Beginning of the End?

I just read a story about Citrus Greening A disease destined to take down the Citrus industry. A bacteria out of China that is spread by an Asian citrus psyllid, harmless to humans yet deadly to citrus. Economically it attacks the 7 billion dollar Cali citrus industry. Locusts are devouring Africa and the bugs just reached China and other Asian lands.

Of course the big question is Covid-19. Covid-19 appears to have a R0 of around 6 similar to small pox and presently no human immunity. It is highly infective being droplet spread and seems to survive on surfaces for quite a while. It has a split course, 80% show mild symptoms but are highly infective and 20% become severe. It can reinfect meaning you can catch it once and catch it again. It’s mode of death is ARDS and cytokine storm, the storm causing heart failure being especially prevalent in second infections. It tends to kill older and sicker people, like people with diabetes etc. Masks don’t do anything. If you touch a surface and rub your eye you’re infected.

There are 100K ICU beds in the USA likely 85% full at any given time. The idea we are somehow going to escape is laughable. The idea that life will not be severely disrupted is denial of reality.

Japan is about to be hit and overwhelmed, and the rest of Asia will follow suite. Medicine is designed to treat disease on a local basis not arrest epidemics. Arresting an epidemic requires en mass participation of the herd, and a vaccine, and enough time for the herd to become immune. We have none of those tools. A vaccine is 18 months away.

If Covid-19 moves to Africa the famine from the locusts will assure a weakened population. If it gets into South America rest assured it’s coming directly to North America through 2000 miles of porous border. If it gets into Canada we have 3000 miles of porous border to the north. If you hang your hat on WHO or Tony Fauci you’re a fool.

It seems to me the only solution is to become self sufficient for a time when the explosion hits and self quarantine until the herd can attain some level of immunity. That means NOT SHOPPING once the virus explodes but shopping before the virus explodes and hunkering down while nature takes its course.

I’ve lived through 2 dozen hurricanes and the way it works is there is plenty till there is nothing. Hurricanes are a local event and supply comes back from other places in the country in a week or a month. This won’t be like that. Supply won’t come back and if it does it may well be infected. One apartment building has been thought to have spread through water pipes.

My course is to buy enough MRE to cover 3 months and to buy a chest freezer and fill it with meat and hope the power doesn’t go down. Meat is the most caloric and complete food we have. All healing is made from meat. If my predictions do not come to pass I’ll just eat the food PRN and sell the freezer.

I’d be interested in hearing holes in my analysis since our “trusted leaders” seem to be engaged in bullshitting us about the danger.

The market if this comes to pass will die. Supply chains will fold and employment will crater. Given the triple bubble economy, no amount of FED is going to solve this. I’m thinking about buying puts likely leaps as a hedge but still unsure. Puts are the suggestion of one of the market information service products I own. It’s a macabre and perverse way to think but is there another way to approach reality?

We are fed heaping gobs of narrative about investing and everything else. What narratives are we being fed regarding the virus? You can bet Tony Facui has a bunker so he can lead “relief efforts”.

If 80% have a mild course and 20% have a rocky course and 1/3 of those die that’s 21 million dead in the USA alone.

2 Replies to “Beginning of the End?”

  1. Hey Gasem,

    I have always kept MREs. I enjoy camping so these get eaten anyway.

    Keep some cash around. Banks may be inaccessible at times. Keep some silver around. The real stuff not the ETF.

    No guns or bullets for me.

    Keep plenty of supplies at home. That is also the easiest way to shop rather than coupons. When non perishables items go on sale at Costco. I literary back up the truck.

    Think of ways to thrive such as off grid living. I practice some of this while living in the city.

    And bombproof family members. The weakest link will sink you all.

    I read somewhere that the biggest risks lie in things that weigh over 60lbs. People certainly fall into that category.

    I planned for these things but otherwise life simply goes on.

    1. Hi MB

      My impression is that this will not completely disrupt life. The lights will remain on and the internet will continue etc. What I see is we all have our own supply chain and we buy stuff “just in time”. Even if it’s from an amazon delivery where you don’t leave home, the people filling your order with this kind of viral threat pose a threat to you and your family. You go to the gas station for some gas and the guy before you was sick left his droplets on the pump handle etc etc. The guy packaging the baloney at the oscar meyer plant may send some droplets your way. Your baloney may have a new first name, Covid-19. Eventually herd immunity will occur and the infection will die out. Eventually there will be a vaccine. Till that time it’s a race.

      There is a device called a Galton board which puts a bunch of balls at the top of a matrix and you send the balls down the matrix and the balls sort themselves out in a Gaussian distribution. The Galton board describes the binomial distribution. The problem with the virus is how do you in particular end up in a part of the distribution which does not contain a high probability of death while the herd is gaining immunity and the medical system is not overwhelmed by sick people.

      It seems to me the solution is to go underground for a while. Self quarantine. The R0 of 6 will eventually become R0 <1 and as that happens he risk gets smaller and smaller, so it becomes the problem of the bear and 2 hikers. Only one need out run the bear and the other hiker to survive. Seems to me if you have a family you have the problem of providing self quarantine for the whole family while R0=6 becomes R0<1. Kids fortunately seem to be more immune to deadly disease than the old but they are not immune to becoming vectors. Your kids may therefore kill you. There is no good solution but pretending there is no problem is pretty much the FIRE method of epidemic management. Pick a number let the train run over you and hope you live long enough to recover. On the whole 93% or so will survive. There will be monstrous economic disruption if 7% die but there will be some kind of future. So the question becomes how do you become a Galton ball that winds up in the top of the distribution? The odds change every day so it's a massive problem to predict. I'm going to try and have enough supply to be able to hole up for 6 months.

      There is a second possible feature of this virus that reinfection may be worse than the original infection. Viral antibody titre when mixed with a second virus which is close to the original but not identical can become a means for the second virus to infect immune cells which causes a hemorrhagic vasculitis. so this thing could take a trip around the world and kill 7%, mutate slightly and kill who knows how many more. That's a terror tale for another day.

      I worked a burn unit early in my career and what I learned from that is if you can't achieve + nitrogen balance you WILL NOT heal PERIOD. So my plan is based around meat and fat based calories not just "calories". Also there are well controlled studies that show sleep is critical to immunity. 8 hours of sleep with the early 3 or 4 hours non REM had about a 40% or more improvement in immunity. The increase was related to a decrease of stress hormones that occur in early sleep especially the sympathetic hormones. I thought about laying in a supply of chloroquine before it becomes scarce. I read chloroquine is effective at 500 bid for adults, but I'm no ID hot shot by a long shot and chloroquine has a ton of side effects. Not sure where we go from here. Financially I may buy some leaps but I'm not ready to pull that trigger yet.

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