Sunday, March 8, 2020

It's Not the Virus, It's the System

Lately I haven't been posting my WND columns on the blog, simply because I don't want to give Google an excuse to shut me down. But I think this is an important column, so I'm posting it here (for those who haven't read it on WND). A hat tip to the Organic Prepper for the title.

It's Not the Virus, It's the System

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has dominated the news over the last few weeks. Every new case is hyped, every quarantine is trumpeted, every death is front-page news.

Some people are convinced this is the bug that will wipe out all of humanity. Others point out it's just a variety of the flu, and the death rate will likely be lower than normal flus. I've heard reactions ranging from "We're all gonna die!" to "Eh, it's no big deal."

The most loathsome reactions, of course, are those try to make political hay of the situation; or worse, who hope the virus will do their dirty work for them.

There's the charming far-left Democratic politician who cheered the idea of spreading the Coronavirus to Trump supporters in response to a leftist tweet: "For the record, if I do get the coronavirus I'm attending every MAGA rally I can."

(Leftists are also mad that Trump donated his fourth-quarter salary to coronavirus control. There's no pleasing some people.)

And of course, some hope the virus will scale back the human population. "Deaths from pathogens are part of the natural cycle. They help prune back the population of the old and weak," observes Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World blog, who laments the passage of killer diseases and the rise of modern medicine which keeps medically needy "deadwood" people alive longer. I'm guessing Ms. Tverberg doesn't have cherished elderly parents or grandparents, or she wouldn't be so eager to bump off (excuse me, "prune back") older folks.

Whatever side of the issue you fall on, two obvious repercussions are becoming apparent from the spread of the coronavirus.

The first repercussion is economic. Businesses are losing customers. Companies are canceling conferences. Cruise ships are suffering. Restaurants are empty. Malls are bare. Hotels and airlines are desperately slashing prices. Concerts are postponed. Schools are closing. Anywhere people gather is now viewed with suspicion.

The collective result is a potentially catastrophic economic ripple effect across the globe. Endless businesses – not just in the U.S., but across the world – are suffering staggering financial losses, everything from clothing manufacturers to lobster fishermen. Some businesses are already closing their doors, doomed by a lack of customers.

The second repercussion is the disruption of the supply chain because of the panic buying of essentials. In places as varied as Hong Kong, Italy, the UK, and of course America, people are ramping up their purchases of food, water, medicines, sanitation supplies, and other essentials. Store shelves are being stripped bare (see some photos here). Online sources are out of stock. Companies selling emergency food supplies are overwhelmed.

Doubtless some people are panic-buying in case they're quarantined. China's cruel imprisonment of half its citizens is proof that no one wants to be locked away without some resources to fall back on.

But others, either consciously or unconsciously, recognize one indisputable fact: The supply chain could very well be interrupted, perhaps for a long while. Because most stores work on the JIT (Just In Time) principle, their ability to restock sold-out items is easily disrupted by ripple-effect shortages down the line.

Additionally, 97 percent of antibiotics are now manufactured in China, and China is pretty much shut down. What will that do to America's health care system?

Whether or not the coronavirus is as virulent as feared, it's the perception of severity that is causing the problems. In other words, it's not the virus, it's the system.

We tend to take for granted those hard-working individuals who keep our power running and water flowing, who police the streets, staff the hospitals, man the fire departments, deliver food, transport packages and mail, and perform every other service that keeps our nation running smoothly. But what if these people either cannot or will not do their job for fear of contagion?

"Do you think people working in areas that hold the system together would continue to go to their jobs or some of them might consider the option to go home and take care of their families?" asks Selco on the Organic Prepper website. "Do you think the stores will remain stocked? Do you think everything will keep running as normal? … Virus or illness on itself might not be a problem in its essence, but the impact that it brings to the system and people might be so huge through the media that it causes the system to stop working in the normal way. So you could find yourself in a collapse – not necessarily because of a huge pandemic, but because of the reaction to it."

Since every disaster contains a lesson or a message that needs to be examined, let's consider two such lessons.

First, America is far too dependent on foreign nations for critical supplies. President Trump said the COVID-19 outbreak highlights the importance of bringing back to the United States previously offshored supply chains for drugs and gear.

"The coronavirus shows the importance of bringing manufacturing back to America so that we are producing, at home, the medicines and equipment and everything else that we need to protect the public's health," Trump said. "That process has already started. … We want to make certain things at home. We want to be doing our manufacturing at home. It's not only done in China; it's done in many other places, including Ireland, and a lot of places make our different drugs and things that we need so badly."

These efforts should be cheered, not jeered. But politics being what it is, progressives will doubtless try to twist this into some sort of racist position because, well, Orange Man Bad.

And second, after years of being mocked and taunted, it seems the prepper movement was right all along. Fear of COVID-19 has motivated thousands upon thousands of Americans to start prepping like crazy. People are panicking, emptying store shelves, maxing out their credit cards, stretching supply lines, jacking up prices, and further fueling the panic.

I wish people had thought through the need to prepare during times of calmness and abundance, but I guess that's asking too much of human nature.

Preppers have a standard response whenever anyone sneers that their preparedness is pessimistic and unnecessary: "We can afford to be wrong. Can you?"

I guess we're seeing the answer now.


  1. Thanks for a well thought out article. Stay safe. Stay well.

  2. Wow, you nailed it. Excellent article. So much to think about....

  3. I have been reading your columns over at WND for years. It is really sad that you have to self censor yourself here because your platform may be placed at risk. Please keep keeping on.

  4. Thank you Patrice for a well written article. Back in November 2019 I was speaking with my Doctor and he asked about the Flu Shot. I'd been reading articles here and there about there being an unusual flu in China that was giving the country grief. Since I'd already had 2 of the strains of flu previously and not the 2 new strains, I got the shot. For the first time in 20 years. In the year prior to the shot, I was watching the crop loss and weather reports. You know that feeling that pokes you sometimes with the PAY ATTENTION NOW voice. Well it poked and instead of ignoring it, I did an inventory, rotated out really expired food into the compost bin and figured out where the holes were in my food storage. Then filled them with the ingredients to make meals. I also started dehydrating veggies and some fruits. Plus pulled apart my grain mill and cleaned it. Made sure I had enough canning jars and replacement lids. All the while my Husband of 40 years watched and asked do I need to get more food grad buckets and lids. I asked him to go through and see if there were any additional holes. He found a few and we filled them. I've been speaking with friends about special dietary needs for their family members. One finally ordered the needed food ingredients for one of her children. Another had a reality check talk with her children that INSISTED they would only eat certain "ethical" types of food. Having a hot meal that fill your stomach will be a luxury for many in the days to come. No matter the outcome, I pray that Americans will wake up and go old school and become responsible again with being prepared instead of waiting for the Government to rescue them. Bringing critical manufacturing of many items back into the U.S.A. is a start. One thing I do know is no matter what title the Dems,Progs, Lefties, Socialists and Comms call themselves, underneath is all is Slavers Never Change. It is a shame that we have become a Nation of People who censor our words in Fear of Retaliation. God Bless. Red.

  5. Well stated Patrice. The world is so focused on the virus that it is a distraction from the main event. I believe that the banking elites' 'global economic reset' (their words not mine) is now 'baked in the cake'.
    Montana Guy

    1. It's 24 hours later. Headline on Drudge Report: Market Bloodbath.

      Today would be a good time for folks to review their pre-determined 'triggers' for departing for their retreat.
      Montana Guy

    2. Interestingly enough, I spent that night furtively scurrying around my yard, bringing in garden tools, doing other things I didn’t want my neighbors to see...

      Took about 20 minutes for me to realize that most of my neighbors were furtively doing the same.

      I have a whole new view on life here in Red County, Blue State.

  6. 'Experts' are preaching the merits of 'self-isolating'. These are the same folks who mocked us for preaching the merits of 'bugging out'.
    Montana Guy

  7. Hey...If Trump hadn't made a 16% CUT to the CDC...maybe we would have been prepared for Corona and people wouldn't be so freaked out. We have no confidence in this administration. They DON'T "have our backs"! Why was China more prepared?... because they CARE about their people.

    The audacious GREED we have seen here (tax breaks for the wealthy while cutting everything else for the middle class)... has now come back to bite him in the #$%@.

    We are getting less and less from this man. People don't notice, I guess...till something like this happens...He's not the rosy human being you make him out to be. Put the blame where blame is due. J.

    1. Clearly Trump derangement syndrome. Trump didn't cut the CDC
      Tax cuts for every tax payer. Do you know what a left wing talking head means when they spout "tax cuts for the rich"? They mean that the politician in question didn't turn the IRS into a welfare system. I believe in helping our fellow citizens but seriously everyone knows people who have spent their entire life on welfare and many of them are 3rd generation welfare recipients. We need to "cap and trade" welfare: Cap it so no one else can get on it and trade it so that everyone who is on it must work 40 hours a week to get paid.

    2. Seriously??!!
      If you are saying that Trump didn't purpose tax cuts on the CDC...then everything else you wrote is moot. Wake up!!

      The so called "welfare system" you are claiming to denounce is what we call Social Security, Medicade, Food stamps and nets (without question) ARE ALL PAID for!!

      Check out the CORPORATE WELFARE SYSTEM of'll see we pick up their tab when they don't pay their help a living wage. NOW THAT'S REAL CORPORATE WELFARE!! Smell the coffee bud! You've bought into the right talking points. J.

    3. You may think SS is welfare But I paid into it for 50 years before I could retire. Wouldn't it be great if welfare recipients had to pay with 40 hours of labor a week.

      Yor idea of corporate welfare is that Walmart doesn't pay employees $15 an hour or more. Clearly you have never run a company and perhaps never worked either. You must be a Bernie supporter hoping for more free stuff.

    4. Hey, welcome back J! Long time no hear! Still waiting for the government to "tax the rich and bail you out" I see. Remember, when the criminal is seconds away from harming you the cops are (at best) minutes away. Regardless of what you or anyone pays the government to protect you from Covid 19 they can't. Even if they take all of the possessions of the rich, it can't. It is a fact if life.

      It would make no difference if your precious Hillary was in office. Taking personal safeguards will protect you and yours better than any government program. Which is what people here do, take personal responsibility. Natokadn

    5. 1) I couldn't stand Hillary!
      2) Evidently you missed the point. If the almighty one hadn't cut money from the CDC...we could have maybe...JUST MAYBE..had test kits available to test everyone like China did. He already spent our wad on the rich's tax cuts (paying for it with money from the CDC)
      You can't control this thing till you know who has it! J.

    6. Even the Associated Press -- no friend of Trump -- admits "cutting money from the CDC" is fake news:

    7. OK, Patrice...he only PROPOSED to cut the why are we so unprepared? So why did he first try to cover up the problem? Why do we only about 4K test kits available in this country (a month after the we first knew??)
      I question Robert Redfield (Trumps pick for the CDC) capabilities as he has come under intense scrutiny on this issue.

      We're in SUCH GOOD HANDS!! Oh joy!!! J.

    8. Has anyone ever noticed that there is rarely a thing that is fixed when the government throws money at it?! For example, our local schools receive more and more $$ and yet at post-secondary levels I am seeing the results of Common Core. Our students have been failed. They cannot write or spell and math is...just not adding up. Yet students are getting tablets at a younger and younger age! The Minnesota DOT has spent $120 million revamping the MNDOT system and yet it is slower and more cumbersome than when they started 'improving' it. Now they want another 20 plus million. I believe those (types of) actions belong to the insane. J, money does not fix problems like ingenuity and hard work, both of which are more likely to be found in the private sector. Natokadn

    9. The reason we aren't ready for the Wuhan Virus is because Obama messed with our medical system and it is now over-bloated with red tape and rules. China cares about it's people? China has made their entire nation a slave state, sacrificing the lives of all the workers in filthy conditions, to provide the west with what it no longer wants to produce. China is a cess pool of filth and the people are expendable units of work to send more crap (literally) for the west to buy. The only chance we have is to bring production back to the US where it belongs.

    10. This is true. I have seen videos posted (probably 15 years ago, I am sure they are gone now), of oriental workers lined up to retrieve stuck pieces of metal in large manufacturing brakes and shears (sheetmetal bending and cutting machines). They didn't stop the machines the employee just drove in there to get the part. If he was hurt or killed the next guy in line stepped and took over. Here machines are stopped, de-energized and blocked open with LOTO procedures documented and followed before a human enters. Big difference! Natokadn

  8. J,
    You are so full of s__t, that your a__ should hurt, I can't believe some one with your attitude would read Patrice's column.
    Shame on you, you probably voted for Hillary or Bernie.
    Remember someone has to pay for the medical costs.

    1. Unlike yourself, I like to look at both sides for the truth...then make up my own mind. J.

    2. Yup! NPR, MSNBC with a CNN back up! Natokadn

    3. Hey...I don't get CNN and I listen to FOX "so called news" every day on my way home from work.
      But there are many times...that I can't listen to the lies and cherry-picked info as Sean Hannity talks over guests and mutes their mikes... but I at least know where he's coming from. He's rather rude don't you know.
      Kind of like Trump when someone disagrees with him!! J.

    4. So NPR & MSNBC with FOX as the "other side"...?

  9. If someone wants ridicule me I remind them that it was not raining when Noah built the ark. I also remind them that I don't want to make a 14 mile round trip for a can a beans during a winter storm.
    Rita Miller

  10. While we are quoting Trump, let's not forget this one.

    Trump is no fool. I firmly believe he is playing the role of bumbling idiot as demanded Rothschild bankers. You know, the ones who saved him from financial ruin. The ones who need a perfect scapegoat for their 'global economic reset' (their words not mine).

    Montana Guy

    1. You know...If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck...believe me...he's not faking anything. He IS a duck!

  11. Oddly enough our young H.R. person is a thin the herd type, and downplays the effect this can have on "at risk" people. I asked her this question: Would you want a COVID-19 positive, but only has sniffles, person to deliver a pizza to your grandmother?

  12. How funny! I released a blog last night talking about the days of old, where preppers were mocked too.

    There's nothing better than being ahead of the curve.

  13. Thanks Patrice. This is the real danger, the economic system.

    All economics are built as much on confidence as they are on facts. Reduce confidence, people panic, and suddenly they are not spending.

    Also of note (and the only thing I distinctly recall from Macroeconomics) is that economies that are linked so closely (like the global economy) are incredibly fragile. It just takes one breakage at the right point to set everything else askew.

  14. Post Alley CrackpotMarch 11, 2020 at 8:43 AM

    After the lock-downs fail, after the quarantines do not produce results, after the testing kits run out, after all of the social avoidance schemes amazingly do not manage to slow the spread of The Hong Kong Fluuey (Number one super bug!) ...

    At what point do people give up on the puffery of positivity and revert to fatalism?

    I'm not sure which would be worse, a neighbour who is in a panic who is certain to die or a neighbour who is in a panic who is certain to live, but who had implicitly resorted to fatalism early and wasn't prepared to continue living.

    Zombie movies are an expression of what that answer happens to be that would be worthwhile to consider.

    Remember that GEICO commercial a while back with the over-the-top scared movie characters running into the creepy shed full of weapons that could be used by the cliché movie serial killer?

    That's those neighbours you have whose idea of "stocking up" involved buying out every last box of Kraft Dinner at Walmart.

    There are three types of people in the world: preppers, idiots, and people who learned real fast that they needed to stop being idiots.

    Maybe there's enough residual social credit on an interpersonal level for people who just learned that they need to stop being idiots to survive, but ...

    Maybe in a lower-trust environment, those resources wind up being used on people who had already established trust.

    I'll say this though: this may be a highly revelatory experience for the people who self-annointed into being genuine pains in the backside for a lot of people.

  15. God is still on the throne...Fear is from the evil one...NOT God...

  16. Tell that to victims of the bubonic plague in the 13 hundreds... or in the most recent history...the tuberculosis pandemic in 1882.
    I don't believe in living in fear, but I also don't believe in stupidity. J.

    1. Stupidity to believe in God?!? But according to you, we should believe Communist China? That is pretty funny. Instead of being afraid (you sound pretty hysterical and panicked in your previous posts), how about being cautious and prepared?


  17. Never said anything against God (nor mentioned Communist China)...Man...your assumption meter is WAY TOO LOW.
    ...but as you said yourself, "how about being cautious and prepared". Bingo!
    I think that's the least that God would expect any of us to do instead of wallowing in an ignorant daze. We always have a choice. J.

    1. AnonymousMarch 9, 2020 at 7:33 AM
      “Why was China more prepared?... because they CARE about their people.”
      If you believe Communist China was “more prepared” or that that “CARE about their people” boy, do I have a bridge to sell you! :) hahaha

    2. My assumption? Did you not write this?

      — AnonymousMarch 9, 2020 at 7:33 AM
      “...Why was China more prepared?... because they CARE about their people.”
      If you believe Communist China was “more prepared” or that that “CARE about their people” boy, do I have a bridge to sell you! :)

      Sandy wrote “God is still on the throne” and you reply “ I don't believe in living in fear, but I also don't believe in stupidity.”
      Are we supposed to assume that you don’t mean what you say? Also, what do you mean by wallowing in an ignorant daze??
      Btw, if you think I’m a trump voter, you are sadly mistaken.

    3. China is testing an average of 10k people per day and the US has tested (last I heard) about 8k for the whole country. WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TEST KITS!! Blame who you want. Praise who you want.

      This is because we weren't ready and we didn't use our time well when we first knew about the virus. (Trump's denial problem).

      It arose from a combination of manufacturing problems, unpreparedness and chronic under-funding in our government. No matter the reason...the challenges to get test kits makes us less prepared to deal with the crisis right now.

      Without testing, we cannot get a grip on who has it and who doesn't. Without this critical information, the corralling of it will be much, much slower. Don't worry...(I still think God is on the throne- but we have to be interactive too.) That was all that I meant. J.

    4. China says they are testing 10,000/day. They have also hauled away and locked up many of the dissidents who were protesting in the streets. Some have plain been 'dissapeared'. I would not jump on their 'facts' too quickly. Natokadn

    5. "What's that got to do with the price of rice in China?" (a worn out old saying)

      China is obviously a lot of things, but not being prepared for a pandemic is not one of them.
      Besides, I thought we were the richest country in the world. You have to ask yourself why we weren't...and still aren't ready for this. J.

  18. Wow, people, calm the heck down...
    This is exactly what 'they' want, for us to be divisive, attacking each other.
    Rather than attacking each other, we should focus on first, protecting ourselves and our families, and secondly, on how we can help each other and our communities.
    These spiteful attacks on each other solve nothing and only proves that armchair warriors are simpletons IMHO.
    The fact of the matter is, no matter 'who' is behind it, or who you want to assign blame to, this IS going to affect us all in major/minor ways. Life is going to change for ALL of us. Whether we are 'prepared' or not.
    'Blame' can come later. The focus right now needs to be on keeping you and yours (and me and mine) safe.