Coronavirus goes viral, the economy is in a tailspin, and food prices are skyrocketing. It was a very bad week.

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Civil Unrest

Survival and outdoors stores across the US are selling out of ballistic body armor, tactical gear, and firearms. Not just toilet paper then.

Twelve inmates are dead and another 16 escaped custody as Italian prisoners rioted over coronavirus worries. The riots started when authorities limited or cancelled family visits.

A riot broke out at the University of Dayton Tuesday when the university announced a temporary suspension of classes and on-campus housing. The students, predictably, threw a party that got out of control.

The Ukrainian town of Novi Sanzhary rioted on Monday, prompted by a "toxic mix of limited information released by Ukraine’s authorities, disinformation spread by the public on social media, and a targeted fake news campaign from yet-to-be-identified malign actors"

Intelligent Prepper Comment: People are going to get bored, scared, and desperate as nations around the world cancel everything. People will lose their jobs, and hoarding will result in scarce supplies. Look for alcohol sales to spike, mistrust and fear of "others" to increase, and police forces -- who will become ill themselves -- to be very very busy.

Look after each other.

Epidemic Disease

Coronavirus Global Stats

Coronavirus non-China Stats

Global cases: 138,941

Cases: 58,126

Global deaths: 5,111

Deaths: 1,934$

Coronavirus has gone viral

While the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise at an exponential rate, the more reliable indicator of the virus's severity is the number of deaths.

Because most countries still can't or won't test everyone.

The virus is doubling every three to five days.

By the time you receive next week's briefing:
  • We could see 10,000 dead.
  • We'll likely have nearly a quarter-million confirmed cases.

America's response to coronavirus

There's no way to describe America's response without sounding hysterical. After months of downplaying the virus while other countries prepared, the American government finally got serious this week.

However, it's response was described as slapdash and last-minute by most observers. It excluded advice from top medical aides and implemented policies that puzzled many. Most notably a travel ban that includes some European countries but not all and completely excludes other countries with significant infection rates.

Physicians and patients still struggle to get coronavirus tests, which means the number of cases is almost certainly understated by an order of magnitude:
  • The US is significantly behind on testing coronavirus patients compared to countries like South Korea and China. 
  • Delays in US testing can be attributed, in part, to the CDC's decision to develop its own test, which turned out to be faulty.
  • The US also restricted testing criteria so that not everyone with symptoms of the virus was eligible to be tested.

The United Kingdom's Response to coronavirus

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asks American President Donald Trump to hold his beer.

The UK remains the only country in Europe that hasn't formally cancelled all public sporting events.

This is, of course, insane.

Cancel Everything

The list of cancelled events is too long to enumerate here, but if you were going to attend something in the next two months -- you aren't.

Here are a couple of sites that are maintaining a daily tally of what's been cancelled.

Three tips when you receive a package delivery at home:

  1. Avoid signing with your finger on the carrier’s tablet. You can use another object.
  2. Ask the carrier not to hand over the package but to leave it on the ground instead.
  3. Be affectionate with your gestures and words. Avoiding physical contact doesn't mean you can’t be kind - lets always thank the people who deliver our packages!
Intelligent Prepper Comment: Things will get much worse before they get better.

Mortality-wise, best-case scenarios point to somewhere between 1m and 15m deaths.

The best-case scenario includes:
  • Cancel everything. Schools, travel, public events, commuting to work, everything.
  • Test everyone. This includes, most crucially, the most vulnerable populations: prisons, immigrant populations, homeless populations, and the elderly.
  • Warm weather. If warm weather kills the virus, that will give the northern hemisphere a reprieve until autumn.
  • Paid sick leave. If people can't afford to stay home, they won't.
It's our estimate that we'll still see around 2m deaths before summer, even in the best case.

From an economic point of view, you need to prepare now for a deep global recession lasting into 2020. In the best case. More on this below.

Looking to unwind after a long day of self-isolation?

Carlotta Freni — who works in the music industry and has lived in Milan, Italy for 13 years — created her quarantine playlist "Songs for Pandemics" after the Lombardy region's lockdown began on February 23.

Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events are happening more frequently, according to the five-year moving average of the Actuaries Climate Index (ACI), which hit a new high for the sixth straight quarter.

The earth is on course to record its warmest winter ever, which has put global crops at risk. The United Nations Food Price Index jumped to the highest in five years in January, before slipping in February as the virus hurt demand for products like edible oils and meat.

That all sounds quite dry, but the effects of drought are very real.

Palm Oil
Up 60%
since July 2019 due to drought

Up 38% since September 2019 due to drought

Up 18% since May 2018 due to heavy rainfall and warm winter

Up 6.5% since May 2019 due to heavy rainfall and freezing

Up 17% since May 2019 due to drought

Up 8% since August 2019 due to drought

Financial Collapse

A ten-year bull market combined with a pandemic and oil price war has led to the worst week for global markets since 2008 and the worst single day for the S&P 500 since 1987.

From the NY Times:

"Whether this week’s collapse of stock and oil prices will spiral into a much deeper economic crisis, perhaps even eclipsing that of 2008, depends on how the United States and other governments react. The United States has now, belatedly, taken drastic actions on travel and announced some support for businesses. But these are too late to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and too little to stave off a deeper economic downturn."

"How bad could this get? Breaks in supply chains, factory closings and worker quarantines have disrupted supplies. Restrictions on hospitality and travel and fears regarding contagion have hit demand. Growth is being dragged down and could turn negative in a range of economies from Germany to China to the United States. The crippling of retail and consumer businesses could quickly escalate into bankruptcies, the downgrading of corporate debt and impairment of the balance sheets of banks."

​​Intelligent Prepper Comment: Unlike 2008, reducing interest rates and pumping cash into the economy won't solve the problem this time. The economy is already flooded with cash, and interest rates are already very low.

Indeed, the problem isn't enough cash.
The problem is that only the very wealthy have it.

The problem isn't interest rates. The problem is that only the very wealthy can take advantage of them.

This crisis will drive the most vulnerable among us into further despair while enriching the wealthiest.

Global War

American jets targeted an Iran-backed Iraqi militia following an attack on coalition troops that killed two Americans and one Brit. Five sites were targeted, which raised regional tensions. Some are speculating another senior Iranian general died in the strikes.

Intelligent Prepper Comment: Because Iran is in such disarray due to the coronavirus, it's unlikely this will escalate further.

Ocean Acidification

The World Meteorological Office said this week that "we are currently way off track to meeting either the 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2C targets the Paris Agreement calls for. Because 90% of atmospheric heat sinks into the ocean, 2019 was the hottest year on record.

Between 2009-2018, the ocean absorbed about 23 per cent of annual carbon dioxide (CO2), cushioning the impacts of climate change but increasing ocean acidity.

Sea Level Rise

Reflected in the same report out of the World Meteorological Office, sea levels have continued to rise at a record pace. 

Intelligent Prepper Comment: Obviously this is very very bad, but it's somewhat less urgent at the moment than the global pandemic we're dealing with.

Carter Hopkins

Carter is a former US Army Ranger, US Army intelligence officer, and counterintelligence officer with the Defence Intelligence Agency. He has a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown.

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