What's Next After A Pandemic
Things must be getting better. People are back to dragging everything back to politics. I miss the early days of quarantine when we were nicer people.
I don't give gripers much room in my head. I prefer to concentrate on important stuff like what comes next.
Things are getting better depending on where you live, but it won't go back to what we thought was normal--at least not for a while.
You might feel happy to go back to restaurants or go shopping without a care, but my concerns go deeper. A lot of people lost their jobs because of this virus. Some companies won't recover, so those jobs are gone forever.
Small businesses are especially hard hit. I don't blame people for wanting to go back to work. It's fine if you can work from home, but many people can't. Unfortunately, there's no good scenario out there. It's one thing to order people to stay home, quite another to keep them from earning a livelihood.
What are the long term ramifications if we isolate too long...or not long enough? There's really no right answer. In the end, someone is going to get hurt one way or another. That damage will trickle down to the rest of us indirectly.
Recently on Facebook, I asked my friends what their stores looked like. When we went shopping last Tuesday, there were no shortages for the things I wanted. That wasn't the case for many of my friends. I was quite surprised. This was the first time I'd been out in more than six weeks. I expected a wasteland, yet all the shelves were full. That isn't the case everywhere though.
This leads me to believe that we're facing a growing distribution and manufacturing imbalance for the long term. Worse yet, after all the meat plant closures in the US, I'm not sure I'd trust meat sold right now. And what about other perishables like medicine?
The first thing I did after I read those comments on Facebook was to take a hard look at my inventory.
We are in excellent shape. Plenty of food and other consumables. My goal now is to grow that inventory to last a year.
We're lucky in that we actually grow or raise much of our food. But there are some things we cannot produce ourselves.
For example I don't grow rice. I can't manufacture toilet paper, alcohol, or oil. We still have to buy prescription medication. This means these are the items we must rely on from the outside world.
What I recommend is that as soon as you can go shopping again, start thinking six months down the line. What will you need if this virus becomes seasonal and we get hit again in the winter--or worse, around Christmas when everyone is out shopping and eating like consumer-maniacs?
Every time you shop, pick up one extra package of soap, alcohol, toilet paper, or whatever consumable you're low on now. That's your wake up call on what could be a shortage the next time this happens.
That's not hoarding. You're stocking up for the year. This way you're not stuck in that rabid crowd of panic shoppers.
Here's my checklist for the next 12 months.
- Fats: Believe it or not this is the one thing I didn't store enough. Fats include butter, oils, and shortening.
- Dairy: We're not milk drinkers but most people are. Since it's a perishable item, you might want to consider those shelf-stable milk cartons or dry milk. You can also freeze milk--or you can be like me and keep a dairy goat. 😊 🐐 Don't forget cheeses and yogurts.
- Eggs: Eggs keep for weeks at a time. If you're not keeping chickens, consider freezing the next dozen eggs you buy so you don't have to run out during a lock down.
- Bread: Bread freezes surprisingly well and defrosts nicely. If you suspect we might have to stay put again, buy a couple of extra loaves.
- Toilet paper: I'm going to assume you weren't one of those crazies buying up all the TP stock in the store, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't buy one extra package on every shopping trip. They're easy to store and never go out of style.
- Alcohol: This item sold out fast. When you see it again, pick up a couple to keep in reserve.
- Sanitizer or Sanitizer Wipes: Ditto.
- Comfort Food: Whatever your comfort food, be it pasta, potatoes, or pudding, don't let your pantry run out. Comfort food is emotional therapy.
- Pet Food/Livestock Food: Animal feed is where I should've upped my game. I almost waited until too late to stock up and nearly ran out of cat food until a kind neighbor picked some up for me. It made me a little nervous knowing I almost ran out.
- Over-the-counter and Prescription Medicine: Keep tabs of your meds and try to keep an extra month's worth of everything.
If Coronavirus becomes seasonal, will you do things differently if we face another bout of isolation?
By the way, here's an interesting article that says that this Coronavirus has mutated 30 times so far. That's probably why no one treatment has worked for everyone. It'll make it harder to develop a vaccine too.