Virus: The worst case scenario

I can tell you the exact moment people started taking the Coronavirus seriously: It was when they cleaned toilet paper and sanitizers off the shelves — everywhere.

Hoarding is a sign of panic and these people wanted to make sure they had plenty for them

Quarantined Italians serenade each other. (Photo: Yahoo)

Is that human nature? Maybe not for everyone, but for far too many. Despite our big brains, we are still animals and the survival instinct surges strong. Our “new reality” is activating our atavistic animal brains. 

“We are incredibly unprepared” for the onslaught of the disease, said Dr. Irwin Redlener, of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. There are not enough beds, masks, protective clothing and ventilators to go around. In case of a moderate outbreak, 200,000 Americans will need intensive care unit beds; we have fewer than 100,000, according to a Health and Human Services estimate. Some 64,000 will need ventilators, but there are only 62,000 on hand. Remember that. 

In my last report, I talked about this being a war — which I want to call the CoronaVirus War, but it is actually World War III, when you think about it. The world is fighting the disease.

Across Europe, nations are sealing their borders to prevent the spread of the disease. France is requiring citizens to have a form downloaded from the internet to leave their homes, to shop or walk dogs, for instance. Police can demand to see the document. 

Europe learned its lesson from Italy, where at the onset, a government official said on TV, people rushed into the piazzas to show they were “not afraid.” Foolish bravado. Now Italians are singing patriotic songs from their balconies as they are trapped in their homes. 

The isolation is still a novelty. What happens when the novelty wears off? A late-awakening President Donald Trump said we could be in real danger until July or August. Can Americans bear being cooped up that long? Can our economy survive? 

One way or another, yes, the economy will “survive,” even if it takes years to recover. Billions of dollars, if not more, will be handed out to American citizens and businesses. That could change the antipathy many Americans have toward “free stuff,” which could result in a shift in political thinking, but that’s not today’s topic. 

Let’s talk about the dark side of the human impact. This is a dystopian imagination. I am not predicting it, I am saying in a city where people have been shot over a parking space, it’s possible.

A few days ago in a store, a woman was paying at the cash register with her husband a few feet to her left. Another man walked up, put his purchases on the counter and stood next to the woman.

“Step back and give her some space,” the husband said to the man, who didn’t move and had a blank expression, as if he had no concept of social distance.

The husband muttered, “Stupid fuck,” as the transaction ended and the wife walked away from the cash register.

Would it surprise you had one of them pulled a gun and fired?

Until now, if someone invaded your personal space, it was annoying. Now it could be fatal. Some people will react violently.

Until now, there has been product in grocery stores, but what happens if the supply train is broken because workers who produce the food fall ill?

With genuine shortages, how long will it be before stores are looted at gunpoint? And if the stores are cleaned out, home invasions are next. That’s why gun and ammo sales are going through the roof.


Many of them will be too ill to respond, and others will stay home to protect their own families because desperate people with guns will be roaming the streets. When money runs out, the currency will be weapons.

Remember the shortages I mentioned? If our social distance measures don’t work, our hospitals will be swamped and lock their doors. I can imagine family members bringing their stricken mother to a hospital and physically threatening staffers to get her treatment. If people will kill for a parking spot, what might they do to save Mother?

It is fact, not fiction, that the Brooklyn D.A. announced he won’t prosecute “low-level” offenses. It’s like Larry Krasner has a twin. Half a day later, Philly cops also were ordered to not arrest low-level offenders. “Just give them a good beating and send them on their way,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw did not say.

How long will it take for the veneer of civilization to shatter and we resort to every man for himself in a dog-eat-dog world?

Extreme? Yes. Impossible?

In a less catastrophic scenario, how many weeks will it be before cabin fever sets in and people go stir crazy?

What if people start going out and socializing? And the more who do will attract even more. How do we stop it?

Will the government ban it, and if so, will they enforce it by arresting people? 

Would they do that, when jails don’t offer social distance? Arrest seems unlikely when the Brooklyn D.A. won’t arrest actual criminals. 

Cultural movements have momentum, often bending toward entropy, which is social disorder.

But remember: This was not a prediction. It was imagination. Make believe. Right?

15 thoughts on “Virus: The worst case scenario”

  1. As a disabled retired person, I am in the house 95% of the time anyway, so staying inside is nothing new to me. Its just new to the rest of you. And because I am disabled, and a survivalist to boot, I’ve always been stocked on everything essential, and am used to online shopping for essentials. And if SHTF, we are fully able here to protect ourselves.

    They said we were crazy before, for being survivalists. They’re not saying it now.

  2. We didn’t go this nutso back in 2009 when the Swine Flu hit, and infected 59 million of us and killed 12,000 or so. What would we do in a REAL emergency, such as an EMP that shuts down nation’s entire electrical grid? Or some nut case detonates a small, dirty nuke in one of our cities? This current ‘crisis’ is serious, but it too shall pass. “Charles Darwin, call your office!”

    Glad everybody survived St Paddy’s Day (sic)
    A long time ago, maybe in the ’60s, for sure in the ’50s. People cared about people. The gov cared about and for the people. It was bliss and we didn’t know it. So how did we go from near utopia to this slide downhill into the septic tank ? Somehow, society in whole went from “we” to “me”. We Americans were blind to the world’s population in so far as tyranny, socialism and contempt. While we were sitting in front of our 9″ T.V. with colored lenses, the rest of the world was food for the sharks. Meaning, the corrupt powers that are here today, are the nurtured product of long ago.
    I’m drifting, as usual. The point that I’m trying to make is this. The government, local and national, protected us as they should, then that protection fell by the wayside. The virus that plagues us now, is dirty streets times a million. When the health officials should have been working on health issues ( virus ), they were out golfing with the politicians who gave up on us a long time ago.
    Do I sound bitter ? No, just very upset with the people that allowed this to happen. A politician feeds you a line of bull (socialism) and darn near everyone wants to jump on the band wagon. Folks, we all know that services cost money. In short, if we can bring back our manufacturing, jobs will be created, money will be made and services will be provided. Think of China as your drug addict relative. You want to help him, but you wont/can’t turn your back on him.

  4. Stu,

    More than understand your dark thoughts. We’re all going to have some of them. More than anything, this is a situation none of us have every experienced, nor imagined. It’s a shock. It’s very disorienting. And it’s bound to be frightening. Yet it also opens the door to other options, like rediscovering that we are all part of a community, and that our fears and doubts are more bearable when we know we’re not alone. Yes, adversity can bring out the worst in some people, but also the best in more of us, I suspect.

  5. After 9/11 we were in shock because “The light at the end of the tunnel” is impossible to see after dark. It was always there, we found it for a while then got off track again. Hopefully we will ride the same train together in the sunshine this time! Wishful thinking?? That’s me!

  6. Wow. Are you now writing for the Walking Dead? Was hoping to see a little more level-headed take on current situation, but you went over the top. Holy crap, pass the guns and ammo, get in the truck, we got some new trailers to find to store our stuff. Didn’t think you liked Trump?

  7. The approaching good weather that will be soon be coming to much of the nation, will offer opportunities for most of us to get off the couch and enjoy the outdoors. Go biking, hiking, fishing, jogging, golfing, beachcombing etc… These are all activities that can incorporate social distancing. I think these scenarios will keep most of us from going over the edge, and letting our worst instincts overcome our lifelong sense of social responsibility. If prohibitions on going outside are ever imposed, all bets are off.

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