The Cov-ID19 pandemic has changed our lives for the near future. We at Sustainability Action Network are practicing social distancing to “flatten the curve” – What is social distancing and how can it slow the spread of Cov-ID19?. We have decided to not hold or participate in large community events (10 or more by CDC guidelines). Our monthly meetings are usually 5-7 people, so our April meeting will tentatively take place.
You first read of Cov-ID19 here in our e-newsletter, back in January when there were only 59 cases in Wuhan China.
Because there’s so much unknown about the disease, particularly how it’s spread, the estimates are all speculative about how contagious it is, the percent infection rate of the population, who is a carrier, and the percent fatality rate – How does Cov-ID19 spread? These new studies offer clues. As of 21 March, there are 307,277 known cases of Cov-ID19 worldwide, growing exponentially, with 13,048 deaths, and 92,372 recovered. For cases outside of China, Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard Center for Communicable Disease has predicted a 40%-70% infection rate for adults. Not counting China, 40% of 4.6 billion adults amounts to 1.8 billion adults infected, rounded to 1 billion for the unreported cases that show no symptoms – Straightforward Calculations On Cov-ID19 Risks.
Those numbers are scary enough for someone with a grasp of science and statistics. But while epidemiologists are methodically crunching numbers and working towards developing a vaccine, the average person who has no clue is panic stricken. Too much exposure on TV and Facebook about society collapse, Road Warrior, and survivalists has folks primed for the worst. Deprivation is their watchword. They see closed restaurants and bars, canceled events, plummeting stock markets, work hours often reduced, travel restrictions, and more, and it’s no surprise that hoarding has become rampant.
Visions of empty food store shelves has swept through the country over worries that basic essentials may soon be in short supply. On the one hand, it’s reasonable to expect items like alcohol wipes or surgical face masks to run out soon in the face of the pandemic. But there’s no danger of a scarcity of toilet paper – except that if everyone buys several month’s worth, they are creating the scarcity. Silly as this seems, it illustrates a couple things. The average Joe and Jolene aren’t critical thinkers, having been spoon fed by our school system and Fox News. They also are highly enticed into impulse buying by the corporate media to keep the geegaw mill churning. To most, hoarding is very sensible.
Then again, maybe this is a dress rehearsal for the real thing. Twelve years ago when the 1% collapsed the economy by fraudulent sub-prime lending, at the time that peak oil drove the price of petroleum to $147 per barrel, there was good reason to suspect the world economy could collapse. These days, the combination of species die-off, ecosystem collapse, and climate disruption is propelling society towards economic and existential collapse. If or when that may occur, today’s shortages will pale in comparison to failed transportation, food supply, fresh water, and good governance. No amount of toilet paper will save your butt.