Coronavirus Briefing: Vaccine reluctance, big hopes for dexamethasone and virtual comic-cons

This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,163 words and will take you six minutes to read.

New York Comic Con 2019 (Photo credit: Getty Images)
New York Comic Con 2019 (Photo credit: Getty Images)

As COVID-19-afflicted areas continue the process of reopening – some hesitantly, some with great fanfare – fears about a second wave are emerging, never mind that the first one hasn’t exactly been crushed. That said, it’s nice to walk outside in the late-afternoon sun, masked or otherwise. It’s nice to see individuals with whom you haven’t been hunkered down for the last 100-odd days, even if you spend the entirety of your time together mentally measuring the physical distance that separates you. 

Consider this a wish, then, that we’re all as smart and respectful as possible about resuming life as we used to know it – that we identify the caught-on-camera-partying-like-it’s-1999 merrymakers as outliers and do everything in our power to treat each other with decency. Say “please” and “thank you.” Wave. Make as much eye contact and smile as broadly as your facial covering will allow. It’s not hard.

This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,163 words and will take you six minutes to read. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.


The science

In March, we heard a lot of mangled sports comparisons about where we were in our struggle to understand the science underlying the new coronavirus (such as “the third half of the second inning”). To extend that didactic metaphor, it now feels like we’re approaching extra time in the first quarter. That’s progress. I think?

  • Scientists at the University of Oxford in the U.K. announced that dexamethasone, an inexpensive and readily available steroid, reduced deaths among the sickest COVID-19 patients. But neither the data nor the study itself have yet been peer reviewed or published.
  • The Washington Post reports on new CDC data revealing that COVID-19 has been 12 times more deadly for individuals with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The Takeaway:

We write the same thing here every week: We’re smarter than we were yesterday, but not as smart as we’ll be tomorrow. If that momentum stalls, well, then we’ll probably babble something about hitting potholes on the superhighway to scientific and medical enlightenment. Stay tuned.


The numbers

It sure seems we’ve entered the quantify-everything phase of our COVID-19 recovery, doesn’t it? Numbers are everywhere. Some have even been reported in their proper context! Good thing there’s nothing else happening this year to keep pollsters and researchers on their toes. Oh, wait.

  • FiveThirtyEight analyzes a new American Enterprise Institute poll that revealed, among other things, that black Americans are less ready than white Americans to reopen the economy post-pandemic. The poll also found 58% of Americans don’t know anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • CivicScience’s ongoing tracking of sentiments around vaccines revealed an increase over the last month in the reluctance to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Currently, 64% of the general adult population would opt to receive a vaccine, down from around 70% a month ago.

The Takeaway:

Not all of the numbers are positive, especially the ones detailing COVID-19’s continued spread in any number of North American locales. But at least some of them are trending in the right direction. We’ll take it.


The economics 

Just-reported data showed a retail rebound in May and the most recent monthly jobs report was, improbably, vaguely non-catastrophic. But many, many people and businesses are still hurting, and the pain isn’t likely to dissipate any time soon.

  • It certainly won’t help, as Kimberly Bonvissuto notes in McKnight’s Senior Living, if New York state lawmakers succeed in repealing a blanket immunity law shielding care facilities from legal action.
  • Writing in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, Danielle Brown summarizes the recent House testimony of public health expert David Grabowski. He believes the U.S. federal government “needs to own” the coronavirus response and provide better support for nursing homes.
  • Sebastian Guth, Bayer’s president of pharmaceuticals, Americas Region, joined the MM&M podcast to discuss the importance – for the bottom line and otherwise – of preserving corporate culture and employee engagement during the pandemic. 

The Takeaway:

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We don’t yet know if this recovery is going to resemble a V, or a teacup, or [insert your choice of high-low-high shape, contour or silhouette here].


The (relative) frivolities 

People of the world don’t need sports or entertainment, at least not in the sense that they need oxygen and some basic degrees of nourishment and companionship. But it’s sure fun to have some games and non-Netflix pastimes back, ain’t it?

  • In advance of today’s return of the Premier League, four sports-marketing experts tell PRWeek UK’s Arvind Hickman that football clubs should “show empathy” over the coronavirus-related concerns of their players.

The Takeaway:

Here’s hoping the price to pay for the resumed events isn’t athlete or performer wellbeing. Sorry to be a killjoy.


The rest

  • Campaign US’ Lindsay Stein reports on new brand-safety guidance offered by marketing services holding company WPP’s media buying giant GroupM.

…and some songs

How to Be Dumb, Elvis Costello

Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing, James Brown

Cult of Personality, Living Colour

Thanks, as always, for reading. Look for the next Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing on Wednesday, June 24. Wishing you and yours continued health and safety.


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