When COVID-19 first announced its presence at the start of the year, even individuals with little confidence in our collective public health infrastructure figured that it would be reduced to background noise by now. SARS, MERS, Ebola – we shut ‘em up and then we shut ‘em down, the thinking went. There wasn’t optimism so much as a sense of “yeah, we’ll figure it out.”
So it’s profoundly enraging and depressing that, in the United States and elsewhere, we enter the second half of 2020 prepared to usher in yet another unfortunate phase in our non-recovery from COVID-19: the one in which we backslide. On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress that infections could surge to 100,000 per day in the U.S. if “we don’t deal with it quickly.” Based on our actions as a global society during the last two months, what are the odds we’re able to retrench and mobilize in such an immediate manner?
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,388 words and will take you seven minutes to read.
For all the finger-wagging that came with the rush to reopen businesses, at least it was underpinned by a sort of risk/reward analysis. People were, and are, feeling real economic pain. If there were a way to minimize further virus spread while at the same time allowing restaurants and car washes and haberdasheries and pet salons to dust off the welcome mat and invite customers back in – well, would anyone have any real objection to that?
It’s too early to say “we blew it,” because the process is proceeding more smoothly (and safely) in some places than others. But all that enthusiasm about a V-shaped recovery seems quite pie-in-the-sky about now.
- New Jersey hit the brakes on plans to allow restaurants to reopen for indoor dining, for pretty much the precise reason you’d expect. New York City and Los Angeles might soon follow suit.
- The list of countries whose nationals will be permitted to enter Europe includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
- In Campaign, Criteo analytics head Jaysen Gillespie shares what North American and European retailers can learn from South Korea’s coronavirus rebound strategy.
- Kinship’s Jonah Bloom surveys the deeper and longer-term implications of working from home. Only 19% of respondents want to work from home all the time, while just under 9% want to work from the office all the time.
- People Management’s Maggie Baska reveals the results of a Bright Horizons survey, which found that only 10% of parents want to return to the office full-time when the coronavirus crisis ends. Just out of curiosity, how old are the survey respondents’ children? Asking for a friend.
There’s not much to say beyond the obvious, which is that an awful lot of factors need to line up before we can un-reverse-reopen in a safe and meaningful way. Until that day, support local businesses in any way you’re able.
Good things may or may not be happening on the vaccine front, depending on whom you ask. I’m choosing to focus on that, rather than the COVID data that’s easily and often terrifyingly conveyed in infographic format.
- Drug overdose fatalities increased 11.4% year-over-year in the first four months of 2020, with the higher rates of substance abuse attributable to depression, social isolation and anxiety, Politico reports.
- Infectious Disease Advisor’s Tori Rodriguez sits down with Dr. Maximilian Konig to discuss the impact of coronavirus on patients with autoimmune conditions.
- Renal & Urology News’ Natasha Persaud reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added chronic kidney disease patients to its list of individuals at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
We need that vaccine.
Ordinarily we’d share the bigger-picture stuff up front, but three sections down feels like a more appropriate place for it this week.
- The worst of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come, according to the World Health Organization. It also notes that we’re about $28 billion short of the sum it believes we need to fund an initiative to fast-track development and production of COVID-19 therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics.
- MM&M’s Alison Kanski reports that Gilead Sciences has set the price of COVID-19 therapeutic Remdesivir at $520 per vial ($3,120 per course of treatment) for hospitals treating patients with private insurance and $390 per vial ($2,340 for course of treatment) for patients on government-sponsored insurance. According to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit that calculates fair drug prices, $4,580 to $5,080 per course of treatment would be cost-effective for insurers, since patients treated with Remdesivir should be able to leave the hospital earlier.
- The head of LeadingAge, the second-largest nursing home association in the United States, said it is “outrageous” that older Americans haven’t been more of a priority for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Danielle Brown reports.
- To that end, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ James Berklan writes an op-ed on ageism and “the ugly truth about your neighbors and COVID-19.”
- A PwC report concludes that employers may face increases in employee healthcare costs of between 4% and 10% in 2021, Amy Novotney notes in McKnight’s Senior Living.
See? Clearly it was the right call to bury this section between the reopening/reclosing news and the marketing success stories.
It’s worth remembering that not every sector has been reduced to a semi-functional husk of what it was four short months ago. Business might not be great in many cases, but you can see many of the success stories without having to squint. We adapt. That’s what we do.
- MM&M analyzes how point of care, one of healthcare marketing’s most essential channels, navigated the pandemic shutdown – and emerged stronger from it.
- Mask and sanitizer vending machines have landed in New York and Philadelphia, with more U.S. cities soon to follow.
- The most recent PRWeek Lockdown Life video checks in with the hosts of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Grilling Execs, who share how they have altered the series for the coronavirus era.
- People Management explores the legal issues around the transfer of management functions during COVID-19.
- In PRWeek, Laura Entis shares the story of the world’s last Blockbuster outpost and a marketing campaign that was tweaked in COVID’s wake.
All hail the organizations that have stuck the landing on their pivots. It’s clearly not as easy as some of them have made it look.
- Civic Science polling found that U.S. women are using hair clippers, trimmers, razors, facial cleansing devices and facial/makeup applicators with roughly the same frequency during quarantine as they did before it. Related: I’m almost certain that, at some point during the first three months of the year, I owned a comb. Civic Science research also revealed that we’re eating lots of cereal and that we won’t be ready to return to the spa or to movie theaters anytime soon.
- If you insist on performing concerts before more than a handful of your fans, you probably shouldn’t share footage via social media – at least if you don’t want people yelling at you on the Internet, anyway.
- I knew it! Campaign’s Oliver McAteer gets J.M. Smucker Company CMO Geoff Tanner to confirm that it prioritized production of creamy Jif during the pandemic, leaving chunky Jif fans to subsist on tier-two brands whose chunkiness might fairly be characterized as sub-standard. Have you no shame, sir? The kids are cool with it, though.
…and some songs.
- American Tune, Paul Simon
- Chimes of Freedom, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour and Sting
- The Star-Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix
Thanks, as always, for reading. Look for the next Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing on Wednesday, July 8. Happy 4th of July weekend to all celebrating it. Be safe, be well and wear a mask, please.