Jennie Dusheck makes a habit of preparing for the worst. When the California writer realized a few years ago that wildfires and smoke-filled air were becoming an annual inevitability, she bought Israeli gas masks in case it became difficult to breathe. In December 2019, when many West Coasters were looking forward to heavy snow forecasts for skiing, she fretted about the threat of mudslides and wrote an article about how to survive one. With the news of a mysterious disease in China the following February and concerns about food shortages if it spread to the U.S., Dusheck hurried to the grocery store to stock up on staples—pasta, peanut butter, nuts, sardines, tuna.
She felt a little guilty