12 Essential Things to Buy Before the Second Wave of COVID-19

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As the country begins to open up again, many of us await with baited breath. The lockdowns were working to flatten the curve, but now what? Revised forecasts showed a increase in the number of cases COVID-19 after the lockdowns were removed, but no greater than the initial rise in cases. All the way through, however, the models were incredibly wrong and this may just be one more time they’re wrong. We might very well see a wave greater than the first.

Normally we could expect the pandemic to decrease in summer heat and sun. This is what happens every year with the flu. Ultraviolet light is destroying viruses, so it would make sense that in summer, the virus would not do well. But the people who catch the disease are probably not catching it outdoors, but rather outdoors.

All this means is that before we know it, the second surge which the doctors predicted will arrive in the fall, could be here. Looking at the rise in cases around the world, we might already see the start of it. With that in mind, we need to make sure our stockpiles are ready, before they are on us.

Now is the perfect time to take a look over your stockpile, applying the lessons we’ve all learned in recent months. I don’t know about you, but I saw that my normal pandemic storage levels were too low. So now, I’m adding to those items to make sure I’m ready if the second wave is worse than the first.

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1. Masks

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At last, our political leaders finally woke up to the importance of masks.

Cities, counties and even entire states are being put under mask orders, in an attempt to curb the virus’ spread. That was supposed to have happened months ago but it’s happening now, at least.

If you are using surgical masks or commercial N-95 masks, you need enough of them to be able to treat them as the disposable masks they should be. Medical staff normally change their patient masks to help avoid the risk of cross-contamination. You may not need to do so that often, but the longest one of these masks you should use is eight hours before disposing and replacing it.

Whether you are using homemade masks or commercial fabric masks, you need not think about replacing them every day. However, you shouldn’t use them more than a day without washing them. If the mask does its job and collects droplets of virus-rich saliva during the day, then when you arrive home, the mask is contaminated. Treat it as such, and never touch it again until it is washed.

That means you have enough cloth masks to be able to rotate them, not wear them again until you do the wash. I would recommend having at least one week worth, since most people do their washing about once a week.

2. Face Shields

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There is some pretty good evidence to indicate that face shields can be much more powerful than masks. They cover the eyes, covering the tissue which masks can not. Although they do not do anything to absorb droplets from aerosols, they will keep those droplets out.

Health workers wear face covers, often with masks. This will mean something to us.

Though I don’t bother wearing a face shield anywhere I go, I’ll make sure I wear one if I’m going to a place where there are a lot of people or where I know there are people who are infected with the disease. It’s an inexpensive way to lift another notch in my defense.

3. Disposable Gloves

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Medical experts continue to recommend against the use of gloves, but that’s mostly because people don’t use them properly.

These are meant to be disposable as are the masks. That’s important, so cross-contamination is avoided. If you wear the same gloves in a number of different stores, you might just use those gloves to spread the disease, rather than protect yourself.

The only way to use gloves is to take them off as soon as you exit the shop and throw them away. When I go to Walmart and the grocery store, that is what I did. I wear them in those stores, because in the stores there are so many customers, touching items, and then I touch those items, too. Putting gloves on ensures I won’t carry it anywhere else if I have picked up the virus from something in the store that someone coughed on.

If you will be using disposable gloves, make sure to get enough of them. Fortunately, you can buy them in boxes of 100 (50 pairs), a quantity that fits well with the amount of masks usually in a kit.

4. Disposable Booties

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You might want to consider buying disposable Tyvek booties by stepping your PPE up a notch to go over your shoes.

Studies have shown that it is possible to pick up the SARS-Cov-2 virus on the soles of people’s shoes, which causes them to take it home.

These booties provide a way to make sure there’s nothing that shouldn’t be there on the soles of your shoes.

Whenever I go to some big box stores or supermarkets, I used booties like this, essentially anywhere there’s a lot of people there. The more number of people in an area, the greater the risk of infection. And if I’m going to wear rubber gloves I’m going to wear the booties too.

5. Disinfectants of All Kinds

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Disinfectants were among the things that flew off the shelves when the pandemic started. If you were looking for a disinfectant cleaner, rubbing alcohol or even bleach, it doesn’t matter, it’s gone.

Part of this was because many of those items originated in China, and our shipments from China were interrupted by quarantining over there and ships quarantined over here.

Nevertheless, over the last few months we have all gone through a massive amount of disinfectants and there is no end in sight. It’s essential that we all have the ability to disinfect anything that comes into our homes, so we can make sure we don’t allow the disease to get in.

If you can’t find other disinfectants, then you might find bleach. Chlorine bleach is an excellent disinfectant. Add in 1/3 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Many odd things that the disinfectants may use include:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant
  • 20 mule team borax, when mixed with water, forms hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide is also the active ingredient in color-safe bleach
  • Windex has more ammonia in it than Clorox disinfectant spray

6. Disinfectant Wipes (If You Can Find Them)

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Disinfectant wipes remain one of the hardest items to find. The Clorox wipes, which is so common, used ammonia as the disinfectant, not chlorine bleach. That is important, as mixing the two chemicals together is dangerous.

Ammonia is a gas, so you and I can’t readily mix it into liquids in our kitchens.

So we need an alternative if we can not find these wipes in the store. Luckily, we can do something else that will just about work as well.

When you can find the strong blue paper towels that are sold in auto parts shops, they can be used to make wipes for disinfectants. You’ll need to break the roll in half to fit them in a jar. For this, a serrated bread knife works well. Then cut out the core, find the last towel and loosen the end of it. In use, the roll of wipes is used from the inside out, rather than the outside in.

You’re going to want to make the bleach mix I mentioned in the last section, adding 1/4 cup of dish washing liquid, too. This means it can also act as a cleaner. Soak in the towels, however, until they are soaked all the way. Then put in a container the roll of now-wet towels to keep it wet, along with a small amount of the liquid to keep it wet.

Before putting these wipes in it, please note that you must clean any wipes container, as you can not mix chlorine bleach and ammonia. Another option for containers is using one of the 35 oz. square peanut jars. They are just the right size for a half blue towel roll.

7. Hand Sanitizer

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There is actually plenty of hand sanitizer that makes it into the shops, but I do see retailers running out of that. You just about can’t get too much hand sanitizer with the need to wash our hands regularly.

Please note that hand soap and hand sanitizer antibacterial are not the same stuff. Hand sanitizer has an alcohol content of at least 70% and is very effective in killing viruses. In antibacterial soaps, different chemicals are used which are not effective against viruses.

If you need a hand sanitizer and are unable to find it, you can make your own 91% alcohol and aloe vera gel rubbing. Please note that you cannot use 70% alcohol, as you will not have a minimum alcohol content of 60% by the time you mix it with the aloe vera, which is the minimum required to be effective for the hand sanitizer. Such two ingredients have a proper ratio of 2 parts 91% alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel.

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8. Paper Towels

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I’ve already mentioned the blue paper shop towels above. I consider them much more effective than standard paper towels when it comes to disinfecting items. Even the best paper towels will fall apart, if you try and use them to disinfect your groceries when you get home from the supermarket.

That said, you still have to stock up on regular paper towels. The shops have run out of them, and are likely to run out again. When we are to keep our homes and vehicles decontaminated then paper towels will be required. Cleaning cloths may be used, but they would need to be properly and regularly disinfected to prevent them from transmitting the disease, rather than helping us decontaminate our homes.

9. Toilet Paper

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We all know that from the first wave of COVID-19 the grocery stores were running out of toilet paper and it will probably do so again. This really makes no sense, because there’s no explanation why people should need that much toilet paper.

Nevertheless, in this pandemic, it appears to be a part of the landscape. Therefore, because so many other people are stocking up on it, we will at least make sure we have enough to satisfy the needs of our families, or we will have none.

10. Bottled Water

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Water is another thing people in the first round of COVID-19 panicked on and stockpiled. Again, this doesn’t make much sense, because there is no reason to think that anything will happen to our water supplies.

However, people have been panic buying water, and will probably do so again.

So if you need bottled water to drink instead of drinking water from the tap or your own filtered water, you may want to lock it up again. I use my own filtered water, too.

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11. Food

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Many of us, when the grocery store shelves were all but empty, ended up getting into our stockpiles. There were other things that were hard to get due to other people stockpilin. Still, this is why we’ve got a stockpile.

The problem is whether your supply was exhausted during the first wave, or not.

If you’ve got it, then now is the time to restore it, bringing your levels back to normal before things get worse. One such risky place to be is the grocery store, because too many people go there. So stock up now, rather than later; ideally at a time when not many others are in store.

12. Entertainment

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Many people suffered from some very serious cases of cabin fever, since they were locked up for too long in their homes.

There’s a possibility this led to the protests and rioting associated with George Floyd’s killing.

Before that happened, people were uptight and that clearly gave them the boost they needed to put them on the brink.

The solution to this dilemma is to make sure you are able to separate yourself comfortably in your house, without going stir-crazy. That’s likely to look different to everyone, because we’re different people. For others, it means having a good collection of books or movies; for others, a hobby of some kind. I would recommend a combination, so that you’re not getting bored.

If you don’t already have a hobby then it may be a good time to start one, especially some kind of hobby where you’re doing something. It could be a good time to learn the trade of old craftsmen, adding to your skills for long-term survival.

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