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Survival in the Age of COVID-19

August 20, 2020

An article "What's your survival plan if there's no vaccine?" at lays out a bleak but ultimately helpful program for dealing with this pandemic. Using the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic as a model, experts suggest COVID-19 will last between 18 and 24 months. In other words, this is not even half over. There may be a vaccine commercially available by mid-2021, or not. As economies open up, the virus spreads even in countries that have taken precautions. We will have to reset our expectations and change our behaviors (in other words, don't party like it's 2019!). 

According to research in Fortune, about 7 in 10 American workers say the pandemic will change the nature of their work. Over half are concerned with losing their job, physical or mental health, or long-term finances. Government payments eventually will have to stop as revenues decrease and debt increases. Reviving the economy involves a balancing of risks.

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy has three probable scenarios for the next two years:

  1. A series of peaks and valleys.
  2. A major peak this fall requiring new lockdowns - the worst case.
  3. A "slow burn" continuing indefinitely.

Governments should plan for the worst, warn people it will not end soon and plan for periodic recurrences. (Not mentioned - stop politicizing the pandemic.)

Lockdowns would decrease the need to control the virus, but have become ineffective because of fatigue, economic hardship, rebellion and misinformation.

Repeat: the best advice is plan for the worst. The article lays out strategies for individuals, businesses and organizations, and governments. Some common themes:

  • Create and manage a plan.
  • Plan for reduced income.
  • Restructure and reorganize.
  • Develop new skills.
  • Reimagine the next normal.
  • Plan for a marathon, not a sprint.

I recommend you read the entire article.