Pandemic looming or storm in a teacup?
I am sure everyone has by now heard about the growing outbreak of a new coronavirus.
The new virus emerged apparently from an animal market in Wuhan in eastern China just before Christmas.
The number of people infected is now nearing a thousand. The large bulk of these are in China, but isolated cases are beginning to appear in other countries in south east Asia, and increasingly around the world.
The first outbreaks are now appearing in Europe with three cases in France, and there have been two cases now in the USA.
To date 26 people have died, all in China.
The World Health Organisation has so far declined to declare a Global Health Emergency, and the Chinese Government claims it has the situation under control.
The outbreak however has come at the worse possible time for China as today is the Lunar New Year holiday when many millions of people travel to be with their families.
The Chinese government has implemented strong measures to contain the spread of the disease including cancelling major public events, closing visitor attractions like the Forbidden City in Beijing and Shanghai's Disney Resort and banning travel in and out of a growing number of cities across the country.
In the UK there have been a number of suspected cases but so far all have tested negative.
It is however widely accepted that it is only a matter of time before confirmed cases appear in Britain.
Until that point concern here in the UK is likely to be moderately subdued.
Social media, particularly Youtube and Twitter, is beginning to light up with reports, updates, projections and speculations - some measured and well researched, others easily drifting toward hyperbole and sensationalism.
This report from DW gives a measured update on the situation...
As a prepper my concern level is a little more heightened than most. Receiving an unexpected email this evening from the teacher saying that my daughter's Chinese lessons on Sunday have been cancelled has done nothing to lessen my prepping alert thoughts.
The big question is how do you prepare for a disease outbreak situation like this?
The number one answer of course is to stay away from people, and particularly large crowds, as much as possible. That is a bit easier for us in rural Wales but two of our daughters are studying in big cities, and our younger one is still at school.
I don't forsee the wearing of masks happening in the UK yet awhile, but I already have some N95 masks in stock just in case. However experts suggest most masks give very imperfect protection as they do not form a full facial seal.
Washing of hands very regularly is reported to be more effective. Carrying hand sanitiser is also useful.
Canadian Prepper on YouTube gives a good rundown on ways to prepare for a potential pandemic if it goes that far...
My best advice - keep informed, stay alert, be prepared.
If you want the official line keep an eye on the World Health Organisation...
Goodnight and stay well.
[ image from pixabay.com ]