Flattening the Curve: Reducing exposure to COVID 19

It's time for a reassessment of priorities:

What epidemiologists fear most is the health care system becoming overwhelmed by a sudden explosion of illness that requires more people to be hospitalized than it can handle. In that scenario, more people will die because there won’t be enough hospital beds or ventilators to keep them alive.

A disastrous inundation of hospitals can likely be averted with protective measures we’re now seeing more of — closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, avoiding crowds — to keep the virus from spreading fast.

Bolding mine, because those in positions of leadership and management need to understand and embrace their responsibility during this crisis. If you're hosting a conference, a trade show, or any other function that would attract a large number of people from other states (or countries), the time to cancel or postpone the event is now. If you have employees scheduled to attend a conference, cancel those plans. Don't put them on the spot and say it's their decision, just do it. Because something like this could happen before you know it:

They greeted each other enthusiastically, with handshakes and hugs, and then caught up over breakfast, picking from plates of pastries and the self-serve hot food bar. They were there for two days of discussions and presentations about the future of the Cambridge-based, multinational biotech firm, which develops therapies for neurological diseases. It was the kind of under-the-radar gathering that happens in this region just about every week.

Within days, though, the Biogen conference would be infamous, identified as an epicenter of the Massachusetts outbreak of Covid-19, with 70 of 92 coronavirus infections in the state linked to the conference as of Tuesday night, including employees and those who came into contact with them. That doesn’t include a cascade of individual cases in Tennessee, North Carolina, Indiana, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Norway, and suspected cases in Germany, Austria, and Argentina.

The virus raced through this two-day conference at a frightening speed that state health officials and company executives were unable to match. As one of the biggest and best-known biotech firms in Massachusetts and public health authorities in one of the nation’s premier medical communities struggled to connect the dots, dozens of Biogen employees were developing symptoms of the dangerous disease — even as they traveled around Boston, the country, and the world.

These folks probably thought they would be the last demographic to suffer from a Chinese-bred virus, but at least 1/3 of the 175 attendees were infected. And now five of them are back home in the Triangle.

Tags: