In the summer of 2014, the media and state actors panicked over the emergence of an ebola epidemic in Western Africa. The panic was understandable and entirely warranted.
After all, ebola kills around 50% of those infected. Moreover, a cursory examination of ebola’s symptoms are terrifying. Among other things, ebola can induce blood vomiting, severe rash, and liver inflammation. After the disease was reigned in and Western African States declared their health crises under control, health departments around the world began to reflect on their response to the ebola epidemic.
Although the ebola epidemic was regionally contained, it was not due to the competence and quick response of state governments. The implications of the lackluster response to the epidemic are far more disturbing than ebola itself. In a globalized world, we are entirely unprepared to quickly address the outbreak of a horrific disease. At this point, a pandemic isn’t a possibility, it is an inevitability.
Say what you will about the politics of Bill Gates but he is right about one thing: we are entirely unprepared to contain and address a potential pandemic. We lack the resources, funding, and state cooperation to adequately address an epidemic that has the potential to become a pandemic. In his Vox interview, Gates mentions an anecdote worth discussing: the 1918 Spanish Flu was almost equal in human devastation to World War II. It seems safe to assume that a pandemic today would only be accelerated by globalization. An infected individual could board a plane in Dubai and be in New York 15 hours later. We live in a time where we are uniquely vulnerable to pandemic.
Until governments properly fund health programs, it is entirely up to the individual to manage risk. In the case of a lethal, infectious outbreak, the best strategy is to go into isolation. Of course, any period of extended isolation will require a considerable amount of prepping. Most obviously, you will need food and water. Don’t count on clean tap water. In the event of a cataclysmic pandemic, it is likely infrastructure will deteriorate. This will lead to worsened water quality and the potential of infection by waterborne disease. Invest in quality water filtration systems.
Do your emergency plans include contingencies for plague? If they don’t, they should. The probability of such an event, over 50%, certainly warrants preparation. Do not be caught unprepared. What are your plans for pandemic? Will you attempt to bug out or follow a strategy of isolation at home?