With the coronavirus currently raging, it’s important to consider how individuals, local governments, and the world as a whole are ready to face the threat of a catastrophic global pandemic.
A Brief History of Pandemics
People have gotten sick for time out of mind. It doesn’t matter if someone is an ancient Greek philosopher, a Medieval serf, a king of England or a 20th-century American, sooner or later sickness and disease comes a’knockin.
While it’s impossible to include an accurate timeline of all of the major diseases that have swept the globe throughout history, a few of the major events include:
- Justinian’s Plague: A plague that started in the 6th century and persisted for 225 years with a death toll in the millions.
- The Black Death: A plague that likely originated in China and devastated 14th-century Europe with an estimated death toll at 25 million.
- Spanish Flu: A one year plague from 1918 to 1919 during which between 25 and 50 million people died.
While this is just a smattering of the largest outbreaks, the point still stands that pandemics are extremely serious affairs. The Spanish Flu, in particular, is eye-opening, as it took place after things like bacteria, infection, and sterilization were known scientific facts.
Also, in addition to the major pandemics, current events insist on the inclusion of the coronavirus in this list. The virus began ravaging China in December 2019. Tens of thousands of people got sick within weeks and the disease rapidly spread across the globe. While the death rate has remained fairly low — around 2% — it has still caused widespread panic and exposed how underprepared the governments and people of the world were for a pandemic of that magnitude.
How to Prep for a Pandemic
Of course, with anything from a bad flu season to a zombie-level outbreak around the corner at any given moment, it’s important to know what you can and should do to prepare yourself for the potential carnage ahead. Here are a few basic pandemic prep 101 tips to keep in mind:
Consider All of the Possibilities
No, this isn’t a call to panic. It’s an encouragement to be, well, prepared. Part of that process is making sure that you’re ready for any eventuality. Check out this Preparedness Podcast show that goes along with a History Channel show called “After Armageddon” in order to help you and your loved ones widen your understanding of what could be and consider what challenges could arise in the wake of a true world-changing pandemic.
In addition, take the time to study up on things like the different types of hazardous medical waste (along with the many sicknesses it can contain) and where you might come in contact with them, such as at a hospital or doctor’s office.
Consider Getting Vaccinated
If you haven’t gotten basic vaccines like a flu shot, you may want to get your shots. According to the Food and Drug Administration, it’s never too late in the season to benefit from a flu shot — and depending on that year’s flu, it may just save your life.
Sign Up for Alerts
If you want to stay abreast of the current stats and statistics of a growing pandemic like the coronavirus, you’ll want to sign up for a good alert app like AlertsUSA. The service enables you to receive a steady stream of information from seasoned first responders that are always on the lookout for your safety.
Stock up on Gear
The sudden shortfall in N95 and N100 masks that took place as the coronavirus initially spread is an excellent lesson in preparedness. Anyone who wanted to genuinely be protected from the droplet transmitted illness would have done well to have a mask on hand already. If you have kids, be sure to educate them about basics like the differences between washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. Hand washing always takes precedence, but in a pinch, use a non-alcoholic sanitizer if you have one. Other basic gear to have on hand in order to be ready for a pandemic is:
- A quality mask.
- Protective gowns or hazmat gear.
In addition to clothing, it’s important to stock for months of potential isolation. This includes basic food and drink essentials like:
- Water purification tablets/system.
- A camp stove or wood stove and fuel.
- Well stocked long-shelf-life food items like canned goods, egg powder, and freeze-dried food.
Neither of these lists is exhaustive, as there are plenty of other considerations. The main thing to keep in mind is what items you’ll need in order to possibly spend months in isolation, potentially without power, heat, or water.
Surviving and Thriving the Apocalypse
If you want to survive the worst, you need to be prepared. There’s no way around it. Pandemics, in particular, are intimidating beasts, as they can quietly crop up without a declaration of war or the firing of a nuclear missile, and yet, they possess more potential for destructive power than nearly any other threat to humanity.
If you’re not prepping for the next pandemic, you should be. Start gathering gear, informing yourself of the possible twists and turns that events could take, and make sure that when the crap hits the fan, you’re ready to respond.