get mixed messages from the authorities. One one hand they say we shouldn’t panic (good idea, I agree), then they tell hospitals to “think ebola”, and continue to say this is the worst health emergency of modern times.

From the CDC:

The government is telling the nations hospitals to “think Ebola.”… Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.” – Yahoo News

From WHO:

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan issued a statement Monday at a conference in Manila, calling the outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.”…

She said the outbreak is disrupting economies and societies around the world. She said 90% of economic costs of any outbreak “come from irrational and disorganized efforts of the public to avoid infection.”

Adequately educating the public should allow governments to curb those disruptions, Chan said. Fear, she said, spreads faster than any virus.

The clear message I’m hearing is:

  1. Worst case scenario is on the table; and is aided by open borders and long incubation time of the virus.
  2. Authorities overwhelmed and loosing control of the situation. The example of Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while on the job, is clear evidence that the authorities don’t really know all there is to know about how Ebola spreads.
  3. Public is beginning to show signs of panic. The market impact on travel & leisure may be a trigger signal that the public’s behavior is changing as a result of the Ebola outbreak.

What to do?

  1. Stay calm. Panic only puts you at risk. Others will panic if Ebola begins to spread, so keeping your wits about you could give you an edge.
  2. Learn how to take care of Ebola patients in case someone in your household is infected. Start by reading the information the CDC publishes on Ebola for healthcare workers.
  3. Obtain the necessary gear. This is PPE (personal protection equipment) as well as plastic sheeting and tape for constructing make-shift isolation/clean rooms & grey rooms (rooms where you can wash down and change clothes.
  4. Know that 30% of the people that get Ebola survive. If you can build-up your immune system now you’ll improve the odds of survival.
  5. Know your own blood type and the blood types of the people in your household. It seems that one of the successful treatments is to receive a blood transfusion from Ebola survivors, so knowing your blood type could speed treatment.

Is this preparation overkill? Right now, yes, maybe. But if you think this could get out of hand a little bit of education and preparation might be cheap insurance. One thing is for sure, if the government declares an emergency, the store shelves will go bare of PPE gear – so you can choose to sit tight or front-run Ebola by gearing up now.

Video from CNN.