Riots During an Epidemic

There are risks associated with protesting during an epidemic as crowds and shouting can increase the spread, but participants would probably point out the risks associated with doing nothing in the face of injustice.

Riots and looting across America have knocked coronavirus out of the headlines.  This is not a political blog and I want to remain focused on prepping and how to benefit preppers, but as both a prepper and a human, it is impossible to ignore what is happening in Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and many other cities over the past couple of nights. 

I have given my thoughts on the death of George Floyd before and covered how to prepare for civil unrest some time ago, so today will focus on the protests and riots in the context of coronavirus.

Rioting in an Epidemic

From an epidemiological standpoint, these large gatherings of people yelling, chanting and marching are a bad idea.  Even though they are outside, the crowds are an ideal mechanism for spreading the virus, just like an outdoor sporting event or concert would be.  A couple of superspreaders in the crowd could infect hundreds of people.  The only positive thing there is to say is that many of the protesters are young and the majority should not develop serious illnesses.  Many infected may be asymptomatic.  But if coronavirus numbers shoot up in two or three weeks, it won’t be because someone got an illegal haircut or went to a restaurant.

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May 30 Coronavirus Report: Brazil Drives Global Growth

The continued spread of coronavirus across the globe will likely have lasting consequences for global tourism and trade.

Globally, cases of the coronavirus shot up 137,000 in the past 24 hours, climbing to 6.095 million.  This is the largest single-day case load in the history of COVID-19 and is causing the curve to take a turn upward even as much of Europe has gained control of the virus. Global deaths climbed more than 4,000 to 369,789.

Brazil’s numbers grew by 33,274 in the past 24 hours to 498,440 cases. This growth rivals the highest numbers in the U.S. when it was at its peak.  Unfortunately, no one thinks Brazil is nearing its peak and the country may become an example of what happens when there are only minimal attempts to flatten the curve.

Russia saw over 10,000 new cases, taking it past the 400,000 mark to 405,843.

In the U.S., there were 23,300 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total in the United States to 1,778,000.  This is a growth of 1.3 percent overnight.  There were 963 additional deaths reported, bringing the total to 103,775, according to data compiled by the New York Times.

To put these numbers into perspective, we encourage you to look back at yesterday’s data as well as our report from a week ago.

Coronavirus Hits Farm Workers

Berries are just some of the fruits and vegetables that may be in short supply this year as more farm workers are diagnosed with COVID-19.

First it was meatpacking plants; now it is seasonal farm workers who harvest much of the fruits and vegetables in America.  It looks like the coronavirus is going to cause more harm to America’s farmers and the delicate supply chain that puts food on our tables.

Here’s what a Bloomberg article reported on May 30:

One farm in Tennessee distributed Covid-19 tests to all of its workers after an employee came down with the virus. It turned out that every single one of its roughly 200 employees had been infected.

In New Jersey, more than 50 workers had the virus at a farm in Gloucester County, adding to nearly 60 who fell ill in neighboring Salem County. Washington state’s Yakima County, an agricultural area that produces apples, cherries, pears and most of the nation’s hops, has the highest per capita infection rate of any county on the West Coast.

The outbreaks underscore the latest pandemic threat to food supply: Farm workers are getting sick and spreading the illness just as the U.S. heads into the peak of the summer produce season. In all likelihood, the cases will keep climbing as more than half a million seasonal employees crowd onto buses to move among farms across the country and get housed together in cramped bunkhouse-style dormitories.

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May 30 Coronavirus Report: Global Spread Increases

Global growth of the coronavirus accelerated overnight as the pandemic continues to spread outside of Europe.

Reported cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. were up by 24,500 in the past 24 hours, an increase of 1.4 percent to 1,754,700.  There were 1,167 deaths over the same time period, bringing the total death count to 102,812.

Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases climbed by 108,000 in the past 24 hours to a total of 5.958 million while the death toll rose to 365,593. 

Here is our weekly report on global case growth:

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May 29 Coronavirus Report: The Economic Toll Rises

While the coronavirus retreats in the United States, economic news gets worse and worse.

Consumer spending fell a record 13.6 percent in April and unemployment ticked up to 40 million people, even as reopenings across the country put some back to work.  Bankruptcies and mass layoffs continue as Weight Watches just laid of 4,000 people in a three-minute video conference, Boeing laid off 7,000, and Chevron said it would cut its global work force by up to 6,750. 

As we predicted in early April, restaurants are finding it difficult, if not impossible to make any money when limited to 25 to 50 percent capacity.  This is from a May 28 Wall Street Journal article:

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Quarantine Day 76 – Still Shortages

While Walmart was clean and well managed, there were a surprising number of empty shelves 10 or 11 weeks after the first panic buying.

I went to Walmart today for the first time in three months and I was shocked that there are still shortages and empty shelves.  I can’t believe that there is still a shortage of toilet paper, but there certainly was in this store.  I’m going to give details and photos below detailing the shortages, some of which are surprising.

First, however, props to this specific Walmart for tightening things up; she store was the cleanest I’ve ever seen it – I’m talking floors, shelves, racks, produce area, etc.  A young woman cleaned the handle of my cart and rolled it to me when I came in.  Every employee I saw was wearing their mask, and all but one were wearing them correctly.  I would say more than three quarters of the shoppers were wearing masks while a minority were not.

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May 28 Coronavirus Report: Brazil Tops Charts

While American holds its breath, hoping the coronavirus is in retreat, it continues to tear through Brazil, which now has 400,000 cases.

In the past 24 hours, the U.S. hit two coronavirus milestones: 100,000 deaths and 1.7 million cases.  Other than that, the coronavirus news in the U.S. isn’t bad. In fact, it appears that people, including the media, are holding their breath waiting to see if there is a surge in cases or if COVID-19 really is seasonal.

In the past 24 hours, there have been only 17,200 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S., an uptick of 1 percent, bringing the grand total to 1,707,700.  Deaths reached 100,426, an increase of 1,410.

On the international side of things, Brazil has crossed the 400,000 mark, reporting 411,821 cases. That’s an increase of about 100,000 cases per week.  The daily death toll in Brazil has at times been the highest in the world, and Brazil’s numbers are thought to be greatly under-reported.  Brazil is already the country with the second most cases behind the U.S. and will soon pass France and Spain in the number of reported deaths.

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Quarantine Day 75: Our Accomplishments

We’ve had more than two months locked in, so did you use y our time well or waste it?

I think this may be my last entry in my Quarantine Diary.  I plan to continue posting plenty of prepping-related diary entries and other articles, but I doubt the focus will be on quarantine, unless we end up back in a government-mandated lockdown. Our COVID-19 coverage will continue until the story goes away. The coronavirus and it aftereffects are something that I expect will concern preppers anyone else with a strong sense or self-preservation for some time.

We are not giving up on quarantine, but we are relaxing our personal lockdown a bit.  We’re planning to have friends over next week and grill outdoors. 

As quarantine winds down and we look back at the past 10+ weeks, I think we should all take stock and ask ourselves, what did we accomplish?  Here are a few things I did:

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May 27 Coronavirus Report: The Two Faces of The Coronavirus

The coronavirus has hit hard in some states, killing tens of thousands, while in most states deaths still number in the hundreds. We must address it locally, not nationally.

Three months ago, predictions that the coronavirus would kill 100,000 or more people caused panic and fear.  Today, as we approach 100,000 deaths, there is some finger pointing and blaming, but people seem more worried about when they will be allowed to get a haircut than the loss of 100,000 of their countrymen.

As we wrote on May 10, familiarity with the virus has helped calm our fears, but we are also seeing a virus in retreat, at least in the U.S., and that lends us confidence.  Add to that the pent up demand to get back to “normal,” the frustration with months-long confinement, and the appearance of unreasonable and often extreme prohibitions on our constitutional rights by petty bureaucrats and it is no wonder people are protesting and refusing to comply.

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May 26 Coronavirus Report: Deaths Decline

The coronavirus continues to spread globally even as cases in the U.S. slow in most states.

Reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. increased by 19,100 in the past 24 hours, an increase of 1.1 percent.  Deaths were up by 416 to 98,191, the lowest level since March.

The curve continues to head down, even as some states see slight upticks and Virginia reported a record number of new cases and some medical professionals and the media wring their hands about a lack of social distancing at recent Memorial Day weekend activities. Others say that an uptick in cases and hospitalizations is expected and that reopening will continue despite it.

The New York Times shows an increase in the number of states that they rate as “New cases are increasing” as seen in our update chart:

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