Some people lost their sense of security during shutdown. Others lost the will to shower, or wear shirts with buttons. Me, I lost the ability to interpret social cues. No longer, it seems, can I take a hint.
At a gathering last week, I was 26 minutes into a Van Halen-versus-Pink Floyd debate (Van Halen, duh) before I noticed one of the participants had nodded off. The weekend before, it dawned on me that guests were heading to the kitchen or bathroom and not returning… about an hour after the room had emptied to just a few hardy souls.
And you know what? I don’t care. I’m beyond giddy to occasionally be back in the presence of people to whom I’m not related. There’s music and food and beer. I hope the novelty remains long after we’ve returned to quote-unquote normal. And I look forward to ignoring yawns and “gosh, I have an early call tomorrow” for years to come.
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,384 words and will take you six minutes to read.
We’re in deep and most days there doesn’t seem anywhere to go but up. But in August, the case numbers stabilized following the June/July wave-one-extended-version surge. Science and a smattering of state officials are on the case.
- The FDA has granted an Emergency Use Authorization for Abbott’s 15-minute COVID test, Brian Park reports in Infectious Disease Advisor.
- New England colleges are doing a fine job at preventing the spread of coronavirus, at least so far.
- McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Danielle Brown recaps the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to extend coverage for COVID screening at nursing homes.
- In PRWeek, Havas Health’s Stacey Gandler explains how the pandemic has changed the way companies interact with patient communities.
- People Management’s Maggie Baska reports on a U.K. government campaign designed to encourage employees to return to their physical offices, even as concerns remain about safety and overall readiness. Also in People Management, Francis Churchill details a survey revealing that, not surprisingly, most people would prefer to continue to work from afar.
- The newly redesigned MM+M unveiled its 2020 Hall of Femme and Women to Watch honorees, many of whom have been leading the medical marketing industry’s efforts to combat COVID.
- Following the release of new visitation guidelines by a state task force, senior-living facilities in Arizona need to quickly develop and share written policies around screening processes and visitation limits, according to McKnight’s Senior Living’s Kimberly Bonvissuto. She also reports on a study suggesting that nursing facilities should test 50% of their staff and residents every week, even if the COVID risk remains low.
To torture another metaphor, it feels like we’re digging our way out one shovelful at a time. Here’s hoping somebody locates the pandemic equivalent of a hydraulic excavator.
At this point it has become a game I play with myself: Which piece of today’s COVID-related news will floor me? I’m not crying; the room is dusty and I’m allergic to everything in it and also I just got tear-gassed.
- This story is sadder than its headline and its headline is “Five Months Without a Kiss: Parents Plead to Visit Children.”
- Young scientists are feeling the impact of coronavirus, in the form of reduced funding, lab access and publishing opportunities. Promising careers in public health will be stalled before they start.
- Read this devastating recounting of the events that transpired at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, now recognized as the first COVID hot spot in the United States.
- Biogen’s February conference in Boston, now acknowledged as a superspreader event, was essentially pharma’s version of "the call is coming from inside the house!"
- A Michigan nursing home that prevented its staff from wearing masks and other protective gear is being sued by the family of a COVID-19 victim.
- College students are shouldering the blame for supposed lapses in conduct amid COVID-19, as opposed to administrators who seem all too happy to point fingers. Adults have failed kids, not the other way around.
- According to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Alicia Lasek, coronavirus-related restrictions put into place at nursing homes this spring had an unintended effect: residents experienced significant weight loss.
- September is Suicide Prevention Month. Resources can be found here, here and here.
Here’s hoping your heartbreaks are modest ones, even if they leave a mark. It beats the alternative.
The messaging machinery
There are any number of audiences for stories that go “under the hood” of media machinations – journalists, publishers, sometimes even student journalists and student publishers. But in this climate, the inside-baseball snobbery has been tempered by a pronounced weariness, akin to “Can you believe this crap?” I find myself wanting to buy full-timers on the coronabeat a bowl of warm soup and tell them that it’s all gonna turn out okay.
- Donald G. McNeil Jr., who has been covering global health for The New York Times since the 1990s, discusses life on the COVID-19 beat. “There aren’t a lot of rules on how to do this.”
- Two of every three Americans believe that COVID-prompted isolation has made them a better person, according to a survey underwritten by Coravin, which makes fancy caps for wine bottles. The study also revealed that 45% of respondents have a new favorite wine, so there’s your topical nexus.
- The Department of Health and Human Services is floating a $250 million contract for a communications firm to help the agency “defeat despair and inspire hope,” PRWeek’s Thomas Moore reports. I’m guessing this will prove a slightly more challenging task than it might’ve been during almost any other year in the history of civilization.
Much respect for those doing the heavy lifting.
It’s at least eight months premature to discuss anything tangentially related to the post-COVID landscape. But frankly, I can’t help myself. I want to know what the world will look like next summer. Then I want to book a cheap beach rental before anyone’s the wiser.
- The Atlantic thinks we’ll get out of this thing faster if we “mask up and shut up.”
- Campaign’s Gideon Spanier sits down with WPP chief executive Mark Read to discuss the post-COVID marketing landscape.
- Another possible casualty of the coronavirus-fueled economic meltdown: a whole lot of second-tier malls.
- On this week’s MM+M podcast, Antares Pharma sales exec Salvatore Paolozza tells MM+M’s Marc Iskowitz about the new challenges that come with engaging physicians in a mostly virtual world.
- A study of around 1,600 people in Brazil has found that individuals who won’t wear a mask or comply with social-distancing rules are more likely to have sociopathic tendencies. As much as this will prompt a slew of “I knew it!” retweets, isn’t a more empathetic explanation – they’re inconsiderate or scared or just plain dumb – slightly more believable? Also, the study largely relied on online personality tests, which once concluded that I was SUCH a Miranda.
The future pivots every few hours. I’ll confine my predictions to ones like “the next President will have five letters in his last name.”
- Mark Mothersbaugh, the genius behind Devo and the Rushmore score and so much more, details the delusions he experienced while hospitalized for COVID-19.
- “The Tour de France was obsessed with germs long before the pandemic.”
- Here’s a handy activity/distancing risk matrix.
- Coffee producers are doing just fine amid the pandemic, NPR reports. Okay, there’s one for the win column.
…and some songs.
- Working in the Coal Mine, Lee Dorsey
- Let’s Work, Prince
- Fruits of My Labor, Lucinda Williams
- Keep on Working, Pete Townshend
- This Woman’s Work, Kate Bush
Thanks for reading, as always, and a happy slam-the-door-on-summer long weekend to you and yours. I regret that we did not get to see each other wearing seasonally appropriate white pants, but there’s always next year. Look for the next Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing on Wednesday, September 9.