Viewpoints from Claire Letourneau
Let me tell you what keeps me up at night. I’m a risk-averse person by nature, so when the officials said to stay home, I surely did. I only went out for food and to walk my four-legged fur baby. When I did venture into public, I was thrilled to see the measures Trader Joe’s had taken to keep everyone safe! They were only letting 10 people in at a time and we had the full length of a disinfected shopping cart between us as we waited in line outside! It was the most pleasant, but mildly terrifying, shopping experience I’ve had yet. The fact that the country has begun to reopen, yet Trader Joe’s has kept social distancing and disinfecting measures in place has earned them a special spot in my heart. For the good of our communities, we need to see more of this.
Amid the lowering unemployment and soaring stock market, and as the world emerges from their caves, people are relaxing their efforts to keep the community safe – but nothing has changed about the nature of coronavirus.
We know more about how it spreads and how to protect ourselves (we think), but COVID-19 still spreads easily and can be deadly, especially when the healthcare system can’t handle all critical cases because they’re inundated. We’ve seen the impact of reopening already. Now we have 3,290,000 confirmed cases and over 132,000 people have died – that’s over double the capacity of most NFL stadiums! The Washington Post reported today that “although testing has remained flat, 20 states and Puerto Rico reported a record-high average of new infections over the past week. Five states – Arizona, California, Florida, Mississippi and Texas – also broke records for average daily fatalities in that period.” And a study from Columbia University found the initial delays in lockdowns cost the U.S. about 36,000 lives.
While I usually live in New York City, I’ve been in Florida since the initial stay-at-home orders were issued. Here, where reopening is in full swing, I went into a UPS store (to ship masks home to my parents in Illinois) and fewer than 30% of people inside had masks on. I was quite surprised and happy to get back outside. And what do you know, just yesterday, Florida broke the single-day record with 15,300 new coronavirus cases.
With these sobering statistics in mind, are we doing what we need to stay safe and keep the community well?
I suppose only time will tell, but I will remain socially distant for some time to come – for my health and for the health of the broader community. Every little bit helps. While I don’t have the answers, I care very much about the health of my loved ones, of my communities, and of strangers across the country. I hope that this summer we can find a better balance between being open for business and the human connection we so desperately need and being safe, masked, and socially distant for the good of everyone around us.
In the meantime, communicate and engage with your employees about COVID-19 and prepare for safe return-to-work procedures to do your part in community wellness. Your EPIC team has numerous resources at their fingertips to help with this planning.
The EPIC Wellness & Health Management practice will continue to share ways to support the social, physical and community wellbeing of your workforce in the new normal in their Coronavirus & Workplace Wellbeing series
Check out additional employer resources for employee benefits and risk management on our dedicated coronavirus webpage
Join the conversation – participate in, and see results from, our In It Together pulse surveys on our COVID-19 strategic collaboration and idea-sharing forum. Visit epicbrokers.com/insights/preparing-for-the-new-normal
Senior Account Executive, Wellness – New York, NY