Transcript of phone call between CDC and 2nd nurse to contract Ebola

How it should have sounded on the first call…

Nurse: Hi, I was directly involved in the care and handling of an Ebola patient that died at the Texas hospital…you know, the one where another nurse working in a similar role was infected? Anyway, I have a fever right now, nothing big…just like 99.5. Can I fly on an airplane?”

CDC: What do you think?

Nurse: Uh, are you telling me I can or can’t go?

CDC: What do you think?

Nurse: I’m asking you?

CDC: Do you really need to ask?

Nurse: Yes, because I really want to go to Ohio.

CDC: That’s what I thought. NO, you should not fly to Ohio. Is that clear enough?

Nurse: Am I restricted from flying?

CDC: Technically, NO. Guidelines say you need a fever of 100.4. But you should know better…under the circumstances.

Nurse: That’s why I’m calling. I don’t know better.

CDC: Wrong answer. You’re calling, because you know for a fact it’s not right, but you want to hear it from someone else, or hear a reason to justify proceeding with your plans. If you get on that plane, you’re putting lives at risk. Stay home, in self-quarantine…and NO, you can’t leave your home to get take out food either.

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What I think you should know about the Ebola crisis…

1057 Steve Konkoly ebook JAKARTA PANDEMIC_update_2_LWhen I published The Jakarta Pandemic in 2010, I had no idea it would be so widely read. Nor did I ever expect to be considered a “source” of information about pandemics. Over the past two months, I have fielded questions from concerned readers, friends, family, readiness bloggers, authors and preparedness consultants regarding the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. I’ve been rather guarded in my approach to the crisis, having watched it slowly build throughout the summer. When the death toll exceeded previous outbreaks, including the outbreak made famous by the groundbreaking novel The Hot Zone, I started watching it more closely. The novel The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston was the catalyst for my interest in pandemic grade viruses and an inspiration for my first novel.

With that said, I want to share my thoughts on the current crisis and point you in the direction of some balanced, informative articles on the topic…along with a few other resources.

WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT THE EBOLA CRISIS?

I suspect that world health authorities have currently lost control of the virus in Africa. A combination of controllable and uncontrollable factors conspired to worsen this crisis far beyond other Ebola outbreaks.  Take a quick look at the following link and you will see that the 2014 outbreak is VERY different from anything we’ve seen in the past.

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/history/chronology.html

Until late May of this year, the Ebola outbreak more or less statistically resembled one of the previous outbreaks. In June it became clear to Doctors Without Borders that the disease had spiraled out of control. Here’s a snapshot of a chart provided by the BBC, showing the progression. If only the international community had responded in June or July.

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 9.35.12 AM

Why didn’t the international community respond swiftly to the growing epidemic? The answer is not as simple as some would like to think. I won’t speculate, but based on the following article, one of the best I’ve seen covering the crisis, I can guarantee you this is not an international conspiracy. The circumstances were ripe for a systemic-wide failure in Africa. You have to read this article by the Washington Post to put it all in perspective.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/10/04/how-ebola-sped-out-of-control/

Clearly, the virus is winning in Africa. Here’s a shorter article from the BBC, highlighting the pleas of the region’s leaders.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29563530

The original calculation that we might see 100,000-200,000 plus cases of Ebola in Africa doesn’t sound so far-fetched anymore. I was skeptical of that number at first. Not anymore.

HERE’S MY INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK:

If the international community does not step in and take immediate control of the situation, to include a MASSIVE increase in FUNDS, EQUIPMENT and PERSONNEL, the Ebola virus has a strong chance of overtaking the African continent OR at the very least catapulting central Africa into complete chaos (not a far stretch for this region). A humanitarian crisis already exists there, but it’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Once this escalates out of control, refugees will flee in every direction, by every means possible…

They will reach Europe. They will reach south-west and east Asia. They will reach South America…thereby reaching North America. I don’t think Europe will lose control of the disease, but countries like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia will not be so fortunate. The more this spreads throughout Asia and Africa, the more chance it will have of reaching North America. RIGHT NOW, the battle is overseas.

DOMESTIC OUTLOOK:

Based on what I’ve researched and recently read about the Ebola virus, unless the virus mutates, I don’t anticipate an Ebola outbreak in the United States, regardless of how many cases slip through the southern borders or arrive on poorly screened flights. It’s a relatively tough disease to spread compared to the flu. Read this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/will-i-get-ebola-transmission-virus-spread_n_5946534.html

and read this (counter point):

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ebola-questions-20141007-story.html#page=1

The reality lies somewhere in between. Given out healthcare system (don’t laugh…), I have to agree that this will not take root (in its current form) and burn through the population. There are far bigger healthcare concerns on the horizon…the very near horizon. Seasonal flu kills 40-60,000 Americans every year. Did you get your flu shot? Avian Flu is still out there. Swine Flu. All kinds of nastiness. Read about them in this article:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/03/-sp-ebola-outbreak-risk-global-pandemic-next

WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?

I’m going to disappoint some of you…maybe not. Honestly, I think the worst case scenario you and I might face is a very temporary disruption of our daily lives. If cases of Ebola start to surface in the United States, even at small numbers in contained situations, the population might overreact. The availability of food, medical supplies and public services (schools, public transportation) might be limited for a very short period of time, while the population rushed to react. I don’t see this lasting long, but you should be prepared to spend  a week or two at home to avoid getting caught up in some of the uglier behaviors that often arise when people are stressed about their safety—and haven’t adequately prepared.

That’s the perfect transition to my next segment.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You don’t have to do much. Heres a short list of steps to keep  yourself out of the fray for a week or so. It might not even be that long if the government can demonstrate that the virus has been contained. If you want to dig deeper into pandemic preparedness or general disaster readiness, check out my latest book (co-authored by Randy Powers) Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required. 

Actions to Consider:

-Avoid public areas, unless absolutely necessary—and only then when exercising caution and situational awareness. Carrying some kind of self-defense item is advised.

-Fill up your cars’ gas tanks in case you have to leave your residence during the crisis.

-Get some cash to keep on hand. Opportunism flourishes during disasters, and credit cards might not be accepted if you have to travel.

Supplies to Consider:

-Food for 2-3 weeks. Enough to keep you off the streets. I usually recommend having more than that at any given time, but I’m not expecting a pandemic. Just a little panic and brief disruption of the food system.

-First aid kit, expanded to include fever and cold medicine…for what’s most likely to infect you at any given time.

-Toilet paper. Don’t laugh. Can you name another item in your house that is guaranteed to drag you to the store? Tampons? Diapers? Get them.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Take a deep breath and relax. You’re in no immediate danger. Every sneeze and fever is not Ebola. Some of the media has hyped this crisis to the point of PANIC.

Is there cause for alarm? Not yet, and not here.

Will the situation get worse? Definitely in Africa. It may spread to other less developed countries and take hold. I highly doubt it will proliferate in the U.S.

Will I be keeping my eye on the situation? YES. If my assessment changes, you’ll be the first to know. Visit the Prepper/Survival Corner on my blog to see my latest blog posts.

Additional articles of interest:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/04/ebola-zaire-peter-piot-outbreak

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/06/how-survivalists-in-america-are-plannning-their-escape-from-ebola-apocalypse-right-now/

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123359

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Review of Charley Hogwood’s The Survival Group Handbook

Review of The Survival Group Handbook by Charley Hogwood

survival handbook

Disclosure: I was provided an electronic copy of this book for a blog tour.

I’ll start this review with what I would normally say at the end. Upon finishing Mr. Hogwood’s book, I immediately ordered a hard copy version. I could have easily printed the PDF provided, but 1.) I felt that the time, effort and expertise put into creating this handbook WELL merited my money. 2.) I want to have a compact, easy-to-carry version available for reference.

First, don’t let the page count discourage you. When I received my copy, I groaned. 350 pages on Survival Groups? Can’t this fit into 30? Trust me when I say that there’s not a wasted word in the handbook, and that’s coming from a writer known to waste a word or two—here and there. With that said, you can’t expect to read this in one sitting. It’s 1.) Too important of a topic. 2.) Covers every aspect of survival group dynamics you can imagine. This book needs to be read in stages and sections, giving you time to reflect on the subjects presented

Survival group basics and dynamics are an often-overlooked topic in the readiness discussion. Naturally, we gravitate toward gathering gear and preparing our environment for disaster. It’s more immediate and you can easily measure your progress. But if you think about it, you’ll always be in a group, whether it’s with family, friends or neighbors. The principles in this book apply to all of these groups, tailored for each of them…and Mr. Hogwood goes far beyond that to prepare you for larger, more purposeful survival groups.

Here are some of the concepts addressed…I stress the word SOME. There’s a wealth of information and reinforced ideas.

-Being part of a group requires you to ask yourself-What are you willing to give up or trade for the safety and security of a group? This forms the core of the book. If the answer is NOTHING, you don’t belong in a group…period. Mr. Hogwood presents this question early, setting the tone for the rest of the book.

-Group leadership. Which types are appropriate for a group of your size and how do you choose?

-Vetting members, inducting new members and interacting with other survival groups. Balancing the skills a member brings to the group with the supplies.

-Where do you locate your group?

-Different types of groups and the internal dynamics of each.

-Security. No readiness book would be complete without a talk about security, and Hogwood does a fantastic job highlighting the importance of proper security.

-Roles within the group. This section will help even the smallest group, like your immediate family, plan and prepare for an extended disaster. Hogwood lists dozens of roles and their responsibilities. All of these are important and made me think about different aspects of survival within a group.

The Survival Handbook is an easy to read, detailed guide to forming, establishing and maintaining a survival group or Mutual Assistance Group (MAG). While the overall emphasis is on a major, society-disrupting event, Hogwood doesn’t overlook less formal versions of the survival group. The concepts found in the handbook can be applied to regional or local disasters (major storm, hurricane, etc.), just as easily as TEOTWAWKI. Highly recommended, even if you have no intention of starting a survival group. Just having this on your shelf when a crisis strikes could be the head start you need to survive and thrive. Once you read the book, I suspect you won’t wait to put some of the principles to work.

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Wayward Pines GENESIS Series finale…

is live on Amazon. 

1082 KW PINES_Konkoly_GENESIS part oneLast Betrayal cover KW1183 KW PINES_Konkoly_SANCTUARYI recently launched two novellas in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines Kindle World, completing my planned Genesis Series prequel.

Last Betrayal and Sanctuary are available on Amazon for $1.99 each. Combined, the three novellas span 250 pages, chronicling Adam Hassler’s introduction to the Wayward Pines landscape, along with many other familiar characters. The major backdrop to my series is the construction of the fence…I won’t say anymore. If you haven’t heard of the Wayward Pines series, and you’re a fan of suspense or thrillers with a horror twist…this is your series. Watch the trailer for the upcoming Fox mini-series, but be careful. You might become hooked!

If you decide to give it a try, start with Blake Crouch’s Pines. At the very least read his first book before my series. The twist near the end of his book is epic, and would be spoiled by my novellas. Trust me on this.

Enjoy!

 

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One Year Anniversary…

As a full time writer.

Actually, it was  September 17.  The day, one year ago, that my regular paychecks stopped, my cell phone allotment ceased, my ridiculously generous healthcare insurance ended, and “the man” quit paying for my car (and gas).

ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!  

Life has been hectic…no doubt about that…but I have never once looked back. Probably because I don’t have the time! Here’s what I’ve accomplished in the past year.

Published 423,772 words broken down into:

3 NovelsThe Perseid Collapse, Event HorizonPoint of Crisis

3 Novellas for Kindle WorldsFirst Contact, Last Betrayal and Sanctuary (coming very soon)

1 Non-fiction collaboration on personal readiness and disaster preparedness—Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required.

Pursued several franchising opportunities:

Re-edited and re-issued 2 books—The Jakarta Pandemic and Black Flagged.

Launched 4 audiobooks through Audible—The Perseid Collapse, Event Horizon, Point of Crisis and Black Flagged Redux. The rest of the Black Flagged franchise is on the way.

Signed a deal with Amazon Crossing to translate and publish The Jakarta Pandemic in German. E-book and hardcopy.

Signed a deal to translate The Perseid Collapse into German. I’ll publish it as an e-book.

Sounds like no time for fun and games, right? Don’t shed any tears for me. I had plenty of downtime.

photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4

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Zombies, black helicopters, the government…

I’m not sure which is worse!

1165 Steven Konkoly ebook PRACTICAL PREPPING

In Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required…it doesn’t matter! From a snowstorm induced power outage to a full-scale invasion of the United States, Randy Powers of Practical Tactical and I will point you in the right direction…the hills out yonder in case of an invasion. Seriously, the title says it all. There’s something for everyone in this book, written with a little humor and a lot of humility. Don’t be caught off guard by the next disaster, adopt the Practical Prepping mindset TODAY!

Available as Kindle book or hardcopy

Order From Amazon

 

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A quick Homesteading lesson

From the Konkoly family garden.

BeansI decided to try something new this year. After researching and writing three post-apocalyptic, prepper-themed books in a row, I started to grasp the sheer scope and effort required to raise enough food on your land to survive without supermarkets and 2-day Amazon prime delivery of freeze-dried food buckets. I won’t go into the details of my broader “awakening” here. Instead, I’ll share one stark example.

I’ve never planted dry beans (beans suitable for drying and long-term storage) before, so I wanted to get a handle on the difficulty involved and general yields. I planted a 1.5ft x 6 ft row of Cannellini bean plants, spaced according to the seed packet recommendation. 9 square feet. I wasn’t planting for a big harvest…this was a test run. The results?

Growing the plants proved to be effort free. We saw a small amount of bug damage and light spotting on the leaves, but the pods looked healthy throughout the summer.

Yield: 9 square feet produced 2 cups of beans or .22 cups per square feet. 

Lesson Learned: Depending on the availability of other protein sources, to provide 8-10 cups of beans per week for a family of four, we would need to plant nearly 2,000 square feet of bean plants!  I’m not even sure my 2-cup yield would be enough to sow a field that large.

Randy Powers of Practical Tactical (co-author of Practical Prepping:No Apocalypse Required) wasn’t kidding when he said it takes about an acre of land to feed ONE person for an entire year. I’ve seen estimates lower than one acre using “square foot gardening” and “vertical gardening,” but the number of plants required will remain the same.

Homesteading will not be easy, but it’ll sure go smoother if you start now. Start small and build your experience level—one season at a time.

 

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Who wants to listen to me talk for 4 hours?

Probably none of you. I know I wouldn’t. How about one hour? Sounds better to me.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 6.45.14 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 6.46.20 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 6.49.02 AMLast week I spent four combined hours on live internet radio and podcasts, talking about the upcoming post-apocalyptic collapse, survival, prepping, the Ebola threat, myself (occasionally), my books and the menstrual threat lurking around every corner (you can thank Prepper Chicks for that). Lots of great information, hearty laughs and serious confessions broken into four, one hour segments. There’s something for everyone—I promise.

Prepper Chicks morning segment via You Tube. Shooting the breeze with NRA instructor and kick-$#! prepped-mom Lori . Check out her website.

Prepper Chicks After Dark segment via You Tube. Playing the survival card game “Conflicted” with Lori and Kat “Herbal Prepper.” By the end of the show I had been awake for nearly 20 hours, so it gets a little “punchy.”

All Things Apocalyptic show via You Tube with best-selling author G. Michael Hopf. G. Michael served as a Marine in the Gulf War and now writes post apocalyptic novels for a living. Check out his critically acclaimed New World Series. 

Rational Survivor Podcast. Finally, Randy Powers and I spent more than an hour talking with Kyle, the Rational Survivor, about our upcoming collaboration, Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required, and many, many prepping topics. Lots of information in this one.

ENJOY!

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Book Review of Sedulity by David Forsyth

81k2I0oXNzL._SL1500_I try to avoid reading books in the same genre as my work-in-progress, for a number of reasons I won’t explain—you’d end up scratching your head and concluding that I’m a bit “touched in the head.” You might think that already. When I finished (for now) The Perseid Collapse series, I treated myself to a novel I have been watching for several months, SEDULITY.  David Forsyth’s book burned up the Amazon charts when it launched in March, and is still making waves…I’m playing with words related to the asteroid strike in his book. It’s early, and coffee has not been delivered to my office. My family takes the day off from catering to me on Saturday. I’m not a completely evil overlord. Anyway, aside from having a completely cool last name (Frederick Forsyth is one of my favorite authors), David wrote an incredible disaster tale. We both incorporate asteroids in our latest series, but tell a completely different story following  the impact…not to mention that David’s asteroid is way bigger than mine. I know—Asteroid envy—not a healthy sentiment. Check out my review of SEDULITY and grab a copy for $2.99.

 

 

“Like the Rogue asteroid in Forsyth’s blistering tale of a modern apocalypse, Sedulity took me by complete surprise when I started reading…and didn’t let go until I had devoured the entire novel—in short order!

Sedulity, named after the luxury cruise liner at the center of Forsyth’s novel, is a masterfully complex apocalyptic tale, combining every element I find essential to the genre. Strong character development, intense action sequences, and big picture connections.

In the beginning, we are introduced to a variety of characters, from different walks of life. The ship’s captain and wife, a normal couple on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise with their daughter, a self-absorbed Texan-oil baron and a humble ship’s bartender…the perfect kaleidoscope to view the soon to arrive disaster—Rogue, a one mile wide asteroid, described in chilling detail by Forsyth as it races toward the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I loved the juxtaposition of personal character driven sequences with the matter-of-fact description of the asteroid’s effects. On one hand you are thrust into chaotic, high-octane survival scenes testing the limits of the characters’ endurance, on the other, you are shown the inevitable and brutally effective nature of the disaster’s impact on the natural environment. I kept thinking “this isn’t personal,” but Forsyth jars you out of this reverie and slams you back into a seat on the Sedulity, where the catastrophe feels 100% realistic and very personal.

Action sequences are intense, perfectly described and not for the faint of heart…not over the top gory, just realistic and impactful. Forsyth injects an appropriate amount of dry humor at times, which I greatly appreciated in the absolute chaos unfolding on the ship. The author leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the effects of the asteroid strike. I knew a wave would hit the ship…the rest was completely and pleasantly unexpected, which brings me to the final genre element that I love. 

This isn’t simply a story about the trials and tribulations of the crew and passengers of the Sedulity. Forsyth’s vision extends far beyond my simple assumption, and promises to deliver an incredible post-apocalyptic series on par with Lucifer’s Hammer. I eagerly await the second installment.”

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My name is Steven Konkoly—

And I have Amazon Infatuation Syndrome.

It started nearly four years ago, when I decided to forego sending query letters to agents, after reading Joe Konrath’s blog from top to bottom.

I independently uploaded my first novel to Amazon’s various retail platforms and sold 5,000 copies (with minimal marketing) within 6 months. I quickly decided that self-publishing through Amazon presented a viable path to becoming a full-time writer. I published my second book (in a completely different genre) one year after my Amazon debut, selling 8,000 copies in six months. A new book followed every six month—all while I worked a lucrative day job and dreamed about the day I would resign to pursue full-time writing. Each book brought me closer, until I finally developed enough sales and readership velocity to escape the gravity of an easy, six figure salary job. Amazon didn’t write my books, but they played a more than nominal role in my quiet success. For that, I’m a little infatuated with Amazon.

Nate Hoelfelder at The Digital Reader thinks I’m deluded because I’m happy with Amazon. Read his article. His blog post is the latest reaction to the ongoing corporate negotiation battle between Amazon and Hachette Publishing. In essence, he says that corporations only care about the bottom line and cannot be your friend. Friend? How about business partner? How about EXCELLENT business partner? Then, he goes on to say that Amazon’s words are meaningless, because they are a corporation spewing PR desperation that should be taken for face value.

I understand the concept of “acta non verba,” which is why I judge my friends and business partners by their actions more than their words.

Here’s a run down of the actions Amazon has taken to earn my trust and friendship.

- They promptly (every month) and transparently  pay 70% royalties on my titles. I can see my sales figures and calculated royalties through an always-accessible, near real-time sales report system).

- They allow me to control pricing, so I can optimize product performance based on market conditions. They also provide me with real-time analytics to decide the best price point. 

- They don’t require onerous contracts or knee-capping non-compete clauses. I can terminate my contract at any time. The most “draconian” non-compete measure implemented by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program requires 90 days of exclusivity, in exchange for enhanced marketing tools. Kindle exclusivity has netted me over $35,000 since its inception in late 2012. I’m feeling dewy-eyed.

-I retain the necessary rights to expand in all media, like audiobooks, foreign sales, movie/TV rights. I earn a significant portion of my income from these media, and plan to expand my presence further.

-Friendly and responsive customer service across all platforms. They’ve quickly resolved every issue I’ve brought to their attention

-They’ve provided marketing opportunities that have allowed me to grow readership drastically.

-They market my book every second of every day through customer emails, matching preferences on related books’ sales pages, and search algorithms. I didn’t sell 5,000 copies of my first book in six months through any genius marketing plan of my own.

-I’ve sold 55,000 books over the past 12 months, all through Amazon.

-They’re nice! I’ve personally met everyone directly involved with the different Amazon platforms. No evil smiles. This crew genuinely cares about authors, and we all share a common vision. To sell more books! As an author, if you’re suspicious of that sentiment, you have a serious problem on your hands.

BUT I DON’T JUST LIKE THEM AS AN AUTHOR!

As a customer:

-They shipped a basket ball stand (60lbs at least) for free because I paid roughly $80 to be a member of Amazon Prime. I recoup at least five times the cost of membership in free shipping every year.

-They provide hassle free returns on nearly every product I’ve purchased. I don’t hesitate to order an item. If I don’t like it, I print a return label, tape up the same box and get a refund immediately. I’m lazy like that. Beautiful!

-The only items I can’t find on Amazon are ammunition, guns, cigarettes, booze, and pornography. Apparently Hachette’s parent company, Lagardere, had a tough first quarter this year due to the loss of cigarette sales in Hungary. Now that’s a company to be proud of! Sorry, that’s my AIS shining through. Forgot my meds.

If supporting Amazon as an author and customer means I suffer from Amazon Infatuation Syndrome, then so be it. I’m infatuated.

To read more about this curious syndrome label, and how it is utterly preposterous, please check out Hugh Howey’s most recent post and David Gaughram’s guest post at Words with JAM.

 

 

and Amazon qualifies as a good friend. Will that change?

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