News roundup for Fri, Mar 4, 2022

Editor’s note: We’re thinking about how to improve these roundups and want to hear your ideas in the comments! 

Ukraine invasion: Siege tactics are increasing and some cities are beginning to fall to Russia. Huge convoys are converging on Kyiv, and at least 6 active nuclear reactors are under Russian onslaught but still operating. Shelling is occurring on at least one of those reactors.

Ukraine is moving to gain acceptance into the EU. Moldova is probably going to follow suit. Finland and Sweden are considering NATO membership despite explicit threats from Russia should they move forward with the plan.

Normally neutral Switzerland is jumping on the bandwagon and endorsing sanctions against Russia. Russia’s currency has lost one third of its value during the Ukraine invasion.

Supply chain: Battling very high gas prices, the US government is releasing 30 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserve. The US has called on OPEC countries to release more oil as well, but OPEC has not budged.

Russia and Ukraine are some of the world’s largest wheat producers. In the wake of the war, the price of wheat is skyrocketing. The price of food, already elevated across the globe, is going to follow.

Pandemic: The White House is ushering out a Test-to-Treat program in pharmacies, where folks can rapid-test and get access to needed therapeutics at no cost on the spot:

The Test-to-Treat program is part of the new National COVID-⁠19 Preparedness Plan, which includes 1) Pfizer antiviral pills available ubiquitously at pharmacies (Test-to-Treat), 2) treatments and high-quality masks available to the immunocompromised, 3) a new round of free coronavirus tests starting next week, even for people who previously ordered four free tests, and 4) response to new variants with new vaccines within 100 days.

While the White House ramps up COVID response, our other institutions seem to be ramping down instead:

Almost half of all Americans have contracted COVID (and over half of the children in the US):

Deer-to-human transmission of COVID has been confirmed. It’s probably not a frequent event, but now we know for sure that it’s possible.

Floods: An atmospheric river that is thousands of miles long is slamming into the Pacific Northwest. 5 million people are under flood watch.

Australia has been slammed by severe flooding after a large, low-pressure storm system parked itself over New South Wales and dumped rain continuously for more than a week. It still hasn’t stopped. 500,000 people across the region have been under evacuation orders.

The rest: We’re still keeping an eye on bird flu, and there have been a few more reports of jumps to humans:

The US trucker convoy fizzled out. Thousands were anticipated, but very few showed up in DC.


    • Hardened

      > We’re thinking about how to improve these roundups and want to hear your ideas in the comments!

      Honestly I love them as they are.  I have no suggestions for improvements.

      I’m beyond disbelief that the Russians are shooting near a nuclear power plant.  WTF happened to the Russian military?  I’m used to reading bad news during the last two years but this is impossible to swallow.

      15 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor Hardened

        > Honestly I love [the updates] as they are.  I have no suggestions for improvements.

        Seconded. The format for updates feels great. I appreciate you posting them. I don’t have any suggestions or criticism.

        10 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff brownfox-ff

        Thanks. Anything specific about the format that you like?

        2 |
      • I like the bold sections names to distinguish the following articles. Maybe increase the font size of those though to make them even more clear and distinct?

        5 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Captain Peanut

        Good suggestion, thanks.

        1 |
      • Amy S. Hardened

        I too love these news updates as-is!  They are terrific and I appreciate all the work that must go into them. 

        7 |
      • Rubber Duckie Hardened

        I love these news roundups too. All of you at ThePrepared do awesome work. I have no suggestions, and if you decide to make any changes, I’m sure they’ll be great. 

        I agree with Hardened…I’m terribly disturbed with the ongoing war. Just as the world was coming out of the pandemic, Russia does this. Its almost too much to handle, and we know it will have global repercussions. 

        6 |
      • TraceContributor Rubber Duckie

        Agreed about feeling very disturbed. I’m surprised about the amount of anxiety I feel from this situation. I guess in part it is because it’s going to effect our lives a lot—and in many different ways—and there’s not a lot we can do to directly prepare for it. 

        Also about the nuclear power plant/Chernobyl occupations. I heard, from a educated source, that they are occupying and staging equipment and ammo at those areas because they know the the Ukrainians won’t attack them. They shoot at them to take them because they know they will meet minimal resistance and if one is damaged/burns it’ll take massive Ukrainian resources to deal with it. 

        3 |
      • Hardened Trace

        > They shoot at them to take them because they know they will meet minimal resistance and if one is damaged/burns it’ll take massive Ukrainian resources to deal with it. 

        This makes no sense.  If a reactor is damaged then there’s a high risk it would contaminate large parts of Russia for thousands of years.

        1 |
      • squidvicious Hardened

        Agreed.  Small description with link to source.  Always appreciate the time it take to compile.  Thank you!

        5 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff squidvicious

        Thanks for the feedback about the format. How about the actual news items? Are we hitting the spot, or could we cover other types of news?

        2 |
      • It looks like you are hitting on all of the main topics that are current and are related to survival or prepping. I would like to hear more stories of people surviving some hard experience like a plane crash or trapped in an earthquake. But I know ya’ll are probably looking out for those stories and they just don’t come up as often as covid news headlines.

        5 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Captain Peanut

        Thanks, good to hear you’d like those kinds of stories; others have said the same. We try to incorporate those whenever we come across them, but as you said it’s more difficult unless they make headlines. I’ll see if we can find a better way to source them.

        BTW, if you (or anyone else) is on our Slack and find news stories that you think we should feature, please go ahead and post them!

        4 |
      • You know, I don’t know what I don’t know.  But I am always impressed at the authors’ ability to curate news.  I don’t find it to be overly heavy in one area, nor does it seem to complete miss something.  Frankly, there is an abundance of people/sites that do this sort of thing wrong.  I like the fact that you don’t avoid the very obvious stories, including ones from MSM.   I think it’s a decent service to make sure the simple things are covered and highlighted.  Pluse, I’ve found many things interspersed in the updates that I was not aware of.  Bottom line, I appreciate it being general [enough] while finding some other things I was not aware of.  Really… good job.

        4 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff squidvicious

        Great, thanks a lot!

        2 |
      • TraceContributor Carlotta Susanna

        I know the goal when they first started doing the News Roundup, at the beginning of Covid, was NOT to become another news page. But I appreciate that it kind of has. This is the first source I check when I’m ready to catch up on the recent stories out there. Plus they are preparedness stories, the kind I/we care about the most.

        3 |
      • TraceContributor Hardened

        Minor format change request: Make all the hyperlinks open in new tabs when I click them.

        About half of the hyperlinks open a new tab when I click them (this is what I prefer) and the other half leave TP and go to the page (I don’t like this, I then hit the back page and have to scroll back to where I was). I realize I can hover over the link and make my selection — but I forget. 

        3 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Trace

        Thanks, Trace, the fact that some links open internally and others externally is actually a bug that I fixed for the new roundup.

        Re your original suggestion, we all internally prefer the same, too. But it’s considered web design best practice to not do that, and instead leave the choice to the user, who can right-click on a link to open in a new tab if they want to. Happy to do whatever the majority in this community favors, though.

        2 |
    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Guard your mental energy. It is okay to say no. It is okay to turn off the news. Unplugging can be helpful for your mental health.
      • Focus on what you can control. Staying calm and accomplishing one small thing is better than spending a week worrying.
      • Be aware of the “Split Screen Effect”. If things feel strange and surreal when you see both “bad” things and “normal” things at the same time (e.g. you read stories of war, but you still have to go to work) – that’s ‘normal’. “Weirdness” and damage are not evenly distributed to all people at the same time. Being aware of this can help.
      • Don’t panic buy. You’re a smart person and you can get through this. You may not want to join a panicked crowd.
      • Gas up your car when your tank drops to half full. Gauge the conditions in your local area.
      • Keep slowly building up your pantry
      • Consider some alternate recipes or ingredients. Are there other foods you could try that might cost less?
      • Practice one recipe. Cooking at home can save money versus ordering from a restaurant.
      • Keep some masks in stock. If you have them now, you won’t need to rush later.
      • Keep your Go Bag ready. In case you need to move.
      • Read a book or consider a hobby project. What activities keep you engaged?
      • Reach out to people you care about. Check on them, or ask if they need help.
      • Get some exercise

      Good luck this week.

      14 |
      • TraceContributor brownfox-ff

        Agreed ‘Don’t panic buy’. Be smart — when you hear it reported, for example, that Russia is the largest exporter of wheat. Then think, how much flour do I have? How much wheat do I have? Do I have the ability to grind wheat into flour?

        Do you know how to make bread, or tortillas? They’re both relatively easy to make and are things that don’t store long term in our preps. 

        Side note: While wheat lasts almost indefinitely, flour has a finite life. If you store it properly, avoiding moisture and bugs (don’t store it in the paper bag that it comes in) it’ll last a while (a few years). But after a time it won’t “perform” well. Bread and stuff won’t rise appropriately. You can still make tortillas out of it, and probably biscuits. 

        5 |
      • Captain Peanut Trace

        I have about 40 pounds of flour in the freezer and have to keep it there to prevent it from molding. Where do you buy bulk wheat to put through a grinder? I like the idea of having a longer lasting flour source.

        3 |
      • TraceContributor Captain Peanut

        We buy ours locally at WinCo grocery store, they are throughout the PNW and have a great dry bulk section. Amazon also sells bulk wheat. A quick google search shows good reviews on both and 

        3 |
    • brekke

      I really appreciate the news round-ups and think you’re doing a great job. Also a huge fan of brownfox-ff contributions in the comments each week. 

      12 |
      • Katy Cheuvront brekke

        What brekke said. Thank you for all the hard work!

        7 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor brekke

        Hello – thank you very much for the kind words. I am very glad these posts are useful.

        3 |
    • John Grayman

      Also a shout-out to the great John Ramey! Woot woot.

      9 |
      • A widescale nuclear plant disaster like Chernobyl is unlikely because you have to do a lot to break modern containment structures. The Chernobyl disaster happened because the Soviet Union decided to build less expensive RBMK reactor nuclear plants that don’t have adequate safety.

        Still, a disaster is low probability but extremely high consequence, so Russian troops absolutely must agree not to fight near nuclear plants.

        Following similar logic, you really should take any threat to use nuclear weapons extremely seriously because of the very high consequence. It’s good to be alert and moderately prepared but I don’t think you need a shelterini right this moment.

        3 |
      • That’s a great pull, especially for this community…

        Wait-Shouldn’t Homer be at work in this scenario? haha

        4 |
    • John Grayman

      Great to have such positive and helpful community support, especially with being in the know and what to do about it. Echoing thanks to Stephanie, Brownfox, and the Prepared for what you all are doing, as well as everyone’s contributions and experiences.

      Pivot to business at hand after all-due kudos:

      1. How did the CDC mess up contact tracing to begin with? While any pandemic or bug will be very specialized and take time to adapt a response, seems like contact tracing was a system that could have been in place and well-oiled no matter what the transmission or vector was. IMHO they failed even getting out of the gates (look at how fast South Korea put a tracing program in action with lightning results).

      2. Thoughts and prayers for the Ukraine and all people at war or being subject to tyranny. I think many feel like I do, that I wish I could do something to help from the safety(~) of the USA…I’m reminded of what a good friend told me…that if you can’t help those afar, you should help those near. So trying to help my community more and put out good vibes for the universe! 

      7 |
      • John Grayman Hardened

        Ahh…very interesting Hardened, thank you. 

        Without getting into any politics, I believe I heard an anecdote that GWBush was watching a movie about a pandemic (maybe ‘[Outbreak]’) in his last couple of months, and it inspired him to divert several more million dollars towards CDC/pandemic preparedness. 

        It’s funny the simple things/signs that we sometimes see that can be a greater indicator or the proverbial tip of the iceberg. 

        *I originally posted ‘Contagion’ but when I looked it up it came out in 2009.

        4 |
      • az13 John Grayman

        Yes, Bush was handed John M. Barry’s, “The Great Influenza” for some summer reading. It’s discussed in Micheal Lewis’ “The Premonition: A Pandemic Story” as well.

        4 |
      • John Grayman az13

        Thank you, az13 for the link, that’s awesome! I have heard that story colloquially for like 10 years now, and today there is proof from the internet, haha. I did like ‘Contagion’ better FWIW, but Dustin Hoffman is a powerhouse. 

        3 |
    • Plumtreelane

      Long time lurker here. I look forward to these blog posts every week as a way to keep me informed without scare tactics or hype. Bravo to your team for always putting together a well rounded, informative post full of non-biased, just the facts info. Also, huge shout out to brownfox-ff for the absolutely comforting, down to earth, actionable solutions and preps beneath each weekly update!! When the news is particularly anxiety inducing and it feels like more than I can handle, I always know there will be small, doable suggestions for preps and management of each scenario. Keep it up, team!

      11 |
    • Captain Peanut

      “Russia’s currency has lost one third of its value during the Ukraine invasion.”

      It doesn’t look like it will just go back to what it was anytime soon and most likely will continue to decline. What do you do if you are an innocent civilian, don’t agree with what your country is doing, and your money is plummeting!?

      What is the advice here? Should you just have as much as you need to survive in your local currency and then move the rest of your money into other country’s currencies or even that crypto currency?

      5 |
      • Hardened Captain Peanut

        Yes.  I’ve lived in Argentina in which this was the constant reality.  There was a thriving black market for people to buy dollars to use for their savings.  The daily television news shows would report the current black market rate between the local currency and dollars, even though it was illegal.

        The first layer of defense is diversification.  If your local currency isn’t the same as the world reserve currency (US dollars) then get your hands on some US dollars.  Also hold cryptocurrencies, gold, and silver.

        The second layer of defense is not to use cash as savings.  Get into the mindset of “cash is trash”, as explained by financial literacy experts such as Robert Kiyosaki.  As much as possible moving your savings into hard assets.

        3 |
      • Bill Masen Hardened

        The Trouble with caches of cash at this time is inflation.  At the moment inflation is running around 8% ,  So if you cache $100 for a year after that year its only worth $92.

        3 |
    • Hardened

      I’m also furious at the Ukrainians for creating a blockade on the way to the nuclear power plant.  WTF were they thinking?  The Russians wouldn’t have had anything to fire at unless there was resistance.  Both sides acted extremely irresponsibly.

      -3 |
    • Bill Masen

      Editor’s note: We’re thinking about how to improve these roundups and want to hear your ideas in the comments!

      Perhaps  an E mail addy to Stephanie that lets people send tips, news, itel , sitreps etc to help her collate the forum Blog?

      5 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Bill Masen

        Thanks, Bill. The best way would be to drop any links etc in the comments section of the most recent news roundup, so use this roundup until the next one comes out on Tuesday. I’ll make an official announcement in the next roundup.

        6 |
    • M. E.Contributor

      I agree with the other commenters: I like it the way it is! I look forward to it and this is the only news source I make sure to read every week.  It would be nice to have at least one “good news” piece per blog, but one can only have so many cheese festivals.  

      6 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff M. E.

        I know, cheese festivals are rare. But we’ll keep trying! 😀

        2 |
    • Momof6

      I like the news round ups, can’t think of anything to change!

      6 |
    • Bob6590

      Regarding the release of 30 MM barrels of oil, this is about 1 1/2 DAYS of US consumption as of 2020, so whoopie….!

      3 |
      • Bill Masen Bob6590

        See my post today about European energy prices on the main forum.

        at time of writing oil is $125 a barrel.

        1 |
    • mopdx

      Hmmm. I can’t think of how to improve these biweekly updates. The formatting, page architecture, and topic organization is really smooth, as it is.

      Thank you so much for all that you do!

      2 |
    • Hardened

      I’m all in favor of the Ukrainians defending their country but a nuclear power plant disaster that could potentially render much of Europe uninhabitable requires a more sophisticated thought process.  As a Ukranian:

      1.  Am I defending infrastructure that could render Europe uninhabitable if Russian soldiers aren’t careful?  If “no”, fight to the death.

      2.  If “yes”, ask myself, “Is Russia committed to invading Ukraine?”

      3. If “yes”, ask myself, “Are a few obstacles in the road on the path to the nuclear reactor going to cause the Russian army to question its commitment and say, ‘Gosh, taking control of this nuclear reactor is hard.  There are some things in the way.  Let’s change our commitment and give up.’”

      4. If “no”, realize there’s something larger at stake here and have the mayor stand in front of the nuclear power plant with the keys in his hand to give to the Russians.

      5.  Take my gun and use it to fight Russians elsewhere in Ukraine.

      So yes, I’m supportive of Ukrainians and furious at anyone who doesn’t apply the principles of considering expected outcomes.  There’s too much at stake to be let actions be driven only by emotion and overly simplistic moral calculations.

      By building that nuclear plant the Ukranians took on a moral responsibility to the people of Europe that extends beyond just defending their own country from invaders.

      -1 |