What Does A Pandemic Look Like?

I’m going to try not to make this another Covid article. As I write this, information is cloudy. To know what is/was really going on with the virus and its response will take the clarity of hindsight. A pandemic is a serious thing, which is why we have to identify what it looks like.

Pandemic response tent in Macau.

That said, two things have proven true. The world will eventually be okay, we’ll get back on track. The other is that this virus wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Mortality rates are in question but it’s clear that we aren’t looking at the New Black Plague. The world population is largely unchanged. The lives lost are tragic, but society continues on.

Identifying a Pandemic

So what does constitute a pandemic? It’s actually a pretty loose definition. It’s normally defined as a disease/virus/germ, that effects many people across borders. By this definition, seasonal flu’s every single year are “pandemics”. This likely isn’t the pandemic you’re thinking of or trying to prepare for. If you’re worried and prepping, the pandemic you’re worried about is more intense. You’re thinking death in the streets and uncontrollable spreading. This describes something else. Something that has a much higher chance of coming from somewhere more sinister. This sounds like a bio-weapon.

Some conspiracy theorists think that Covid is a bioweapon. I don’t know if this is true. What I do know is that if it is a bioweapon, it’s not a very good one. When people talk about the risk of bioweapons, this isn’t what they talk about. There are hundreds of truly terrifying diseases locked up in research centers. If you were a terrorist, there are much scarier options to choose from.

Are we at risk of biological terrorism. The information, especially now, is cloudy. Biological weapons are outlawed by the Geneva Convention, but criminals don’t follow laws. The only thing we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

That said, when do you bug out in the face of an epidemic?

Emergency Responders In A Pandemic

I’ll start by identifying some markers and we can look at how they could be flags it’s time to get out of dodge. Let’s start with hospitals. At the start of Covid a big concern was keeping hospitals from hitting capacity. Fortunately, they never did. If they had, this would have been a red flag. If hospitals are pouring out into the streets, this is a sign that society as we know it isn’t handling the pandemic.

How about police? In the face of Covid, police put on masks. They didn’t stop responding, they didn’t abandon their jobs. If police stop responding to calls, or they fall apart all together, that’s a red flag.

Stores and Supplies

Let’s look at supply chains. When there’s any sort of public panic, there will be runs on supplies. Stores will run out of key items. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way. As an item starts to run low, word gets out that it’s getting scarce. As word gets out, people will blast the supply even more. This is what happened to toilet paper and hand sanitizer at the start of Covid. But then something important happened. Stocks leveled back out. You can find these things again in most places. This means we avoided what would have been a red flag.

If the grid broke down due to people abandoning critical infrastructure, this would have been a huge red flag.

When you’re trying to decide whether it’s time to head for the hills, you have to take stock of the situation. Look at everything objectively and make a rational decision. 

Before you have to make that decision, you want to be prepared for it. This is why it’s so important to have a bug out plan and a hunker down plan. If you have the space, you need to have emergency supplies. Once you realize you need these things, it can be far too late to get a hold of them.

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