Coronavirus: Flatten the Curve Now! + Life Hack Kit

As a family member, a community participant, a business leader, or a politician, YOU must ACT NOW!

This is not your average Coronavirus article.  It is not going to help you feel better about doing the things you want to do.  It will talk about the responsibility that YOU have and how you need to ACT NOW to contribute to your family and your community.

No doubt that there is a ton of information out there about the Coronavirus, and it is most likely very difficult to wrap your head around it and make sense of it.  You are probably asking yourself questions like “What should I do?” or “What can I do?” or “Is this blown out of proportion?”  These questions are totally normal and this article will attempt to answer these questions.  This article will focus on data and a call to action in order to help you get the information you need to make your decision.  The hope is that when you are done reading this article you will have a better understanding of your part and the urgency needed by all of us.

Coronavirus will Reach You…in Days

The fact is that this virus is spreading too fast and will ultimately reach your community in days or weeks…not months.  When it does, your community will need to respond.  Healthcare systems will be bogged down.  Grocery stores will be flooded.  Pharmacies will be overrun.  People you know will be infected.  People will be treated in tents or hallways.  Healthcare workers will become infected and will have to be quarantined.

Doctors Zunyou Wu, MD, PhD and Jennifer M. McGoogan, PhD reviewed over 72,000 cases of Coronavirus from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and published their results.  In the graph below, you  can see that the number of confirmed cases of the virus began to grow in early January and then exponentially grew into mid-late January.  What you will also find in this graph is that when the government, the communities, and the people started acting by shutting down cities in late January the number of cases began to sharply drop.  To clarify here – there are still people and cases that need to be treated – but the takeaway here is that the growth and spread of the virus was contained by shutting down cities.

Source:  “Epidemic Curve of the Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” from Jama Network


If you look back at history, the SARS outbreak in 2003 also has a common pattern.  Another concerned citizen, Tomas Pueyo, found a very interesting data insight from mining the data at the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Data Repository by Johns Hopkins CSSE, a daily updated data repository provided by the Johns Hopkins University and supported by the ESRI Living Atlas Team.  In the graph below, Tomas shows that of the countries most impacted by SARS in 2003 (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan) show a pattern that largely suggests that the Coronavirus is being contained within these regions.  Why?  Because they know that shutting down cities, taking immediate actions to stop the spread of the virus is the only way to combat it.  These regions have lived through it and are using these learnings to combat this pandemic.

Source:  Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo

Last thing here…there is a big difference between cases that are known, reported, and official vs people having the virus.  This is really, really critical to your decision and your action.  The point is that since this is all new and we are all trying to figure it out the actual number of people that might have the virus may be more than you know about.  You may have it…your family member…your neighbor…your co-worker….your mail carrier…and they may not know they have it or worse yet may have symptoms but not the knowledge to capability to get tested.  This is how the virus spreads.  This is where YOU can ACT.

The Economy is ALREADY Broken 

You need to come to terms with the fact that the economy is already broken.  As we all watch the markets, our financial portfolios, and the economy tank – just realize that it will get worse and ultimately will get better.  As more people take ACTION, it will impact jobs and commerce.  Remember, people will be impacted and will get  sick and when they do they will not be able to perform their jobs.  Small businesses will need to take losses.  Corporations will need to pull their investments and re-invest in their business.  Sales and Marketing departments will miss their goals.  College savings plans will be significantly less in value for graduating seniors.  This is a reality and we need to treat it as such.  Again….this is where YOU  can ACT.

Flatten the Curve:  Social Distancing is REAL and Needs to be Practiced Immediately

Saturday March 14th is known as “pi day” and this year falls on the day that people like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  In Chicago, the bars were not empty – actually they were full….full of people in close proximity laughing, drinking, and having a good time.  This all while the City of Chicago completely cancelled the St Patrick’s Day parade, closed all of the public schools, and shut down all local community event spaces for the next 4-6 weeks.

This is where YOU can ACT by Flattening the Curve.  We need to treat this as an immediate pandemic…now.  We cannot wait until there are 5-10 or 50-100 more reported cases.  We need to learn from SARS and Drs. Wu and McGoodan by taking action – NOW.

YOU can ACT just like the Taiwanese officials did in late December 2019 when the World Health Organization released information about Wuhan, China (See Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan).

YOU can ACT just like the NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, NASCAR, PGA, and other major sports organizations did by cancelling or postponing their seasons.

YOU can ACT just like many communities are by closing schools, closing community spaces, and cancelling planned group organized events.

….but in order to fully combat the virus YOU need to still do more to Flatten the Curve.

In the NY Times simulation model “How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts” you can see a simulation of why we need to ACT NOW and you can see the exponential impact in waiting a day, a week, or even a month.  This video clip was obtained from the NY Times simulation and shows some drastic impacts if no action is taken and how we not only need to take action – but do it now and take it seriously.

Source:  How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts by Nicholas Kristof and Stuart A. Thompson

The recipe here is simple….

  1. Practice Social Distancing immediately. This means staying home and only interacting with others when absolutely needed.  This means keeping your distance (at least 6 feet).
  2. Focus on self-care and good hygiene – regular washing hands, frequent sanitizing, regular cleaning.
  3. Cancel kid playdates, parties, sleepovers, and family/friend visits.
  4. Reduce the frequency of going to stores.  Plan to go at non-peak times and try to buy only the essentials and in small quantities.
  5. Refrain from going to places where people gather, especially where food is handled by multiple people – this unfortunately includes workout places, restaurants, bars, and your favorite coffee shop.
  6. Determine the best course of action to support local businesses and communities.  Consider buying on-line gift cards or using local delivery services.
  7. Contact your local, state, and national leaders and encourage them to close schools, to close public places, to cancel public events AND…this is the important point…to pass legislation to provide aid to the community.  This aid is really, really important so we can support the community and help the workforce that will be out of work during this time.
  8. Most importantly – BE KIND and CONSIDERATE to everyone!  This is hard on everyone for various different reasons.

The Washington Post article “Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially and How to ‘Flatten the Curve‘” by Harry Stevens offers a great simulation tool that outlines how a virus spreads when not contained and the drastic impact of what happens when it is contained and people play their part in social distancing.  Below you will find four of these simulations.

Simulation #1 – 200 People in a Small Town with No Quarantine or Social Distancing

Source: Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially and How to ‘Flatten the Curve by Harry Stevens

Simulation #2 – 200 People in a Small Town with Forced Quarantine, but No Social Distancing

Source: Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially and How to ‘Flatten the Curve by Harry Stevens

Simulation #3 – 25% of US Population Allow to Move Around at Will, 75% Practice Social Distancing

Source: Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially and How to ‘Flatten the Curve by Harry Stevens

Simulation #4 – Less than 15% of US Population Allow to Move Around at Will, 85% Practice Social Distancing

Source: Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially and How to ‘Flatten the Curve by Harry Stevens

Life Hack Kit:  How to Perform Social Distancing 

The fact is that we are all social creatures.  Most of us like to be around other people – in some cases we have to for our career.  So the idea of social distancing can be overwhelming.  It can sound unrealistic.  So, here are some tips and tricks to get by during this time.  Feel free to use, reuse, reshape, and share.

Get a Schedule

Most of us have a routine and work well with some level of predictability in our lives.  So, make a Social Distancing schedule.  Get your family together and talk about how you are going to use your home during this time, like using a bedroom for an office from 9-5pm.  Make a schedule to get your family organized.  This is NOT a time to surf Instagram and binge watch Netflix.  Take care of yourself and help your family do the same.  Here is an example, from Quirky Momma, for those of you that have families with children.

Use Virtual Conferencing & Turn on the Video

For those of you that are fortunate to continue working remotely, use a virtual conferencing services to connect with co-workers, management, clients, and team members.  Services like Hangouts and Zoom Meetings are free and can really support the collaboration needed.  There are even HIPPA compliant services like VSee.

When using these services, turn on the video.  It is important that people see your face and can interact with you directly.

Exercise and Get Fresh Air

It is really important that you take care of yourself and your family.  One of the most important things is exercise.  Many gyms and workout places are offering virtual / recorded classes for you to do at home.  Take this time to walk or jog the neighborhood.  Take a bike/scooter ride.  If the weather is not great, do yoga, stretch, or use your home gym.  Consider walking to the store instead of driving.  Try to get out of the house at least twice a day.

Shop On-Line

Instead of running to the store and hoarding all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer, consider making on-line purchases to avoid social gatherings.  There are plenty of food delivery services, big box and virtual on-line marketplaces, but consider ordering a delivery service like Task Rabbit to deliver from local businesses.  Consider planning out the next few weeks and making a few spread out purchases for the essentials.

Donate & Give Back

Social distancing has an impact our our communities and there are many people that will be impacted more than others.  So, during this time find a way to donate and give back.  There are ways to donate money, but also consider donating services or resources that you might have to organizations that could use them.  Think about that massive sports tent in your garage – maybe a local shelter or clinic could use it for intake.  Another idea that would go a long way is ‘homeless bags’.  Take some time to go around your house and collect items that the less fortunate might need during this time and package them up in a zip lock.  Think about hotel soaps, extra toothbrushes, hand warmers, lotion, extra socks, etc.  Do what you can – but try to make a difference for those that are less fortunate.

Virtual Connect Regularly with Friends and Family

Your friends and family are your life support.  As you practice social distancing we will all long for that connection.  So, build it into your schedule.  Block out time to connect with your friends and family – just do it virtually.  There are many tools that make it easy and most are free.  Aside from services like Hangouts and Zoom Meetings, use your company’s service or even your built-in mobile service like Facetime.

Final Thoughts – Sign the Pledge and Try It…Now!

There is a lot of information here to review, consume, and act on.  It will be hard for some and easier for others – but we all need to try our best to do our part for ourselves, for our family and friends, and for our communities…and we need to start right now.  Practicing social distancing will make a difference and will make an impact.  The time is now…to do good, to save lives, and to take on our responsibility to make the greatest impact we can.

One more thing – show your community that you are a concerned citizen and believe in social distancing.  Sign the pledge here.


Chris Daniel is the owner of CPG Cloud Partners, a give back champion, and a husband/father to a wonderful family.