I burst my shutdown bubble over the weekend. Since early March, my wife and I had promised our youngest child – naively, as it turns out – that he’d be able to have a full-on birthday party. When the calendar turned to June and it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to make good on the guarantee, we panicked. This manifested itself in a parade of Amazon trucks that delivered the fruits of our overcompensation.
But he still wanted to see his pals, so on Sunday we opened our driveway to an ice-cream truck and our backyard to a gaggle of first-graders. We distanced and we masked, save for the moments when Chipwiches were steered into our maws. The kids ran around and yelled and giggled, as is their wont.
It was in the neighborhood of normal. It was lovely. I’ll take it.
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,131 words and will take you six minutes to read.
In many parts of the world, the word “normal” is no longer automatically preceded by the word “new.” Normal actually means normal, not a vague approximation thereof. I want to go there.
- A Hill/HarrisX poll reveals that 82% of voters support a national mask mandate.
- People Management’s Maggie Baska reports on a Resolution Foundation analysis suggesting that more than half of furloughed employees in the U.K. have returned to work. Elsewhere in People Management, employment lawyers Melanie Lane and Catherine Taylor attempt to unpack the U.K. government’s most recent return-to-work guidance.
- Another day, another promising vaccine study. This one comes from Novavax, which had received $1.6 billion from the government as part of Operation Warp Speed.
- MPR’s Cassandra Pardini reports that a critically ill COVID-19 patient recovered more rapidly after she received intravenous administration of vitamin C.
- McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Danielle Brown reviews a Health Affairs blog post detailing a range of plans for reforming long-term care post-pandemic. “The system failed,” the post’s authors note.
- U.K. agencies that have reopened tell Campaign’s Gurjit Degun that “full flexibility” is an essential component of the – wait for it – new normal.
- PRWeek’s 2020 40 Under 40 list showcases a range of communicators who have deftly steered their organizations during the COVID-19 era.
- In this week’s MM&M podcast, PatientPoint chief client officer Linda Ruschau details how her organization and other point-of-care players were able to navigate the early months of the crisis.
“Get back to where you once belonged” now sounds less like an exhortation than a tantalizing possibility.
I wonder: Would it be possible to go a full day without feeling shame over where we find ourselves vis-à-vis COVID-19? It would require staying at home (no mask), not engaging with any media (no news) and burying the smart phone deep in the couch cushions (no contact/no clue). It feels doable, and also like letting myself off the hook.
- “How the Pandemic Defeated America,” by Ed Wong in The Atlantic. The score wasn’t particularly close. Also in The Atlantic, the great Zeynep Tufekci makes a plea for a more robust conversation around ventilation.
- The 19th explains how COVID-19 could affect overall levels of women’s health for years.
- McKnight’s Senior Living’s Amy Novotney reports on a Nationwide Retirement Institute survey, which reveals that 38% of Americans say their retirement plans have been affected by the pandemic. Nineteen percent say they will have to retire later than planned and 10% say they won’t be able to retire at all.
- A Yahoo News/YouGov coronavirus poll finds that only 42% of Americans plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. But the number of Americans who say they’re not sure they’ll get vaccinated (between 26 and 33%) is greater than the number who say they won’t (between 19 and 25%).
- Genesis HealthCare chief medical officer Richard Feifer tells McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Liza Berger that COVID-19 lab tests are “nearly useless” due to long waits for results.
After compiling the above section, I’m up for a little self-inflicted obliviousness. Who’s with me?
“Operators” sounds more sinister than intended, but it’s an apt descriptor for the organizations and individuals who are working to repair what’s broken and, in doing so, make sense out of this sad and strange era. We need more of them.
- Meet the small Texas-based company coordinating most of the drive-thru COVID testing in the U.S.
- Then there’s Dr. Claire Rezba, an anesthesiologist who spends her spare time tracking the number of healthcare workers lost to COVID-19.
- The long-term healthcare costs for coronavirus patients could run well into the billions, McKnight’s Senior Living Amy Novotney reports.
- MM&M’s Alison Kanski notes that the drug-pricing debate remains very alive in Washington, D.C., pandemic or no.
- Per a global study, we’re working harder and longer during the pandemic. We’re sitting through more meetings and sending more email. The meetings are slightly shorter, so yay? Sort of?
So many people, so many agendas. Thanks to the many who are pursuing community and not individual ones.
The education and the miseducation
I have no idea if schools can safely reopen. But I’d sure like my kids to get back in the saddle at some point soon, if only so that they can acquire the critical-thinking and evaluation skills that they’ll need to function in the current iteration of America. This feels like it should be higher on the lower-grade syllabus than, say, long division.
- Parent-assembled and -underwritten school “pods” are the trend story du jour.
- Here’s more on the infodemic around COVID-19, this time from The Lancet.
- Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help people with COVID-19. It didn’t last week. It won’t next week.
- Masks are considered “an annoyance” in the Netherlands. Adjust your seedings in the Country Coronavirus Country Response bracket accordingly.
- The expression “the ol’ college try” should get a workout as colleges and universities in U.S. COVID hotspots begin to welcome students during the next few weeks.
At some point in the future, we’ll once again be able to trust the vast majority of what we see and hear. Right? Maybe? Please?
- Basketball and soccer players are shooting more accurately in empty stadiums and arenas.
- “A Queer Indigenous Professor Who Died of COVID-19 Didn’t Actually Exist.”
- It’s an ad and it doesn’t matter, because Katie Ledecky rules.
- Register to vote here. Check out your voter registration deadline here. Sign up to volunteer at your local polling place here. All the cool kids are doing it!
…and some songs.
- The Message, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five feat. Melle Mel
- Something’s Gonna Happen, Marshall Crenshaw
- Better Than Nothing, Jennifer Trynin
- Sign o’ the Times, Prince
That’s it for this week. The next Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing will be published on Wednesday, August 12. Thanks for reading, as always. Stay well.