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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

COVID-19: Let's not let the hopeful news get lost, part two

Tech industry people, funny people, sports stars, regular ole people, and medical professionals are all doing what they have to do to defeat this deadly virus, and keep our hope alive.

I went to Starbucks, saw the post-Coronavirus future, and really didn't like it

After the response last week to what is now my first of several hopeful news posts, I decided for the immediate future that I would simply provide all of us with the hopeful news for a little while.

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There is an astonishing sea change beginning I think in how we all interact. Now, I'm not pretending to be an expert in social psychology. But it is clear that despite all the glitches there is an unprecedented level of global cooperation going on. Usually, wars have two human sides. In this one, there is all humanity versus a virus. So, I'll say it again: Unprecedented

I'm going to institute some regular features and some random things every week. The regular features will be the latest hopeful news about medical supplies, vaccines, treatments, the tech industry response, tools and useful info, the comedy and a Corona Cover of the Week. What will vary is how I organize the good that people do. 

This week, for example, it's the cheering of the amazing healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line. Also, the good that sports teams and players are doing. That will vary week to week. 

COVID-19 crisis: Medical Supplies

  1. The Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure the supply of materials for the production of ventilators to General Electric, ResMed, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic PLC, Vyaire Medical and Royal Phillips NV.
  2. China sent NYC 1,000 ventilators. That alone is worthy of hope. For all kinds of reasons.
  3. The state of Virginia signed a $27 million contract to get medical supplies to Virginia to cover the expected increase in cases.  At the same time, the Virginia Department of Health shipped out one million masks to medical facilities throughout the state that it had stocked since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

COVID-19 crisis: Vaccines and treatments

  1. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a company that Bill and Melinda Gates funded, is the second to start human trials with a coronavirus vaccine on patients in Philadelphia and Kansas City Missouri. As always, caution. But the human species is responding with unprecedented speed, despite how slow it seems from day to day. Two clinical trials going in within a couple of months.
  2. With all the cautions and caveats around larger and randomized sampling still intact, there are a number of promising signs in treatment with the COVID-19 plasma serum:

COVID-19 crisis: Trends

  1. The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)T says that new data suggests there are considerably fewer deaths from the COVID-19 virus than previously expected. The model still suggests that the peak will be between April 15 and April 16 nationally and then the decline will begin.

COVID-19 crisis: Tech Industry Response

  1. Apple has not only sourced and shipped 20 million medical-grade masks to health care professionals but has designed a medical-grade custom mask. 
  2. Pegasystems has developed an app called The Employee Safety and Business Continuity Tracker for its customers that will track COVID-19 exposure and its impact on operations. These kinds of apps, like those ServiceNow and SAP released, are exceptionally important because they support business continuity and the back end of the workings of the company. With the much higher pressure placed on all aspects of a company's workings, this kind of crisis and emergency management ops support can, at times, be the make or break of a company during a crisis. The app can be obtained here.
  3. Salesforce continues to put itself out front, landing a 747 filled with masks and other medical supplies in N.Y. on April 5. I'm not sure of the numbers, but Salesforce, always mindful of the psychology of what it does, knows that landing a huge plane in N.Y. with supplies can be inspiring and hopeful. I will guess it was fully aware of the impact of that kind of delivery.    
  4. Wipro and the Azim Premji Foundation have been making a major effort to feed the underprivileged during the crisis and now have managed to feed 500,000 people with their work. (For more on the Azim Premji Foundation, go here.)

COVID-19 crisis: The good that people do

  1. The healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line and trying to save lives by doing that. The appreciation across the country from little towns to big cities is being shown by grateful citizens who are doing what they can to show that they know this and it matters. (Thanks to Kathryn Bonesteel for these links. You can see what she is doing in Houston in last week's post.)
    1. I never thought I'd say this, but the New England Patriots did some real good this past week and sent a truck escorted by Massachusetts State Police to N.Y. with 300,000 N95 masks, part of the 1.7 million N95 masks that Robert Kraft purchased from China for $2 million that arrived last week.
    2. And I never thought I'd say this either, but kudos to Bryce Harper (one of my least favorite baseball players -- no longer)  and his wife Kayla, who stepped up with a $500,000 contribution to support organizations spearheading coronavirus relief for Las Vegas (his home) and Philadelphia (home of his team). The donation will go to Direct Relief and Three Square in Las Vegas and Philabundance in Philadelphia.
    3. Jay Pettigrew, a regional VP at Salesforce, created Devices for Students, to find or buy PCs, laptops, etc, and get internet connectivity for kids who are stuck at home and need to have that hardware and connectivity to continue school. This began with Detroit when they found out that 60% of the students at home didn't have the hardware nor the connectivity so couldn't get their education. The reason that this is in sports? The Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red Wings joined in to help and get those devices. For more on the program, watch this CRM Playaz clip from last week.
    4. Finally, a pleasant piece of what I think might just be a fantasy but is, in a sort of "we are where we are" way, upbeat: Major League Baseball is contemplating how to begin the season in May with the approval of public health bodies. Read the game plan here. (Thanks to my brother Bob Greenberg, who is a rock star in the emergency management, first response world).

    COVID-19 crisis: Tools and useful info

    1. The impact on cats and dogs, pets or feral, is minimal and they are not likely transmitters of the disease. Thank god.
    2. Ray Wang and Constellation have developed a very useful Post Pandemic Playbook. Even if you don't do all of what he has in there (it is a lot), you should pay heed to much of what he says. Important practical things to do.
    3. For businesses -- actually for everyone -- trying to understand the psychology of communication during a crisis, the CDC's Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) unit issued a really helpful paper on how to communicate during a crisis. Not surprisingly, its called  "Psychology of a Crisis." It will download directly as a PDF.
    4. One of the very helpful and not really well-known lists is the list of EPA-approved household disinfectants and cleaners. These are, as of April 2, COVID-19-combat approved in a manner of speaking. They are the best to clean and disinfect and meet EPA standards. As of that date, there are 357 of them. You're bound to find at least one. It's a thorough list and is based on the ability of these items to beat viruses like COVID-19. Get it. You can export it as a PDF and order what you think you need. Some of the cleaners on the list will be hard to find or out of stock. Others are easier.

    COVID-19 crisis: Humor and music

    Each week I'm going to highlight two things: A wonderful show that you should all watch; and what I'm calling a Corona Cover -- a parody of a song that is attuned to the coronavirus and is either incredibly good and/or is good with a pretty great imitation of the group that originally did it. Here we go, with the always really nice and funny guy John Krasinski, as well as a parody by Adrian Grimes and Dana Jay Bein who are doing a Queen karaoke of Bohemian Rhapsody. 


    Show of the week

    John Krasinski's SGN Episode No. 2. Not only is John Krasinski clearly a man with a good soul and connects well with the public, but he is outright funny in a self-deprecating way. What makes this episode so heartening is that it features a segment where the entire original cast of Hamilton (including the guy who plays Chunk on Bull, much to my surprise) does the opening number for a little girl who loves the musical.  

    I'd recommend you listen to the whole thing, but if you want to just listen to the Hamilton piece, it begins with Lin Manuel Miranda (another wonderful soul) talking to John K and Emily Blount at 10:37. But the whole thing is well worth watching. This one probably is going to outlast the pandemic.

    Corona Cover of the Week

    This is a sorta brutal but terrific Corona Cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody by some unknowns. It's both true and also insanely cleverly written. Plus, passable Queen (under the circumstances).

    So, that's it for this week. Starting next week, if you have other hopeful news, please submit it to me at paul-greenberg3@the56group.com (with the Subject: Hopeful News, so I can put it in the following week and attribute it to you).

    Also, if you are interested in joining the CRM Playaz Happy Hour, here is the link to register. They will be almost every Thursday at 3:30pm EDT until the end of the year, though we reserve the right to cancel. There are 39 of them available, but this week (April 8) and next week (April 1)  are sold out. The ticket is free, but we are limited to 15 people to keep from getting unwieldy and you have to register. Plus, your entry aside from registration requires that you have a liquid in a glass in your hand for the event (can be alcohol or not; water is fine; lens cleaning fluid is not). Register for April 22.

    So, until next week, please be safe and stock up.