Day 48 of Quarantine: Our Online Orders are Late

We order from Walmart.com and Amazon.com, and neither one of them exceed our expectations.

It’s Day 48 of Quarantine, and I am proud to say that I have not turned on the TV for three days.  I think I had been getting into a rut, so I broke out of it (although I will admit, I watched three YouTube videos today.)  Instead, I’ve finished four books – two physical and two on my kindle. 

We also submitted another online grocery order, selecting our third grocery store curbside pickup to try out.  This time, the wait for picking up an order was only three days, down from six the last time we tired.  Not sure if this is because they have hired extra people to do the shopping or if it is because the store was in the opposite direction of the other two we tried before.  In any case, we pick the goods up on Friday and I’ll report back how it goes. 

But speaking of shopping , I placed a couple online orders last week and the stuff is finally coming in. Slowly.

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U.S. Deaths Top 60,000 as COVID-19 Rolls On

The U.S. has conducted more than 6 million tests and the number of positive cases remains fairly steady.

Reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. grew by 32,617 over the past 24 hours to 1,045,300, an increase of 3.2 percent.  The curve continues to remain fairly flat, with a very slight downward slope.  The U.S. has now conducted more than 6 million tests, and the high testing rate is contributing to the continued pace of new cases.

The New York Times, whose data we rely on for these reports, has added 5,600 probable or highly likely COVID-19 deaths to its U.S. numbers, bringing its reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. to 60,945.  This does, however, present a challenge when comparing data over time.  If we subtract the 5,600, we see deaths rose 2,317 in the past 24 hours.

Globally, cases hit 3.222 million, up 83,000 in the past two hours, with only about 10,000 new deaths, bringing the global total according to Johns Hopkins to 228,757, an increase of 4.7 percent.

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Why Peppers Should Use Cash

The coronavirus may scare some people using cash and move us one step closed to being a cashless society, but preppers need to keep cash a viable payment methodology.

I like cash.  Yes, I have credit cards, a debit card or two, and Apple pay.  I have PayPal and a couple copycats, but for many small, daily purchases, I use cash.  I also use cash for as many prepper-related purchases as possible, and so should you.

Why should preppers use cash? Two related words: Privacy and anonymity.  Using cash allows you to avoid having every purchase becoming part of Big Data, that giant collection of data collected and analyzed by companies to identify you, your likes and dislikes, your behavior, your travel patterns and probably your next move.

For example, it’s no one’s business if I eat fast food every day or have a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit every morning for breakfast, so I pay cash for it.  If you buy lots of alcohol, cigarettes or engage in other vices, you might want to consider cash, too, because chances are good your health insurance provider either is or will one day soon be monitoring your health by monitoring your credit card and bank card charges.

Likewise, I may not want Visa, American Express or my bank to know that I shop at Bob’s Gun Store.  So I pay cash and minimize their ability to track my purchases. The same goes for buying prepping supplies.  I don’t want the government showing up to confiscate my storage food because records show I bought a year’s supply of food.  And cash keeps you anonymous to the retailer as well.  They can’t tell anyone that Joe Smith from Your Town has bought thousands of dollars of supplies and is ripe for the plucking when the balloon goes up.

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U.S. Eclipses 1 Million COVID-19 Mark

The U.S. passed the one million COVID-19 case mark yesterday, with cases still growing in 21 states and Puerto Rico.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has reached one million, reaching 1,012,683, an increase just shy of 25,000, or 2.5 percent, in the past 24 hours.  Deaths increased by 2,225 to 53,034, an increase of 4.3 percent, and the highest number in a week.

Globally, cases reached 3.139 million with there have been 218,456 deaths.  As we have reported previously, intelligence experts believe the numbers reported by China were heavily redacted for political purposes, with more 45,500 dead in Wuhan alone and 100,000 dead across the country.  Iran also is suspected of reporting only a tenth of its dead.

Once again, new York State was down in cases, testing, hospitalizations, intubations and deaths.  As you can see in the lead graphic, they have succeeded in not only flattening the curve, but are well on the downward slope.

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Quarantine Day 46 – The Worst is Yet to Come

More than two thirds of Americans are extremely worried about flying on a commercial airline again and 62 percent are worried about going to a restaurant. This will lead to economic problems after the health issues of the coronavirus are behind us.

I know that we are luckier than many during this quarantine period.  We are young enough that we don’t have kids at home we have to care for, yet not so old that catching the coronavirus would be a death sentence.  We’ve been able to pay our mortgage and other bills. In fact, we’ve been saving money because we’re not taking road trips, eating out, or shopping.  Our livelihoods don’t depend on a long supply chain, like the farmers who have to plow under their crops or the factories that shut down because parts from other factories in other countries have not arrived.

We don’t work in healthcare or other jobs where we are forced to expose ourselves to infection.  The people we know who have caught COVID-19 have recovered.  We are not hungry, cold, wet or even uncomfortable.  And for all of this we are thankful and consider ourselves blessed.

Our biggest threat, outside he virus itself, is being forced into a stasis, a life where nothing much changes from day to day.  This, I tell myself, is why astronauts on long trips in SciFi books and movies always freeze themselves, so that they don’t go mad confined to their tiny ships while the rest of humanity recedes into the distance.  I may be an introvert, but I don’t envy the scientists who over-winter in Antarctica.  While I don’t really miss people, I miss doing.  I miss having projects and being active.

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Global Coronavirus Cases Surge Past 3 Million

Global coronavirus cases pass 3 million and U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 surpassed 50,000, even as the rate of growth slows to a new low.

A week ago, the world reached 2.5 million cases of COVID-19.  Today, that number is well over 3 million, an increase of 564,000 in the past week and 63,000 in the past 24 hours.  That’s an increase of just over 2 percent overnight and 22 percent over the past week.

The U.S. will likely hit the 1 million mark today, as the total reported case count is 987,691.  New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. dropped to 22,477 in the past 24 hours, a new low.  The 2.3 percent growth rate is also the lowest we’ve seen this month. 

Deaths attribute to the coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed 50,000, increasing by 1,354 to 50,819, a growth rate of 2.7 percent.  Globally, the number exceeded 212,000.

In New York, tests, cases, deaths, hospitalizations and intubations were all down. We’ll review state data in greater detail tomorrow, but New York, Louisiana and Washington continue to lead the way in controlling the spread.

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How and Why to Recondition Your Gun Magazines

You probably knew that your firearms need regular cleaning and maintenance, but did you know your magazines do, too?

Since I’m stuck at home due to the coronavirus, I decided to clean and recondition all my Glock magazines.  After all, I’ve owned  a Glock 22 since 1993, used them in USPSA competitions in the 1990s and into the 2000s, and carried a Glock 23 for decades, so some of my magazines are pretty old.  Maybe those 25-year-old springs could use a replacement.

After some online searching, I found Wilson Combat music wire springs for the low, low price of $1.60 each, a shockingly good price, especially compared to springs I had purchased previously

I didn’t know how many springs I would need.  I did some quick calculating in my head and decided I probably had 12 loaded magazines.  But at $1.60, why play it safe.  I bought 24 springs.

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Pressure to Reopen Mounts as COVID-19 Cases Level Off

As COVID-19 cases level off, pressure mounts to reopen and we see more weaknesses in the food supply chain.

After a three-day spike, reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. grew by 26,624 in the past 24 hours to a total of 965,214, an increase of 2.8 percent, our lowest to date.  Once again, there is a direct correlation between the number of test given in New York and the total number of new cases.  Approximately 22 percent of tests in New York have been positive, so testing 47,000 one day and then only 27,000 the next will result in 4,500 fewer positive results.

In even better news, deaths attributable to COVID-19 in the U.S. grew by only to 1,155, or 2.4 percent, to 49,465.  This is the lowest number of deaths in about three weeks.  More than 20 percent of deaths have taken place in nursing homes, highlighting the dangers of this disease to the elderly and infirm.

Globally, cases rose to 2.99 million and should surpass 3 million later today.  That is 73,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, an increase of 2.5 percent.   The global death count grew to 207,446, an increase of 3,901 or 1.9 percent.  Italy contuse to have the most reported deaths behind the U.S., follow by Spain, France and the UK, all of which have registered more than 20,000 dead due to COVID-19.

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10 Spam Recipes for Preppers

Spam should be a staple item in your food storage pantry. Here are some fast and easy one-pan Spam recipes for preppers and Spam lovers.

I’ve written quite a bit lately about the impending meat shortages caused by the coronavirus outbreaks that have reportedly shut down up to 30 percent of the meat processing capacity across the U.S.  So what will we do when we run out of fresh or frozen meat?  We’ll eat Spam!  Here are 10 Spam recipes for preppers.

Spam Cooking Tips

A single can of Spam contains 12 ounces of Spam, and the back of the can will tell you that this is six servings and provides 180 calories (almost all of which are from fat).  In my experience, a can really serves three or four people, so peel the top off your can, stick a fork into it at a shallow angle, and gently pull the block of Spam out of its can.  Then cut it in half.  If you want four meals, cut each half into four thin pieces.  If you want three or six meals, then cut each half into three pieces.  Set aside what you are going to use or cook and refrigerate the rest.  (Once opened, Spam should always be refrigerated.)

If you need to feed more than six people on a single can, cut the span into small cubes, say a quarter to half an inch each, and mix the cubes with other ingredients, like eggs, potatoes, rice, etc. We’ll cover this in more depth below, but the point is that small pieces allow everyone to be served some Spam.

All Spam is cooked and can be eaten without heating it up, but the best way to eat Spam is to cook it until it’s a little crispy on the outside.  It’s easy to fry on a frying pan or in your mess kit pan, but you can also bake it.  If you are carefully, you can skewer it on a sharp stick and heat it over a fire.

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COVID-19 Marches On

As testing increases, we re seeing a commensurate surge in COVID-19 as the true extent of the virus’ spread becomes a little clearer.

COVID-19 continues its steady march across the country, with 36,008 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total case count in the United States to 938,590, an increase of 4 percent.  Globally, reported cases climbed 89,000 to 2.917 million, an uptick of 3.1 percent. The economic toll of the virus has not yet been counted.

In the U.S., deaths grew by 2,056 to 48,310, an increase of 4.4 percent.  The country now accounts for 24 percent of the 203,545 deaths reported worldwide.

Disclaimer: The U.S. numbers above are from The New York Times and differ slightly from other data sources, in part because the estimated 5,300 deaths in New York City that are believed to have died from COVID-19 but were never tested.  International data is from Johns Hopkins.

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