Part 4 of 5
As the week wore on you see on the tv that people are panicking. Looting stores, setting cars on fire, and general hysteria has set in. “Why do people do these things?” you think to yourself.
The refrigerator is almost empty. The stay-at-home orders are still in effect. Only emergency travel is allowed. The National guard has been deployed and had stopped by your home earlier in the day. They were going door to door running wellness checks. They had dropped off food and some bottled water. It wasn’t enough for any length of time, but you take it and thank them. They also inquire if anyone in the home has medications, they are running short of, especially insulin. No one in your house is short on medications, all prescriptions had been fille da few days before your vacation. You inquire about the insulin and why they asked about it specifically. There is a shortage of insulin and other medical shipments due to the bioterror scare. Every container has to be decontaminated. The Strategic National Stockpile has been accessed and is being distributed on an as-needed basis. You ask how long this stay-at-home order will be in effect. “No idea” is the answer.
News on the street was that no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks. There was evidence that commercial jets duct work had been contaminated with airborne Tularemia, the type found in the organic powders that had been mailed. The investigation and incidence of Tularemia was growing, with no real pattern evolving according to news reports. The CDC made a statement that the most effective and realistic approach was to provide antibiotics to the entire population. However, since there was essentially no movement of cargo, especially cargo containing medical supplies and medicine, this was proving very difficult. There simply wasn’t enough doxycycline or ciprofloxacin for everyone.
By Thursday complete breakdown of civilization as you have always known it has taken effect. Grocery stores were open; however, no one was allowed in the stores. You could phone in or place an online order and park your car and wait for the clerk to bring the groceries to your car. However, even going to the store was unsafe. Grocery stores were emptied from mass mobs of people rushing the doors. Broken windows and glass littered the parking lots. Specially assigned National guard were helping with maintaining mob control and deliveries to homes. The fact was there were too few National Guard for the immense task.
Garbage service stopped. Trash was overflowing the garbage cans. Hospitals had become overrun with patients who felt they may have been exposed to Tularemia, the hysterical and anxious, heart attack victims, crash victims driving erratically (even though there was a stay-at-home order in effect) due to the stress.
Your neighbor has called, asking if anyone has any insulin to spare. Their mother, an insulin dependent diabetic is almost out of her insulin. No one in your family uses insulin so you aren’t able to help.
You start to worry about people who may be in the same situation as your neighbor. What will they do if they aren’t able to get their lifesaving medications?
That afternoon you sit down with your wife and children and have a talk. You explain the situation, that because of your vacation and travel plans you had purchased plenty of food to last for a few weeks. You also bring out one of the Jase cases and pull out the booklet and show your children the two antibiotics recommended for Tularemia are in the Jase case if needed. You also remind your children that feelings of anxiety are normal during these stressful times and that each morning and evening you all meet at the kitchen table to talk over any concerns. You assign each child a day to pick an activity to keep your family focused and productive. The backyard has needed weeding and the fruit trees need watering. The fence needs repair. Extra paint in the garage that was used to paint the living room can be used to touch up scrapes scuff marks from furniture. Your wife and daughter (who is feeling much better) find exercise videos on You Tube to help relieve stress.
On Saturday you invite your paramedic neighbor over. Since Tularemia isn’t spread from person to person you feel safe having him over. You discuss the phone call you received from your mutual neighbor in regard to the request for insulin. He says he was able to procure enough insulin to last your mutual neighbor for a few weeks.
“This is quite the wake-up call”’ you say to your paramedic neighbor, “If we hadn’t had the Jase cases you recommended, I would be concerned and even feel desperate.”
You pull out your Jase case and review the 5 antibiotics in the case. “According to the booklet the Azithromycin can be used for pneumonia, urinary tract infection and Travelers diarrhea. You review the other medicines in the case with your paramedic neighbor. “These antibiotics cover a wide range of illnesses, from infected animal bites to other bioterror exposures (Anthrax and Plague) and even Tetanus. We have already seen the benefit of having these antibiotics in our family.”
You realize the fact you had enough food (because of stocking up for vacation) and having the Jase cases for each family member helped keep you and your family out of harms way from the hysterical and violent mobs in town.
This is a wake-up call. Once this crisis is over you are determined to be more prepared. But where do you start?