I have seen the ghost of COVID future and it is my son’s soccer games. The first one took place last Saturday on a gloriously cliché late-summer afternoon. The sun was shining. Birds were chirping. And adults were slowly arriving at the realization that it’s hard to yell LET’S GO TEAM and GREAT PLAY through a thin veneer of facehole-blocking fabric.
As the game proceeded and the comfort level of most spectators surged from “nonexistent” to “ready to board an unventilated party bus,” the masks receded. Mine did as well. I gave in to the desire for something approximating normalcy and it was fine.
Our decision wasn’t especially egregious, given that we distanced and that outdoor activities of this sort pose minimal danger. The worry is that, little by little, we’re all softening to the threat. The games will move inside come Thanksgiving. Will we recalibrate our behaviors and risk tolerance to account for the more infection-friendly setting? I’ll let you know.
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,325 words and will take you seven minutes to read.
Collectively, we’re doing a fine job researching COVID’s impact on every aspect of everything.
- Per a CDC report, individuals who tested positive for COVID are twice as likely to have dined in a restaurant prior to their infection.
- At least half the households in the four largest U.S. cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston – report that they are experiencing financial problems amid the coronavirus crisis. The impact is being felt more sharply in Black and Latino households, as well as those with incomes below $100,000.
- JPMorgan Chase asked its top traders to return to the office… and then sent a bunch of them home after an employee tested positive.
- In McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, Danielle Brown reports on SeniorLiving.org research which found that, at the onset of the coronavirus panic, visits of all kinds with nursing home residents fell by 53%.
- LSU football coach Ed Orgeron shares that “most of [the team’s] players” have contracted COVID-19. “I think that hopefully they won’t catch it again, and hopefully they’re not out for games.” Very much related: Fewer than half of college compliance officers say that coaches are in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
- U.S. airlines lost $11 billion in the second quarter of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The triggering events of 2020 have not been predictable. Much of what followed has.
To the list of “tiny, insignificant upsides in the year of COVID and wildfires and financial catastrophe and overt racism,” I propose adding “at least we’re occasionally counterpunching.” It beats the alternative.
- Florida schools have started to ignore an order by Gov. Ron DeSantis to refrain from circulating data around student COVID-19 infection.
- McKnight’s Long-Term Care News’ Alicia Lasek reports on comments made by WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan at the United Nations in Geneva. He called on policymakers to “fundamentally rethink the relationship we have with older generations and the way in which we provide care for that generation.”
- The newly-redesigned MM+M shares a first look at an artful pro-mask campaign created by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It’s set to run in 8,000 locations across the city and state.
- PRWeek’s Aleda Stam unpacks Politico’s scoop that the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality reports have been reviewed and changed by politically motivated HHS communication aides.
- Numerous business groups have thrown their weight behind a pandemic insurance bill, Amy Novotney notes in McKnight’s Senior Living.
- Danielle Brown reports in McKnight’s Senior Living on a LeadingAge pandemic situation study revealing that it could cost larger nursing homes up to $15,000 a week to comply with new COVID testing mandates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Back in the 1680s, when there were no Wi-Fi or double cheeseburgers, Sir Isaac Newton wrote, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Dude totally saw this coming.
There hasn’t been a day in the last four months that somebody or other hasn’t shared provocative research or insight about pandemic life. I know this because it’s my job to attempt to read it all. It’s exhausting, frankly.
- A New England Journal of Medicine commentary advances the “unproven but promising” theory that masking can help reduce coronavirus severity and ensure that a greater percentage of new infections are asymptomatic. Wearing masks: not unsmart.
- According to the Pew Research Center, 14% of U.S. adults have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are “pretty sure” they have had it. This figure might not be too far off.
- New York Times reporter Helene Cooper describes her experience as a participant in a vaccine clinical trial.
- A study based on contact tracing in three Salt Lake City daycare centers reveals that children can transmit COVID-19 but do not often get sick themselves. The average age of the children at the centers was 7.
- The Harris Poll has released Six Months That Changed America, a comprehensive project that taps what the company characterizes as “the single largest consumer dataset around American sentiment and the COVID-19 crisis.”
- An MM+M infographic breaks down the surge in mental health concerns by profession, household income and caregiver status.
- McKnight’s editorial director, John O’Connor, weighs in on the problems with post-acute caregiving at home.
- Science profiles super-smart epidemiologist Caitlin Rivers.
My youngest recently announced that he wants to be either a scientist or a scuba diver when he grows up. With each passing day, it is increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to misplace his kiddie snorkel.
Further proof that necessity is the mother of COVID-era invention:
- Campaign’s Elaine Underwood reports on a campaign featuring quarterback Patrick Mahomes that, due to the COVID-related cancelation of a live-action shoot, was rendered using a pencil-sketch technique.
- People Management’s Jonathan Owen asks a host of experts and executives, “What might replace furlough?”
- The third annual PRWeek/Boston University Communications Bellwether Survey, fielded as the nation began to enter shutdown, reveals that “high-agility” organizations are most successfully weathering the coronavirus disruption.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that restrictions around the use and handling of health data are likely to be revised in the wake of COVID-19, possibly in a way that will further erode consumer privacy.
- CivicScience reports some backsliding in Americans’ confidence to engage in normal activities, plus the company’s Airline Monitor checks in with a state-of-the-union update on all things related to air travel. Short version: we’re wary.
- Writing in People Management, behavioral planning expert Alice Venables offers tips for combating Zoom fatigue. Here’s one that has worked well for me: throwing my camera-enabled devices into the ocean.
You’re a problem-solver. I’m a problem-solver. Gooooooo, problem-solvers!
- Columbia Journalism Review has launched the COVID-19 Cutback Tracker, designed to aggregate information on newsroom layoffs during the last six-plus months. This is totally depressing.
- Our teeth are not enjoying the coronavirus era.
- “Potential sign of alien life detected on inhospitable Venus.” Of course there was.
- Courtesy of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State of New York: “Certified Young Person Paul Rudd Wants You to Wear a Mask.”
- I trust that this concoction has passed clinical trial muster?
Stuff you can do
- Confirm your voting options and information by state.
- Share some news-literacy resources with your Facebook pals.
- Help families struggling to afford diapers for their newborns.
- Support local bookstores. Or maybe don’t? I give up.
…and some songs.
- Seasons, Chris Cornell
- Spring and By Summer Fall, Blonde Redhead
- Autumn Almanac, The Kinks
- September, Earth, Wind & Fire
And so ends another edition of the Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing. We’ll be back with the next one on Wednesday September 23, which is Bruce Springsteen’s birthday. Be well.