In this article at The Organic Prepper, Daisy Luther and Selco Begovic think about what kind of effects a strict quarantine in the US might have if it is as severe as the quarantines currently in effect in China. The WHO has suggested that up to half the world population could be infected if the virus isn’t contained. Early studies suggest that the coronavirus has a fatality rate of around 2.3%. If half the world catches it, that’s approximately 100 million fatalities. If half the US population gets infected, that’s around 5 million US fatalities. There is a lot to think about on how that many fatalities and that number of sick people would affect your work, government services, private services, and everyday life.
How long do you think a pandemic quarantine could go on with power, running water, the internet, and trash pick-up continuing to run as normal?
If Covid-19 (also known as the Wuhan coronavirus or nCoV-2019) were to spread where you live as it has in China, it’s possible that extreme measures could be taken. Possibly even a China-style lockdown, where people are told to stay in their homes and where businesses are closed. I’m referring to something much more extreme than just a handful of us self-isolating.
While I certainly hope such a situation is unlikely, it’s something we should all consider a possibility and get prepared for, just in case. Considering whether or not this would be an off-grid scenario would play an extremely important part in your preparations.
Selco and I had a very interesting chat about this after I’d raised the point in a group discussion. I thought you might be interested in our thoughts. Of course, there’s no way to know exactly how this might go down, so it’s pure speculation on our part based on the research of similar situations, knowledge of our systems, and personal experiences.
Would we have utilities and services during a quarantine scenario?
…A lot of things are automated, which makes me believe we could potentially have a month or two of relative normalcy with regard to utilities, even if folks aren’t going to work. Garbage pickup would be another matter.
First things first, electrical power, natural gas, water, and the internet could run a long time automatically or with just a bit of input from someone on a computer. A pandemic isn’t going to fry our circuitry like an EMP would, for example. There’s nothing general-infrastructure-wise that would immediately compromise these utilities.
But this assumes that everything besides the pandemic is smooth sailing – that we won’t have any tornadoes, any hurricanes, any blizzards, any earthquakes, unfortunate bolts of lightning, or accidents. And it also omits manmade problems like riots that damage the infrastructure or even deliberate sabotage.
In a full-on pandemic, there’s likely going to be nobody to go out there and repair potential damage. And it’s possible that even if people were willing, they might not have access to the necessary supplies or equipment if these are items that they get on a “just-in-time” basis.
As for water, it could run for a long time but it might not be safe to drink. We’d need to be alert that there’s nobody there testing the tap water and adding chemicals. I don’t love chemicals like fluoride in my water but I do love essential chemicals better than I like amoebic dysentery and shigellosis and cholera. That being said, even if the water wasn’t drinkable right from the tap, it would certainly make life easier if folks not on septic systems could still flush their toilets, and water could be purified in a multitude of different ways…
A good question is what would happen with electric power and all other utilities once the SHTF.
And yes answer is not simple. It is based on type of event and severity of the event, but I think we can have some good guesses about it.
UtilitiesPower, running water, communications (internet, cell phones…) and similar utilities up to waste management in all modern societies are brought to an advanced level of functioning.
All that is so “modernized” in a way that most of us usually do not notice or actually do not care how it is being delivered to us. People don’t care how these things work.
I also do not know in depth how all that works, but I know that most of the utilities today are being brought to us in a very automated and interconnected way.
So, as a result, it works good, until it does not.
I think the price for that is the fact that when ONE thing goes out soon another thing will go out too. Even if something goes out FAR from you, it may still mean it easily may go out at your home.
Do not forget, things (services) no matter how modernized need to be maintained, so, if there are no people around to do maintenance, services will not work.
It depends on how bad the event is, and the control the government has over the event, and the society in which the event happening. It is a question of are people gonna be there to maintain services.
As an example, if some serious event is happening, are people willing to go maintain services or they are more willing to go home and protect their loved ones? They are all just humans, do not forget.
Also, if there is still a system functioning, the government or some kind of system, does it have enough power to FORCE people to maintain services? People will want to go home to their families.
The important fact is: if the event happening here is serious enough to bring problems to utility services, it is probably serious enough to make other services like the police force or medical services no longer working. So, as a result, the security situation will be deteriorated, so that is another obvious reason why people would want to be more with their families instead of at their job.
A deteriorating situation with utilities will usually go with a deteriorating situation in behavior between people, so it is not like our only problem will be city services and everything else will be fine at home (and safe)…