With the spread of NoCoV2019 worldwide now, I wanted to expand on our “strategic view” of coping with a pandemic.

In case you missed it, the basic blocking and tackling part of reducing your exposure risk was covered in our Friday morning column which is available here.  If you haven’t read it, take care of the exposure reduction and then pick up here.

Step 1:  Develop a Strategic Workplan

Absent a plan, the first step is to  make a plan.  In order to do  that, we need to look at the basics in life rearrange only what needs to change.

I believe we are “in a window” for another week, or so, before the risks could begin to pile-on quickly.

You workplan should include what?  Well, you need an income, so work strategies will be important.  So will Balance of Life (BoL) strategies.

Depending on how serious things become, do you have Fallback Strategies for food and more?  Then (and this will seem odd, but go with me on this!) do you have Fun Strategies?

Let’s get to work, then:

Step 2: Work Strategies:

  • What are the ways you could reduce your exposure to co-workers in the event that you don’t have the option of staying home or working remotely?
    • Re-arranged work hours
    • Avoid bathroom breaks with others
    • Don’t eat with others
    • Commute off-times  (come in early, leave early)
  • If you presently work with people (retail sales, for example), do you have masks lined up?  Hand sanitizers?  Good general health?
  • When you come home from work, do you have a personal decontamination plan?  e.g. Do you take your clothes off at the door, put them in laundry with bleach and run immediately?  Did you take your shoes off outside?  Did you blow your nose thoroughly?  Take a hot shower with soap?  We’ve been pretty good about keeping a couple of quarts of Hibiclens Antimicrobial/Antiseptic Skin Cleanser 32 Fluid Ounce Bottle for Antimicrobial Skin Cleansing around for just such events.
  • Do you absolutely keep your hands from touching your face and especially mouth and eye areas?

Step 3: Balance of Life (BoL) Strategies

OK, assuming you work 44 hours a week and commute much of the rest of the time, what are some changes that might be in order?

  • Going Out:  Shutting it down might make sense.  Sure, love the Trivia Tuesdays at the sports grill, but if there’s a pandemic, would you want to be around (filthy disease carrying) other people?
  • Retreating Online:  This will be an appealing option for many, but remember, especially if you didn’t keep a landline and a local unmetered Internet service, retreating on line could kill your budget.  So shape your web use accordingly.
  •  Bulk Up the Brain:   Try and imagine what a post “real” pandemic would be like.  Run out the math:  A 3% kill rate could translate globally to how many people “kicking it?”  Based on current global population estimates (7.63-billion) that might pencil out to something in the 300- million dead range.  What would that world look like? Other than burying people right and left, what would the financial impact globally be?  Sure puts a hole in climate change, does it not?  And if the fatality rate equals the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak with its mortality rate…
  • Keep a Worst-Case Mindset:  The estimates are that 10-20% of those who contracted Spanish Flu died from it.  20% in today’s world?  It’d be around 1.5-BILLION dead.  You will be able to keep tabs on the outbreak just as we did during the SARS episode.  Take the number of reported dead (which was around 41 when I looked yesterday) and divide this by the number of confirmed cases.  This was 830 confirmed when I ran it Saturday, so about a 5% mortality rate.  The reason you track this is to remind yourself of the penalty for trying to “fudge” and maybe “Pop out for a quick beer.”  Death doesn’t care about motive.  It’s all about gathering souls, plain and simple.
  • Companion-Up:  If you have someone you like, consider moving up the relationship timetable so neither one of you needs to travel to the other’s home in event of local cases.  Remember, in a pandemic, every time you leave your controlled access area, you are taking a risk of incidental exposure.  And every time you come home, you run the risk of bringing bugs with you.

Step 4: Get Ahead of Events

  • Order Your Future TODAY.  As I said, IF this turned into global pandemic – which it could, though we don’t predict that, what is the risk of pre-ordering supplies for your life?  Here’s what will be landing here in the next two days:
    • Final stocks of nitrile gloves
    • Additional masks N-95
    • Additional bleach (3 gallons)
    • Additional iodine

In addition, there are plenty of Home-Bound activities that make a lot of sense when your are sheltering in:

  • Fresh vegetable seeds for the garden (a full year’s worth)
  • Additional books and reference materials.
  • A few pieces of computer software not downloadable.
  • A large shipment of supplies for the shop:
    • a couple of dozen full-9 2-by-4’s
    • some furniture-grade plywood
    • Some additional siding
    • 20-sacks of concrete

Sounds a bit “touched?”

Well, not really.  You see the shop materials mean that we will have lots to keep us busy and mind off of the “outside world.”  In my position as a writer, we’ll be face-on with the hard reality almost daily.  Past experience tells me that having down time is valuable as hell.  Everyone needs to recharge.

Step 5.  The Fun Plan

Humans are naturally joyous, fun, playful types.  So if you think there’s a chance of going into some kind of a crisis, while things are incubating, don’t miss the chance salt-away fun and enjoyment.  Seriously?

  • It might be a good time to have the liquor cabinet full.
  • Don’t want to run out of birth control or personal lubricants if we’re going to spend more “together time shelting-in” do we?
  • Have about 2 or 3 new video games?
  • Interactively, how about writing a book together?  You write one page, I write the next?
  • Or, that “no-limit” chess game you’ve been planning but were always too busy to get  around to?

Pandemics Are Opportunities

I don’t wish death on anyone.  Pandemics are a routine long-term fact of human existence. As one site said of the plague in the Middle Ages: “Mortality depends on the type of plague: Bubonic plague is fatal in about 50-70% of untreated cases, but perhaps 10-15% when treated. ”  

We don’t know how this one is going to roll, but we would much prefer to sound the alarm and be  way out front of the curve on this as we have been all week, than be even a minute late.

Look at what’s coming as a damn-fine time to get your head on straight and to do some serious planning.  If you don’t, there might be consuqences of the “No Do-Overs” variety.

As we have been telling readers of our very peculiar way of thinking about things here for the past 20-years on UrbanSurvival:

Most people live life for maximum gains.  We hold that playing for minimal chance of losss is the much better strategic direction to follow.

We hope this is far over-thinking everything.  But there’s less risk from overthinking that underthinking, most times.  Besides, the herd is usually wrong.  Ask anyone in Kansas City how that works.

Write when you get rich,

george@ure.net