Humanity faces a deadly invisible enemy. A virus that has already claimed over 300,000 lives worldwide with nearly a third of those deaths here in the United States. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, our main techniques to combat this enemy – social distancing and closing places of work are extracting almost as heavy a price with 30 million Americans filing for unemployment. Record numbers rivaling even the great depression.
Two months into this crisis, our governments – state and federal are overworked and overwhelmed. The breadth and scale of this challenge is like nothing that has come before and we’ve never had as deep of a bench to begin with as other countries when it comes to local public health infrastructure. Our governments are doing their best, balancing the needs of hospitals with the needs of the unemployed and essential sectors of the economy. Federalism and other innate strengths, we have as a country have become weaknesses in this crisis.
Technology companies and information workers have overcome adversity and transitioned somewhat to working from home, but that almost seems like a first world problem compared to the economic devastation that manufacturing, transportation and travel companies are facing by having their plants, factories shutdown and planes grounded. Many parts of the economy simply cannot continue to work from home. And if, and when they try to open up too quickly without the right safeguards in place, we see a surge in cases like in meat-packing plants.
The virus is here to stay in our lives for a while. A vaccine is a year away at the soonest and even if we can rush the creation of a vaccine, it will be a while before we can manufacture it at scale, and make it affordable, accessible and before people feel comfortable taking it. Even then, there are likely possibilities that the virus can mutate and that a vaccine does not address all mutations.
That’s a lot of terrible things to hear. Sorry for that! I swear I’m an optimist by nature but this is not the time for denial and wishful thinking. We must face into the darkness that is our reality so that we can do something about it. The silver lining is that crisis tends to force us to act. Americans are a strong and resilient people that have persevered through crisis before and come out stronger.
ReturnSafe is a B-corp, formed with the mission to move fast, save lives and safely reopen the economy. We are the virus threat response partner for American businesses. We will help employers put in place systems and processes to prevent viral outbreaks in the office and keep employees and their families safe. We are assembling a world-class team of doctors, technologists & designers to deliver on this very important mission. Join us in this fight.