Wednesday, 15 October 2014

09:22 – Work on The Ultimate Family Prepping Guide continues. I’d forgotten just how much I enjoy heads-down writing: organizing thoughts, checking facts, constructing sentences that say exactly what I want to say without ambiguity.

I’ve decided to organize the book in three sections: I. The First Month; II. The First Year; and III. Long Term. That inevitably means some duplication, but the overall structure is more important than wasting some space.

I was stubbing out Appendix A yesterday. It’s about building a library, and I suggest getting both print books and ebooks. (There’s no reason ebooks wouldn’t be useful in an emergency, assuming you have a solar charger or other means of keeping your Kindle operating.) Just out of curiosity, I visited Pirate Bay and searched for “prepping”. They had 29 items available, most of which were collections with anything from dozens to hundreds of titles. Many of those were military field/training manuals, short essays, and so on, but there were scores of actual prepping books. After taking a quick look at several of those, I came to three conclusions: (1) most people can’t write; (2) most people don’t know what they’re talking about; and (3) there is a great deal overlap between those two groups.

11:51 – More bad news from Texas. A second health-care worker who cared for Duncan has been diagnosed with Ebola. Like the first one, no one knows how she caught it. And yet the propaganda machine keeps spewing out statements about how difficult it is to become infected with Ebola and that it requires intimate contact with the body fluids of patients showing symptoms. These statements are false, or at best wishful thinking. The truth is that no one knows for sure how easily transmissible this new strain of Ebola is, whether or not infected people who are asymptomatic can infect others, or what length of quarantine is necessary for people who have been exposed to the virus.

The fundamental principle of epidemiology is to stop the spread of an infection as the absolute top priority, which means isolating/quarantining those who are infected and those who may be infected. That’s not being done here. We continue to allow potential carriers from West Africa into the US, and even people known to be infected. Obama should have deployed a carrier battle group to the west coast of Africa a month ago, with orders to shoot down any airliner that tried to take off and to cut road and railway transport to and from the affected areas. Deliver medical supplies by parachute. Those in the affected areas should not be allowed to leave, including volunteers who traveled there to help treat the victims. I don’t care if they are American citizens. If you’re there, you stay there until it can be guaranteed absolutely that you are not a threat to those outside the affected areas. Period.

13:22 – I’ve been reading more of the details about how ill-prepared that Texas hospital was and is to deal with a BSL-4 pathogen. Infected materials stacked in open areas, nurses told to cover their necks with surgical tape(!), a complete lack of appropriate procedures. The irony is that the government has been telling us for weeks now that Ebola cannot break out in the US because our facilities and procedures are so much better than those in West Africa, when the reality seems to be that even bush hospitals in West Africa are better at preventing the spread of the virus.

And in more joyful news, Novant Health, one of the largest hospital operators in the Southeast, announced that Ebola cases would be concentrated in three of their hospitals, one in Charlotte, one in Virginia, and Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. There’s a front-page article in this morning’s paper, Birthing Center is far from Ebola area. I guess it depends on one’s definition of “far”. The Ebola area is on the first floor. Women’s specialties are on floors three and four, an entire two or three floors away from the plague carriers. Geez.