The picture is of volunteers standing outside a medical center in Italy. They’re holding bags of food to hand out to those less fortunate.

Italy has been in lockdown over a month now after bungling early warnings of COVID-19. If we want to get an idea where we’re headed, let’s see where they are, even as a lockdown STILL ripples across our country and our Federal response is rife with graft and profiteering and inefficiency.

In Italy, high unemployment is having a strong effect along with inadequate government support with many unemployed, especially seasonal and gig workers falling into the gaps of getting no support. Sound familiar? Right now people here aren’t hungry or desperate but they are getting that way in Italy. Community support groups are helping, but they have a more homogeneous population than we do and don’t have a government that is actively pitting citizens against each other.

Crime is on the rise. People are going hungry and many are relying on handouts to eat. Hungry people are dangerous people.

In many ways, we are going to be worse off than Italy.

A huge misconception right now is that rural areas are safe. People are focused on New York City and the massive tolls there, but the reality is that NYC might actually be at the peak and perhaps crawling through it to the other side. It’s elsewhere that that the water has receded from the shoreline and people are out and about on the exposed beach. Literally, in the case of Georgia which opened its beaches this past weekend.

We have a large media outlet and a president that are downplaying the severity of this virus; many people in rural areas believe them. This is going to kill a lot of people. I’ve predicted mass graves in Florida. New York is already facing this issue. Oddly, I was in the midst of writing a scene in my next novel on Hart Island in New York City when the city announced that many victims would probably end up there. It’s a small island near City Island in the Bronx where over a million people have been buried over the course of more than a century. Potters Field. I foresee mass graves in Florida given the aging, unhealthy population and, frankly, an overall ignorance of the reality of the threat.

People in rural areas are, overall, less healthy. Older. There are many counties without ICU beds. In fact, there are counties without hospitals. Here in TN we face a severe shortage of medical care in rural areas.

We had our first mail carrier die from COVID-19. Warehouse workers are sick and dying. Our supply chain is fraying at the edges and it will get much worse.

Having deployed to countries where civil order broke down, often rapidly, I know it can happen here. The people in the places I went didn’t think it could happen there either. And it did.

In a month we will see a surge in crime. People will be stealing food and supplies. That’s just a reality. We already have a White House black market on PPE and ventilators with Jared Kushner favoring Republican donors and the government selling its stockpile to private companies which then inflate the price and sell it to the states. It’s not going to be different at the local level.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Try to have a month’s worth of food on hand. Think about rationing what you have to last. Stay at home. Lock your doors. Be very careful of scams and people calling or coming to your door. If you need to go to several stores in the next few days to get those supplies, do so. Some will accuse me of advocating hoarding. No. Because the shelves are relatively full now in most places. You won’t be there in two weeks when people are fighting over what there is. Technically you’re leaving more for them to fight over then.

Long term, get a garden going. We started ours this week. Understand who your “A-Team” is. Who in your neighborhood do you trust? I have an entire section in the Survival Guide on building an A-Team.

Here is a slideshow that talks about FOOD and also expiration dates which need a bit of interpretation.

One misconception is that the virus will “die out” in warmer weather. Actually, the flu and COVID-19 aren’t bothered by warmer weather. The reason these viruses are worse in cold weather has nothing to do with temperature. It has to do with the fact that humans are crowded together indoor during cold weather and thus they spread more easily.

The storm over New York City, New Orleans and other cities will now move outward.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)