The way I see it, there are three distinct phases of the Covid-19 pandemic. Each will last as long as it takes for the entire process to be completed.
The first phase was the pre-COVID-19, which started when the numbers of positive cases and deaths involved skyrocketed in certain parts of the world.
The second phase was during COVID-19, which began when the initial shock subsided, and living with it became the new norm. COVID-19 reports saturated the media continuously.
The third phase will be after COVID-19, which will start with the planning for resuming activities that were previously prohibited during the phase. Some states have begun this process already.
The first phase hit by most accounts in March with a vengeance. People were going along in normalcy and then in a moment, life as they knew it changes. For most people, this was a stunning and shocking experience. Many people had come to take life for granted and were not ready for the abrupt changes that were coming at them.
People processed their shock in ways that were most comfortable for themselves. For some people that meant making a pivot and finding new ways to accept their lives and circumstances, while for others it meant digging in their heels and resisting it.
People who were able to pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were able to see the opportunities that were in front of them. The choices and options that opened up for them personally and professionally were only limited by their own mindset. What people did next showed their value systems in action.
The people who resisted the COVID-19 new norm, in many cases, were paralyzed with fear and the lack of control. They were unable to move with the reality of the circumstances that the stay home orders created.
In the abrupt introduction of COVID-19, people responded by either pivoting or paralyzing.
In the during phase of COVID-19, people found their lives turned upside down in many ways. Some of the changes that hit them included, working from home, being laid off, educating their children, cooking all of the meals every day all day, and losing their sense of control.
The rate of change was massive and only intensified by the pace of it, everything changed overnight. In a blink, life becomes something no one had prepared for before it hit. People who had strenuous habits for resisting change had met their match.
During this phase people were faced with a decision, will I change or will I remain the same? On an individual basis, those who were open and willing to change embraced this newfound time and invested in themselves. They read books, attended virtual learnings, and took on new in-home bobbies. They leveraged the time and put it to good use.
People also found ways to benefit from this during phase, with its slower pace, by investing in their businesses. Leaders moved quickly to change their business model, some went from making cars to making ventilators, some went from making pillows to making masks, and some went from making alcohol to making hand sanitizer. These quick decisions to repurpose their businesses kept them in the game at a time when too many were knocked out.
The third phase will come after the COVID-19 curve has flattened, it will require a tremendous amount of planning by subject matter experts from many disciplines. The elected officials must create the most skilled and experienced teams of experts to advise them on the right steps to take to reopen that which was previously closed. The scientists’ input is essential and must be followed to ensure a comprehensive plan can be successful.
It is imperative that the after phase includes stringent monitoring of the plan by those who are in these positions to assess its effectiveness. Daily and weekly checks are critical to ensuring the plan is working and taking us in the right direction.
One of the most important parts of monitoring the plan is adjusting it as needed. To keep the plan for the sake of following it, when it might not be working, may bring horrendous outcomes. The role of making the decision for starting and stopping activities must be explicit from the onset of implementing the plan.
Coming out of the COVID-19 is not a one and done act, it is about coming out of it and staying out of it. This will require people to lose habits that no longer serve them and take up new ones that will keep them safe and healthy. Resistance to the coronavirus is futile.
Following the pace of each of the phases and what is required in each of them, will allow for more lives to be saved. In the end, this is first and foremost a public health challenge that must be met with compassion, not a numbers game where certain lives are considered non-essential.
These three phases are an essential part of the COVID-19 experience and if at any point the process is inhibited, the results might be more catastrophic than they already have been.
Finding ways to make the best of each phase, for you personally, will make all the difference in how you come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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