Coronavirus Briefing: Demographic disparities, bold brands and common COVID-19 questions

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,138 words and will take you five minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Staying focused. Spending quality time with loved ones. Doing more sit-ups. Today’s struggles aren’t really that different from yesterday’s — except for all the stuff that makes them totally different.

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,138 words and will take you five minutes to read. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.


Just the hits

  • The New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region hit new highs, topping 1,000 deaths in a single day for the first time. This, after two days of hoping virus-related deaths had reached a peak and would flatten or drop for a third straight day.
  • General Motors will build 30,000 ventilators for the national stockpile. The contract is the first under the Defense Production Act, invoked last month.
  • China lifts its lockdown; Spain announces plan to gradually ease its own.
  • New Zealand squashed the curve in “a triumph of science and leadership.”
  • Tonight is Passover. For an evening unlike any other, tune into City Winery's infamous Downtown Seder, which goes virtual this year. Perry Farrell, Seth Herzog, Sarah Bernhard, Dr. Ruth and a ton of other entertainers sing and rant about freedom and plagues.

The Takeaway:

It’s a heck of a time we’re living through, but we can still celebrate. We can still laugh. And we can still sing.


A look behind the frontlines

Recommendations for hydroxychloroquine, protecting the clinician workforce and advice from Italy.

  • Natasha Dyal answers some of the most common questions surrounding COVD-19 for Infectious Disease Advisor: Is social distancing effective? Can you get the virus from a package? Are there any effective treatments? Is there a benefit to wearing a mask? What’s the science behind hydroxychloroquine? And is a cough a sign of contagion?
  • How is the clinician workforce managing the open-ended nature of the pandemic? Batya Yasgur in MPR interviews Jesse Clark DO — associate program director of education at the Community East Family Medicine Residency and Clinical Chairperson of Family Medicine at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana — who shares some best practices.
  • Silvia Maambelli, director of nursing and technical services at the local health authority of the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, discusses how the Italian health workforce united in the region hit second-hardest by coronavirus.
  • Rheumatology Advisor takes a look at American College of Rheumatology’s recommendations for hydroxychloroquine management during the pandemic. Carefully considered production and distribution, clinical trials, dosage and pricing would ensure patients who rely on the drug for non-COVID-19 conditions continue to get it, while adequate stock is prioritized for testing its potential as a cure.

The Takeaway:

Having the facts, hearing from those on the frontlines, and listening to the advice of experts is what we need.


Magnified demographic disparities

There seems to be no aspect of life in which the gulf between the haves and have-nots isn’t glaringly apparent.

  • The U.S. Surgeon General warns that black Americans are at a greater risk for coronavirus, explaining the population is already more likely to have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as a lack of access to healthcare.
  • Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot declares “public health red alarm” regarding racial disparity in COVID-19 deaths. As of last Saturday, 70% of the 86 Chicago residents dying from coronavirus were African Americans; the city’s population is 29% black.
  • Data suggests many New York City neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19 are also lower-income areas.

The Takeaway:

As American University’s Ibram Kendi put it, “There’s a racial pandemic inside the viral pandemic.”


Good brand; bad brand

In our previous good brand; bad brand column we took a look at those adjusting their messaging, marketing, and production to create campaigns to help fight the virus. And those that are not. We do it again, once more, with feeling.

  • PRWeek U.S. has the inside scoop on Nathan Allebach, Steak-umm’s social media manager’s nearly 400-word Twitter rant about coronavirus misinformation. “Misinformation has been a major problem online, so we thought it would be beneficial to add some friendly reminders on how to read data versus anecdotes,” tweeted Allebach. As of this morning, the rant has been liked more than 57,000 times and retweeted more than 15,000 times.
  • Arvind Hickman in PRWeek U.K. reports on Media Zoo, a creative communications agency that had coverage with Hiscox Insurance for a “human contagion disease” and was denied compensation when 50% of its business was lost since shutting its Imperial Wharf offices in London.
  • EBay’s Up & Running accelerator program has pledged $100 million to help North American small businesses without an e-commerce presence transition to selling online. The program will give new businesses a free basic eBay store for three months and waive selling fees. Additionally, they’ll receive guidance and resources they need to run their business, including a suite of marketing and merchandising tools.

The Takeaway:

This twist on Homeland Security’s slogan: “If you see something wrong, do something right.”


Gimme the business

Health in isolation, the flawed concept of work/life balance, and the construction sector’s quicksand struggles.

  • Conference & Incentive Travel has the latest in international event postponements and cancellations.
  • Work/life balance has always been a fantasy, but today it’s positively farcical. Francis Churchill reports in People Management U.K. on the significant physical and mental wellbeing challenges for staff working remotely.
  • Alison Kanski in MM&M looks at a survey done by a mobile health platform that reveals people with chronic conditions are concerned about managing their health in isolation.
  • U.K. construction output saw its fastest fall in almost 11 years as the government’s coronavirus lockdown led to stoppages on sites and a slump in orders. Supply Management’s Andrew Allen investigates.
  • The good Business.

The Takeaway:

The downward spiral continues; a delicious cocktail.


Random bit of essential information

What day is it? Which tiger is fake news? Does history always repeat itself?

The Takeaway:

We still find ourselves, at times, amused.


Two songs and a poem

In honor of last night’s heartrending death of John Prine and the profound presence of a pink moon, we leave you with the following versions of one of his best, an ode to the moon, and a poem for National Poetry Month.

It’s mid-week. We’re looking forward to being past mid-virus and freefalling into a world without record numbers of deaths.

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