by Toby Cowern
It’s important to not work on “assumptions.” It’s very easy for us to think about points but then conclude, “Everybody knows that, everybody sees that, everybody’s already understood that. Working from that position undermines that it is possible people haven’t seen or acknowledged or observed certain things.
So this is just a “basic outlook.” Let’s take stock of where are we now.
The larger focus is still on the pandemic but also making sure we look into some aspects on either side of that fact. Regardless of your personal opinion about the virus, things will change for everyone with the second wave.
First, there’s GOING to be a second wave.
Firstly, we need to accept there is going to be a second viral wave. That is inevitable. That is absolutely inevitable. Now, regardless of your feelings on how bad the pandemic is, how lethal the virus is, what you think of the statistics, or the reporting, etc. I am not going to say that’s irrelevant, but I am going to say that it doesn’t undermine is the fact there’s going to be a second wave. Secondly, for any virus that spreads in the general population spread, there is always a risk of mutations, so just because we could say it hasn’t potentially been “that bad” until now, doesn’t mean that’s the status quo, and it’s going to stay the same.
So let’s first acknowledge those two things.
Now, here’s what’s important about that. Looking at historical trend analysis, which is fairly substantive, the second wave is always going to be worse than the first, not only in infection and fatality numbers but also in overall impact. And why is that? The fact is, the number spike will largely be due to people’s actions as they come out of the lockdown of wave one.
We’re already seeing that:
- people are (understandably) demonstrating their frustration and venting their concerns
- gathering in large groups
- not following certain advice to minimize the potential infection spread
That’s happening and it’s happening worldwide. It is not exclusive to any country. Many, many countries are suffering from this same problem. This isn’t speculative. You can all see this occurring with your own eyes. So these actions are going to be reflected in wave two infection numbers.
For those countries already into the second wave, you can see that wave one is being dwarfed. For those that are not into the wave two yet, don’t worry, unfortunately, you’ll catch up in time.
Now, the control measures that the government will try to utilize for wave two will initially be the same actions as wave one, but they just won’t be as readily accepted by the vast majority of the population that came through wave one. People are tired, they are frustrated and angry, and they are scared, largely due to exceptionally irresponsible media action.
So now it gets a bit more ‘wild west’ as the policy for wave two tries to replicate the policy for wave one, but the general populace is not as inclined to comply as it previously was.
That will vary from region to region and country to country as to how vehemently these measures will be pushed back against. The other thing to consider is that people have now had far longer and got far more information to make up their mind on how they feel about certain things. People went into wave one really in the dark. They were able to look at the historical pandemic examples, but not much more. Now, people have read up and formed their own opinion, and begun to crystallize their own thought processes AND will act (or refuse to act) accordingly.
The supply chain
All the problems that occurred in wave one will reoccur in wave two, possibly with more consequences and/or potentially with a deeper meaning. Let’s start with the supply line.
The weakening of the supply lines that has occurred, the lack of certain products, the panic buying, the herd mentality – that’s all still there, and large parts still ‘unsolved’ and it’s going to happen again, it’s inevitable. Things are not “going back to normal.”
I hate to say it, but people in packs, follow very set scripts. They are very predictable in their behavior. That is why we can make statements such as these with good authority. And as much as the suppliers are trying to assure us wave one was ‘well managed’ and ‘not that bad’, reports from various places are showing the contradiction that there was, is, and WILL BE impact on the supply line.
Now, there’s a twofold solution to these problems we are highlighting. One is just to keep preparing to always be prepared, keep chipping away, bit by bit, keep making your purchases, keep your stocks up.
But unfortunately, a lot of people got massive economic hits in wave one. So many are likely limited in their financial ability prepare via purchase. That we fully understand and sympathize with.
Things are going to be different for most of us.
That brings us to the next point, and I would apply this across the board, regardless of your current situation, is you need to start managing your own and your immediate family’s expectations. You need to start thinking in terms of this:
“As supplies dwindle and prices increase, we need to eat more simply, to accept things as they are. We might have to eat less meat, or in fact, we might just have to eat less food.”
Now this is very challenging because you will still naturally want to push back to get that “normalcy.” You’ll think, “Why should I have to *insert selected discomfort here*?”
Unfortunately, far too many people in the preppersphere were preparing on the basis of:
“My lifestyle is never going to be interrupted no matter what.”
When we’re into a long-term scenario, such as this pandemic, there are going to be uncomfortable impacts for everybody.
There will be a point when you will start to feel the impact after you’ve gone as far as you can in your familiar lifestyle and kept to your original standards for as long as possible. If we are being honest, many of you are already at this point.
As much as you can adjust your mental attitude early and acknowledge and start to accept that the impact is happening, or coming, and will worsen, it positions you to be far more resilient further into this pandemic. Because that, folks, is where we are.
We are a LONG way from the end of this.
We can’t relax our preparations.
I’ve been having a number of very interesting online conversations lately, and the phrase that keeps re-occurring is that we’ve been given a “slow-burning virus.” In this modern, insanely paced world, it seems that everybody wanted to have a simple, quick ‘zombie apocalypse’, and in two weeks, it’s all over. Then we kind that we go from there, rebuild, and move on…
Sorry, but there is nothing fast about true pandemics in overall terms. This is going to be around for some time, and everybody is going to have to adapt, overcome, improvise, and all that good stuff. And the sooner we start wrapping our heads around that, the better.
To add to this, while focusing on the pandemic, we can’t forget the relevant regional and or seasonal issues we would normally prepare for. For example, we’re now entering into a very high risk for wildfires here, where I live in Sweden. Other folks will be bracing for tornado seasons, hurricane or flooding seasons, or different natural occurrences. So we can’t just get fixated on just one thing. That’s never what preparedness has been about.
We have to deal with a pandemic, yes, but we must be looking at these other issues as well being aware and maintaining our preparations accordingly, rounding off, topping up, adjusting like we normally try to do for every season of every year, and ideally, a little bit beyond…
What to do right now
Now is not the time to get caught up in the immediacy of whatever the media wants you to focus on first. It’s time to stop and take a concerted long view of where you perceive you will be in six to twelve months from now.
As an actionable activity, I would advise everybody to take a pause and definitely turn off the television. I would advise you to give yourself 24 hours totally off social media and media of any sort at some point this week. Give yourself the time, space, and place to think, sit down, and acknowledge the situation you’re at personally. Think about your long term plans in earnest.
Selco and I have been doing this for the last few weeks. We’ve had very intense discussions with our spouses, near relatives, friends and extended family. We’ve been coming up with contingencies A, B, and C, thinking about what our long-term plans are, and where we are at in all of this. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to be doing this.
You need to be having these conversations with loved ones as well. Please don’t make those conversations too oppressive. Remember, everybody’s having a hard time right now. Have big conversations, but please, just go easy as you approach these subjects. Don’t ignore them, don’t put them off, but don’t rip into them with such tenacity that it’ll shut down the other party’s interest in the discussion.
- Accept the longevity of our current situation.
- Keep preparing.
- Adopt a new level of a resilient mindset that will embrace discomfort
- Take a concerted pause to assess your long term goals.
- Ensure you communicate with those around you in a clear, concise, but empathetic manner.
Toby Cowern has an extensive background in the military, emergency services, risk management, and business continuity, combined with applied wilderness and urban survival skills. He discusses personal safety, security, and the crossover of military skills to the average civilian.