The Story So Far
In 2020, many people had to find out the hard way if they were prepared to quarantine. Americans felt like they were under house arrest with freedoms curtailed, and that was just from city, county, and state lockdown orders. Above and beyond that, those who contracted Covid-19 and were hospitalized? They had to endure weeks, even months, of complete isolation until they tested negative — often multiple times.
You may remember the shortages of toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes at grocery stores and big box stores. Facebook memes proliferated. Shopkeepers were forced to limit the amounts of TP and tissues they allowed a single customer to purchase. Mask orders were in effect. Non-essential businesses like bars and restaurants were shut down. Jobs were lost. You’re well aware of the effects of the pandemic, so that’s all I’ll say.
But for the purposes of this article, put on your thinking cap and tune it to the frequency of “quarantine.” What will you have to do?
Food and Water
Let’s say that forty days’ worth of food — dairy, fruits and vegetables, bread, coffee, etc. — will get you through the quarantine period, if it’s to take place at your home. That’s a heck of a shopping trip. I’ve found it’s better to start small. For example, each time you do your groceries, buy an extra can or two of beans, tomatoes, maybe a box of flaked mashed potatoes — anything non-perishable that you can set aside in your SHTF storage area once you’re home. Check out SHTF Blog’s article on the best foods for storing.
Also, pick up a gallon of drinking water every shopping trip, until you have several dozen in storage. You’d be surprised at how many things you need fresh water for, if you’re stuck in and no one can come to your aid for fear of infection. And don’t forget a method of heating said water. Boiling is a good way to kill external agents present in food and water. A solid Coleman propane burner with plenty of fuel will do the trick.
It goes without saying, if you’re sick from Covid or some future EOTWAWKI pandemic and the rest of your household isn’t, don’t share towels and washcloths, cups and utensils, or other household items with them. And as for surfaces, be sure to disinfect regularly. Alcohol solutions are good for this. A mixture of 70% ethanol or isopropanol to 30% water makes an effective disinfectant and antiseptic. Wipe down banisters, cupboard and refrigerator handles, anything more than one person touches.
Wear an N95 mask as much as you can. Nitrile gloves don’t hurt, either. Don’t forget, as late as October 2020, doctors and scientists were still learning new things about the Covid virus and its effects. In the case of an even worse pandemic in a future scenario, you really won’t be able to afford to condone the presence of any bacteria or virus-carrying organic matter whatsoever. Bleach, of course, is always great to have on hand, while it lasts. For additional info, check out this CDC page about quarantine guidelines. Here’s a quote:
People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).cdc.gov
You Need Entertainment To Stay Sane
It’s just a fact of human psychology — sitting there staring at the wall will drive you buggy. The human mind, in the absence of other people’s company, still has to stay engaged. So that stash of DVDs you haven’t gotten rid of yet may actually serve you well, because in a serious SHTF pandemic situation, the continued existence of the internet for streaming is not guaranteed. Even electricity may be affected. You may find yourself going back to good old-fashioned board games, some of which are named in this SHTF Blog article.
Reading will also play a key role. And there are innumerable other ways to occupy your mind while in isolation. None of them should be underestimated. Especially if you come from a close-knit family, you’ll feel the emptiness of being alone. When you think about being prepared to quarantine, keep these things in mind. Find a state of readiness inside you, in the spirit of, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
This has by no means been an exhaustive list of ways to be prepared for quarantine. I’ve left out the issue of simple physical safety, including whether you should store away self-defense ordnance. And then, there’s always the question of what would happen if you were forced to relocate due to outside threats or the exhaustion of your supplies. But let me leave you with this advice about unforetold variables. The key, I’ve found, is to trust in your own resourcefulness. You may not know what’s going to happen, but you know you’ll handle it somehow. Have faith in yourself, and even prolonged isolation can’t knock you down.