<Featured image from Charlie Adlard>
May is Zombie Awareness Month according to the Zombie Research Society (of which I am a card carrying member). I’ll be honest, my daydreaming about surviving through a disease-based apocalypse has certainly slowed the last two years, but we know a lot more about how the world around us will react if/when the zombies do come.
As a basic idea, my plan involves finding your way to the edge of a suburban area, and slowly clearing it out of zombies and supplies. Urban areas have too many people per mile, and rural areas require you to know how to live off the land. Suburbia has multiple sources of shelter, and many suburban houses have a level of non-perishable food items and tools for manual labor.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Your zombie plan needs to be laid out in advance, so that once the first confirmation of the undead comes, you know what to do, where to go, who to get, and when to get moving.
During the first few months of the pandemic, we heard various sources say that pandemic response has bee actively neglected for years, for the simple reason that it’s not exciting. No one thinks the improbable is going to happen to them, so they don’t prepare for it. It’s hard to get support from the public by saying “The best case scenario, is that no one will notice.”
Now, you might feel the same way about zombie preparation, because it PROBABLY won’t happen. However, I wrote an article before pointing out how zombie prep is helpful for other disease-based disasters (*cough cough*), military disasters, or more potential problems.
Information Changes Quickly
Disasters happen suddenly, and no one knows what to do. There is a lot of guesswork, and there are a lot of wrong answers that you will hear. Not only that, but the people who you listen to might begin to tell you conflicting information, and say that you should literally do the impossible. You need to learn to become adaptive during these situations.
During March and April 2020, it seemed like every day or week there was new information, new rules, new regulations on how to act. Do you remember early on when we were told NOT to wear masks, because we needed them to go to the hospital staffs? When something happens, no one has all of the information, and so it seems like you get whiplash going back and forth on what you should do. Some people would act on information that was a week old, and be confused that they suddenly weren’t allowed in public buildings.
Now, with the (currently fictional) zombie apocalypse, we don’t know much about how the zombies will react. Will they be fast or slow? Will they be able to understand how to go over a small barrier, or will they literally walk off a cliff? Is there any self-preservation effort? There are so many questions, and some people will think they know exactly how they will act, but you don’t, so you need to be prepared to change things on the fly.
Not only this, but the military has a semi-serious Zombie Plan of their own called the Counter-Zombie Dominance, or CONPLAN 8888. This is an official military plan of action, but just as we’ve seen with their Covid response, this is probably half-baked and inaccurate, meaning we will get quick military response, which will then go through a rapid test-fail sequence until they understand what they should REALLY do after a month.
Supply Chains Are Weak
When something comes your way, part of planning ahead means having supplies needed to continue already with you. Everything in our day-to-day lives runs on the assumption that things will continue as they need to. Once something changes, then a lot comes falling apart. Having an emergency kit of food, water, medicine, and TOILET PAPER is important to have around.
Not only did the supply chain get wrecked during the first few weeks and months of the pandemic, but hoarders further damaged it. When movies show when disaster hits, people always empty the shelves of their local supermarkets. Well we certainly saw this happen as well, and it was extended with paper products. Then, even though there was ALWAYS enough supply to sustain society, people’s FEAR that it would run out, caused it to. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This further exemplifies why we desperately need to have a basic amount of supplies on hand before everything falls apart. The CDC suggests a minimum of three days per person of food and water (1 gallon per person per day). This is at least enough so that you can make sure you eat while you are in a pure reaction mode during the first few days. Also, you need to have more than just food and water, and make sure you have everything you would consider you NEED over the course of those three days.
Isolation Will Alter You
We think a lot about how we will adapt with disasters. In the movies, veterinarians become doctors, teachers become killers, and pizza guys become cooks. We also knew that losing family and friends would be a difficult aspect to work through, but experiencing it on a widespread level like we have, it really is interesting noticing how you might have changed.
In the movies, people always gather together in a band of survivors, where they all work together to survive. However, sometimes you might find yourself completely alone, without any support network, and you have to determine how to survive only with what you can do.
I know for myself, I used to be the most extroverted person at a party, but since restrictions have lightened up and I’m vaccinated, I still find myself scared of large groups of people or going up to people that I don’t know. For my wife Chanel, she was perfectly content staying at home all day and not seeing anyone, but now she has realized that she does actually need socializing to feel fulfilled, and that spending time “in the chaos” as she calls it, is necessary on some level.
The Virus Is Faster Than Our Response
Ultimately, I think that the biggest thing I’ve really learned through this whole thing is that we are not as capable as I thought we were. Whether it was how we as a society reacted, or individuals, we were constantly trying to catch up to the situation. Even when it comes to thousands of deaths happening, it seems that official response will always be a little too late, allowing the the virus to get a solid foothold and rampage through society.
A cure to the zombie virus is largely unlikely, as it took until November 2020 for the first Covid cure to be discovered and confirmed by Pfizer. This is just over 10 months after the first case was reported, and this includes a worldwide rush, where multiple labs were working on it. While this is occasionally the focus of zombie media, it’s simply not a possibility.
Furthermore, a 2009 study called “When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of a Zombie Infection” from students at University of Ottawa and Carleton University stated that “simulations based on a city of roughly 500 000 people demonstrated that an entire such city would be replaced by zombies after about four days.” In the study, it showed that quarantining would be largely ineffective if you were unable to successfully quarantine 100% of the zombie population. Knowing now our inability to successfully quarantine, this shows that any attempt to becomes completely useless. The only successful way to stop the zombie apocalypse is if “humans would mobilize their resources and attack the zombies. Each attack would be carried out with more force than the last one. The humans would keep fighting with increasing intensity…” Otherwise, the zombies would overtake humanity within 10 days.
This is to say that even with planning and preparation, even staying flexible to change and adapting, you won’t be able to assess the situation and respond in a successful way faster than the situation will change. However, the situation is not hopeless. The final thing that I’ve learned from this pandemic is that even in the darkest days, as long as you can keep moving, keep standing, and keep breathing, eventually you’ll make your way out of it.