A Physician’s Perspective on COVID-19 – Part 2, by Doctor Dan, M.D.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

It could be argued that investing in some form of telehealth communication device is now a valuable part of a family’s medical preps, especially if a member of your family suffers from chronic serious medical conditions. iPad/iPhones seem to be the most used platforms in telehealth, but often any computer or tablet/phone can also work. Reliable internet or data plan access may be required to make the video component of this work. So that you may be prepared to stay on top of your chronic diseases if in-person visits are restricted again, I would advise querying your doctor’s office now as to what platforms they use for telehealth, and downloading the apps ahead of time. Many hospital systems offer patients the option of enrolling in services such as “MyChart” which is a portal by which a patient can communicate with their Primary Care Physician (PCP)’s office and also view test results. I suggest patients enroll in this service so that the patient has access to their own medical records. Printing backup copies of test results to keep at home would be helpful if you were forced to relocate suddenly or if the computer system housing the EMR’s goes down for any reason. 

Did Any Good Come Out of the Pandemic?

I would argue that there were some positive things that have come out of the pandemic and helped offset some of the very negative aspects of it:

  • First, this disease should remind us all that life “is but a vapor” and we need to be prepared for the fact that any day could be our last. As a Christian, it gave me pause to consider the strength of my relationship with God should I be meeting Him sooner rather than later.
  • Because we were given this reminder of the fragility of life, this served as a good aide-mémoire to have one’s personal and business affairs updated and in order (including life insurance, wills, guardianships, etc.).
  • Having been given a glimpse into how quickly an economic collapse can occur, we were given a wakeup call to prepare for a sudden job loss.
  • Many of us spent more of our time working from home than before. It became apparent that many meetings could be accomplished more efficiently over Zoom or GoToMeeting than in a traditional manner. This efficiency has saved many people hours of “windshield time” and fuel expenses that were wasted in their week prior to COVID.
  • While we were stressed about the future, one hidden blessing that many of us received was more family time at home. Extracurricular activities and entertainment events were canceled and families had little to do except for being home alone together. I know I enjoyed the days I needed to work from home and was able to see my family more than in a typical busy workweek.
  • The fear that a pandemic could wipe out a major portion of our friends and family helped us frame a better perspective about what was important and what was not in life.
  • For those who were “preppers” prior to this pandemic, it was a good practice run for a larger event that may occur in the future. I’m sure many readers took this experience and adjusted their plans for the future based on having gone through a real-world dry run of a crisis event.
  • For those who were not preppers before, this crisis has awakened many to the need to be personally prepared. There is nothing like not being able to buy toilet paper at will to make folks start thinking about what they would do if this crisis were to result in longer-term supply chain disruptions of food and other critical items. As seasoned preppers, we should welcome their newfound interest and help mentor them as they join us in preparing for uncertain times.
What Good Did “Prepping” Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

For many who were already involved in some degree of personal and family preparedness, this crisis was not as emotionally taxing as it was for many of the unprepared. For many of the previously unprepared (some of whom may be new readers of SurvivalBlog) it was a wakeup call to begin preparing. It was interesting to hear reports of the number of family, friends, and co-workers who suddenly began consulting the prepper in their lives about what type of gun, food, rural land et cetera to buy; unfortunately many of these queries came as the shelves were starting to empty.

As the first wave of the pandemic was not as bad as predicted, we have providentially been granted a second chance to reassess and modify our preps. Let’s consider some of the benefits that being prepared had in the recent pandemic:

  • Supplies became very limited in stores. Fights between shoppers erupted over essential goods. Even Amazon and other direct-to-home businesses saw their inventories wiped out and “2-day Prime” deliveries delayed for weeks.
  • Preppers didn’t have to panic buy at inflated prices. They also didn’t worry about whether they had enough food, toilet paper, or any other supply to survive if the stores were closed for a month. They could truly shelter in place in their homes while the worst of the infectious risk and social chaos was occurring.
  • During a time when a potentially lethal virus could be lurking in the body of any shopper in a store, being able to avoid the stores that were open and had goods on their shelves is a huge benefit to having preparations at home.
  • For those who were prepared on the technology side, they were often able to avail themselves of the option to work from home. This helped them avoid exposure at the workplace, and also allowed them to be home with their families more than a usual workweek affords. Having a home office area with a reliable computer, office supplies, web camera, and internet service are all helpful at making the work-from-home option successful.

Many churches and other civic groups were forced to move to virtual services and those members who had the ability to join a Zoom or other broadcast were still able to have some element of collective meeting and worship, even if it was temporarily via electronic means. This likely helped combat some of the mental health issues that can occur with social isolation in a quarantine.

  • For those families who had previously chosen to homeschool their children, the thoughts of canceled schools and e-learning were not the stressful experiences many parents encountered. News outlets are now reporting that many parents are considering homeschooling their children rather than sending them back to school this Fall.
  • For those who were already preppers, having a larter of basic food and supplies previously gathered allowed them to focus on making targeted pandemic-specific preps at the last minute, rather than panic-buying without an organized game plan.
  • For families that had members living or working elsewhere that did come back to the family home to ride out the pandemic, those with a way to quarantine them in a separate area until they were determined to be virus-free helped protect all parties involved.
Other Thoughts About the COVID-19 Crisis:

This will most likely not be last pandemic threat we encounter in our lifetime. We live in a global society where mass migration and air travel help fuel the spread of infectious diseases at lightning-fast pace to all corners of the world. I believe that making preparations and plans for a future pandemic is a wise component of an overall family preparedness plan. If this was a lab-created virus, there is always a possibility that a more terrifying strain can be created as well, the survival rate of which may be much lower.

Stockpiling supplies such as regular masks, N95 masks, nitrile medical gloves, disposable gowns, and hand sanitizer is a wise addition to one’s medical preps. For those who have the space to do so, having a plan for safely quarantining a family member who is possibly exposed, or has returned home from travel to a danger area, is important…maybe that is an RV, cabin, or basement bedroom that allows isolation from the other members of the group.

Some governments went a few steps too far in closing down businesses, churches, etc. Some did so out of good intentions (protecting the public), even if the fear of the disease led to over-reacting. Others likely had more nefarious intentions and wouldn’t want to see this crisis go to waste as they are determined to prolong the shutdown longer than needed to try to crumble a strong economy until November, and also test just how compliant the “sheeple” would be when given social engineering instructions. Reports of local unelected health department officials placing people on house arrest with ankle bracelet tracking devices for not signing their quarantine agreements were especially troubling. Regardless of the cause, I believe a prudent man sees the danger ahead and does his best to protect himself and his family from them. Stockpiling food and medical supplies, being able to shelter in place for a prolonged period without many/any trips to the store, and planning ahead for the next pandemic are critical components in this scheme.

As citizens, we need to push our elected officials to focus on better preparations for a future pandemic. Had we possessed proper quantities of medical equipment (such as medications and ventilators) and PPE, we could have kept many areas of the country open to business, with some minimally inconvenient modifications such as wearing masks and using hand sanitizer in public. The cost of the PPE and adequate medical resources would have been far cheaper than the cost of shutting down the world’s largest economy for months. As a nation, we need to invest heavily in strategic stockpiles of these items just as we have for oil reserves. And a large portion of these critical lifesaving products should be manufactured in the USA, not in China or any other foreign nation that may prove unreliable at a moment of greatest need; tax incentives need to be restructured to encourage domestic production of these items. Ultimately, we dodged a bullet this round which could have been much worse. Elected officials need to gain a sense of urgency to prepare before a more virulent strain hits us.

The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wakeup call for all of us. For those of us who prepped before, I believe this made us thankful that we did, and also helped us determine what areas of our preps we need to improve upon. For those who didn’t prep before, but are interested in doing so now, we welcome you.

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