Remember when we were all convinced there was going to be a second wave of COVID-19? Remember when we were all committed to “flattening the curve”? Do you recall the concept of “the hammer and the dance” that was used to describe the back-and-forth policy to manage the spread of the virus?
I recall those conversations. Now, here we are, stuck in the same first phase, with numbers ballooning once again. The virus continues to grow, surpassing where we were at the “height” of the initial wave -- and all because we can’t commit to the idea of sheltering in place and protecting our fellow human beings by wearing a mask.
We love our freedoms in the U.S. We have the freedom to say what we want. We have the freedom to be who we want to be. It’s in our DNA to be independent thinkers, and yet we seem to routinely fail on the “thinking” part.
Rather than follow the same trend as those seen in other countries who successfully clamped down on the virus, we’re setting new records in over half the states.
All this is happening while we sacrificed the economy for what appears to be little reason whatsoever. The U.S. ad market dropped 31% in May alone. The unemployment rate is somewhere around 13%-14%. The industries many of you work in are being decimated by the inability to produce new content. The ad agency business is projected to shed some 50,000 jobs in total, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for growth.
What are we going to do?
Things are starting to look up. Sports are on the horizon, if they can place a protective bubble around the players and successfully sequester them for the remainder of their seasons. The stock market seems to have weathered the proverbial storm and is focused on the future. The protests of the last month have started to shine a light on some endemic societal problems, and maybe (just maybe) that light will allow us to address those problems.
Times of intense challenge tend to lead toward intense innovation. Virtual events are now a day-to-day fact and people actually do attend them. Online learning has (for the most part) proven to be a viable component of education. Innovations in real estate are leading to virtual open houses and remote signings. Online streaming platforms have become the centerpieces of the entertainment industry, even bringing theatrical shows like “Hamilton” to the home (airing this coming week).
Once again, the internet, digital media and the burgeoning AR and VR worlds are where we see massive upticks in engagement and innovation as they spread through new industries to replace the ways we used to do what we do.
Of course, none of this will work if you don’t wear a mask in public. I know it sucks -- I don’t like wearing one either. That being said, I would much rather wear a mask than spread a virus unknowingly to someone who had a compromised immune system.
Wearing a mask is not for your benefit -- it is for the benefit of others. It might stop me from catching something after going to the grocery store, but I can still catch the virus by not washing my hands and then touching my face.
Wearing a mask is not perfect, but it could allow the world to start to trend back to normal. Wearing a mask could lead to full reopening. Wearing a mark could allow people to get back to work. Wearing a mask could lower the unemployment rate. Wearing a mask could result in some of those agency people getting new jobs, working on campaigns for some of these new businesses and being successful.
Wearing a mask is a simple and easy thing to do that could help us get back to normal, so consider this a PSA column, and please… wear a mask.
Not wearing a mask is not a protest for your freedom. It is a proclamation of your ignorance.