New York Flooding Reminds us why it is Important to Prep for the Unexpected

We have hurricane hunters, weather radar, apps on our phones, and emergency notification, but sometimes things still catch us by surprise.

Some of the biggest disasters this country has experienced happen by surprise. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. The Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption in 1980. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Many personal disasters and emergencies also happen without warning, from a heart attack to getting laid off. Being a victim of a crime is usually unexpected, as is being in an accident. Bam, your life changes in an instant.

But who would have guessed that a hurricane that came ashore in Louisiana would kill at least 40 people in New York and New Jersey days later? But that is exactly what happened when the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded subways, floated cars on major highways, closed roads, caused water in apartment buildings and storefronts, spun of tornadoes and caused massive flooding and property damage. (Click here for images and videos.)

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New York City may be our Canary in the COVID Mine

For decades, miners would bring canaries into coal mines to act as an early warning system for carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. NYC may be our early warning system for COVID-19.

I left New York City back in the early 1990s. As a recent college graduate, it was a fun place to live and work, but it was a terrible place to raise children and an even worse place to be a prepper.

In 2002, I visited Lower Manhattan and saw the remains of the World Trade Center. It was a somber moment as 9/11 was still fresh in everyone’s minds. There was no formal memorial yet, just a makeshift one with photos, notes, flowers and such on the fencing that surrounded the ruins. I believe that was the last time I was there, and I have no desire to go back.

These days, in our COVID Crisis, there is even less reason to go. Thankfully, my wife’s close friend and former colleague who used to live on Staten Island moved to Florida, so there’s no reason to go back to “the city.”

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COVID-19 Increases in Europe Despite Continued U.S. Decline

Just two months ago, the U.S. was seeing COVID-19 cases grow at 9 percent per week. In the past week, the U.S. has seen growth of 1.4 percent. Meanwhile cases across Europe are climbing.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to slow in the U.S. with hospitalizations down about 70 percent from their peak, cases in Europe increased 9 percent over the past week. The big question is whether a similar increase lies in the future for the United States.

According to the WHO, its new variations of the virus that are causing the European increase, as reported in this article from the Associated Press:

The variant first found in the U.K. is spreading significantly in 27 European countries monitored by WHO and is dominant in at least 10 countries: Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal.

It is up to 50% more transmissible than the virus that surged last spring and again in the fall, making it more adept at thwarting measures that were previously effective, WHO experts warned. Scientists have concluded that it is also more deadly.

In reality, the difference in numbers may related to the greater success with vaccination in the U.S. The European Union, as we have reported before, was slow to order vaccines and is lagging the U.S. in both vaccine availability and the number of people being vaccinated per day.

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COVID-19 Cases Drop 39 Percent in Two Weeks

Is the plunging number of new COVID-19 cases part of a normal peak and valley, or is the vaccine pushing numbers down?

What was once a map red with COVID-19 hot spots on the New York Time’s interactive COVID-19 page is now soft oranges and pale yellows as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to decline.  We recently reported that new cases had declined 30 percent over a two-week period.  The latest two weeks have seen a 39 percent decline. In fact, after peaking on January 8 at around 260,000, the 7-day moving average of new cases in the United States is now less than 95,000, the lowest it has been since the first week of November.

Hospitalizations and deaths are also dropping in the U.S., although those curves are lagging.  In the past 24 hours, there have been 63,850 cases reported, 1,080 deaths, and 67,023 people are hospitalized.  That is 60,000 fewer hospitalizations due to the coronavirus than we saw at the peak.

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From COVID’s Perspective, California is the new New York

In the spring, densely populated New York was the epicenter of COVID-19. Now it has shifted to the other coast and Los Angeles is the new viralhot bed.

In the past week, global COVID-19 cases climbed to more than 90 million, an increase in excess of 5 million.  Almost 2 million have died around the world.

Also in the past week, on January 8, the U.S. saw more than 300,000 reported COVID-19 cases.  Domestically, U.S. cases are now in excess of 22.4 million with about 375,000 deaths. Of those, more than 12 percent, some 2.71 million, are in California.

To break this down on a state level, California broke the 50,000 per day mark last week and is averaging more than 42,000 per day.  That’s about twice as many cases as the entire country experienced back in April and May when the first wave of the virus was peaking. 

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October 5: Lockdowns Loom Again as Another Wave Expected

While the U.S. worries about its president and the NFL, Europe has bigger problems on its hands as cases continue to climb and lockdowns loom.

While there were 34,491 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 332 deaths, the big news this weekend is that President Trump, the First Lady, and many Whitehouse  advisors and staffers, along with a few senators, have been infected with COVID-19.

In the long run, this probably changes nothing.  In the short run, it gives the media a story to focus on.  Although I doubt Trump wanted constant media coverage for being whisked off to Walter Reed Medical Center and getting Oxygen and a host of different drugs, it probably does create some sympathy for him. 

Outside Capitol Hill, the number of cases continues to creep slowly upward even as the number of deaths continues to decline. We have previously blamed the uptick in cases on students returning to classes and increased testing.  If you look at the heat map, the Midwest, from Wisconsin and Iowa down to Missouri and Arkansas, are the hot spots, at least in terms of percentage of case growth, if not number of cases.

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Coronavirus Report June 21 – Cases Up, Deaths Down

While cases of coronavirus continue to climb in the U.S. and around the world, the death rate continues to drop.

Editor’s Note: after a three-day trip with no WiFi or Internet the entire time, we are resuming our regular COVID-19 coverage. After more than 90 days straight of posts, it was a nice break.  Check back late Sunday night or Monday for the full story.

Cases vs. Deaths

Reported cases of coronavirus in the U.S. have grown to 2,265,200 while deaths are 119,710.

Data from the New York Times (see charts, above)  shows that coronavirus cases in the U.S. have been growing for six days straight, culminating with 31,888 new cases yesterday and dragging the 7-day moving average upwards at a rate not seen since a spike in late April.  Interestingly, and perhaps reassuringly, deaths continue to drop. 

We might expect to see a commensurate increase in deaths in two or three weeks, but we’ve been expecting an increase in deaths ever since the first state reopened and they have not manifested.  This points to one of two things: Either testing is uncovering more cases with minimal or no symptoms (which is what many health directors have been saying), or the virus is more survivable.  This could be due to improved treatment regimens or simply that a younger, more resilient population is getting the disease.

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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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Coronavirus is Changing our World

The coronavirus is a disrupter, changing the way we work, live, travel and study. How well you survive the post-viral period may depend on how quickly you adapt to change.

There are a number of articles online this morning about how little we know about the coronavirus, including how many patients are asymptomatic, and why the diseases lingers and lasts for weeks or months in others.

But while there may be open medical question the impact on the economy is very clearly illustrated in dropping employment numbers and sinking industrial output and consumer spending, as we reported yesterday.  Even as COVID-19 cases slow, there’s no quick economic recovery waiting in the wings.  This is in part because of slow or no reopening, but it is also in part because people are scared to get back to life as it used to be, and often for good reason. The world has changed, and that can be scary.

Right now, it’s the governors who are frozen with indecision, afraid to change, but there are many actions the could be taking with a high degree of safety, especially if we practice social distancing and good hygiene with frequent had washing and surface disinfection.  For example:

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Politics vs Pandemic

We’ve seen the curve flatten and slowly drop, now news coverage is following as COVID-19 gets less coverage.

For two months, the coronavirus dominated headlines, spread across pages of newspapers and took up hours of broadcast time.  Suddenly, the coverage has lessened and politics has come back into focus.  The question is: Did this happen because stories about General Flynn’s charges being dropped and Tara Reade’s accusations against Joe Biden were more compelling than the virus, or because the virus suddenly lacked news value? 

The arch of the coronavirus story seemed to be:  Article about panic at how fast it was spreading and how bad things were going to be in the future, which gave way to stories about a lack of PPE and ventilators, which evolved into stories about when it would peak and what the total death toll would be, which slid into stories about when things would reopen, protests, and then meat shortages.  Politics was a thread throughout, with votes on funding and fingers pointing blame.  But now, politics seems to be replacing coronavirus in the news.

Well, we said we wanted to get back to normal.  I can’t think of anything more normal than politics and finger pointing dominating the news.

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