We Won’t Be Getting “Back to Normal.” Not Soon. Not Ever. by Daisy Luther for The Organic Prepper
When will we get back to normal?
If you yearn for the days before COVID-19 swept across the planet, I regret to inform you that those days are gone.
This isn’t a warm and fuzzy blog post telling you that everything is going to be all right. If you’re looking for reassurance that “we’ve got this,” I’m afraid I can’t provide it. This article wasn’t written to console or coddle you, so if that’s what you’re seeking, you’re going to want to stop reading right now.
If, however, you want a reality check on what I believe we’re really facing, I’m not going to hold back. You’ve been warned.
We’re not even halfway through.
You may have seen some optimistic reports recently that the “worst” is behind us. It would certainly be lovely if that’s the case, but in my opinion, this ordeal is just getting started. I wrote an article previously about how long we could expect our current state of lockdown to last using the timelines of China and Italy as points of comparison, and based on that, we are 17 days in as of the writing of this article on April 8.
The lockdown of Wuhan is expected to last 77 days. If our own timeline continues to echo that of China, then we’re not even halfway there. We have at least 2 months left and this doesn’t include any new clusters when the lockdowns are totally lifted or any second waves. We’ve barely begun living in our current state of purgatory and this will continue (and most likely worsen) for quite some time.
So if you’re seeing this as a little break after which you’ll pick up with your life exactly where you left off, you’re going to be extremely disappointed. You need to adapt now because if you don’t, the future is going to be very hard on you mentally.
Use this time to think about the changes you can make to meet the needs of your family. Learn new skills, practice old ones, and get your head in the game.
The supply chain may never be the same.
Nearly every store in America (the ones that are still open, anyway) has glaring bare spots on their inventory. Who would have expected paper products to be the “gold” of our apocalypse? There was an original run on supplies back in early March when the general public realized, “Hey, this is for real!” and razed store shelves bare. Even though preppers already had most of their supplies put back by the time this happened, we were no less vilified by the media as panicked shoppers got into physical altercations over toilet paper and macaroni.
Government officials told everyone to “calm down” and “just shop for the week.” They promised that if we did, everything would be back in stock in no time. Many of us knew even then that this wasn’t true. The ports in California were empty of shipping containers from China where many of our essential goods are produced. There’s no inventory with which to replenish the inventory.
It’s been more than a month since that first shopping frenzy and unfortunately, supplies are still limited in most parts of the country. A reasonably-sized package of toilet paper can’t be had for love or money, nor can one easily locate cleaning wipes, paper towels, 20-pound bags of rice, and bottles of bleach. Other supplies are available, but sparsely and often in limited quantities: meat, eggs, butter, dried goods like pasta and rice, and canned goods. Prices have approximately doubled on many items.
Don’t expect this to clear up any time soon. Abundant inventory may well be a thing of the past. Many of the products sold in American stores are made in China. Even much of our meat that is a “product of the USA” is processed in China. Obviously, China is going to replenish its own inventory before exporting goods to us. Here’s a list of goods that we import from China that we may not be receiving in the same quantities in the future.
As well, the days of just “running to the store” to replace things or pick up a single ingredient are gone. Now, in many parts of the country, you have to walk through a cordoned off maze to enter a Walmart or Costco store. Only a certain number of people can be there at a time. Shopping means you’re risking your own health if someone else is ill, or you are ill and don’t realize it, you’re risking the health of others. It’s no longer quick, easy, inexpensive, or pleasant in any way.
And the generous offerings of days gone by are disappearing. In some areas, the store may have things you want but because the government there doesn’t consider them “essential,” you won’t be allowed to buy them. Ordering online may soon be your only option for things like craft supplies, clothing, decorative items, and shoes. And even when you order online, it may take quite some time before the goods arrive. Amazon has said it is prioritizing necessities, leaving people with uncertain shipping times.
And it could get even worse. What happens if the US Postal Service stops running? A House committee has warned the USPS could actually be forced to cease operations by June. So, if you think it’s hard to get supplies now, just wait.
The rules will get more restrictive and violence will ensue.
Every state with some form of movement restriction (lockdown for lack of a better word) has its own set of rules which are handed down by the respective governors in the form of an executive order. Some states are more restrictive than others and a small handful of states have no restrictions whatsoever.
The other difference between states is the methods of enforcement. Some states have the rules on the books but do little to enforce them. Others are levying fines. One municipality in Louisiana found it amusing to announce the beginning of the curfew with the Purge siren, terrifying people who were already on edge.
Don’t expect this gentle approach to continue. While I don’t think we’ll go full-Wuhan and weld people into their apartments, our Constitutional rights are already being trampled in numerous ways.
Texas and Florida have checkpoints where they’re testing travelers for health problems, escorting them to quarantine, or turning them away. Rhode Island police went so far as to go door-to-door with the National Guard, searching for “New Yorkers” who had fled the virus in their home state.
Most states have closed non-essential businesses and schools for the foreseeable future. Local authorities are beginning to crack down on groups of people and innocent Americans risk being questioned when they leave their homes to walk the dog or go to the store. Last week, thousands of Americans considered essential workers were given “travel papers” to show the authorities if they’re stopped when they are going to work. Travel papers. In the United States of America.
Expect as the rules and enforcement efforts become more stringent for people to balk. As the money being dished out by the government dwindles to a trickle and as promises made by the government get broken, people will become more and more desperate.