The last seven days may not have been as upsetting and infuriating as the seven before them but, let’s be honest, that’s an imposingly high bar to clear. As protests around the death of George Floyd and other instances of police brutality continue in the United States and abroad, coronavirus remains the background noise in every conversation. Please don’t let your guard down too far.
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,059 words and will take you six minutes to read. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.
More and more states have thrown themselves open for haircuts and spray tans and medium-distance appetizers, which should provide a degree of relief for the millions of businesses gutted by the shutdowns of the last few months. Unfortunately, that relief comes with a price.
- “America Is Giving Up on the Pandemic,” The Atlantic reports, even as infection and hospitalization rates are nudging upward in several pockets of the country.
- The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists how long they expect it will be before they work in a shared office, attend a wedding or funeral, and more. Spoiler: Pretty long.
- Potentially misleading headline notwithstanding, this story calls into doubt the working theory that asymptomatic individuals have been driving the spread of coronavirus. Should it prove inaccurate – and the writers make it clear more study and data are needed – the new information could prompt major changes in the way we manage the pandemic going forward. The World Health Organization already walked back its statement somewhat.
- A not-yet-peer-reviewed study of an outdoor festival in Germany that triggered a super-spread of COVID-19 found a 2.5x increase in infection rate among attendees. The study was distributed via medRxiv, a server for medical and clinical preprints.
To quote a guy who knew his way around an aphorism: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” We’re getting ahead of ourselves and we know it.
Many of our peers say they’ve gotten used to the way we’re currently working – the Zoom calls, the child/pet/non-cute uninvited guest invasions and the leisurewear. But with so much of the workplace environment relegated to virtual purgatory, it’s easy to forget about the many, many things that have to happen for companies to function effectively. Some of those things are happening; many are not.
- MM&M editor in chief Steve Madden writes how, in the realm of medical marketing, talent and execution have helped agencies overcome many of the logistical challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Those agencies, in turn, have stepped up their philanthropic and community efforts during the crisis.
- People Management’s Katie Fudakowski and Maria Strauss explore the challenges associated with workplace investigations in the era of COVID-19. One of the biggest potential pitfalls: delays, which can be detrimental to employees and employers alike.
- Amid the coronavirus crisis, employment in nursing homes and other residential care settings continues to fall, Amy Novotney from McKnight’s Senior Living reports. The overall size of the workforce has declined 4.7% since February, with 37,000 more jobs lost during May.
- Companies charged with the maintenance and nurturing of office plants while most people work from home have navigated a range of struggles, Horticulture Week’s Matthew Appleby reports.
- Worried about flying for work-related purposes – or any other purpose, really – sometime soon? You’re not alone, according to research from Civic Science.
In conversations about the state of the workplace, “normal” has entered the realm of abstract concept.
Marketers and publishers seem genuine in wanting to wrestle with the myriad challenges confronting us all. Let the uncomfortable conversations continue.
- MM&M’s Alison Kanski analyzes the results of CMI/Compas’ most recent social listening report, which found an increasing prevalence of bots and anti-vaccine sentiment in social chatter around COVID-19.
- In PRWeek, Kim Davis assesses what “the new normal” could mean for communicators and marketers.
- The Pew Media Center reports that African American adults follow coronavirus-related news topics more closely than do white and Hispanic adults and discuss the pandemic more frequently with other adults. Earlier, Pew reported that older Americans were more closely following COVID-19 news than younger ones.
- Amanda Richman, U.S. CEO of WPP media agency Wavemaker, spoke with Campaign US’ Lindsay Stein about advertising in the era of disease and unrest.
- Campaign Asia’s Jessica Goodfellow recaps WPP CEO Mark Read’s virtual presentation for Advertising Week JAPAC, during which he stressed that coronavirus is “not an existential challenge” for the company.
Marketers and advertisers don’t have more or better answers than the rest of us, and that’s okay. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you otherwise.
With every week comes a bit more knowledge and understanding. There’s optimism around more than one of the potential vaccine candidates. A few of the expected infection super-spreaders – looking at you, Lake of the Ozarks merrymakers – haven’t materialized. Let’s quit while we’re ahead.
- COVID-19 recovery post-ventilation isn’t the linear experience many patients expect, as The Washington Post details.
- With the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 infection looming, the American Medical Directors Association has issued recommendations for reducing spread among long-term care facility residents and staff, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Liza Berger reports. They include enhanced testing and contact tracing for staff, twice-daily resident screenings and the creation of COVID-specific units.
- Once more, with feeling: the use of hydroxychloroquine does not appear to prevent COVID-19 after moderate- to high-risk exposure, per the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and analyzed by MPR.
- According to a review published in Heart Rhythm, coronavirus-afflicted African Americans may be at greater risk for serious cardiac problems owing to genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, Cardiology Advisor’s Brandon May reports.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci told virtual attendees of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization conference that COVID-19 was his “worst nightmare” and that our understanding of the virus remains in its infancy.
Yeah, there’s still more discouraging news on the medical/scientific front than encouraging news. Strike that intro paragraph, will you?
…and some songs
That’s it for this week’s edition of Haymarket Media’s Coronavirus Briefing. May you and yours continue to be safe and well. See you on the other side of the weekend.