I hope everyone is the surviving the COVID 19 pandemic the best that they can. As a small business owner, the collateral damage on the economy has been difficult. All of us want to reopen the economy as soon as possible, but only with a sensible plan that won’t backfire on us with a second wave of infections and deaths, which would close down the economy a second time.
The only viable path is having access to appropriate amount of testing as advocated by the science community. Here is a true story that exemplifies why this is so important. An individual at a nursing home is tested positive after showing symptoms of the coronavirus. According to CDC guidelines, all employees and residents have to be isolated and quarantined for 14 days since they don’t know who else might be infected. The nursing home cannot take care of their residents if all the employees are quarantined.
Luckily, the facility found a clinic and lab that is able to quickly test every worker and eventually every resident. With results in 24 hours, they learn that only one of the young male workers is infected but that everyone else tested negative. He is asymptomatic and could have infected the whole nursing home. Now, he can be quarantined and the rest of the caretakers are allowed to keep the nursing home open with confidence.
This is why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has built a lab to test his frontline workers and eventually the whole company for COVID-19. Forward thinking executives know that opening up the economy isn’t just politicians lifting the “stay-at-home” orders. There needs to be a plan to do mass testing so that infected workers/people can be identified and then apply contact tracing.
Google and Apple are teaming up to unveil an API for contact tracing in May. Authorized health and government officials then can use mobile apps to monitor contact tracing as needed. While there are some obvious privacy concerns, these will be necessary steps to reopen the economy in a sensible manner.
This will be the new normal. Companies that are able to find ways to test their employees will survive this and ensuing pandemics better than those that are not able. Since not all companies can build their own testing labs like Amazon, there has to be new private clinics that eventually fill the void.
In the example given above, the innovative clinic that helped the nursing home is Anesis, which is now offering COVID-19 testing throughout the Seattle area. Here is the link to schedule an appointment to be tested. In full disclosure, Anesis’ CEO is my brother Paul Song and I’m very proud that he is helping to expand testing for individuals and companies so that our economy can open back up. In face, we need more such offerings as soon as possible.