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Mapping Panama indigenous during Pandemic PANDEMIC WITH A THOUSAND FACES.

El Valle, Panama

Yon-genre mind-dump, sans edit

Maps are vital during pandemic. Doctors sans-maps was a keen problem while tracking Ebola in Africa. Many villages have the same or similar names. Others are not on any map or remain unnamed dots or misnamed dots.

Tons of languages and cultures. Migrations bring more.

Wars. Malaria. Dengue. Typhoid. When tracking Ebola, many endemic diseases present with similar symptoms that professionals have a great deal of problems sorting signal to noise. Imagine getting reports that X number of people are sick in NoNamey village —and there are at least a dozen villages with same name, spread over hundreds of miles in rough places that contain things like WAR. And you have no idea if those symptoms are from a simple cholera outbreak, or something that will go total “Stephen King” on the world.

Clock ticks, ticks, ticks. Virus replicates, spreads, evolves. Tick, tick, tick.

Lack of refrigeration for samples that must be carried hundreds of miles over muddy potholed roads, in canoes, up a mountain, through checkpoints. No microscopes. Hospital staff who want to wear sandals.

Witch doctors and fortunetellers causing stampedes. “Miracle cures.” And remember — this place really is full of malaria and tons more, like robbers.

Quarantine centers where patients check in and never check out because they are buried inside after they die. People wearing masks and white suits regarded as angels of death even though they themselves may be afraid of the Ebola —or whatever—and angry men with machetes. Nobody wants to go to quarantine center.

You have malaria or yellow fever or typhoid but cannot be tested and so are put in with Ebola patients and get ebola and are buried in the quarantine center and never seen again. That’s the stuff of riots.

Riots. Ambushes. Frightened people abandoning stricken villages and flooding into cities, on buses, boats, hospitals.

Hospitals abandoned. Food distribution cut.

Many villages are beyond passable roads, or beyond roads, period. And there outbreaks flash, and contagious villagers walk days or take long boats into towns. The fire grows.

I recently was in a Embera village in Panama that can only be accessed by boat after going through a crocodile lake and finally up a jungle stream that got shallow, requiring a pole man in the shallows. Even they got hit with covid.

And then there are cultural and other barriers such as CCP cutting off all research into origins even while global pandemic roared to life.

With diseases such as Ebola, locals will not hesitate to attack doctors who arrive with hazmat suits, or bearing vaccines or other medicines.

Do a quick web-search on “vaccine team killed.” There’s more articles on attacks than you’ll have time to read.

Brave medical teams who dive into Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan— name it—are the special forces of epidemiology and medical science. They must deal with everything imaginable from Boko Haram and Taliban, al Qaeda, malaria, Ebola, spiders, snakes, unknown fungi, bacteria, viruses—hostile drug dealers…just think it up. It’s there.

And finally, the brave “medical special forces” are terribly undermined by “leadership” in world capitals who deceive the world. Incredible doctors at CDC and WHO are undermined by politics and politicians in their own leadership.

This is not consigned to distant deserts and swamps, but to downtown America and Europe. And resistance to vaccinations goes back to the very first vaccinations.

The more I learn about viral pandemic, the more I:

1) Believe vaccines are important — (I got many vaccines in 2019 for a return to India, and I did those of my own free will without any suggestion or requirement.)

2) Will NOT be first to go in experimental vaccines. No way. Well, if mortality from the illness is very high, I would will be more apt to go early. I do have a threshold but that is as subjective as objective. Go slow and watch studying the water before jumping in.

Many westerners talk about this pandemic as if we never have seen anything like this. But we have, and do, constantly. Thousands of times past, and many times future. Pandemic is as predictable as earthquakes and typhoons. It’s coming. Surely.

And human reactions fall within predictable patterns.

Meanwhile, millions of folks from around the world have their eyes set on trekking to America. Many will bring resistant strains of tuberculosis and other bugs that will infect indigenous people all along the way, such as the Embera indians in Panama. And few people will know.

Sure, you’ll know when you see cases crop up in San Francisco, Boulder, Nashville and Miamim but you likely will not notice that indigenous people all along the way were hit.

Pandemic with a Thousand Faces.

Study pandemic. Read at least five books on pandemic.


1) Spanish flu — person to person airborne

2) Waterborne— such as cholera. If you defend against one waterborne illness, you are making a great defense against them all. But read on cholera. The book GHOST MAP describes knocking down a London cholera outbreak with help of a map.

3) Read one great book on Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are nature’s way of reminding us who is boss. ?

4) Polio — simply because people never stop talking about it, and the panic around polio.

5) Something of special interest to you due to your own history or geography

You don’t need any knowledge of virology, bacteriology, epidemiology—etc., to start to spot the HUMAN reactions to pandemic. Human reactions are similar to fire, Godzilla, or even tiger infested jungles that used to leave vast swaths uninhabited before invention of firearms.

In rock, paper, scissors, tiger was king before gunpowder.

Look up tigers of Sundarbans, and read my dispatch from Sundarbans:

Reaction to tigers ? is same as to killer rabbits, and Ebola, and Yellow Fever, Cholera, Small Pox: RUN AWAY! (And often take it with you…)

Read just five books. You will see the same story again and again. A “typhoon” forms. Typhoon misses, or hits. Recover. Forget. Next typhoon forms. Rinse. Repeat.

Pandemic with a Thousand Faces.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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