Are you stocking up on masks and soap and putting meat in the freezer? If you are, you might be like me: a coronavirus prepper.

The way a prepper sees things, our society is efficient but also fragile. How many days’ worth of food does your city have? How many extra ventilator machines are at your nearest hospital? It may be fewer than you think.

A month ago, stockpiling anything would have seemed a little crazy for someone like me in Boston, far from the center of the coronavirus epidemic spreading in China. When I started laying in protective suits, sterile gloves, and bags of potatoes, I didn’t advertise it. I seemed like the weird, paranoid one.

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