Who is Coming Up with Non-Medical Ways to Help Move Us Out of this Paralysis?

By on March 29, 2020

While the medical community is in hyper-overdrive working to deal with the multi-faceted and hazardous health aspect of what’s happening now, there are countless other ways to help move out of our current situation and back into some semblance of normalcy. (The world of finance is likewise doing a lot and finding ways to be resourceful to correct what’s going on — like after the 2008 mortgage crisis — but that would have cluttered up the title of this article.) The high majority of people are not infected and the same goes for workplaces and homes. The majority that test positive will not have severe symptoms and they will recover relatively quickly and will have developed antibodies from which to produce vaccines. By having everyone stay at home and away from the public, surface germs in vacated places will die within hours or days. As tough as things are, we are focusing together on doing the right things based on the information we are given. The previous writing I posted mentions how we are used to focusing and responding like this when presented with any new problem on any scale. With this problem, we are all focusing and working together on every level. We are all on the same side.

To protect us and allow us to move from place to place again, someone needs to develop a lightweight non-cumbersome full-body germ-resistant suit with sufficient ventilation — which must be available already to some extent, like those lightweight jackets that can withstand minus 40-degree temperatures — and fit building entry ways with UV lighting or heat lamps, or a means to spray disinfectant enough to kill the virus (blowing hot hair is not an option). How long would the virus have to be exposed to temperatures over 82 degrees or exposed to disinfectants to die?  Public transportation (and any other public activity) would no longer be prohibited, intimidating or life-threatening. My suggestions are obviously simplistic and the implementation of more sound and effective ideas would go a long way in proceeding closer to our norm than we are now so people get back to work and businesses can get back to running.

A solution like what I mention (but much more realistic and sound) would greatly help prevent the spread of the virus.  It would be a massive cultural change but who cares about looks, convenience, comfort and cost at this point?   They’d have to produce them very quickly, but it could be done if as many of the right companies got together to develop the technology and manufacturing and distribution processes (the foundation of all are already in place) and work around the clock.  Obviously, my suggestions are simplistic but the basic points are hard to argue. I’ll take “why not?” over “why?” any day of the week. I also welcome any stories answering the title of this writing. I know they are out there and the most significant ones may easily be kept under wraps while people and organizations are working furiously to develop and implement them. I am very hopeful and optimistic, despite any cynicisms and sarcasms you’ll come across here.

Why can’t Silicon Valley genius companies like Google and Apple (Facebook was always a self-serving joke that should never have happened in the first place outside of organizational use) and people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk team up with other industries — especially clothing makers like Lands End or Duluth Trading — to come up with a solutions? Any effective solution will allow us to move forward instead of waiting for vaccines and whatever else unprecedented problem the medical community is under the gun to resolve.  I’m telling myself they are all working together even as I type this article. These are not people accustomed to doing nothing when a problem needs to be resolved. What is super-wealthy and super-opinionated Marc Cuban doing to help in non-medical ways? I don’t mean contributing money but in terms of big-picture ideas to move us forward. What’s happening now is not just about health, it’s about everything and everyone wants as many people as possible to get back to work immediately and I’m sure people with a conviction and appreciation they didn’t have had before. 

Why is all the pressure on the medical community when this is far from a one-dimensional problem?  What are all the country’s great minds doing to get us out of this state of paralysis that they are a part of?   The multi-trillion dollar stimulus is only a band-aid, although it will keep the economy going.  How much of that money is better spent on the acceleration of creating test-kits that give faster results, vaccines, cures and the fast production and distribution of those things and fixing all the other problems keeping us from moving forward with some level of grounding, progress and assurance?

Here are few related thoughts and noteworthy stories about what’s happening now:

– Aren’t all these workplaces that have been empty or almost-empty for weeks free of the virus even without disinfecting?  (See the information following my signoff.) Again, the high percent of people in this country are not infected.  Those are two huge positive signs helpful to forward movement.  Is keeping both factors germ-free that hard to do?  Putting infected clothes in a dryer should immediately kill the virus if it cannot live in 82 degree temperatures.  What things can be placed in front of already-burning fires close enough to kill the germ without harming the item?  I stand in front of our wood stove a lot and I know what I’m feeling is hotter than 82 degrees but I am not in danger of being burned.

– What are restaurants doing to assure customers their food and takeout packaging is germ free, which would attract business? The heat of cooking the food should kill the virus. Should they run the takeout packaging between hot lamps or UV lights before handing it to customers?  Restaurants implementing and advertising those precautions would make me consider going to those places and give me the comfort of knowing people and companies are being thoughtful and resourceful. I appreciate coming across any assurances of any kind from the food industry and I read there is no reason to be concerned with going to those places (including bakeries, which I’ve been thinking about these last few days;).

-Game Stop is at least trying. The company has told its employees to go back to work and wrap their hands in their own plastic bags when handling products to and from their customers. “Caution” and “precaution” are not the same as “fear” and “paranoia.” As long as everyone does everything right, there should be no danger. Not only is this a good idea for the company and its customers, it is incentive for other companies to make similar steps back toward normalcy and functionality. We need more of these stories. Read the complete story. It has limitations. I’m looking for light wherever I can get it. https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/03/coronavirus-and-gaming-gamestop-initially-remained-open-during-shut-down-told-employees-to-wrap-hands-in-plastic-bags-and-go-back-to-work.html

I’m generally good at keeping things neat and clean around the property. I’ve had to raise my standards to better staying on top of everything we touch without thinking about it, like light switches, door handles, knobs, deadlocks, keys, lamp switches, dresser and cabinet doors, chairs, tables, keyboards, computer mice and touch pads, remote controls, toothbrushes (both kind), shaving razors (both kind), exercise equipment, monitors/TVs and my many other stationary and portable gadgets. We have extended those thorough cleanings to the cars as well. Those are all things I should have always kept clean anyway so I’m happy to put out that effort now. I benefit in knowing things are clean, they look good and from the physical and mental workout that comes with a thorough house cleaning. Unless you are a professional cleaner, the thinking it takes to clean a house thoroughly exercises your mind because it’s not used to thinking in that way. It’s also meditative because you really have to focus on what you’re doing to get it right. Don’t throw out toothbrushes; they are invaluable in cleaning.

A week ago, I checked the Amazon website for Clorox disinfecting wipes. Listing after listing said “not currently available.” Today when I checked, I only found one listing and it had that same status. I’m not sure if the other listings were taken off for price gouging or if Clorox is not putting them out fast enough. I’m guessing the former based on this March 6, 2020 CNBC.com article saying Amazon removed 530,000 product listings for that reason. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/amazon-removes-530000-products-amid-coronavirus-price-gouging.html

The one listing I found on Ebay listed a 4-pack of the wipes for a now-reasonable $25. When I clicked on “But It Now” I got the message “This seller’s store is closed for vacation. Check back later.” The seller had 0 reviews, so it seems he was not legitimate when he posted his listing.

I’ve always kept a container of the wipes in each bathroom, the kitchen, both cars and the basement laundry room. When we moved here in 2013, I bought a box disposable rubber gloves (it just seemed like a sensible precaution) and a box of 3M tekk 8511 particulate respirators (the same as the M95 in demand now), which I use for all the allergens that kick up when I work on our property’s vegetation, especially in the gardens and raking leaves in autumn. I also use them for the dust that kicks up while cleaning around the house (I have non-severe allergies to a good many environmental allergens, like danders and pet hair and pollens, especially ragweed). I went through several when I stripped our deck. I also use them when I spray our side deck and front stoop surfaces with tick (and other bug)-killing permethrin. I spray old t-shirts with permethrin and place them in places our cats like to nap. No pest or their eggs stand a chance once the cats lay on the treated materials. I made the mistake earlier this winter of spraying t-shirts with permethrin in an upstairs bedroom with the door closed because it was too cold to do it outside. Even with the door shut and the bottom sealed off, the whole house smelled of the permethrin. That is not a subtle or pleasant smell and I definitely learned my lesson. Like with Clorox and the wipes, I’m trusting 3M and anyone else that can make the masks to be cranking them out nonstop. We also have several full bottles of Clorox disinfectant spray cleaner, several Lysol and Clorox toilet bowl cleaners (which can obviously be used for other things) and two full bottles of Clorox bleach, which we can dilute with water — 1/3 cup bleach to a gallon of water — to make our own disinfectant. We had all those things before our current situation evolved. (The helpful information below my signoff says to use 1 part bleach to 5 parts water.)

– I came across this story about a woman who was arrested in PA for spitting and coughing on all the produce.  https://www.mcall.com/coronavirus/mc-nws-coronavirus-pa-supermarket-coughing-20200326-mrtweymmdzh37jrhdzodopjgcy-story.html
The store had to throw all the produce out and disinfect those areas of the store.  They also went back to other places the woman had been and did the same.  She has a history of being problematic in that community, yet she still persists. At this point, when someone is that blatant and malicious and guilty, we need to think about immediate, quick and clean executions.  There are too many protections for bad people in this country and they play on them.  Even outside the malice and damage is the tax burden of every step starting with the pursuit of them. The same for this guy in New Jersey who coughed on a grocery store employee then harassed other employees at the store.https://www.fox5ny.com/news/man-faces-terror-charges-after-coughing-on-grocery-store-worker

– What are all the people whose wealth is constantly thrown in our faces doing to step up and come up with ways to help?  What is Jeff Bezos doing with all his absurd wealth to help beyond running a company that increases his wealth?  What is Warren Buffett doing other than assessing the virus from a financial standpoint and counting his money? The time to spend it in the best way possible is NOW. Amazon should be going out of its way to test and promote — with sufficient documented justification for their decisions — the best products related to the problem, like which UV lights really are the best performing and most effective and reliable at a reasonable price.  Amazon has became confusing and cumbersome for the out-of-control number of products of any type flooding the site and the fake reviews in either direction. Get the worst vendors and products the hell off the site. There are good stories and deeds, though. Elon Musk has stepped up by making ventilators and is looking into the future enough think there may be no shortage of them soon, which may not be correct but it shows he’s trying. Foresight could not be more valuable than it is right now. He’s probably trying to contact the Starship Enterprise, Babylon 5 or Jedi knights for intergalactic advice. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-volunteers-tesla-ventilators-124020921.html

-Larry David is patting himself on the back for starting a fundraiser with a goal of $150,00 to help the caddies at his country club.  First of all, that’s elitist as hell.  More to the point, he probably makes more than $150,000 in one day from the rights all around the world to broadcast and syndicate “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, and that’s not even talking about DVD. You’re a real hero, Larry.  https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/video/2020/03/28/larry-david-starts-gofundme-for-out-of-work-caddies

-The story in the link below is what I mean by high-profile people stepping up to use their position to help with what’s going on. Former NY Knick (2004-2009) Stephon Marbury is stepping up in a big way, using his position as a sports star in China to negotiate a shipment of 10 million masks to his hometown of New York City (he is from Brooklyn). Marbury left the Knicks in 2009 to play a short season with the Boston Celtics. He then played on four teams in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) from 2010-2018, winning three league championships and, starting in 2019, is now the coach of the league’s Royal Chinese Dragons. That he’s using his status in China to help those here is beyond outstanding. YOU are a real hero, Stephon. https://www.si.com/nba/2020/03/29/stephon-marbury-china-n95-masks-coronavirus-new-york-city-relief

The stories of all types keep coming so I’ll end this writing on Marbury’s positive note.

DPW March 29, 2020

Added April 20, 2020

Every day more companies and individuals are stepping up to help. Apple is using its manufacturing operations to make face shields for health care workers. Insurance companies are refunding billions in premiums to their customers. Just this morning Shake Shack announced it will donate $10 million to help small businesses. Teachers, instructors and trainers are conducting sessions online. Lady Gaga co-curated the benefit concert “One World: Together at Home” held this past weekend (both inspiring and moving) which received $50 million in donations for the World Health Organization, healthcare workers and local charities. A woman who left nursing to pursue a singing career went back to nursing to contribute to her community. Individuals — including young kids — are making masks and spray disinfectants for health care workers. Those are just a few of the many inspiring stories of individuals and companies coming up with ways to help move us toward some semblance of normalcy.

About Dan Walker

As part of an Air Force family, I went to elementary school in Great Falls, MT, junior high in Cheyenne, WY and high school and college in the San Francisco Bay Area, graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in business. I was fortunate to have worked for great companies in Silicon Valley (Oracle Corp) and Hollywood (Miramax Films). I also lived and worked (primarily in financial services, which has no great companies) for eight years in Manhattan, New York City. I now reside in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley.

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