Sick from the virus? Or, Sick OF the virus!
The spread of coronavirus has been a nightmare. This pandemic is something we never asked for, but in the course of human events, this kind of insidious health crisis occasionally ravages our planet. As science has progressed, we’ve learned to stave off many scourges, but nature comes back newly armed and resistant to our best efforts.
In the midst of the virus some truly unprecedented precautions have been issued, as well as some controversial social distancing enforcements.
Naturally, businesses are in a world of hurt because people are sitting idle and anxious. Beyond ever before, working from home is proving to be a sensible, productive, and sustainable way of the future, but it’s only feasible for certain types of businesses. Good luck working from home if you’re a restaurateur or a construction worker whose job site is off limits due to coronavirus precautions, or whose clients are sheltering in place, adverse to having visitors. The need for transportation has decreased dramatically, from ride sharing to city buses to air planes. As a result, the bottom has fallen out from the oil market and a gallon of gas has become as cheap as bottled water. The list is endless of all the industries disrupted and jobs lost or on-hold.
Today, the very ethos of America is infected by this virus. The pride of the nation has taken a hit. The blue collar fortitude that built this country into the envy of the world now sits with its hands tied behind its back just waiting for another decree from a Mayor or a Governor. Collecting government handouts and sitting at home is not part of the American DNA. The construction industry is chomping at the bit to get back on track.
Has Sheltering-in-Place Run Amuck?
With all due respect, most of our legislators are doing what they believe is in the best interest of their constituents, but their kindness is killing us… It’s also suffocating the U.S. economy!
In many areas of the U.S., state and local politicians have put into effect bizarre restrictions. In Michigan you can not buy paint at Home Depot, but you’re fine buying lottery tickets in the close quarters of a convenience store. Liquor sales continue as an “essential” enterprise. You can go paddling in your canoe, but if your dinghy has a motor, that’s a no-no?
In other states, beaches are closed. Even if there’s no one within 100 yards, you can still get slapped with a fine. Parks, where by-definition people can spread out and find safe solitude, are closed almost everywhere. So now, especially in cities, people have to dance around each other to avoid passing too closely on narrow sidewalks. It’s a mad, mad, world.
Technology’s Role in Keeping America, and Roofing Pros, Productive
In almost every conceivable way, technology is being used to make quarantined life easier. From ordering food and groceries for delivery or pick-up, to holding virtual meetings in Zoom, Join.me, etc.—people are fully leveraging mobile apps. Many are beginning to wonder why they’ve wasted so much of their life, personal safety, and earnings fighting traffic everyday. Business owners are looking at their vast, high-rent office space and seeing an immediate future of taking some that overhead and pushing it to their bottom line instead.
In fact, roofing professionals are way ahead of the game with technology. By having the ability to work from afar with an application like iRoofing, they are in a great position to keep business moving forward even during this pandemic. For almost everything but the actual roof installation, contractors can measure, estimate, simulate, and present a detailed, illustrated roof proposal to a client, and close deals with soft copy contracts, without ever needing to press the flesh with a property owner. In 2011, iRoofing was the first innovator to create such do-it-yourself technology. Now thousands of roofing contractors throughout the U.S., Canada, and even overseas are putting the mobile app to use every single day, especially during down times such as off season and now that social distancing is necessary.
“Contact Tracing” – How Smartphones Could Save Lives
A bluetooth app has been developed which can constantly keep track of your smartphone’s location. When someone is tested and confirmed to carry the virus, and if it’s someone whose phone had been close to your phone, you would be alerted to go get tested yourself. The solution is based on open source protocols developed at a handful of leading technical institutions. If rolled out, your participation would be voluntary, but who wouldn’t want to know if they had a brush with the lethal virus? Sometimes, “big brother” really IS looking out for you.
Some Say It’s Time to Reopen America
Some Governors have had enough, most notably, Brian Kemp of Georgia who plans to reopen many of the state’s businesses before the end of April, including places where close contact with others is inherent—health clubs, tattoo parlors, and hair salons. Such moves have become controversial, but many citizens are welcoming it, going as far as staging protests in favor of reopening businesses in their states. The protesters are primarily workers now furloughed, unemployed, or just plain bored having to stay at home feeling less productive. These people believe the forced business closures infringe on the Constitutional rights of American workers. The states that are now announcing the reopening of certain businesses are doing so with the faith that people will adhere to safe distancing guidelines and use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) like face masks. They trust that employers will maintain social distancing in the workspace and diligently sanitize frequently handled surfaces. The general spirit behind the haste to get back to work stems from Americans resisting what essentially amounts to a form of martial law.
“I’m about to go to Georgia myself so I can get a haircut and a tattoo.”
Former Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee
Certainly, there is an argument for getting back to business. Each day that goes by under conditions of self quarantine deepens the economic wound and makes it tougher to recover. The weakened state of our nation creates a national security concern. People who are alone and contained are beginning to suffer emotionally, as evidenced by calls into crisis centers. More and more applications for federal assistance for small businesses are draining the Treasury and laying a foundation for inflation as new money gets minted and printed. Banks can’t handle the inundation of loan requests and small businesses are not getting what they asked for and need.
Yes. The argument to get America back to work is strong and it must happen soon before the American Dream dies. Two months ago, proof of the 250 year old American experiment was proving its merit as never before in history. Now, not because it’s a faulty or dysfunctional system, but because of an unexpected, unrelated plague, we teeter on the brink of implosion. Yes. It’s time to get back to work.
What is “Herd Immunity?”
Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center cites two ways to bring a certain end to coronavirus: 1) A vaccine; 2) “Herd immunity.” But, a vaccine is still estimated to take over a year to come to market.
That’s far too long to save the U.S. free market economy as nearly everyone remains in self quarantined or out of work. But, if enough of the population, most of whom are at low risk of the virus’s lethal threat, were to actually contract COVID-19, recover from it, and thereby acquire natural antibodies to the virus, it would create innumerable “dead ends.”
In other words, it would become too difficult for the virus to find susceptible hosts and it would fizzle out rapidly. That is “herd immunity” but it cannot happen while people temporarily shelter in place.
Wait. Some Say Don’t Reopen Until It’s Safe
Why not hold off just a little longer? Social distancing is working. We don’t want to invite a resurgence of the virus by loosening up restrictions quite yet. After all, if we beat down this pandemic first, we can all go back to life as usual with no threat of reviving the beast. Plus, it will give us time to test everyone and maybe we’ll even have an antidote for the virus soon. In addition, look at what we’re learning from this pandemic. Remaining safe and sequestered is forcing us to work more efficiently and maximize technology tools. Meanwhile, our highways will be less congested, our time will be spent more meaningfully at work and at home, we’ll break our addiction to fossil fuels, air and water quality will improve and we’ll see more wildlife in our parks.
As roofing pros, we have tools at hand to present from afar, keep our trucks off the road, and do complete roof reports safely and very cost-effectively.
So, shouldn’t we all just chill out. Let’s stay holed up just a little longer, no?