We have a bunch of people afraid to go anywhere or touch anything, we have a bunch of people that think that their freedom is being taken away if they can’t go anywhere and touch stuff, presumably in a non-creepy way.
Then we also have a bunch of business owners that may fit in one of those groups that just want their business to survive so they can keep on doing things like pay their employees, pay their mortgage and pay to eat.
What is a World to Do?
From what I can tell, a lot of people are interested in making this a conservative and liberal thing. I dare say that is not exactly the case. This is not as clear as many people would like to make it. Most of us would probably prefer that we were all healthy and happy. But we’re not all healthy and it is rare that some of us are ever happy.
What About the Money?
I’d like to share a few data points that are pretty interesting.
First, the 2+ trillion dollar stimulus package was a welcome drip of help.
To give you an idea of what that is for comparison sake, if a dollar was equal to a second, 2 trillion dollars would take about 63,419 years to run through.
The US brings in about 3.5 trillion dollars per year in federal income taxes.
The US GDP is around 15 trillion dollars.
The US debt is rolling around 23 trillion dollars and went up around 2.5 trillion dollars from 2017 to 2019.
Sell the News
The facade of all of this mayhem, money and madness is a virus that we cannot see, and are having a rough time testing for and containing. It is also tough to measure accurately both due to the fact that we can’t test everyone and many cases are tough to judge on whether the virus was the cause of death or just an amplifier for an underlying issue.
Did that 350 pound 86 year old woman die of Covid-19? With french fries at her side.
What are We to Believe?
That we shouldn’t go anywhere or touch anything forever?
That we shouldn’t go anywhere or touch anything until we can figure out testing?
That we shouldn’t go anywhere or touch anything until we can find a cure?
That we shouldn’t go anywhere or touch anything because a lot of people really like sitting around, watching TV and getting paid to do it?
That last one is also causing some issues.
On the one side, we have people desperately trying to keep the lights on in their business and/or their home. They may have been forced to close their doors from all of this fear and panic. With little to no warning, they were forced to make a sacrifice, for the greater good.
On another side, we have people that received a surprise paid vacation. Just don’t go anywhere and we will keep paying you to sit still, for the greater good. Also watch the news and swirl into a frenzy on social media if you get bored, just to keep others entertained, for the greater good.
Therein lies the issue that is developing.
For the Greater Good
If we are staying at home and not touching anything for the greater good, we are basically telling those that had a loss of any other kind that their sacrifice was for the greater good.
But what does the greater good look like?
No one dies?
That isn’t realistic, is it?
Only the weak survive? Let’s not go down that road.
One major thing that sticks out is that I see a bunch of people talking about drinking and alcohol and how they will head straight to the bars once their freedom has been returned. Only to result in a few drunk driving arrests and presumably a few drunk driving deaths.
About 10,000 of those happen each year in the US.
For the greater good, do you suppose?
Why Don’t You Just…?
Whether this reaction to the news has a foundation or not has yet to be seen. In a few years we will probably look back at this and consider why we didn’t just do X. That X is the big thing we have yet to discover.
Why didn’t everyone just stop reading the news and move on with their lives?
Why didn’t everyone lock themselves in their individual closet and wait for a month or three?
Why didn’t everyone just take care of their health so that a virus like this has fewer potential hosts to make ill?
Woah! That last one won’t get asked. We’re not exactly a healthy society, are we?
We want a quick fix that has guaranteed results. That won’t happen for a while. Which means that many of us will stick with the devil we know (stay at home) instead of testing out the devil we don’t (landing somewhere between heading outside for a walk and going back to what normal was, presumably just washing our hands more).
A lot of us fear that we will become ill and die if we venture outside, or to a store, or near a stranger.
I’d love to tell you that you won’t, but I cannot. No one can.
You see, before all of this fear was rolling around keeping people grounded inside, you could have gotten hit by a car, died from cancer or been struck by lightning.
The common occurrence of uncommon things is tough to imagine, but that doesn’t stop it from happening. That is also no reason to overreact in a panic to the possibility of any unlikely event.
What Do the Numbers Say?
As of 4/21/2020, there are 810,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US. The Google machine shows 73,923 recovered and 44,234 dead from these numbers. The others must just be hanging out and waiting for their hospital to check their insurance coverage.
To put those numbers in perspective, that means that 0.002% of the US population has been confirmed infected and 0.0001% have died from this virus.
Oddly enough, that is about the same likelihood that you will be dealt a royal flush in poker.
To give that a bit of more realistic perspective, your likelihood of getting struck by lighting at some time in your life is 0.0003%.
Compare that with depression, that affects an estimated 18.1% of the US population each year.
What do you suppose will happen with that depression number as people are stuck in their homes with only whatever they have to work with. Whatever they have to work with includes their spouse, kids, pets, etc. Add in the business owners from the estimated 25% of businesses that will close after all of this. Toss in all of the school kids missing out on 30% or so of their school year.
The more numbers and statistics you look at, the stranger all of this seems.
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
I say all of this to say this, no one knows the answers for the correct way to handle this. The people that feel we all need to stay inside and not be near anyone have a reason for doing so. The people that feel their freedom is being taken away are correct in believing so as well.
From these points, maybe we could compromise. We all go about our business as we feel compelled and safe to do so. If the people wanting to stay indoors and away from people are taking the best course of action, the population that is out and about as was the case a couple months ago will weed themselves out and the indoor people cowering in fear will be the survivors and able to quickly explain, via webchat, “We told you so!”
If those that go out and about do so and feel no ill effects, well the people that stayed inside can still brag about all of the movies they watched.
Regardless, I hope that you are healthy, your business is doing well, and that through all of this you have been given an awareness of all that we have to be thankful for. If ever you need someone to chat with about this or anything else, I am always available.
James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t evaluating the numbers, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com and has a business podcast, Authentic Business Adventures. If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221. If you need some guidance, give James a call and he’ll do his best to help you get through this challenging time. Remotely…for now.