As you can imagine, I’ve digested hundreds of articles over the past few weeks related to the coronavirus threat. Several have stood out as well-balanced and informative. Giving these articles a few minutes of your time will put you on the right track to “Prepare without fear. Prepare with intelligence. Prepare with benevolence.” — Dr. Hal Cohen. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Tracker Preparing for Coronavirus to Strike the U.S. USA Today’s Coronavirus, explained: Everything you need to know about COVID-19. CORONAVIRUS AND U.S.: ADVICE AND ACTION STEPS TO PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY Responding to Covid-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic? Just how contagious is COVID-19? And, if you missed my blog post on COVID-19, you can read it here: COVID-19 PRIMER.
As of yesterday, I can no longer individually reply to requests for information or opinions regarding the COVID-19 virus. The number of emails and messages has become overwhelming. That said, I don’t want to leave readers and friends hanging, so I’ve put together the key information, predictions and recommendations that I’ve gathered or formed over the past few weeks. BEFORE I GET STARTED—THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO PANIC, but it is definitely time to take a few key steps to avoid panic later. Disclaimer: I’m not a scientific expert in pandemic epidemiology…or anything for that matter. I exhaustively researched pandemics and healthcare plans to address pandemics for my first novel, THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC (TJP), which was published in 2010. TJP was one of the first modern novels to address the average citizen’s experience during a lethal pandemic, from the arrival of the virus to a sensationalized breakdown of society. The virus I “brought to life” was far worse than anything we’ve seen in recorded history. That’s how you sell fiction. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything even remotely as deadly and destructive as the virus I created for that novel. Why tell you this? Because we’re not dealing
Have you thought about Ebola lately? Probably not. If you have, it’s most likely because U2 and dozens of artists have just recorded a new version of the original 1980’s Band Aid charity song “Do they know it’s Christmas?” to raise money for Ebola victims. THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER FOR NOW! Not so fast. Ebola (for now…never say never) has remained squarely an African problem, and one month after the massive Ebola fear hype in the U.S., most Americans have returned to their pre-Ebola scare lives. Some of us have a few more sterile gloves and N95 masks than before, but that’s not a bad thing. An influenza pandemic is a far more likely scenario to affect us. There’s a great fiction book written by someone I know that explains exactly how that might happen. 😉 Did we beat Ebola? According to a Denver Post opinion piece, the U.S. beat Ebola. http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/1824674-155/ebola-africa-spencer-west-care-denver Good news for everyone. Right? Of course, but this article falls squarely in the hindsight is 20/20 category, and fails to look forward. AT ALL. The opinion piece derides the fear that gripped the U.S., pointing out how the system in place worked. You know, the ten systems progressively implemented after the CDC and
When 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