Surviving epidemics, pandemics, bioterrorism and COVID-19 – Are you prepared?

Crisis consulting firm “MOSAIC” views the COVID-19 coronavirus through the lens of security and intelligence crisis management, releasing the guide Surviving Epidemics and Bioterrorism to show the efficacy of biological warfare countermeasures to the present crisis.

The 21st century is proving to be a kaleidoscope of potentially humanity ending threats. The COVID-19 virus is the latest joy peeking out of Pandora’s Box, and MOSAIC, a crisis management, intelligence and security advisory firm (Multi Operational Security Agency Intelligence Company), is releasing an updated survival guide in response.

The second edition of a publication originally produced in 2005 in the aftermath of the anthrax attacks, Surviving Epidemics and Bioterrorism features comprehensive information on COVID-19. Readers will learn about the origin of the virus and prevention efforts that can be employed to prevent its spread.

But Surviving Epidemics doesn’t stop there.

The original MOSAIC guide was specifically designed for deliberately caused outbreaks, such as a biological or chemical attack, but the authors believe that much of the content can be applicable to naturally occurring ones, such as COVID-19. “The difference between an outbreak and biological warfare relates predominately to the source of the infectious disease, but the survival methods that need to be adhered to are virtually identical.”

By viewing the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis through the lens of security and intelligence analysts and experts, MOSAIC seeks to show the efficacy of certain biological warfare countermeasures to the present crisis.

Tony Schiena, a counterterrorism expert, former intelligence operative and founder of MOSAIC, told Lima Charlie News, “When we built MOSAIC’s team, we brought together crisis management experts that could adapt to a broad range of security threats, that included bioterrorism experts and one senior leader in the CIA’s response to the ebola outbreak in West Africa. That team is exactly why we are prepared for rapid response in the face of the COVID-19 virus.”

Apart from Schiena, who made headlines in 2015 for exposing ISIS use of chemical and radiological weapons against the Kurds in Iraq, MOSAIC consists of intelligence and security experts that include Darrell M. Blocker, former Deputy Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, and Richard Frankel, a former FBI agent that served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Senior FBI Representative to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. MOSAIC reports that it has approached the COVID-19 epidemic by analyzing its impact on, among other things, world economies, migration, and even opportunities for organised criminal networks.

“MOSAIC has already started conducting Red Team analyses on the COVID-19 pandemic and is identifying sectors, populations, technologies and other affected areas, while devising stop measures in case the predictions crystallise,” said Schiena.

The authors of Surviving Epidemics are clear to stress that this is not doomsday planning but a very pragmatic approach on how best to protect yourself and your family from a seemingly unlikely but extremely serious crisis. “It must be emphatically stated that the coronavirus is not in any shape, way or form an example of a biological or chemical weapon, but the advice provided is logically and practically sound for dealing with outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics.” For example, “quarantines are amongst a number of routine responses to outbreaks, but very few are prepared for this eventuality.”

There is almost no place on the surface of the Earth, however hostile the environment, in which man has not survived and in many cases flourished.

-John Kingsley, Introduction to Surviving Epidemics and Bioterrorism

The Surviving Epidemics handbook opens with a detailed introduction to COVID-19. It places COVID-19 in a continuum with its coronavirus precursors, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Coronaviruses consist of a core of genetic material, enclosed within an envelope of protein spikes, which resembles a crown; corona is the latin term for crown. Coincidentally, past strains of coronavirus were found to have genomes of a mosaic structure.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS from dromedary camels to humans. Since December 2019, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, the specific culprit for COVID-19 remains unclear. Surviving Epidemics tracks through detection of COVID-19, transmission rates, and fatality rates, clearly articulating that coronaviruses are an ongoing threat. Coronaviruses are apparently circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans, meaning coronaviruses could be a growing and persistent problem.

As of this writing, more than 95,100 people have been sickened by the recent coronavirus outbreak. Of at least 3,249 deaths, all but 268 are in mainland China. Virtually every sector in the world has been affected by COVID-19 with significant losses occurring from business disruption.

Surviving Epidemics tracks through much of the safety measures advised by governments and experts worldwide, which are admittedly basic and generally consists of recommendations that include “respiratory hygiene” and “cough etiquette”, the usefulness, or lack thereof, of face masks, “social distancing” and even developing a healthy immune system that includes the use of various home remedies.

The initial countermeasures described in the book are meant for a limited crisis, one in which a tragic number of people are perishing, but the functions of global capitalism do not break down. Basically: how do you try not to become infected while still showing up to work?

The rest of the handbook, however, is meant to prepare the reader for far worse eventualities. Humanity has not been subject to a truly devastating pandemic since the advent of modern medicine, with the Spanish Flu in the aftermath of the First World War killing some 40-50 million people. At the time, this was around 3% of the global population. The book argues, however, that given modern advances in medicine and hygiene, we are currently in better conditions to withstand deadly biochemical and radiological events than ever before in human history.

Once past discussion about COVID-19, the book cycles to more of a survival guide, detailing emergency procedures for biochemical and even radiological events. In that respect Surviving Epidemics is a relatively comprehensive guide of how to prepare you, and your family, for a long term pandemic or global tragedy, both in protecting yourself from exposure and ensuring your basic survival needs are met. The book provides differing guidelines according to lengths of disruption, ranging from one week to one year.

A section on First Aid provides emergent medical care information specific to biochemical and radiological disasters, and another section details instructions for the construction of shelters. Yet another section provides guidance on face respirators and even how to construct a rudimentary face mask. Readers should also note the various survival pack outlines, storage information, and recipes included towards the end of the guide. The guide, which can be downloaded for free from Amazon, is a manageable 128 pages, and is densely packed with actionable items.

You might be asking yourself, why do I need to stockpile for a year, will the government not come to help? Also, COVID-19, radiological, biochemical terrorism … Come on, is the apocalypse going to drop on my house specifically? Interestingly, these two questions somewhat answer each other.

In the initial aftermath of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, many residents of New Orleans were not as high and dry as they might have liked. It took between 3 and 5 days for the U.S. federal government to distribute food and water to the city’s residents, while unsanitary conditions caused the rampant spread of infectious diseases, including an outbreak of norovirus. This might not move you to stock up for a year, but let us think this through. Since 2005, the U.S. housing market has threatened to trigger a global financial meltdown, refugees have more than doubled as a share of the global population, and the frequency of severe weather events has continued its onward march. All this indicates that self-reliance in the face of disaster should be a priority.

Surviving Epidemics is a guide on how best to protect yourself and your family from an extremely serious crisis, whichever it may be. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and your crisis will be the government’s top priority. However, if an epidemic, turned pandemic, followed by any one of a number of natural or unnatural catastrophes comes to your door, it might take awhile for someone to reconnect the phone lines so you can order food, or call the police.


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