Our customers (landscapers, turf installers, supply stores) are some of the most impacted by the economic repercussions of the national response to COVID-19. As businesses shutter due to city-and-state-wide mandatory lock downs, homeowners and business owners must financially protect themselves in any way possible. As American manufacturers and leaders in the industry, we feel responsible for creating or uncovering solutions that lessen the impact on our customers while responsibly reacting to the health implications of the coronavirus. Our proposed method of responding to COVID-19, Managing the Coronavirus Curve, would allow the nation to avoid the mass shutdown of businesses, loss of revenue for homeowners, and overall economic decline while creating a blueprint to manage crisis’s of this proportion in the future.
Managing the Coronavirus Curve
As a small to medium size business owner dealing with this turbulent economy brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, I find myself with a front row seat to the destruction of the American economy. This initial reaction of a total population lock down is against the American DNA. We don’t run and hide! So why are we running from the virus? Why are we giving terrorists a future playbook? Why are we destroying people’s lives in the name of public safety? Perhaps, because we are overly focused on flattening the virus curve instead of fixing a flat line hospital capacity. Let me be clear – the total shutdown does not claim to reduce the number of virus victims. Instead, it just attempts to move them out over a longer time to match medical capacity.
Figure (1) shows the traditional flattening of the curve to match medical capacity.
Figure (2) shows a new, American way that does not destroy the economy.
1. We Create Mobile Hospital Capacity:
The Federal government uses the Defense Protection Act (DPA) and all other means to rapidly create Mobile Hospital Capacity – more beds, ventilators, masks, etc. that can move from hot spot to hot spot to increase hospital capacity as needed. The National guard stays ahead of the mobile capacity by creating mobile venues like they are doing at the Javits Center in New York. Only $100 Billion of the $6 Trillion “rescue” capacity is currently scheduled to go to hospitals. This will need to be significantly increased to create Mobile Capacity. This way hospital capacity is not a standard flat line, but rather a line that varies with need and can manage a modified peak (like that in figure 2).
2. We Modify, not Flatten the Peak:
The peak can be modified by isolating the vulnerable portion of the population and providing services focused on flattening the vulnerable peak only. The 80% of the population that can weather the virus without hospital care can continue to keep the economy running while practicing good hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing as much as possible. While this does not flatten the peak, it will modify the peak in a way that will allow the economy to continue to function. Most of this 80% will attain immunity to the virus and can then safely take care of the economy and the rest of the population.
3. We Create a Mobile Hospital Strategic Reserve:
All the investment in Mobile Hospital Capacity will eventually end up resulting in an American Mobile Strategic Reserve for use in future virus and emergency situations. America cannot afford to shut down the economy once, let alone multiple times. The current strategy of run and hide does not protect us against future viruses. A Mobile Hospital Strategic Reserve lets the world know that America is ready for these events in the future without having to undergo great economic and human cost. Managing the curve differently creates a blueprint for a viable exit strategy with this virus and a protection against future pandemics. The current course is what our enemies would expect us to do and we need to show them that we are smarter than that.
Rom Reddy is a Managing Partner and CEO of Sprinturf (www.sprinturf.com), a national artificial turf company headquartered in Charleston, S.C.. Rom is a graduate of the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.