Survival Schools See Attendance Rise During COVID

When the influenza pandemic spread globally in 1918, it wouldn’t be until 1920 when things started getting back to normal in many communities.

As we see with the COVID pandemic, the arguments over masks and social distancing were similar. Instead of focusing on one’s health, it became a political argument.

Since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, many people are turning to survival schools to develop the skills and resources they’ll need for survival.

About 250 million people have contracted COVID since the start of the pandemic, with nearly two million dying from the disease.

What Are Survival Schools?

Survival schools have been around much longer than the coronavirus. These institutions teach people how to survive if they’re stuck in the woods with only their clothing and a couple of tools. 

Some of the skills taught during these wilderness courses include making fire by friction, finding edible food outside, and hunting safely.

Here are some of the best ones that still offer classes today.

1. Ancient Pathways

Founded by Tony Nester in 1989, this survival school focuses on bushcraft. Courses range from four days to two weeks, including a knife-only class.

2. Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School

The most popular course here requires students to improvise their own shelter. You must make your way to a campsite using a compass and topographic map over four days and three nights.

3. Mountain Scout Survival School

You can find single-day survival classes that start from $60. You can learn how to trap, track, and create a fire. If you live in an urban environment, the NYC class in Central Park delivers a fun experience.

Life can throw a curveball at any time. When you know how to survive, it’s much easier to get ready for the next pitch. 

Opioid Deaths Rose 46% in Washington in 2020

While COVID-19 spun off variants to infect millions of people, many coped with the different lockdown orders by taking opioids.

It was a choice that led to a 46% increase in opioid-related deaths in Washington, D.C., in 2020. Most of the people impacted by this issue were older Black and African-American men.

Although the rates are staggering, the issue isn’t something new to those who live in America’s capital. Fentanyl deaths started rising in 2017, and the figures have kept climbing since that time.

Treatment Options Show Racial Disparities

The United States experiences several ethnic and racial disparities in the healthcare field. The use of opioid disorder treatments, including buprenorphine and methadone, has several barriers to distribution to minority communities.

Buprenorphine providers tend to accept commercial insurance, but they will not take Medicaid.

Medicaid is the medical coverage individuals and families receive when they meet specific low-income thresholds. Minorities in the United States are more likely to use this service, and it is even more likely that someone with an opioid addiction will be on it.

That means the people who need the treatment the most are the least likely to get it. 

What fueled this crisis? We know that about one-quarter of the patients who receive prescription opioids for pain management end up abusing the product. 

We also know that about 5% of the people who misuse an opioid prescription will transition to heroin.

The only way to change these statistics is to stop offering opioids as the first-course treatment for pain. We must also reach out to the communities where overdosing is rampant to deliver some much-needed services. 

WHO Suggest Pandemic Will Continue Past 2021

When March 2021 came around, the world half-heartedly celebrated surviving a year with COVID-19. Although China went into lockdown earlier, most of the planet started dealing with the coronavirus a week or two before April.

After we got through the winter, many people expected that vaccine therapies and continued PPE use would keep COVID-19 levels low. The opposite effect seems to be occurring. At the start of April 2021, France is entering a four-week lockdown for the third time.

The United States wants a return to normalcy by Independence Day. In the UK, Boris Johnson is staging a reopening plan another time, hoping that this one will work.

WHO warns that we can make progress with the coronavirus this year, but the pandemic will almost certainly continue beyond 2021.

What Does Dr. Anthony Fauci Say About the Pandemic?

Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the world’s leading experts on contagious diseases. He disagrees with WHO’s assessment slightly, saying that herd immunity could be reached by the end of summer if the vaccination programs go well.

That means we could reach a level of normality close to what we had before COVID-19 before the end of the year.

What will it take to achieve that goal? Fauci says that at least 75% of Americans must receive a vaccination. If the rate is at 50% or lower, it could take a long time to reach the protection levels needed to stay safe against exposure.

The most significant gains are likely to come from the developed countries with the most access to vaccines.

That means saving lives right now must be a priority. Although the vaccines’ efficacy rates are quite high, we must continue wearing facial coverings, practice social distancing, and take care of each other. Hope is on the horizon if we continue working hard to achieve the goals we want to see with our health.

On the other hand, we cannot afford to overlook some of the negative consequences of pandemic-related shutdowns.

Argentina Passes Levy on the Rich to Fund COVID Response

The senate in Argentina passed a levy in December 2020 to help fund the country’s COVID-19 response. It was called the “millionaire’s tax” internally because it targeted about 12,000 people living in the country.

Anyone who has assets worth over 200 million pesos, or about $2.5 million, is impacted by this legislation. It passed 42-26 in the senate vote.

Argentina has flown under the news radar with its COVID infection rate, but it is one of the world’s most devastated countries. Over 1.5 million people have caught the virus, with almost 40,000 dying when the Senate vote took place.

How Will People Get Taxed by the COVID Levy?

The COVID-19 levy charges a progressive rate of up to 3.5% for the 12,000 qualifying people in Argentina with 200 million pesos in assets.

If those individuals have foreign assets as part of their financial portfolio, those items get taxed at 5.25%.

The money that comes from this funding will get split five ways.

  • 25% gets directed toward natural gas ventures.
  • 20% will go to the purchase of medical supplies to treat COVID-19 patients.
  • 20% is headed into a relief program for SMBs who cannot operate during the country’s lockdowns.
  • 20% is directed to a scholarship fund for students.

The remaining funds from the COVID levy will go into social development programs to protect the country’s most impoverished families.

Alberto Fernandez, who serves as Argentina’s president, hopes that the new legislation will raise up to 300 billion pesos to support its efforts to fight COVID.

Critics believe that this levy will cause less foreign investment to occur, with some calling it a confiscation effort.

What can you do at home to support local COVID relief efforts? The first step is to take care of yourself by using products from brands like Source Naturals and Carlson Labs to boost your immune system. You can then volunteer with local non-profit groups who distribute food, water, and other supplies to families in need in your area.

Child Labor on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

The global coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing the progress made in recent years to end child labor. Because of the various shutdowns, school closures, and high death rates in some communities, children are finding themselves in forced labor situations.

Kids are working on construction crews, sifting garbage, and even forced into prostitution. Not only does this action potentially harm their mental or physical health, but it also jeopardizes their future schooling opportunities.

Families in need of income, especially in the developing world, are enlisting their children to get extra cash. Most of these jobs are illegal, and many are highly dangerous. Children as young as 8 have been forced into this work.

Over 1.6 Billion Children Have Been Displaced

COVID-19 closed schools all over the world. Nearly two billion kids found themselves out of the classroom for the entire year. For those who were lucky enough to continue with online or in-person instruction, the modifications created milestone setbacks.

As the world gets a grip on the coronavirus in 2021, an estimated 24 million children may never return to school. This rate is extraordinarily high in the developing world because families often grow dependent on whatever little income they generated.

Why are kids being asked to do so much? COVID-19 disproportionally affects older adults with severe cases.

Although it can be potentially deadly to anyone, the hospitalization rate in the United States for kids 17 and under is 14.5 per 100,000 people. For those in the 30-39-year age demographic, its 121.4 per 100,000.

Hospitalization rates continues to rise by another 100 cases per 100,000 people for every ten years of age.

How Do We Stop Child Labor Increases?

During the 2010s, the world proved that it could move in a positive direction when working to end child labor.

Community awareness, social mobilization, and empowerment to create change are all ways to stop this process.

We must also render aid whenever possible. Agricultural losses, unemployment, and restrictions make it challenging for families to find income.

Together, we can be a voice that restores the gains we’ve made. Kids deserve a childhood, but, more importantly, they need the chance to attend school and pursue their dreams.

Will the World Contain COVID-19 in 2021?

The world has spent the better part of a year attempting to gain control of the COVID-19 virus. At the same time, China has managed to get things under control, New Zealand has been remarkably free of the coronavirus, and Australia dropped below 100 new cases per day since September 2020.

Taiwan is another success story.  After an initial spike in early March 2020, the country hasn’t had ten new cases reported on a single day.

On the other end of the spectrum, the United States reported over 142,000 cases on November 11, 2020.

What lessons could the U.S. learn to help the world contain COVID-19?

New Zealand Went Over 100 Days Without a Local Transmission

Although New Zealand is a small island country with several rural areas, it is the home of about five million people. In August 2020, the country had about 25 active COVID-19 cases after going an entire month without having any.

What changes did New Zealand make to stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

1. The government enacted a pandemic plan.

New Zealand initiated their influenza pandemic plan in February before COVID-19 started spreading globally. This step prepared hospitals for the new patients that would potentially arrive.

2. Border-control policies were immediately started.

New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case was reported on February 26. The government thought the disease would be more like influenza, but it quickly shifted gears once it was discovered to be more like SARS. The nation went into a nationwide lockdown on March 26. Another two weeks at a slightly lower level essentially stopped the viral tracks for good.

3. Empathic leadership brought people together.

In the United States, the leadership approach from states and the federal government created an “us vs. them” environment with the general public. New Zealand (and the other countries that successfully eradicated COVID-19) brought people together. It became a unified approach to defeat the virus.

4. The general population remained consistent.

You won’t find arguments about wearing masks or taking safety precautions in New Zealand as you will in the United States. Even with the fall surge in 2020, everyone stayed consistent with their activities. That’s why the island nation’s biggest number since the lockdowns is 25 new cases, experienced on October 21.

COVID-19 spreads when people stop being vigilant. Taking care of yourself with products from brands like Sunwarrior and Results RNA can give your immune system the boost it needs. The world can contain this virus, but it will take a global effort to make it happen – even with vaccines available.

Taiwan Plans to Shift Medical Supply Chain Away from China

If you’ve got a moment, check your medicine cabinet right now. Take a minute, see what you have in there, and come back to this post.

When you looked in there, you probably saw some prescription meds. There may have been some over-the-counter options, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol.

You may even have some items from brands like Neuroscience and Pure Encapsulations to support your overall health and wellness.

What you may not know about many of those items is where the active ingredients originate. Over the past several years, China has become the global leader in pharmaceutical production. 

Although much of the research takes place in the United States, the ingredients come from China. In August, Taiwan decided to make a public show of strengthening ties with Americans by getting involved with a memo of understanding about creating more domestic medical supply manufacturing opportunities.

Why Does Manufacturing Need to Move Away from China?

When one country becomes entirely dependent on another for essential goods, what happens if the relationship sours?

If shipping disruptions create logistical challenges to deliver necessary items promptly, how can individual families get the products they need to survive?

After the COVID-19 lockdowns that started in January in China, it became clear that many countries were relying on the cheap production methods found there for many needs. If the Chinese weren’t manufacturing ingredients, the products couldn’t get made.

Taiwan shut down its Chinese ties to protect itself against COVID-19 infections. Their efforts have shown that the medical supply chain can survive when efforts are made to expand domestic supply chains.

Having a relationship with the United States for this effort makes sense. About 70% of the current biotech research and development talents in Taiwan received training in the U.S. for what they can do today.

Although China isn’t happy about this shift, its economy is one of the few growing globally. One market may sour, but another door always opens soon after because of their lower costs.

How Some Countries Stopped COVID-19 in Its Tracks

The recipe for stopping COVID-19 is straightforward. You need rapid testing, population access to resources, social distancing, facial coverings, and herd compliance.

We know that this sequence works. Countries like South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and New Zealand have successfully limited how the coronavirus spreads in their communities. When people buy-in to the process, COVID-19 gets stopped in its tracks.

The countries where it hasn’t been stopped typically see one problem: herd compliance.

What Is Herd Compliance, and Why Does It Matter?

If you ask someone about wearing a mask in the United States, the activity gets equated to a political statement.

Most Americans who wear masks are Democrats, and the ones who do not are Republicans. 

People who wear them see the process as an uncomfortable way to help others. The goal isn’t to stop them from getting COVID. It is to prevent a potential infection they have from spreading. Since people are contagious before they display symptoms, you can infect others without ever knowing it.

People who don’t wear masks see the issue as one of control. Those who follow the government’s recommendations are “sheep.” It’s one step closer to losing even more freedoms.

If the coronavirus is ever going to stop spreading, more people need to comply with the safety regulations encouraged by health professionals. It’s that simple.

Why Is It Difficult to Wear a Mask?

When the rest of the world looks at the United States, they wonder why so many Americans have a problem wearing a mask.

Some complaints seem logical. Masks can cause your glasses to fog up, cause skin irritation, or create breathing issues for some people. For many, the issue of COVID is overblown and disproportional in response.

As Susan Wiles, a retired sign language interpreter and someone with an autoimmune disorder, says, “Sure, there’s a virus. But people die of the flu every year. I don’t fall for this. It’s not what they say it is.”

Until those attitudes change, the coronavirus is going to linger. That’s because it doesn’t care what political party anyone follows. 

Will Supply Chains Take a Hit This Winter Like in Spring

We have plenty of food to feed everyone. This fact has remained true for well over a decade. Oxfam reports that we create about 20% more calories than what every human requires for survival. 

What prevents us from making sure that no one goes hungry? Our supply chains are nowhere near where they must be to distribute food.

When COVID lockdowns happened in spring 2020, the entire restaurant industry food chain all but disappeared. With most suppliers not having access to grocery counters, shortages began appearing across the United States.


With a winter surge of the coronavirus expected, can we predict a similar outcome?

What Are the Challenges of Winter Food Distribution?

The federal government has offered loan programs and economic recovery stimulus to bolster the economy. These measures helped many small businesses survive the lockdown months.

As we’ve learned more about how the coronavirus spreads, we see the importance of outdoor dining and social distancing. With the weather turning colder this winter, restaurants may have fewer serving opportunities. That means less revenue – and lower food availability.

Should restaurants try to hold on through a winter where influenza, COVID-19, and more potential lockdown threats could shut them down? Is now the time to start cutting losses?

Most food servers (except grocers) have been losing money all summer. Many choose to throw in the towel because if it was that bad during the warm months, how much worse could it get with cold weather?

The First Businesses to Fail Were Already Struggling

Food supplies became low because restaurant suppliers weren’t providing products to grocery stores. That avenue has a lower profit margin, which makes it uninviting for a conversion.

When lockdowns happened in April, food producers and distributors expected a return to normalcy by the fall. Now that we’re here, it is clear to see that we’re nowhere near that outcome.

The first businesses to close were the ones already struggling. Those who wanted to retire or would have gone bankrupt in a couple of years went next. Now, the ones dependent on tourism are closing.

It is the established brands that survive. Companies like Douglas Laboratories, Host Defense, and Jarrow Formulas follow the same recipe of successful restaurants. When your brand stays at the top of the mind, people will want your products.

People will stay home if another COVID surge happens. That means even more pressure on restaurants and distributors to meet food needs. If everyone goes back to the grocery store, we may find even more challenges waiting for us in the months ahead. 

How Journalists Adapted to Quarantine During COVID-19

As businesses shut down because of stay-at-home orders, essential workers were told to telecommute whenever possible. That meant many journalists could offer their reports without going into the field.

Will Reeve, a reporter from ABC News, offered a segment for the show Good Morning America in April, where he was caught not wearing any pants. He had a jacket and shirt on, but then a bare leg made it onto the national broadcast. At least Reeve could poke fun at himself on Twitter afterward.

Some reporters are still operating as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic because of their duties, supplementing their routines with products from brands like Metagenics, Perque, and Seeking Health

Even then, you will see some differences in how they report the news because of this pandemic.

1. Social Distancing

Journalists are now interviewing people by staying six feet away from them. You can also see reporters using Facetime, Zoom, and other video conferencing tools to gather information from sources instead of a face-to-face meeting.

2. Ingenuity

Teleprompters aren’t available today in the field because journalists are working solo instead of with a team. That means a piece of glass with a smartphone becomes a replacement option so that a reporter can see what needs to be said. Some are even put a blanket over themselves so that a voiceover piece can be recorded successfully.

3. Shift Rotation

Instead of sending one reporter to White House briefings, CNN implemented a schedule of rotating shifts to limit exposure risks. This approach is applied at local stations around the world whenever possible, keeping journalists away from the public unless there is no other way to gather the news.

4. Personal Protective Equipment

Journalists are wearing the same protective equipment that you can find first responders using – except for N95 respirators. Since reporters can find themselves interacting with others unexpectedly, they are almost forced to be in their PPE full time.

5. Storyboards

Some reporters are unable to gather the shots needed for a report. Sending someone out to film specific details can be challenging, which is why many are creating storyboards similar to what you’d see for movies and TV shows. This information makes it possible to have multiple people working on a project with a minimum number of people leaving home.

As lockdown orders end and quarantines become a distant memory, many of the innovations that journalists pioneered during this time will likely stay in place. Although you can’t replace a man-on-the-street interview, it is easier to do it on Skype.