Coronavirus Briefing: Space, Vegas, event planning and double standards

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,326 words and will take you six minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

With the weather warming and restrictions gradually lifting, it’s harder than ever to stay inside. So, go ahead and take a walk, go for a run, grab food to-go — but wear a mask, keep your distance and be kind to everyone around you.

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,326 words and will take you six minutes to read. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.


Top news

  • About a dozen U.S. states are reporting upticks in new coronavirus cases, at least half of which were part of an early wave of re-openings in late April and early May.
  • Twitter has a new warning label to help readers avoid the proliferation of fake news that has ramped up during the pandemic. The fact-checking link appeared for the first time yesterday, attached to President Donald Trump’s tweet claiming mail-in ballots are fraudulent.
  • And in news that has nothing to do with coronavirus, two U.S. astronauts head for a world-first today when they launch off on a trip to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft built by Elon Musk's SpaceX.

The Takeaway:

Space is truly the final (COVID-free) frontier.


Communication

If there’s one thing the virus has given us all, it’s a collective, insatiable appetite for information.

  • In an op-ed for Conference & Incentive Travel, Selina Donald, sustainability consultant and founder of events agency The Bulb, expresses her hope that coronavirus will prompt radical and sustainable change in the events industry. Instead of returning to a pre-pandemic “status quo” says Donald, it’s time to look toward a new paradigm that emphasizes sustainability, with industry leaders willing to create profound social, environmental and economic change.
  • On Thursday March 12, Hearst Magazines was scheduled to hold its Health & Wellness Summit in New York to present findings from its study, “From Me to We: Rethinking Health Perceptions.” When the event was recast as virtual and rescheduled for May 20, Hearst and research partner Open Mind Strategy went back into the field to survey an additional 1,000-plus individuals. Last Wednesday, the organizations presented the updated results, slightly redubbed “From Me to We: Rethinking Health Perceptions in the Age of Covid-19.” Medical Marketing & Media reports five takeaways from the summit. 
  • In PRWeek U.S., Will Bohlen, senior vice president of media and government relations digital advocacy firm Cogent Strategies, tests the effectiveness of "outside-in" public relations strategies. The conceit shows how leading campaigns with grassroots outreach, rather than a PR-led focus, can leverage local media, organically expanding audiences and validating the issues within the community.
  • “Publication by press release” is what William Haseltine, chair and president of the think tank Access Health International, calls the trend of news conferences reporting potential breakthroughs that cannot be verified — in particular, the recent spate of COVID-19-related drugs. Haseltine theorizes that it isn’t just governments and research institutes that bear the responsibility for pushing unsubstantiated “news,” but the media as well. “Asking experts to opine on unsubstantiated claims is not useful,” said Haseltine. “Medicine and science are not matters of majority opinion; they are matters of fact supported by transparent data. This is the backbone of scientific progress and our only hope to end this pandemic.”

The Takeaway:

Let’s make those profound social, environmental and economic changes ourselves. We are all culpable.


Direction

Event planners have found new ways to engage clients and keep in regular contact, even when events aren't taking place.

  • In Conference & Incentive Travel, Nicola Macdonald talks to Flume Training’s founder Raoul Monks, Raccoon Events CEO Mike Seaman and Laura Shapiro, group event director at CloserStill Media, about keeping lines of communication open and relationships strong, even in lockdown.
  • In People Management, Elizabeth Howlett breaks down the U.K.’s new guidance for the retail sector, designed to protect shoppers and workers alike. All non-essential retailers in England will be able to reopen June 15.
  • Elsewhere in People Management, Richard Thomas, a partner on the employment team at Capital Law, explores how employers can mitigate the risk of claims in the new working environment. Despite fast-changing regulations, businesses have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees by complying with the rules as they evolve. It is imperative that employers and employees stay up to speed with the most recent dos and don’ts, and collaborate as much as possible to avoid conflict, or worse.

The Takeaway:

The roles and rules for us all are changing daily — where we can go, how we can work, what we can do. The best chance to retain your sanity in a world deluged with conflicting news is to pick trustworthy sources and communicate your findings with anyone you need to be aligned with.


Double standards

“A double standard is a code or policy that favors one group or person over another. If a teacher lets all the boys bring candy for lunch but not the girls, that's a double standard. Men getting paid more for the same work than women is a double standard. Anytime some are held to a higher standard than others, there's a double standard because everyone isn't being treated fairly.” – vocabulary.com

  • Arvind Hickman reports in PRWeek U.K. on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s communication disaster in defending the apparent disregard of lockdown rules by Dominic Cummings, his top adviser. Cummings and his wife, who were both potentially sick with coronavirus, traveled 260 miles to his parent’s house in late March — as it turns out, only one of three non-essential trips Cummings has taken during the lockdown. PR pros, crisis communication experts and consultants weigh in.
  • While the “uniformity and simplicity” of the $4.9 billion allotment formula provided to nursing facilities was likely necessary to get the plan approved, regulators must address local payment inequities to deliver fair funding to those who need it most. Danielle Brown, for McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reports.

The Takeaway:

We continue seeking equitable, thoughtful, leadership from governments in major Western democracies, only to come up empty-handed.


Reopening news

Reporting on localized goings-on as U.S. states reopen will swell journalists’ workloads.

  • Garden Centers in the U.K. are likening the demand for plants to that of toilet paper at the start of the lockdown. Matthew Appleby in Horticulture Week talks to Waterdrinker and Belgium Direct about meeting demands and finding reserves.
  • Campaign U.K. readers were asked how they preferred returning to the office, assuming their employer could create a safe environment: Only one in eight (12.2%) said they were interested in going back full time. Read the full article for a closer look at the results.
  • For a city with a freshly minted official slogan, “What happens here, only happens here,” it will be interesting to see what happens when Las Vegas casinos flip on their circus-bulb lights June 4. "We all know what we've gone through for the last 10 weeks,” said Bill Hornbuckle, acting chief executive and president of casino giant MGM Resorts International. “No one's having fun."
  • The SmartCuts hair salon in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, has reopened to everyone but Tyson employees, where 570 workers have been infected with coronavirus. Amy McGinty, a 13-year Tyson employee said that, while she doesn’t get her hair cut at SmartCuts, she should be able to if she wants. “We are people,” said McGinty. “We are humans.” 

The Takeaway:

“No one's having fun,” is 2020’s slogan.


Music

But that’s got to change, right? Real soon? Here are some songs that give us hope.

Have a good day; see you tomorrow.


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