edgecase
Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2020-03-12
Datafeed Article 138
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924 words - 224 lines - 6 pages - 1 comment




I am not particularly concerned about the virus itself. [0] From what I have read [1], people who are infected do not show symptoms for 2-14 days and can transmit it fairly easily to others around them. This means most people are probably going to catch it eventually. Those who are in reasonably good health, without unfortunate pre-existing conditions (e.g. old age, diabetes, lung disease), are only at risk of a mild illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath). The majority of those with pre-existing conditions will probably recover, even if their illness is more severe.

I am however mindful of the risks of panic-buying, hospitals running out of capacity, and supply chain disruption caused by sick leave, quarantine, government regulations etc. Stocking up a bit on basic food / medicine / supplies means that I can choose not to enter a supermarket full of panicky people. In the event of an unrelated minor illness or injury, being prepared for home treatment means that I can choose not to go into a hospital full of infected people (most of whom were in poor health to begin with, and could potentially have some interesting additional infectious diseases to transmit to unwary fellow patients).

Selecting the right food and medicine also allows straightforward treatment of any relative who has caught the virus. From the Mayo Clinic (source), I find that treatment consists of:
- Pain relievers
- Cough syrup or medication
- Rest
- Fluid intake



It's best to buy basic items that you will actually use. This way, you're simply moving some expenses further ahead in the diary. Example of what not to do: Buying "emergency dry food packs" from a survivalist-themed company, which you will never willingly eat after the emergency is over.



So, let's list a working set of items. This article will hopefully be a useful reference point during any future short-term disruption scenarios.



Pleasant basic meals, whose main ingredients can be stored for a long time

1) Curried rice

Rice, lentils, onions, curry powder. Optional: Vegetables, beans, chickpeas, raisins.

2) Tomato soup

Tinned tomatoes, onions, carrots, basil.

3) Pasta with tomato sauce

Pasta, tinned tomatoes, onions, black olives. Optional: cheese.

4) Lentil stew

Lentils, tinned tomatoes, onions. Optional: Sweet potatoes, carrots, other vegetables.

5) Baked apples (for dessert)

Baking apples, raisins / dried fruit, brown sugar / honey.

Extras:
- Olive oil
- Salt
- Pepper
- Soy sauce
- Olives (jars)
- Sweetcorn (cans)
- Tea
- Coffee
- Soup (cans)



Basic supplies

- Toilet paper
- Toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Washing-up liquid
- Hand soap



Basic medicines

- Paracetamol
- Ibuprofen
- Aspirin
- Some type of antihistamine
- Antiseptic
- Cotton pads
- Warm clothes and blankets
- Cough syrup
- Tea with honey, lemon, and ginger
- Some type of decongestant
- Cold sore gel










[start of footnotes]


[0]
The mortality rate from infection appears to be about 1%. If the virus were more dangerous, I might make more preparations, but I still wouldn't see much point in getting upset. Death comes for us all, eventually. He's one of the Old Gods, and unlike some newer and kinder gods, he doesn't ask for your belief, he demands it. Best make your peace with him when you have a moment. And maybe take a look at Stoicism.

[return to main text]

[1]
Excerpt from:
www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.


Excerpts from:
www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-causes/syc-20479963

In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak in China.

The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

[...]

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include:

- Fever
- Cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.


Excerpt from:
www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20479976

Currently, no antiviral medication is recommended to treat COVID-19. Treatment is directed at relieving symptoms and may include:

- Pain relievers
- Cough syrup or medication
- Rest
- Fluid intake


Excerpt from:
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
-- Heart disease
-- Diabetes
-- Lung disease

[return to main text]

[end of footnotes]


Reader feedback:

1) "He's one of the Old Gods, and unlike some newer and kinder gods, he doesn't ask for your belief, he demands it."

Nah. Death is completely apathetic. Believe what you want, reaper will call time anyway.

2) I'd add multivitamins to that list. They're only really needed in a prolonged isolation, but would be helpful for aiding recovery from infection.