Pro tip: some educators and administrators may not be in the mood for frivolity. I learned this the hard way upon dropping off our kids for the first day of semi-school, which took place on the kind of glorious late-summer day that simply doesn’t exist outside Julia Roberts romantic-comedies.
We approached the building masked but cheerful, ready to take the next hesitant step towards normalcy. Everyone we encountered was in similarly fine spirits. There would have been hugging, if not for the whole pandemic thing.
And then I saw the school’s wonderful principal, who has been under siege over the last eight weeks. I approached her and thanked her for all her hard work, to which she responded with a wan smile.
Unfortunately, I interpreted this “yeah, I’m not really in the mood for light banter” nonverbal cue as a sign to joke around. “Okay, here are the kids,” I said mirthfully. “No backsies!”
She shot me a look that could’ve pierced Kevlar. My wife tried to clean up the mess, as always, but the principal had already moved on to another family – theoretically, a less “funny” one. Mirth: another victim of the Covid.
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,495 words and will take you seven minutes to read.
Even in an era where facts are supposedly malleable, there is an abundance of information waiting to be consumed. Dive in and gorge yourself smart at the trough.
- Here’s Medium’s list of 50 Experts to Trust in a Pandemic. Again: Good people who are generous with their knowledge are out there.
- The United States has officially surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths.
- PRWeek’s Diana Bradley follows up on reporting in The New York Times and Politico that communication staffers in the Department of Health and Human Services attempted to review and alter its COVID-19 reports for medical professionals, scientists and the public.
- The CDC published new guidance on airborne transmission of COVID-19 – and then deleted it without reason.
- McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Danielle Brown unpacks a Harvard study which found that less white, more densely populated employee communities are linked to a higher incidence of COVID deaths in nursing homes.
- A Cleveland Clinic study has affirmed that getting the flu vaccine does not increase the recipient’s COVID risk, Alicia Lasek notes in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
- In Infectious Disease Advisor, Bradley van Paridon details a new risk score that predicts COVID progression in hospitalized patients.
- Under a pseudonym, NIAID public affairs specialist Bill Crews has called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “mask nazi” and accused him of “attention-grubbing and media-whoring.” Dr. Fauci leads the NIAID and is thus technically the guy’s boss. Somebody’s gonna get a whole lot of “room for improvement” comments during his annual review.
Those who dismiss the dogged, passionate reporting around COVID-19 as fake news are missing myriad opportunities to make their lives safer and better. They can’t say they weren’t warned.
The time of the season
I love autumn, and I’m not even a foliage fan or pumpkin-spice fetishist. This year’s autumn only feels like autumn when darkness descends earlier with each passing night. Not ideal.
- The CDC has unveiled its pandemic-era Halloween safety guidelines. Out: “Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.” In: “doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.” If there’s anything young kids enjoy more than admiring things from a distance, I haven’t encountered it in my eight years as a parent.
- Hershey is nonetheless trying to make trick-or-treating happen, via a website developed with public health experts. Points for trying.
- Orrin Hatch believes we should make daylight saving time permanent. Legislators on both sides of the aisle agree. How about we put down the partisan bazookas and make this happen?
- The author of “American Hookup” tells People that “the traditional way in which college students have engaged with one another socially and sexually is violently incompatible with maintaining control of the spread of the virus.”
- Per CivicScience, only 25% of 13-and-older Americans would be “very comfortable” visiting a pumpkin patch or apple orchard this fall.
Add “a carefree, low-humidity autumn teeming with fun-size Snickers” to the list of 2020 casualties, right next to “a carefree beach season” and “carefree excursions outside one’s immediate surroundings.”
Perhaps it’s because I’m paying way too close attention, but it seems to me that much of the advocacy work around well-being and work/life balance has been sensitively rendered. The marketing world has risen to the occasion.
- MM+M’s Alison Kanski reports on “My Health Can’t Wait,” a new Johnson & Johnson campaign designed to persuade patients not to delay routine healthcare during the pandemic. Kanski also details the expansion of “Blood Equality,” a four-year-old campaign engineered by Gay Men’s Health Crisis and FCB Health New York, to include the donation of COVID-19 antibodies.
- In McKnight’s Senior Living, Anita Cornelius argues that, amid the pandemic, virtual reality is preferable to social isolation.
- People Management taps labor attorney Samantha Randall for advice on whether companies can mandate that its employees wear masks.
- Campaign’s Elaine Underwood surveys Twitter’s out-of-home campaign designed to combat mask fatigue.
- Expecting a dismal fourth quarter due to revived distancing requirements, the U.K.’s Advertising Association has called on the government to enact a tax credit, Gurjit Degun reports in Campaign. People Management’s Maggie Baska details the U.K. government’s decision to reverse course on encouraging workers to return to the office.
People are out there, making their cases and taking their stands. It would be inspiring if it weren’t for, you know, everything else that’s simultaneously unfolding.
The secondary victims
If nothing else is clear at this point in the pandemic, it’s that you don’t have to get sick – or worse – to become a victim of COVID-19.
- “Class of COVID-19: The Horrifying Sadness of Sending My Kids to College During a Pandemic.”
- Legendary Luchadores are selling street food to make ends meet during the pandemic.
- Housekeepers have experienced “Depression-level” financial devastation.
- In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Argentum president and CEO James Balda wrote that senior living providers need $5 billion in funding to address “immediate and urgent needs” related to COVID-19, Kimberly Bonvissuto reports in McKnight’s Senior Living.
- Apparently 300,000 workers are stranded on merchant ships, in deteriorating conditions and often in breach of maritime law. Three hundred thousand: that’s not a typo.
- More than 50,000 postal workers have taken time off due to the coronavirus, but the Postal Service still isn’t doing much in the way of temperature checks or contact tracing.
- A Pew Research Center report reveals that 52% of 18- to 29-year-olds are living with their parents amid the pandemic. The last time the percentage was this high? At the end of the Great Depression in 1940, when 48% lived with mom and dad. We have failed our young people almost as badly as we’ve failed our older ones.
Let’s move on.
- The U.S. Surgeon General’s account tweeted “happy co-birthday” wishes to Joan Jett, along with a message about flu vaccination. Nothing about that last sentence strikes me as out of the ordinary anymore.
- Twenty-seven customers at a Starbucks near Seoul got coronavirus. The four people behind the counter did not. Guess what the people behind the counter were wearing? M-A-S-K-S masks masks masks!
- People who miss flying are booking flights that depart and land in the same place. No matter where you go, there you are.
- This Washington Post COVID etiquette guide addresses such pertinent questions as “What if I don’t want someone to pet my dog?” (LD response: Politely say, “Please don’t pet my dog, friend!”) and “How do I greet someone?” (LD: “With a friendly wave, unless the person is trying to pet your dog and you’ve got a problem with that”).
- Our law school softball league included a team dubbed the Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburgs. Like both its namesakes, the team kicked tremendous volumes of butt. Much gratitude to a true American icon.
Stuff you can do
…and some songs.
- Willing to Fight, Ani DiFranco
- Fighter Girl, Mason Jennings
- Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today), The Temptations
- Battle Flag, Pigeonhed
- Street Fighting Man, Rolling Stones
And so ends another edition of the Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing. Look for the next one on Wednesday, September 30. Be safe and smart out there, y’all.