Monday, June 24, 2019

Will government cease to function during an Ebola event?

(In reference to Hard Times make Hard Men) This reminds me of Duckworth's demise - people getting caught not helping the community. 
I figured Ebola would make it into the community at some point, and drugs is as likely as any other method - though when you mentioned young men, I was expecting the problem to be women. 
You haven't mentioned government in a while - are the feds or locals making any attempt at governing at this point? Or are they not mentioned because they are irrelevant at this point since anything they are doing doesn't affect the community?   -Frequent commentor Jonathan H

What happens to government is mostly outside the story arc but they are worth discussing, just because.

Very early in the epidemic government will beef up with contractors and by leveraging through charitable organizations.

A key trigger point, at least in Michigan, will be when the schools see 25% absenteeism. The reason that 25% is a key measurement is because that is when a "school day" does not count toward No-Child-Left-Behind metrics and toward graduation requirements.

The decision to suspend school operations at 25% absenteeism until there is sufficient evidence that the epidemic is over has already been enshrined in state law. That will probably be the de facto trigger for the suspension of all "non-essential" government operations and martial law in the tenser, urban areas.

A key point is not "25% of the students are sick", it is "25% of the students did not show up." You can bet that many parents will choose to keep their kids home if/when they pick up on the fact that the epidemic is Ebola, not the seasonal flu. In fact, I bet the schools blow through that 25% absent number the day after the second case is confirmed in a community.

For the sake of simplicity, the Governor will suspend government operations on a county-by-county basis. He/she will shut down the county when the largest school district in the county trips the 25% threshold.

So who is left? The "essential employees." First responders, prison guards, water treatment operators, the guys who fix traffic lights and the military.

First responders will be hardest hit with Ebola. First responders and prison guards will get blue-flu. The military will be confined to base.

Recap: three weeks after the second case of Ebola is confirmed in a community there will be no government. If you are lucky, the toilets will still fill and flush.

80% mortality means 20% survival, right?
Not so quick, Feldman.

With IVs and what we consider to be low-tech intervention, the number of 20% survival rate is bandied about. That presumes a long logistical tail supporting the head of the spear. Who is going to stick the IV if the medical personnel are dead or (wisely) decided to stay home? Who is going to wash bedding, change dressings, feed, toilet and clean the patient?

Assuming that everybody in the household will die is a reasonable first-order approximation if Ebola shows up in post-collapse, snow-flake America. Even if they put the carrier on the proverbial ice-floe, it will be too late. Everybody in the house had already been exposed.

Even if the patients survived Ebola and "only" has cognitive impairment and trashed vision, they must still learn to avoid predators in the new normal even as they figure out how to find or grow food and avoid freezing to death.

It is a tiny bit of a spoiler, but I figure Kates Store will spin-down to a low-water mark of twenty living people per square mile. It started out with fifty or sixty per square mile.

Areas that are not as organized as Kates Store and/or have a high percentage of low-trust residents will spin down to ten living people per square mile...even if they started with three thousand. It might be different if a city were 100% inhabited by devout Quakers or Amish or Mormons.

Michigan currently has about nine-million residents. Most of them live in low-trust areas. A reasonable low-water mark for Michigan's post-Ebola population is 60,000 people. That is a 0.7% survival rate.

I would not expect any meaningful difference for any part of the US east of a line from Fargo, South North Dakota - to - Houston, Texas or for the states of California, Oregon, Washington or Hawaii.


  1. I'll take TWO sleeping aids tonight....

  2. Yup. Think about all of the people who will die within weeks of the loss of needed medicine (insulin) or power associated with industrial society.

    The number might be higher in the most rural areas. Might be.