Saturday, February 29, 2020

When do we roll up the sidewalk and weld the doors shut?

Everybody will do this differently. This is truly a case of "your mileage WILL vary".

How to not do it
The worst way to do it is to not have a plan. That creates the boiled frog who never jumped out of the kettle because it started out cold and there was never a sudden change in temperature.

The second worst approach is to overly-couple the pull of the trigger with what others do. That makes you vulnerable to the fact that others might be asleep-at-the-switch or to those who are envious of the fact that you though ahead and have the means to reduce contact.

Don't talk too much about your plans. (<sarcasm font>Yeah, here I am announcing it on the internet</sarcasm font>) The crab-bucket phenomena will be just as real as the boiling frog. In this case you will have to fend off a rush of people who either want to join you or, more likely, want you to 'share' your preps before you go dark.

A key factor in when you can roll up the sidewalks involves your level of self-sufficiency. We are retired. We don't have to gird our loins every morning and hi-ho our way to work. We don't have tons of money but our needs are simple.

Rolling up the sidewalks
I decided that we will roll up the sidewalks when a confirmed case is reported in Lansing, Jackson or Battle Creek. More accurately, in Ingham, Eaton, Jackson or Calhoun counties.

The three closest towns/cities of any size are Lansing (population 100k) at 17 miles, Jackson (pop 30k) at 20 miles and Battle Creek (pop 50k) at 30 miles. Those  distances are as the crow flies.

Rolling up the sidewalks means a monthly shopping trip and Mrs ERJ and I will have no other voluntary human contact closer than 10' outdoors. The people living in the house excepted.

Parenthetical note: The first shopping trip will involve buying at least nine months supply of dried dog food.

We will continue to take care of mom on Fridays and the occasional weekend.

We would stop attending Mass on Sunday.

Other leaks: Kids

Kubota is taking welding classes at Lansing Community College. The lab work is in a large, well ventilated shop and there is much UV light. The classes are generally 2/3 full and they sit at tables.

Kubota is not working, so that is a non-issue.

Kubota doesn't like crowds and generally hangs out with one or two buddies. Hanging out generally means watching TV.

Belladonna goes to work and is taking 12 credits at Lansing Community College.

School is easy, it is already 75% electronically delivered.

Belladonna's work environment is our greatest exposure risk. She works in a plasma center and has too much contact with donors who already cough, hack, spit and often look like they are desperately in need of their next fix. She wears standard phlebe-tech PPE but that does nothing to protect nose/mouth and eyes paths.

Bella likes to go to a Sports Pubs two Fridays a month with a handful of her friends.

Welding the doors shut
The kids have a choice: They can be in the house when the doors are welded shut or they can be living someplace else.

They have all been informed that Mrs ERJ's and my age puts us at much higher risk of mortality. It will be far more expensive if we get it than if they get it.

Covid-19 isn't Ebola. It is not a civilization-threatening event. To put the current guess of mortality rate into perspective, it compresses two years worth of mortality into a three month time-frame. In any given two-year time span, society can expect between 2% and 3% of the population to shuffle off the mortal plane.

From another perspective, any given company will see 2%-to-3% retire in any given year. Not a big deal.

The big deal is that the attrition will not be planned and orderly. The big deal is that various economic entities will not re-start because they were already dead-men-walking. Unfortunately, many of those dead-men-walking produce critical widgets for society.

Welding the door shut
The trigger for welding the doors shut will be when they shut-down the schools. Both kids go to Lansing Community College. Colleges and universities are likely to try to hobble along longer than the elementary and high schools. We will pull the plug when Lansing or East Lansing schools suspend operations.

Covid-19 has been an incredibly fast-moving disease. So far, everybody has been shooting behind the duck.


  1. "So far, everybody has been shooting behind the duck."

    That pretty much sums it up. It must seem more than a little ironic that after having written dystopian fiction about this very topic for the last several years, that you are now faced with the very thing in real life.

    Your self-quarantine plan seems sound. The kids need to realize and understand that if they catch it, their symptoms would probably would be no more severe than a cold or a mild case of the regular flu. But if you two catch it, it is more likely to be severe and possibly fatal.

    Several months ago at my manual physical, my doc wanted me to get a flu shot, which I declined. I told him that the last time I had a flu shot was 35 years ago, and also the last time I had the flu was...35 years ago. He said, "So you are going to rely on herd immunity". To which I replied, "No, I am going to rely on my OWN immunity".

    Which brings me to my point that there is much one can do to strengthen their own immunity and to reduce the severity if one does catch this virus. Things like good nutrition, good sleep, good nutritional supplements, and lowering stress all help. Beyond that, there are specific supplements available that could make the critical difference. There is a product called Immune FX from The People's Chemist. There is Oregamax and also oil of oregano from North American Herb Co. Oil of oregano is what is referred to as hyssop in the Bible. It is a powerful antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal agent.

    I have been reading anecdotal stories of people in China being cured of Covid19 with traditional Chinese herbal preparations. There is a very potent product for respiratory ailments called Clear Lung from Ridgecrest Pharmaceuticals. It is a broad spectrum product made from about 20 different Chinese herbs.

    My point is that self-quarantine or not, we all need to be prepared to prevent, or failing that, successfully fight off this virus on the only battlefield that matters - our own body.

  2. Joe, this is the most sensible flu post I've read so far.
    Sounds like you assume the lights, water and heat stay on. They stayed on in the worst hit area's of china, so maybe here too.
    Also, you don't think there will be street check points, to round up sick people, or to restrict travel?
    What do you think about this: Local lake fishing trips. I am a hardcore year round kayak fisherman, since I live a few miles away from one of the larger lakes in colorado. I usually bring back fish each trip, ie: fresh food. Couple of points: the state park for the lake is also one of the few roads into pueblo west, so I don't think they will close it, they sure could though. But, I believe they will close the boat ramps which effectively closes the lake, because of state required boat inspection. They already occasionally close them for various reasons. The lake is 11 miles long, so I launch the kayak adjacent to where I want to fish which always away from traffic.
    If you could avoid human contact the whole trip would you do it?

    1. Power will stay on as long as it stays on. We have a well so we have nearly unlimited water as long as we pay the power company.

      Once the power goes off, the pump stops and so does the furnace.

      A have a few solar panels. Not what I need but some is better than none.

      We just pulled the trigger on a decent fireplace insert. It requires electricity but nothing like the 1000-to-1500 Watt inrush the furnace and well pump pull.

      I also have a 184W DC well pump if push comes to shove.

      Regarding fishing...Do it. Food fatigue is real. Cabin fever can be deadly. It sounds like you should do it even if you don't bring back fish.

      Some might contend that fish doesn't have enough calories to count as survival food, but A.) You aren't catching tilapia in Colorado and B.) Fish is flavor and most "survival food" is bland.

      Have a plan for when you intend to pull-the-plug and have a plan for when somebody tries to mug you for your fish and your kayak.


    I was ignoring the scare mongering over covid-19 thinking it was minor compared to spanish flu but it has the same death rate.

    1. We still don't have a decent fix on the mortality rate because nobody believes the number being reported as infected and many people are distrustful of the number whose death is attributable to Covid-19.

      Garbage in, garbage out. The numerator is garbage and the denominator is (garbage)^2.

      The estimate of 2%-to-3% mortality rate is the one I see most often but I suspect it is lower because I believe the number infected is more grossly under-counted than the number who die...and I could be very, very wrong.

  4. A plan is a good thing. I'm basically limiting my human contact more than normal. I've ordered some supplies in bulk that I normally order in March-April. Other than that, extra hand wipes and lotion. Since I live in a small town and have plenty of room between myself and the neighbors, I 'think' I'm good to go for now. I will modify as required as the situation changes.

  5. A pretty good update today over at the FabiusMaximus site - W.H.O. is now saying mortality is starting to converge around 0.7%, according to their math. Also some cautious optimism that the infected numbers are starting to drop in China, indicating success in fighting the spread of the infection.


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