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What America Should Learn About the Coronavirus Effect               

Before I get into this discussion, I must bring up a moment I experienced in February of 2020 related to the Coronavirus.

I was online playing [shameless plug coming] Respawn’s Apex Legends.  For those not familiar with the game, it requires a team of three in order to face off against 19 other teams (3 x 20 teams = 60 people per game instance) to battle to remain the last team standing.  I was playing as a solo player and needed to link up with 2 other random players.  When the game started, and as we were waiting in the queue to pick our avatars, one of the guys, in a Bronx, NY voice, said to the other guy via his microphone “Yo!  Have you heard about the Coronavirus?”

The other guy replied back in his equally heavy Bronx, NY dialect “Corona?  You mean da’ beer?”

“Noooooooo…” the first guy smoothly shot back.  “Corona VIRUS!”

The second guy said, “Oh, no no no no no.  I ain’t heard of the Coronavirus.”

I bet he has heard of it now.

Within a matter of days, and as of this March 9, 2020 writing, the stock market has dropped more than 5,000 points, uncertainty is running rampant within society and, most importantly, people are dying.  But, as we, as a global society, confront this Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to touch on major concerns that I see, or have seen, within American society - and possibly societies within other countries - that individuals should also think about as they continue to pursue wealth and quality of life.  At some point, if our governments are not willing to adapt, we must adapt as individuals to protect ourselves from future societal disruptions.

Government Continuity Plans are Feckless

I have been a civil servant for over 20 years.  The government stresses the development of continuity of operations plans (COOP) by various government agencies to ensure, if a national disaster occurs, the US government could continue to provide services to the citizens and keep the country running.

In the early 2000s, and at one agency that I will not name, we used to conduct COOP exercises based on various scenarios.  During one scenario, the country had been hit by a terrorist attack and the “essential” employees - which I was a part of - had to get into a van and drive to another state and work to continue the government program.  I remember my manager saying “If a disaster hits, I am going home to be with my family.  I’m not getting in that van.”  Now, I am not judging my manager for making that statement as she had just had a newborn child.  However, when the actual terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 occurred, and actually affected the DC metropolitan area, the COOP “plan” never was executed.

Fast forward to today, March 2020.  Government agencies prepare for disasters and disruptions to the American economy - and spend millions of dollars doing so.  However, as an actual Coronavirus pandemic starts to hit America, the government cannot even execute the most basic of mitigation strategies, which would be mandatory telework for the indefinite future.  Instead, they will wait until an entire office comes down with Coronavirus before they even think about implementing a mandatory telework policy, but by then it would be too late.

Some technology companies have already pushed the button on mandatory teleworking for their employees.  It did not take a bunch of thought, bureaucracy, or paperwork to implement; they just sent out an email and made it so.  Meanwhile, the Federal government is still pontificating on the prospects of an outbreak in the US when their employees have the technology and capability to work from home.

It is times like these when our government should be enacting their continuity plans to see how they work during actual events, no matter how small the immediate threat is.  This is what government workers have spent hours, and millions of dollars, preparing for, and government leaders (The President, Senators, and other leaders) should want to see how effective agencies can carry out such plans.  But, in the end, their unwillingness to test out basic strategies leaves me to worry how effective they can be at executing a plan should viral, environmental, or terrorist threats become more severe.

Outmoded Business Operations

For almost a decade, I have wondered why foundational institutions such as the public education systems in northern states continually have snow shutdown days that students have to make up at the end of the school year.  Education systems should not wait until potential pandemics such as Coronavirus show up before they start to devise alternate learning plans.  Schools should not be interrupted for minor events such as snow - that occurs almost every winter - and they should not be disrupted by large-scale pandemics like the Coronavirus when isolation is proven to be an effective method of containment against such a disease.

Technology - specifically the Internet - has fundamentally changed the way we shop, communicate, and interact with one another.  The Coronavirus threat should be a moment of clarity where education systems, and basic public engagement systems altogether like government agencies previously mentioned, disrupt their industries and execute diverse learning platforms.  Currently, my public school educated middle-schooler does almost all of her assignments online; however, the school does not have a continuity plan for operating remotely.  We can shop online, we can socialize online, we can get our news and information online, and we can watch television and movies online, but we cannot remotely educate our children.  I find this to be disturbing.

Heavy Reliance on Financial Wealth vs Becoming PASS Certified

Finally, people have become too reliant on the current monetary system and supply chains to provide them with the basic necessities for life.  People are too reliant on a paper currency to acquire basic resources to live.  But, what happens if, or when, this system and its supply chain are disrupted, or totally collapses?

We have witnessed people literally fighting over toilet paper, water, and other items during an infinitesimal Coronavirus outbreak that has not really created a great deal of casualties nor reached peak outbreak numbers in America as of today, March 9, 2020.  People may need to rethink the way they live and sustain themselves.  AJSmith365.com has introduced the Pathway to Achieving Self-Sustainability (PASS) model to shift people’s mindset of not being reliant on governments or corporations for basic resources such as food, shelter, water, heating and cooling systems, and self-defense.  If you have ever watched DIY Network’s Building Off the Grid television show or National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers series, then you will understand what the PASS model is. 

The people that appear on Building Off the Grid are somewhat following the PASS model.  They are controlling their own water and energy sources so that they can nourish themselves, shelter themselves, and regulate their body temperatures.  These elements are over half of the components of the PASS model, especially if they own their real estate outright.  However, the people on Doomsday Preppers are what we at AJSmith365.com would call PASS-certified - meaning, they not only shelter themselves, provide their own off-grid water and energy sources to nourish themselves and regulate their body temperatures, but they maintain their own food supply and have elaborate defense systems to keep what is theirs should anarchy reign.

People learned during the 2008 housing market crash that home values are not guaranteed.  And, people should have learned from the 1930s great depression, the 2008 great recession, and the 2020 stock market selloff that stock market bulls, and the earnings that can come with it, can come and go in an instant.  But, when you operate from the mindset of being self-sustaining, you are not solely reliant on monetary currency to determine a material wealth value; you are concentrated on life necessities that ensure you can survive independent of assistance from a corporation, government, or public works system.  Brand name items will come and go, but your livelihood cannot.  Once you are gone, there is no coming back.  Do not put yourself in a situation where you have to test that theory out.




 
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