Prepper News Update July 30

Vaccines Less Effective Over Time

The FDA has found that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine drops by about 19 percent to 84 percent over six months.  That’s far better than the Chinese vaccine, which apparently drops below 50 percent after six months.  The news may worry the vaccinated, but Pfizer’s shareholders are probably celebrating.  This news could mean they get to sell booster shots.  According to the wall Street Journal, Pfizer expects to make $33.5 billion selling the vaccine this year.

The Best Places for Survival

A study published in the journal Sustainability rated the top places to survive the collapse of society are island nations in this order: New Zealand, Iceland, the UK, Tasmania, and Ireland.  These countries were chosen for their ability to grow food, protect their borders from mass migration, and maintain their electrical grid.  My guess is that the U.S. failed on the second point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your retreat a “collapse lifeboat” within the U.S. 

The article is an interesting read for the serious prepper while the actual journal article goes into detail on the problems of a complex society and says it has determined “human civilisation that is in a perilous state, with large and growing risks developing in multiple spheres of the human endeavour.”  While I do not agree with many of the assumptions and predictions of the paper, it is still worth reading and provides many ideas worth considering.

Flashpoints and Future Wars

We’ve talked previously about rising tensions between China and Taiwan and its allies, and how this could result in a war. Here’s an interesting article on flashpoints for World War Three, and Taiwan ranks at the top.

Prepper News Update July 20

COVID-19 Exposure Surges in UK

One fifth of all workers in the UK are supposed to be self-isolating due to potential COVID-19 exposure.  The UK might have to start closing factories again, causing a second wave of economic damage.  The country just passed the 50,000 cases per day mark in its fourth wave of the pandemic.

Wildfires Spread in the West

The Bootleg Fire in Oregon just north of the California border continues to grow, spreading over 476 square miles.  There are currently some 70,000 wildfires across the western states.

Video of the Day: China Bad

This video about China’s enmity towards the U.S. is both thought provoking and concerning.

Many Vaccines Less Effective with Delta Variant of COVID-19

Perhaps people would take the Delta variant of COVID-19 more seriously if they called it COVID-21. Its causing another wave in much of the world.

The good news is that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S. continue to drop, even as the Delta variant is becoming the dominant strain in the U.S. For those that haven’t been following the news, the COVID-19 mutation known as Delta caused the surge of cases and so much death in India and is far more transmissible. More good news is that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines appear to be quite effective against Delta.

The bad news is that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is marching across the world, and Chinese vaccines appear to be less effective against this mutation. Multiple countries are experiencing surges as this article reports “examples from several countries suggest that the Chinese vaccines may not be very effective at preventing the spread of the virus, particularly the new variants.”

A vaccine that is 51 percent effective is still better than no vaccine, and China vaccinated 500 million people in a single month. But that may only cut the path of COVID-19 in half. If another outbreak develops or the country increases its lockdowns and shutdowns to prevent the spread, it could exacerbate supply chain problems and cause costs to rise. Shipping delays already plague key Southern ports in China. COVID-19 could increase the backlog.

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Imagine a World Without New Semiconductors and Microchips

A slowdown in the production of new cars due to a lack of microchips may be just a taste of what the future holds. Chips are a huge potential weakpoint in the global supply chain.

The Wall Street Journal just published the article “The World Relies on One Chip Maker in Taiwan, Leaving Everyone Vulnerable” about how Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) makes most of the chips in use today, and 92 percent of the world’s most sophisticate chips. They frequently manufacture chis for other companies, including Apple, Qualcomm and others.

This quote from the article gets to the cusp of the matter:

“Its dominance leaves the world in a vulnerable position, however. As more technologies require chips of mind-boggling complexity, more are coming from this one company, on an island that’s a focal point of tensions between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as its own.

Analysts say it will be difficult for other manufacturers to catch up in an industry that requires hefty capital investments. And TSMC can’t make enough chips to satisfy everyone—a fact that has become even clearer amid a global shortage, adding to the chaos of supply bottlenecks, higher prices for consumers and furloughed workers, especially in the auto industry.

The situation is similar in some ways to the world’s past reliance on Middle Eastern oil, with any instability on the island threatening to echo across industries. Companies in Taiwan, including smaller makers, generated about 65% of global revenues for outsourced chip manufacturing during the first quarter of this year, according to Taiwan-based semiconductor research firm TrendForce. TSMC generated 56% of the global revenues.

Being dependent on Taiwanese chips “poses a threat to the global economy,” research firm Capital Economics recently wrote.”

In other words, TSMC is potentially a weak point in the supply chain for millions of products we rely on every day.

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Inflation, War, COVID-19, and Other Dangers Lie Ahead

Our hopes of getting back to the pre-COVID normal seem pretty dismal, but there have always been reasons to prepare.

We addressed inflation as recently as two days ago, but in their article “The perfect storm making everything you need more expensive” CNN sums up their reasons for rising prices thusly:

“Companies are furiously trying to restock inventories following last year’s global recession, straining supply chains already reeling from the pandemic to breaking point. A shortage of shipping containers and bottlenecks at ports have made matters worse and increased the cost of moving products around the world. Throw in accidents, cyberattacks, extreme weather and the huge disruption caused by the desperate hunt for cleaner sources of energy, and you have a perfect storm.”

No mention of the money supply’s explosive growth, but CNN admits that the pursuit of green energy is a contributing factor. While the word “inflation” does not appear until the sixth paragraph, they admit that “inflation is back and it’s widespread.”

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Two Actions Today Moved the World a Step Closer to War

It’s all well and good to prepare for natural disasters and an economic collapse, but war is a constant in our history. Don’t neglect to prepare for it.

Two things moved the world closed to war today as two well-known hot spots heated up.

First, an Iranian missile hit an Israeli-owned ship in the Arabian sea.  This could exacerbate tensions between Iran and Israel and lead to a response from Israel, which is known for its punishing response to attacks. Whether Israel strikes back directly at Iran or one of the terrorist groups it sponsors remains to be seen. At the very least, I would expect Israeli air strikes on ammo dumps or missile launch sites.

The danger here is that the two countries could get embroiled in open warfare that might involve the entire region and impact oils supplies, suck in world powers like the U.S. or Russia, or even lead to the use of nuclear devices.

Second, Taiwan publicly discussed its program of designing and building land-based long-range missiles capable of striking mainland China. They said one system is currently in production (and one assumes being deployed) and three more are in development.

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Coronavirus Report July 13: Recap and Round-Up

The reign of the coronavirus is far from over as surging cases continue to threaten our food supply, the economy, and our lives.

I am back at my desk after a weekend of travel.  While I was enjoying the quiet mountain air, the sound of rain on the roof, and the gurgle of rushing mountain creaks, Florida turned in its worst day of COVID-19 cases ever, as did Los Angeles County.

Florida reported 15,299 new cases Sunday, a new record not only for Florida but for any state.  They reportedly had 19.6 percent of test results coming back positive.  These are both huge numbers.  The 19.6 percent practically guarantees that there are far more cases that are going unreported. 

Los Angeles reported 3,322 new cases, its highest number yet, with a positive test rate of 9 percent.  The county has running total of 133,549 coronavirus cases and a total of 3089 deaths.  That means that the county of Los Angeles, with a population of just over 10 million, has more cases than the entire country of Canada.

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Global Hot Spots and Bad Economic News Spark Concerns

War drums boom, coronavirus outbreaks bloom, and food shortages loom. There’s plenty of things for a prepper to worry about.

It’s a busy world out there, full of conflict, threats, disease, poverty, hunger, and anger.  Let’s not forget anger.  Here are a few things that are in the news today, and similar reports can be found every day:

In other words, lots of reasons to prep.  Our top two concerns are China and COVID-19.

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