Preparing for a Pandemic
I’m currently living in Shanghai, and as many of you know, there’s a health crisis sweeping China and the world at this moment.
Stories of my experiences living in China through this pandemic have taken over my focus here on Medium. As I scroll through my profile, all I see are articles that detail my experiences since it started.
Here are the first ones you’d be confronted with when clicking onto my profile
- I was forced into a Chinese hospital
- China is Running Out of Masks
- Don’t Travel to Asia
- First Major Chinese City has been Closed
Along with messages of support, the tales of my experiences have also inspired a lot of anger from people who think I’m stirring up panic.
I suspect they see me as someone, somewhere in the world who’s bored and wants to speculate on the latest craze to take over the public consciousness.
Unfortunately for me, it’s all real and all around me. The storm is only worsening, and it’s directly affecting my life.
The stories I write on Medium are my experiences being in China and living through it. Any panic you perceive is there because I have reason to panic.
There’s so much I wish I had done to prepare for this pandemic. So here’s what I’ll be doing to better prepare for the next one…
Buy and Store Masks
Days into the pandemic, surgical masks started selling out all throughout the city.
I managed to get some, but nowhere near enough. I ordered some online but it was no use, my orders were cancelled by the seller before they could send any.
Now I’m stuck with an injury that needs daily attention by a doctor, and only a few masks left before I run out.
A shipment of 3 million masks were sent into Shanghai tonight and distributed to several hundred pharmacies.
The pharmacies open at 9am, so my friends and I will be up at 6am to try and get in line by 7am.
We’ll be allowed to buy a pre-determined amount that’s decided by the pharmacy to ensure there’s enough for everyone.
I think back to only a couple weeks ago and remember with frustration how cheap and readily available they were.
They store easily and don’t expire, so I don’t know why I didn't stock up.
When the current pandemic is over, I’m going to buy and store hundreds of masks for the next time something like this happens.
Stored Long-life Food
I’m really lucky to live in a city that has only moderately been affected by the crisis.
Other cities (such as Wuhan) are in marshal law and have complete transportation lock-down in effect.
People living in that city are in crisis. Food, water and medical supplies are hard to find.
Here in Shanghai, things are hard but not impossible to find.
When it comes to food, supermarkets haven’t been completely cleaned out by the masses, so I’ve been able to buy most of what I’ve wanted.
If I could go back in time, I’d stockpile dozens of cans of the foods I like. Tuna in fresh water, canned beef, and the nice flavours of soup.
Instead of those I have the brands of canned food you only really buy because your camping trip is tomorrow, and the convenience store is the only option still open, so you buy whatever they have.
Some restaurants still operate, but some health officials have warned against eating food you haven’t cooked yourself and wasn’t sealed before the crisis started. So my life has become cans of tuna, tins of beans, and sachets of “cream of chicken and celery” soup. Mmmmmmmmmm
Had a First-Aid Kit and training to match
First-aid kids aren’t impossible to find during the pandemic (so far), but training takes time.
I wish I had taken an online course, or even watched some YouTube videos before this whole thing had started.
A personal health crisis unfolded for me because I couldn't get to a hospital to have puss drawn out of my finger with a syringe.
At that time, hospitals were overflowing with people who were queuing to get in and be treated for the virus.
Had I known what to do, I could have stuck myself with the needle and drained it myself. Instead, the finger got so badly infected I needed emergency surgery wherein a doctor sliced open my finger with a razor-blade and absolutely no anaesthetic.
Even now I’m going back daily to have it re-dressed, when really I should be doing it myself. Every time I go out I expose myself to the virus and use up a precious mask.
After this crisis ends, I’m seriously going to look into being trained for first aid. I think it might save a life one day in the future.
And that’t it
I hope wherever you are in the world, you’re safe and unaffected by the coronavirus.
I hope you haven’t fallen into the trap of disregarding what you’ve heard and chocked it all up to media hype.
I’ve seen the hospital beds and trust me, many many people are suffering.
A pandemic could come for any of us at any time. I wasn’t prepared, and I’ll never let that happen again.
All it would take for you to become better prepared is a couple hundred bucks and a few hours of your time. I really hope you’ve been inspired to make the effort, it could one day save your life or at the very least, save your health