My partner asked if I could write up a list of best practices for the weeks and months ahead. Rather than do this all myself, I’m going to borrow heavily from good lists that are already out there, chief among them, the Flatten the curve – COVID-19 site. Drawing from that site first, I recommend the obvious, by simply copying its table of contents (which I have lightly formatted for clarity):
There is hope. Do:
- Wash your hands
- Stay connected, but avoid crowds
- Lower your overall risk with everyday choices
- Get your flu shot (and if you’re 60+, pneumonia vaccine)
- Cancel all non-essential face-to-face medic[al] visits
- Cancel all non-essential travel anywhere
- Stock up on food and essentials – Early, gradually, and responsibly
- If you can work from home, do so as much [as possible]
- Get a flu buddy (aka ‘pandemic pal’) and make back-up plans for care of children, pets, and those in need of special assistance
- Pick your battles; reduce non-essential social interactions
- Keep your home clean and develop routines for coming back
- Look beyond yourself
- Prepare a hot zone in your home just in case someone falls ill
- Spread the word and lobby your reps for vital research
- Do not just wait to see how this plays out. Speed is the key
- Do not touch your face
- [Believe in] false… “remedies”
- Do not attend non-essential public gatherings
- Do not hoard masks
- Do not shake hands; get creative with zero-contact greetings
- Do not touch public surfaces with your fingers; get creative
- Do not go to work if you are in any way sick
- Do not go to the doctor without calling ahead
- Do not spread misinformation
- Do not be careless
- Do not be racist
- [Do] Be present, do not binge the news
I strongly recommend you go read the whole site as it offers thorough and clear-eyed recommendations, and would only add that: 1) at least in New York City, we should all be operating under the assumption that we have been exposed to the virus and could very likely already be contagious, even if we are not outwardly sick; and 2) if you are low risk (that is young, healthy, not immuno-compromised, not suffering any respiratory ailment, etc.), then you should absolutely not be visiting anyone (say your parents, grandparents, neighbors, etc) who is in any way high risk (older, immuno-compromised, chronically ill, suffering a respiratory ailment, etc.) without getting their explicit permission and taking extensive precautions, and maybe not even then.
I’ll further recommend that people read Brad Feld’s excellent posts, #LeadBoldly to #StoptheSpread of COVID-19 and Please Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day At Home, the former of which recommends, among other things, that leaders:
- Immediately change our organization’s policies to “work from home” for all employees where possible, including leaders.
- Do everything we can to support our frontline workforce, our first responders and our healthcare workers, as they show up for work and fight this on the frontlines.
- Ask our employees to stop hosting or attending voluntary/social public events of ANY size
- Free up time on our calendars to support our state and local communities as we move through this crisis
And that we all:
- Stop hosting or attending ALL voluntary/social public events of ANY size
- Stop patronizing bars, restaurants, and gyms. That said, please do what you can otherwise to support small businesses and their employees during this tough time — buy gift cards from local restaurants to use later this year, support small online retailers, etc. (More to follow on specific initiatives to support small businesses — please send us your suggestions).
- Provide support for frontline workers, first responders and healthcare workers, as they fight this on the frontlines
- Treat one another kindly in the stressful time
Additionally, this post from Greg Gottesman (to which Feld links – who knew VCs would be so ahead of the curve in their thinking on pandemics!) is nice, and I especially like his suggestion to “Buy local if you can” and “Purchase gift certificates from your favorite restaurants,” and would only caution that, to the extent that you “Donate/volunteer at local food and blood banks,” you fully follow the recommendations laid out at the Flatten the Curve site (which, I admit, may make it hard to volunteer in the first place).