PPE for a Pandemic: A Guide to Personal Protective Equipment and Masks

PPE for a Pandemic: A Guide to Personal Protective Equipment and Masks by Cat Ellis for The Organic Prepper

One of the problems with prepping for a pandemic is getting accurate information. When there’s a potential for a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease, people panic. Governments do what they can to minimize panic. This includes protective measures, like restricting travel. It can also mean controlling the release of information. We saw this with the West African Ebola outbreak, and we may be seeing it again with the Wuhan coronavirus.

Daisy reported on this earlier in her article, The Numbers for the Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak Just Don’t Add Up. The official numbers released from China on confirmed infected and the low number of fatal outcomes compared to government response of locking down entire cities of millions of people under quarantine and health care workers seen in full hazmat gear seems incongruous.

Governments try to manage pandemic panic

Ebola was a top media story in 2014, as it spread from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone. The public tuned in to hear the regular CDC updates from then CDC Director, Tom Frieden.

There was huge public outrage when several health care providers and volunteers from the US became ill and were transported back to the US for medical care. A nurse from Maine was quarantined in New Jersey before being released to Maine. Maine also sought to keep her in quarantine for observation. However, she was ultimately permitted to remain at home during her observation, in spite of the protests from her neighbors.

Then, it happened. The first case of Ebola in the US was confirmed in a traveler from Liberia, Thomas Eric Duncan. Two nurses contracted Ebola while caring for Mr. Duncan. One nurse had even boarded a plane for a vacation before being diagnosed. Tensions rose steeply as President Obama appointed Ron Klain, as his Ebola Response Coordinator. The media dubbed Klain Obama’s “Ebola Czar”.

Klain, a Fannie Mae lobbyist with had no medical background, was known for his unique ability to circumnavigate government bureaucracy and government regulations. Within weeks of Klain’s appointment to Ebola Czar, the Associated Press released a statement that was sent to editors that there would be no more stories on Ebola cases unless it also involved a major upset or delay, as happened with a cruise ship being turned away from port. Ebola was, essentially, out of the news.

Of course, that Ebola outbreak continued for over a year. But, you wouldn’t have known that by watching your regularly scheduled evening news.

Is China downplaying the Wuhan Coronavirus threat?

Downplaying the seriousness of a threat is nothing new. It’s much easier to manage information than to manage a panicked population. Unfortunately, it also puts people at risk. Saudi Arabia is a perfect example of this. When the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) first broke out, Saudi Arabia minimized the risk in its official reports. This led to a spread of MERS that didn’t need to happen.

A lot of questions surround the Wuhan coronavirus. There are the usual questions, such as how fast it is spreading, and how deadly it is. Then, there are other questions. Questions about why are millions of people under quarantine if there isn’t a significant threat? Why are health care workers being photographed moving patients wearing full-on hazmat gear? How legitimate are these photos anyway? Are they even from this outbreak?

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