How to Prepare for the COVID-19 Coronavirus

The world is on a heightened state of alert because there is a “new” virus invading almost every country in the world. The virus’ origin, modes of transmission, and duration are all relatively unknown at this point; the main point of concern is that this virus seems to be highly contagious.

By Dan C., Contributing Author to SurvivalCache and SHTFblog

In light of all its unknowns at this point, there is a large group of people panicking and another large group not even paying attention. It appears overall that the threat to the general population is no greater than with any influenza type virus. If you contract the virus, you are likely going to get sick and you should seek medical treatment and avoid contact with others. The elderly and those that have suppressed immune systems have been shown to be at greatest risk.

What is Coronavirus?

The Corona virus, ( this specific strain known medically as COVID-19), has been around in some form or another for many years; it was first described in 1960. There are four different known strains that affect various species of animals. However, it appears that this current strain of the virus originated in China and has infected almost 122,000 people as of this writing (3/11/2020), has many unknown aspects which make it very concerning at this point. It was first thought that COVID-19 originated in the wet market (a market where all types of live and harvested animals are sold) in Wuhan, China. That theory has mostly been debunked and it appears more likely it escaped somehow from a research institute in the same city.

By Mikael Häggström, M.D.- Image sourced from Wikipedia

Even though the Coronavirus is spreading fast, it does not appear to be more of a public health threat than the flu. To put things in context, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the year 2018 there were 42.5 million people in the U.S. who got sick from the flu, and approximately 61,000 people died – just in the US. So far, most of the people that have died from the Coronavirus has weakened immune systems or were very elderly. Recently reported data by stated that approximately 121,000 people have the virus and 4,320 have died. 

But the Coronavirus’ long term effects are still vastly unknown. There is also the theory that as the temperature rises in the northern hemisphere the virus will die. It is speculated that the overall risk of COVID-19 having a major impact on the US is very low, but many people may become ill with it. Another concern is the economic impact. If people stop going out – working, shopping, dining out, because of their fear of getting the virus then all forms of businesses will suffer and the extent of that is totally unknown, in fact recent recommendations by our government and other agencies is that we may need to consider whether we want to attend large gatherings at this point.

Also read: Pandemic is an Inevitability

Image from Wikimedia Commons

At this point the Corona virus appears to be highly contagious with transmission possible during casual contact in public places. Just being close to a person a can cause to you contract the virus. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is transmitted by droplets when infected individuals cough or sneeze and then an uninfected person inhales the droplets. The CDC says that in general, you must be within 6 feet of the infected person, to be in range for this form of transmission. Transmission most likely occurs when a person is symptomatic and there is a less likelihood that one can be infected when a person is not symptomatic. Little is known about the duration the virus can live on inanimate objects such a door knobs,  salt shakers, gas pump handles, and other related items. There is little or no data at this point to determine how long the virus can last outside the body. Thus, there is great concern over the longevity of the Coronavirus.

How Do We Prepare for Coronavirus?

So, with all these unknowns, what should you do in preparation that this pandemic become more serious and require action to prevent infection? What should you be doing NOW to be be prepared?

First, have a family meeting. Make sure everyone understands why you are making these provisions and that everyone is up to date on the newest news on the virus. It is no time to panic, but it is time to plan and prepare. Keeping in mind preparing for this potential pandemic also makes you prepared for any other public health, environmental, civil or weather emergency that may occur, so there is nothing bad and no downside about doing this now.

Listed below are the things you may begin putting in place as part of your preparations. These recommendations are good for most all emergency preparations. But in this case, as mentioned above, it may be recommended not to attend large events for a while, reduce your travel and spend more time at home until this passes. Especially if you are in a high risk group (elderly, immuno-compromised, already sick, etc.)

  • Use excellent hygiene practices, such as washing (really, scrubbing) your hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds is most likely one of the best methods to reduce transmission of the virus. Make sure any hand sanitizer you use has a 60% alcohol content or greater. Remember to keep your hands out of your mouth and nose and away from your face. Teach your kids to wash their hands properly and to not put hands or other things in their mouth.
  • Speak to your physician, and make sure that anyone taking medications has at least a three month supply.
  • Buy and store at least 2 months of food. I suggest a good mix of freeze dried food (Mountain House or Valley Food Storage), canned goods and frozen food. Make sure you store some of the things you fancy to keep spirits high, such as treats.
  • Pick up several empty 5 gallon water jugs and be prepared to fill them and have a good water filtration system in place. This will insure you have ample water resources should that need arise in any emergency. You should have at least one case of bottled water for each family member in case you need to travel.
  • Understand you may be spending a long period of time in your house. So have several board games, cards, books for entertainment and consider daily exercise plans, both for the physician and psychological benefits.
  • If you have small children or infants make sure you have 3 months supply of food, formula and diapers. Be sure to get children’s ibuprofen and children’s acetaminophen to help keep fevers down if necessary.
  • Have at least six or seven very high quality dust masks for each member of the family. Also, learn how to make a dust mask from a 2 liter plastic jug. Keep in mind, that the masks may be best worn by those that are sick. The CDC states there is very little value for healthy people to wear a mask to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Make sure your first aid kit is well stocked and in order.
  • Make sure you have 2 months supply of the bathroom essentials: toilet paper, female napkins, toothpaste, etc.
  • Keep your auto fuel tank filled no less than ¾ tank and have at least 10 gallons on hand as well as at least two extra propane tanks
  • If you have pets do not forget them! They will also need 2 months of food.
  • Each family member should pack a Bug Out Bag and develop/be involved with a Bug Out Plan… have several locations you have prearranged to travel to if need be. Have a good GPS and maps. Naturally plan your route to these locations in advance and choose back roads verses main freeways. It is highly unlikely you will need this for the Coronavirus; however it is best to have this all in place.
  • Have at least $300 in cash on hand or as much as is feasible for your circumstances.
  • Purchase a standalone air filter – in particular one that has a UV light virus filtration system

Wrap Up

It is highly unlikely you will lose water, electricity and other utilities. However, being prepared for this possibility does not hurt in this case and as part of being prepared overall.

Here is the key to this preparation: Being prepared significantly increases your chances of survival. Being unprepared generates fear and chaos that contribute significantly to failure in bad situations. So this is definitely a good time to mobilize your family and make these emergency preparations.

As with any emergency, if the effects of the event last longer than 2 months, then the situation is exceedingly serious and may require a whole new aspect of surviving. If that is the case, you will be most likely heading to one of your Bug Out Locations that can hopefully support your family at a whole new level.

So in preparation for the potential Coronavirus pandemic (or any emergency), if you follow these recommendations above you will be ahead of the curve and ready to respond. This will hopefully give you an edge and sense of comfort. In the meantime, practice good personal hygiene skills, maybe avoid large gatherings, follow the same plans you use now to prevent the flu and if sick with symptoms similar to the Coronavirus, get medical treatment ASAP.

Author’s note: I would like to sincerely thank you Kurt M and Karl W for their invaluable editorial comments. They always make these articles better. 

Dan C
Dan C

Dan is a life long experienced and avid firearm enthusiast, hunter and outdoorsman. For ten years, Dan functioned as the team leader of a critical care medical team that conducted world-wide medical evacuations. He participated in over 300 medical missions worldwide at times in very remote and hostile environments, including Haiti, Nicaragua, the Middle East, Russia, and South America. Read his full interview here. Read more of Dan's articles.

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