Rapid COVID-19 Growth Results in Scary Numbers on Halloween

As the U.S. approaches 100,000 cases per day and the world closes in on 600,000, it is clear the virus is spreading faster and faster.

On Thursday, the U.S. surpassed 9 million cases of coronavirus infection, with a record 90,446 reported in the prior 24 hours.  However, there were only 1,004 reported deaths.  On Friday, the U.S. came close to 100,000 cases with the New York Times reporting 98,859 cases, but only 971 deaths.

Compare these numbers to the 2,300 deaths per day in April when there were only around 30,000 cases per day.  If you do the math, you’ll find the death rate per known case was about 6 or 7 times higher six months ago.

Even if we look at the rates one month ago, on September 30, the number of cases has doubled while the number of deaths is up less than 9 percent.  It is unclear exactly why the death rate is lower than previously, but here are some possible answers:

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A Sam’s Club Report as Panic Buying Begins Again

With five more days until Election Day and a potential coronavirus-inspired lockdown in the future, we visit Sam’s Club to see what is in stock.

According to the article “A Lot Of Hoarding” – Americans Race To Supermarkets As Second Wave Arrives that ran on Wednesday on ZeroHedge, the sale of baking goods in the first three weeks of October “spiked 3,400% from  a year earlier” which is better than the 6,000 percent we saw this spring.  Of course, that differential may just mean that the stocking up is just starting and those numbers will increase. 

And by the way, “Hoarding” is not the correct term for people who stock up for personal use.  Hoarding means buying items that are in short supply and holding them hopes or reselling them to make a profit once scarcity sets in. Hoarders hoard for profit.  Preppers prep for safety and security.

As I wrote earlier this week, there are signs that empty shelves are once again lie in our future.  So we made an excursion to our local grocery and to Sam’s Club to see how things were doing in our neck of the woods.

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Unemployment, Homelessness and Economic Uncertainty to Continue into 2021

As government-mandated rent deferrals and mortgage deferrals expire, tens of millions could face eviction early next year.

While many worry about violence after Election Day, a concern the recent riots in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington have done nothing to calm, there is another time bomb ticking that has nothing to do with the election: Unpaid rent.

While the media has been worrying about COVID-19 cases, they have neglected to talk about the problem affecting far more people: layoffs, furloughs, and unemployment.  The impact losing your job can have on people’s lives is hard to underestimate and in times of high unemployment rates can lead to  homelessness.  In the long run, the crumbling of our economy may do far more harm to the lives of the younger generations than catching the coronavirus, in part because a loss of income often leads to a loss of housing.  And being homeless can become a spiral that is difficult to climb out of.

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Get Prepared for a Long, Cold, Lonely Winter

The combination of cold, snowy weather and rising cases of COVID-19 could make for a cold, lonely winter with no holiday visits.

The middle of the country is suffering through an arctic blast, with snow in the American Redoubt and ice storms as far south as Texas.  Winter has started early and looks to be a cold one due to two factors: The La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, which result in colder temperatures parts of the U.S.; and the solar minimum, a time during which the sun’s solar spot activity dies down and temperatures on earth drop.  Many fear that the current solar minimum may last  years, rivaling the Maunder Minimum which may have caused “the little ice age” in the late 1600s.

At the same time temperatures are dropping, the number COVID-19 cases are growing, peaking last week at more than 85,000.  Hospitalizations are also increasing, although there has been little or no increase in deaths so far. Fears that lockdowns will be announced grow as people like Dr Faucci and California’s Governor Newsom are recommending strict Thanksgiving restrictions, including restricting travel, limiting the number of people who attend and the length of the gathering.

In short, it looks like we may be in for a long, cold, lonely winter.

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Prepper Diary October 27: I Almost Get my Ass Kicked by a Screw

Sometimes what looked like a simple chore throws you a curve ball.

I have been doing a great deal of work around the house as we continue to move closer to actually listing it on the market.

I have emptied my bedside table, every drawer and file cabinet in my office desk, and the bedroom gun cabinet. (It’s funny what you hang on to.  I found my stacks of stuff were about 75 percent things that I could throw out and 25 percent stuff that was worth packing.)

As of today, there is nothing on my dresser and my desk is as clean as it has ever been.  We moved furniture and lots of boxes into the freshly painted back room in the basement so that the rooms will be less cluttered and look bigger for the prospective buyers. The realtor and her designer requested this during the staging, and they brought a few objects d’art and fake flowers to make the place look purty. You know, because nothing impresses house hunters like plastic plants. But the photos have been shot and we should have or house listed by Thursday or Friday.

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October 26: Coronavirus Growth Spirals Out of Control

France, Italy, Germany and the UK are all seeing COVID-19 cases grow by 20 percent or more each week. That’s a growth rate four times that of the U.S.

The coronavirus grew at an rapid pace in the past week, pushing the curve (you know, the one we have all been trying to flatten) into its steepest incline yet.  The global total increased by more than 3 million to 43.2 million cases and 1.15 million deaths.

In last week’s report, only four countries had more than 1 million reported cases of COVID-19. Today there are seven as France, Argentina and Columbia all hit that milestone in just the past week.  In fact, as you can see in the chart below, France is closing in on 1.2 million, having added more than 400,000 cases in just a week.  It would not surprise me if two or three more countries join the million-case club in the next week, as we can see in the chart below:

COVID cases for the week ending 10/26/20
Countries with the most COVID cases for the week ending 10/26/20. Data from Johns Hopkins.
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The Preppers Quandary: How Long Will TEOTWAWKI Last?

If we were to be hit with a SHTF situation, like a systemic collapse of society, how long would it take before a recovery, and how long would your preps need to last?

A recent post and the related discussion on Survival Blog got me thinking: How long do we expect to need our preps? Do we need to prep for a year?  Three years?

Assuming that we are prepping for a large-scale systemic collapse that affects the entire world (not just the U.S.), how long does our food and stored gasoline need to last?  When can we expect to obtain more, if ever, on the open market? Do we expect society to recover and have some level of technical expertise, or do we expect to be scratching out a living like peasants in 15 years, when all the gas is gone and our motorized equipment has failed?

For example, if I install a solar power system, the batteries might last 10 or 12 years, the panels might last 30, and the inverter might last anywhere from a few years to decades.  But with any complicated electronic device, things can go wrong without warning.  Should I be stocking spare parts?  If so, what spare parts, and what does that do to my system costs?  Maybe I would be better off getting two dual inverters, so if one failed, I could continue to run the other.  Another alternative would be to buy a smaller inverter, use it for a few years, and then buy a larger model when I upgrade my system, taking the small inverter out of service and using it as a spare.

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Runaway COVID-19 Cases Soar to New Record

New coronavirus cases are erupting across the United States and Europe, where cases have doubled in the past week. Rates of infection are now five times higher than they were in the spring.

I thought the days of blogging about the coronavirus every day were well behind me, but with a record number of 85,085 cases reported in the past 24 hours, it’s growing so fast that it’s hard to ignore. 

While the majority of the country is not treating COVID-19 with anywhere near the same fear and trepidation that they did this spring, it’s something preppers need to monitor, both so that we can prepare for future lockdowns and to take steps to avoid catching it.  I am already hearing anecdotal reports of empty shelves in local grocery stores.

Here is the news from the past 36 hours:

NBC reported more than 77,000 cases on Thursday, which made October 22 the highest total in the U.S. ever. At least until the next day, when Friday October 23 saw more than 85,000 cases, 10 percent higher than any prior peak.

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Prepper Diary October 23: I Voted Yesterday

Lots of threats and fears about election day violence, lost ballots, miscounts and delays. I voted early to avoid those issues.

I voted yesterday. The entire process ran smoothly.  Things were calm, peaceful, and friendly.  I did not see a security guard or law enforcement officer.  Neither did I see any protesters or anyone with a malevolent look.  (Maybe it was too early for Antifa to be awake.)  Surprisingly, no one was outside handing out candidate information; I usually have to run a gauntlet of these folks.  Maybe that just happens on Election Day.

I left the house at around 10:30 a.m. and went to vote and run a few errands.  I figured I would be voting between the before-work voters and the lunch-hour voters so there would not be much of a wait. It was a good call.

My precinct normally votes at a library, but this was early voting, so there were only a limited number of places to vote.  I picked a church because even though I had never been to it, I knew the road it was on.  The parking lot was about half full.  People were walking towards the building while others were walking out and towards their cars.  Everyone had their mask on, which reminded me to grab mine.  (I can’t tell you how many times I walk up to a build without my mask and then have to go back to the car and get it.)

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Coronavirus Sets New Records with Unfettered Growth

Coronavirus is back to setting records, with Germany reporting more cases than ever before, as are Hungry, Poland, and Romania.  Rising cases across Europe contributed to a record 443,751 case total in the past 24 hours, also a record, leading to a global total of 41.3 million cases as reported by Johns Hopkins.

Since Monday’s coronavirus update, both Argentina and Spain have surpassed the 1 million COVID-19 case mark, the fifth and sixth countries to do so.

Here’s an interesting story: Italy Did Everything Right to Stop a Second Wave of Coronavirus. So What Went Wrong?

The U.S.Reported 62,751 new cases in the past 24 hours, for a total of just under 8.4 million.  There were also 1,170 deaths for a total of 222,157.  The U.S. is now reporting more cases per day than India, where case growth has finally slowed.

As numbers rise, look for governments to use the threat to impose more restrictions and make your plans accordingly.