This week in sentences that, had they been uttered in January might have prompted loved ones to inquire about the speaker’s mental wellness: I went to a restaurant and didn’t feel vulnerable, scared or otherwise besieged. It happened at a newly outdoor restaurant on Long Island, on what might have felt like a typical summer night had our faces not been masked and our hands sticky with Purell.
The key to deriving pleasure from such COVID-era engagements, I think, is to avoid doting on the circumstances. We sat down, ordered, drank, ate, paid and lingered, just as we might have before the world imploded. I had the chicken parm.
And yet. One guy strode past us mask-free. The conversation at an adjacent table detailed (and broadly, almost hilariously misinterpreted) recent studies about COVID infection in young children. You can’t block it out, man.
I look forward to the day when such encounters return to the realm of banality. May I propose “boring” as a potential complement?
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,112 words and will take you six minutes to read.
The path ahead
Sometimes it’s hard to see, especially with case numbers flat at best and social media perpetually melting down over the fates of American democracy, the polar ice caps and college football. But we’ve learned a lot during these last five-plus months. Slowly but surely, we’re translating that knowledge into action.
Gilead Sciences has formally submitted the New Drug Application for remdesivir to the Food and Drug Administration, MPR’s Brian Park reports. Also known by its brand name Veklury, the drug has been available in the U.S. under an Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 patients.
McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Danielle Brown reviews CareTrust’s second-quarter earnings call, during which CEO Greg Stapely predicted that point-of-care testing could be the “biggest advance” in efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.
On this week’s MM&M Podcast, SK Life Science VP and chief commercial officer Sebby Borriello discusses the challenges that came with launching Xcopri, a new epilepsy medication, during the pandemic.
In Campaign, FutureBrand global chief strategy officer Jon Tipple looks to L’Oréal, Netflix and Walmart for keys to success in a post-COVID brand landscape.
Just as certain peanut butters are more gelatinous than others, so too are certain facemasks more effective than ostensibly similar ones. The real ground-floor takeaway here is that even the cheapest coverings provide an elevated level of protection.
I’m choosing to feel encouraged about much of this and remain bullish that we’ll come out of this thing slightly smarter than we were at its outset.
Which isn’t to say that disease and shutdown and the like aren’t chewing us up. The smaller losses and indignities may not sting as much as the bigger ones, but they leave a mark. And the bigger ones crush the spirit.
People Management’s Francis Churchill reports on a Rest Less study that nearly 200,000 people in the U.K. over the age of 50 have either left the workforce or become “economically inactive” since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Elsewhere in People Management, Elizabeth Howlett analyzes Office for National Statistics jobs data noting that 730,000 fewer people were on U.K. payrolls in July than in March.
Bill Gates is not a fan of U.S. efforts to test for COVID-19. That’s the polite way to put it.
In MM&M’s weekly health-media column, The Third M, nine patient influencers unload on coverage shortfalls during the first four months of the COVID-19 era.
Hundreds of epidemiologists, virologists, infectious-disease specialists and public-health experts wrote a letter to FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn urging the agency not to rush or politicize a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Psychiatrists and psychologists are fried.
In McKnight’s Senior Living, Lois Bowers details calls by long-term care groups to protect healthcare providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19.
Remember when the late local news used to lead with “cat locks self in refrigerator”? When social-media feeds teemed with complaints about the next Spider-Man reboot?
The crystal ball
While I’m crazed for more information on school openings/closings and the return of live music and roughly 67,000 other things of varying import, I’ve given up on attempting to gaze more than 45 minutes into the future. As it turns out, coronaviruses tend to operate on their own timeline. The utter lack of predictability that comes with circa-2020 existence is an enormous and perhaps underacknowledged contributor to our frazzled mental health.
The Union of Concerned Scientists surveyed 16 coastal counties with growing COVID-19 case counts that are likely to be affected by a Category 5 hurricane. Nowhere in its findings: reassurance that those counties are ready to evacuate safely and efficiently should the worst-case scenario come to pass. Shocking, I know.
Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb writes that a COVID-19/flu pairing could basically be the Simon and Garfunkel of winter misery.
The Atlantic warns that “The Winter Will Be Worse” and that “daily life will get more dismal.” Elsewhere, it notes that “The Coronavirus Is Never Going Away.” The Atlantic is doing heroic work amid miserable circumstances, but sometimes I could go for a fluff piece on otters.
At least STAT has some uplifting news to share. Wait, check that – they’re reporting that, should we not get our act together by indoor-weather season, “This winter could be Dickensianly bleak.”
Yeah. It’s time to proactively disengage with predictions that don’t involve point spreads or cloud cover.
Per Civic Science, Americans are less “sober curious” this year, which sure tracks with the reality in my house. Civic Science has also observed its first spike in dining out and ordering takeout since the start of this mess.
The St. Louis Cardinals have played five baseball games this season and won’t play again until Friday at the earliest. Kinda looking forward to the five-inning triple-headers that this could necessitate.
A New Yorker staff writer attempts to figure out how she was infected with the coronavirus. Contact tracing: not easy.
Campaign’s Elaine Underwood reports on Bacardi’s sponsorship of a geofenced online concert series. Take that, endless bathroom lines and $14 personal pizzas at Woodstock ’99.
…and some songs.
- On Fire, Van Halen
- Burning Down the House, Talking Heads
- Fan the Flames, Sheer Mag
- Party at Ground Zero, Fishbone
Thanks for reading this week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing. We’ll be back with the next one on Wednesday August 19. Stay safe, well, masked and six feet away, everybody.