Coronavirus Update

Events surrounding the Coronavirus are moving so fast that it’s sometimes futile to put ideas into writing. For example, I predicted over a week ago that High Point was likely to be canceled, and yesterday, it was. The absurdity was that they waited so long when it was so obvious that was the only possible outcome. Oh well…

Now comes the postponement or cancellation of everything else I described as the “canaries in the coal mine,” including March Madness, the Masters, NBA games and, yes, even Trump rallies! Schools, too, of course. There actually are no further coal mines that need to sacrifice canaries as every scheduled gathering has been or will be cancelled.

The next step is the so-called “social distancing.” The idea is that if you’re 6 feet or so away from someone, they’d have to sneeze really hard for you to come into contact with their evil Coronavirus spirits. Which raises some questions, doesn’t it? For example:

  • Are you going to stop inviting clients to lunch or coffee?
  • Will they decline even if you do?
  • Will they want you, or your contractors, visiting their homes?
  • Will you shake hands with clients or partners?
  • Will you ask employees to move their desks further apart from one another?
  • Will you send kids to school…even if and when the schools open again?
  • When will you next fly on a commercial plane?
  • When will you next attend a live event like a movie, theater, sporting event or seminar?
  • Are you ready to go to your favorite restaurant tonight like nothing has happened?

In other words, just how paranoid will various people get, regardless of the reality?

[I have to give a quick shout-out to a distant cousin who lives in relative obscurity in Northern Michigan. He recently posted on his Facebook page: “Proudly social distancing since 1969.”]

Want to v. Have To

The way I phrased my questions above implies that you have absolutely control over your own actions…and you may. But lots of people don’t. Lots of people who may not want to put themselves into certain circumstances (Uber drivers, grocery delivery people, waiters, nurses, etc.) may not have a choice if they want to pay the bills. Consider yourself fortunate if you don’t find yourself in that place.

But still… If the architect you’ve been dying to work with calls and wants you to meet with his 5-person team at his office next week…you’re going, aren’t you? And you probably should. I mean, the risk of becoming seriously ill with Coronavirus at T-I-N-Y! But we have a way of personalizing risk that makes tiny seem entirely plausible. We wouldn’t think twice about putting a dollar in a slot machine with a 1000 to one chance of losing. But tell us we have those very same odds for getting sick, and our human nature is to say, “Sure, but what if it’s me?”

Good News v. Bad News

As I write this (March 13, 2020) Apple announced that it is reopening all 48 of its stores in China. Likewise, one of China’s largest luxury malls reports that foot traffic is back to 80% of normal, and consumers are even spending more than usual, something one writer termed, “revenge spending!” They also report new Coronavirus cases in China in the single digits per day, versus 1,000s at the height less than 90 days ago.

We all know that the US did not prepare like it should have, and may still not be preparing as it should. But we’re getting there…and the weather will turn warm…and I truly hope Coronavirus doesn’t impact you or your family from a health perspective. As for your business, I am growing confident that it won’t affect you if you’ll just put your head down and get through it. Business delayed, is not business denied.

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