Coronavirus Briefing: Protest-related spikes, brand pivots and the unfolding eldercare tragedy

This week’s Coronavirus Briefing is 979 words and will take you five minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Here’s a thought that, two weeks ago, would have been unimaginable: COVID-19 has been displaced as front-page fodder. Given the likelihood of a fall/winter resurgence and that even the most unprecedented and optimistic timeline puts a vaccine half a year away, the coronavirus crisis will likely reclaim that real estate before too long. Yet here we are.

This week’s Coronavirus Briefing is 979 words and will take you five minutes to read. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

The news

  • Public health authorities told The Atlantic that protests over the murder of George Floyd, other acts of police brutality and systemic racism will facilitate the spread of COVID-19, with a spike in cases expected within two weeks.
  • In a lengthy interview with STAT, Dr. Anthony Fauci characterized the possibility of having a vaccine by the end of the year as “aspirational, but… certainly doable.” He also weighed in on compressed clinical trial timelines and the size of trial cohorts. 
  • An investigation by The Guardian has revealed that the World Health Organization and governments have based some coronavirus-related decisions on flawed data from Surgisphere, a little-known analytics company. Two top medical journals, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine, published studies informed by Surgisphere data.

The Takeaway:

The cascading effects of COVID-19 are only beginning to be felt on the scale predicted at the beginning of quarantine. They’re likely to reverberate for years.

The brands

Even as they trip over themselves to appear thoughtful, decent and committed to diversity in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests, brands have managed their COVID-19 responses nimbly and, in most cases, sensitively.

  • 2e CEO Ross Toohey writes in MM&M about the need for healthcare marketers to evolve their approach in the wake of the coronavirus crisis – and how it may have already forced their hands, whether they realize it or not.
  • To accommodate young flyers in the COVID-19 era, budget airline easyJet has introduced facemask covers inspired by comic books, PRWeek UK reports

The Takeaway:

We’ve all been in making-the-best-of-a-miserable-situation mode for some time now, but certain brands appear to be adapting better than others. As stay-at-home orders lift, it will be interesting to see if these same brands can pivot once again.

The eldercare devastation

Early reports about the impact of coronavirus on nursing-home populations were alarming. The most recent ones are much, much worse. There needs to be a reckoning around our treatment of vulnerable aging populations.

  • A USA Today analysis of state data found 40,600 COVID-19 deaths were tied to U.S. nursing homes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that 25,923 residents have died, but that sum includes data from federally regulated nursing homes and not assisted-living facilities.

The Takeaway:

Nothing about coronavirus was predictable six months ago. But lessons must be learned from the egregiously higher impact of COVID-19 on people living in eldercare facilities compared to the general population.

The science

We’re learning a little more every day. Whether or not the pace is quick enough is a different question, but there’s no question scientific and medical communities are attacking the crisis with admirable vigor.

  • Cardiology Advisor offers seven suggestions for practices considering a transition to telemedicine amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • GPonline’s Luke Haynes shares data from Cancer Research UK, which estimates approximately 2.4 million people are experiencing delays in cancer tests or treatment amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Takeaway:

We’re smarter than we were, but not as smart as we’ll be. Let’s keep heading in the right direction.

The rest

…and some songs

Going forward, the Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing will be published and distributed once a week every Wednesday, so we’ll see you again then. In the meantime, be safe and well, friends.

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