An Awfully Productive Period

By Lloyd Graff

I am finally taking the time to stretch my neck and shoulders, and particularly my rotator cuff, during my quarantine at home (too many curve balls thrown over the years). I had never taken the time to do it until now.

I believe we will look back in a few years and say what an awful yet productive period we are living through right now. I decided to list things I think we will look back on with fondness about this frightful corona time, and ask you to add to the list.

1. Manufacturing is coming back to the US from China. We are hearing from many of our clients that they are getting scads of prints to look at because China has shown itself to be a self-serving and now unreliable source. Cheaper, yes, but when companies figure in all of the negatives of outsourcing to China, more and more firms want to reduce their reliance.

2. Reliable workers are becoming more available for hire with the unemployment shake-up we are going through. Young people will see the need for ventilators as a symbol of the importance of manufacturing in America, and a shift will take place away from office work.

Assembling a ventilator at Ventec Life Systems

3. A tremendous shift in medicine, education, therapy, religious services, office space usage, and a myriad of other things is taking place overnight. Some of these shifts will revert back, but the rapid change in the way people connect via interactive computer software is the beginning of a huge and permanent shift which will improve accessibility to quality services immensely and reduce costs in money and time. Just consider the time you spend traveling to the doctor’s office when often an interactive computer visit would be just as effective.

4. Families and friends coming together. People are going out of their way to connect these days in Zoom, or by phone, Facebook, or FaceTime. Quarantine has brought a strong desire to reach out to people who are important to us. Separation has brought a yearning to connect much greater than in “normal times,” when we are often complacent about relationships and the tendency is to ignore them.

5. Even the politicians are getting along. Republicans are talking to Democrats, governors are talking to the president and each other, bureaucrats are connecting with other bureaucrats in different departments. The Food and Drug Administration okayed the use of hydroxycoloquin for COVID-19 on anecdotal and preliminary data. Normally it would have taken forever and a day. Pelosi and Trump still can’t stand each other, but they both hold their noses and get vital legislation done. The Fed gets ahead of the markets and props up soft spots before they become crises.

6. Despotic countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba are falling apart for various reasons.

7. Money is finally going into vaccines, which for many years have been an area starved for funds.

8. The country is preparing for the next pandemic or at least a possible next wave of COVID-19. Next time we will have the machines in place to test with a pin prick and blood test in 15 minutes.

9. We are cooking more and getting better quality take out. McCormick Spice Company stock is booming and quality eateries are doing takeout and delivery like never before. A pricey restaurant in Menlo Park, CA that my daughter and her husband go to on special occasions is now doing take out cocktails in mason jars. My local deli has chicken matzo ball soup to go, delivered to my car.

10. GM is making ventilators on two weeks notice. Not Tesla, but GM, that takes 6 months to PPAP a screw is putting together a ventilator with the cooperation of the UAW, made with hundreds of parts in an empty Kokomo, IN plant. Sounds like World War II. Who would have thunk it?

11. Companies all over the country are being recruited to make approved design face shields for people on the front lines of the illness. A company in Columbus, OH took a working design from a local hospital, copied it in their software, quickly got it approved at the local hospital, and bought five new printers to run it 24 hours a day. The printers were delivered by a truck driver who drove all night to get the cargo to them. Now they are making the design available to anybody with 3D printer capacity.

I am not a Pollyanna. You can’t be one and run a business, but the list is impressive. Please add your own observations.

Question: What positives do you see coming out of the COVID-19 war?


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13 thoughts on “An Awfully Productive Period

  1. fred f

    So you go out for take out and get soup and possibly Covid 19 delivered to your car. Then take it home. Covid 19 CAN and DOES live on surfaces of goods. It’s baffling to comprehend what part of STAY HOME, AVOID CONTACT WITH ANYONE that normally intelligent people DO NOT get.

  2. Dave Bradley

    For the kids that are out of school, they are getting an education right now that they will never forget. They are learning history, as they are part of it currently like nobody before them. They are learning a little bit about inventory management. How much do we have, how much do we need. They are certainly able to learn math applications here. Watch the stock market, watch the President’s team put up charts on where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going. Look at the graphs and understand what they are seeking to accomplish and how math has played into their leadership. They ought to be learning plenty of reading as they study from home. Communications ought to be very active in their lives right now. Since they can’t go anywhere, they talk to mom or dad, brother or sister, or get on line to talk with friends. This is real life application of everything we need them to know. We told them stories of walking 2 miles in the snow uphill both ways to go to school. They will be telling their kids and grandkids about the time when things were so bad that they were forced to stay home in their houses and not even allowed to go to school.

  3. Todd

    I think we as a nation will get smarter about food safety. One of the first things we might see when restaurants reopen is the elimination of self serve soft drinks. I think the days of self serve buffets are also over. The last of those two will probably benefit my overall health when I visit the local Hong Kong Buffet or the Der Dutchman.

  4. Ken Mandile

    A friend shared this on Facebook:
    Adult Perspective:
    · Every house, store, and sports and entertainment venues shut down and closed
    · Many people contracted the novel corona virus
    · All grocery and supplies stores had emptied shelves
    · Economic destruction occurred across countries and industries

    Kid Perspective:
    · Schools closed and we were homeschooled
    · We ate meals as a family every day
    · We slept well because we didn’t have late night homework or have to get up early for school
    · We played a lot of board games
    · We watched a lot of TV and even Church on TV
    · It was the happiest time of my childhood

    It’s all about perspective

  5. KimG

    It’s great to see all the families out for a walk around the neighborhood lately. People are being good about keeping distance when passing others. It is a bit sad they had to close all the local trails because some of the more popular ones were getting too busy. I hope to be in great shape by the end of this because with a 4-yr-old at home I might as well go for a run and push the stroller because I’m not going to be getting any work done while she’s awake anyway. We’re also having more family meals together since commutes and schedules no longer interrupt that.

  6. Ted Roberts

    I think businesses will take a hard look at their travel budgets and it will be a big hit for the airlines and the aerospace industry if there is a permanent reduction in business travel.

  7. Joe L.

    Hopefully those that thought that the U.S. could go everything alone, will finally realize that we are apart of the global community. We affect everyone living on earth, as everyone can affect us as well.

    I hope that we also realize that proactively helping and working with other countries, in dealing with their problems, might, just might contain World Wide pandemics. America First you say? Just imagine if we did nothing about the Ebola outbreak in Africa a few years ago. Waiting, watching, and doing nothing to help solve the crisis in Africa would have allowed it to travel around the world being even more deadly (if you can imagine) than Covid-19.

    Putting off a crisis like Covid-19, and just wishing it away doesn’t work. We have definitely proved that. Hopefully people will start to listen directly to experts who are the experts in their field, and right from the start. It’s sad to think how many lives could have been saved if we listened when we knew this was happening in China in December, and would soon be World wide. The way we actually reacted to news of covid-19 in China, is like having Pearl Harbor attacked, then doing nothing but saying “well maybe the Japanese won’t attack us again. Let’s see what happens.”

    1. Joe

      I say FUBU For Us By Us! The USA is dependent on China for over 90% of our antibiotics and other meds, for example. NO MORE! The Chinese only lie when their mouth moves. Their end game is to be the #1 world power. Now that is scary.

  8. wayne spencer

    I am sorry to have to disagree with you Joe you have your facts all wrong The US had federal medical personal very involved in the Ebola epidemic. The US protects the rest of the world so to accuse the US of not working with other countries is misinformed. How many German and Japanese military bases are there in places to protect anyone else in the world. Look at Canada they have no Military budget they depend totally on us. Remember Barney Frank he said the US painted the rest of the worlds fences and no one was more liberal than Barney Frank.
    I agree with everything you said about manufacturing Lloyd, and I hope that China’s role in this is not forgotten and that they are held accountable for the death and economic destruction that they caused.
    Certainly hope that manufacturing will continue to rebound. I don’t think it will last, why should a multinational manufacture here when they can improve the return to stockholders and avoid lawsuits by manufacturing in other countries. The “hidden hand” theory in economics no longer works. Economist such as Larry Kudlow rant and rave about free market economy and free trade while no one mentions other countries VAT tax and the damage to American workers No one noticed the loss of minority jobs that went with the demise of manufacturing, how many auto workers were black.
    Along with aii of these things I pray that someone will answer some of the hard questions that have came out of this pandemic such as of why the test kit swabs that would have saved countless lives were sourced apparently only from northern Italy Also why there continues to be nothing done about it
    I also read that the Neatherlands tested 1.4 million Chinese masks and 800,000 leaked If we are not inspecting masks how many medical workers are getting sick from inferior Chinese masks. I live in North Carolina and every county has at least I closed textile mill , yet we have no protective mask or clothing for our medical workers.
    Our political and business leaders have done nothing to protect us and certainly big business did nothing and now we pay the price again. Like in 2008 when we saved the banks and our government gave away what is now the no, 2 selling truck in the uS and the iconic Jeep. As always the guilty will be praised. Trump will be given the most blame certainly enough of which is justly deserved but at least he had a different approach to china and the allied countries that did not pay their fair share of their defense.
    the local public radio station is already talking about how much aid China is giving to other countries and the US is an isolationist and promotes tariffs that destroy economies.
    I also hope some of our petty differences are forgotten. Flags, old statues and where people go to the bathroom have been the big issue in North Carolina. Bruce Springsteen canceled his concert over it and sports teams threatened to leave. No matter what the right or wrong is of an issue it is frightening to see how public policy can be influenced by sports and outsiders

  9. Rod

    Seems Mr Trumps arrogance and inability to listen has trashed the economy and caused many more early deaths than if he would have taken this serious and led the country
    As a whole instead of telling all of the states that they are on their own.
    Hopefully this will wake up the country to the fact that our government is out for themselves.
    You will have no economy if 30 percent of the population is sick, uninsured and unable to work.
    With the approach he is taking we will be playing Wack A Mole with this virus until a safe working vaccine developed.
    I will say that it is good to see that 3 weeks in he has started to take it seriously and is deferring to the experts.

    1. Joe

      President Trump is doing a fine job. The haters say he waited sooooo long to react. The haters also slammed him as a racist and xenophobe for closing the country to the Chinese very early on. I’m left handed but so blessed not to be left minded.

  10. Rod

    I am not a Trump hater.
    You can believe whatever you wish.
    Facts are facts and the handling of this situation by this administration is pathetic.
    If not for State Governments things would be much more
    This is not close to being contained.
    I don’t think History will not be kind to this President.


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