Signal from Noise


March 23, 2020

By Sean Kelly, President and CEO, The Kendal Corporation

March 23, 2020—There is so much swirling around today on the matter of what we can and should do about this Virus and further, where we are heading. Some of you may have seen an excellent article, “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now,” by Thomas Pueyo published on March 10. There are many folks who attribute our world’s acknowledgement of the Coronavirus reality to the plain and objectively supported manner (lots of graphs and easy language!) that Pueyo used to inform and sound the alarm louder across the world. Making signal from noise.

More recently, on March 19, Pueyo wrote an update piece, “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance,” which you might appreciate. It responds in part to what the world is doing and where we may go if we continue toward a model where strong suppressive action is the norm.

If you’re not that into a 20–30 minute read at the moment, know this: We can and MUST do our part: Infection control; social distancing; hand-washing; surface washing; appropriate isolation; minimizing contacts of all types. We need to hold ourselves and every single person around us accountable.

There has been more “learning” about this virus in a short period of time than anything the world has seen before. The time is now to put that learning to work and stay at it, for our own health, the health and safety of the ones we love and the benefit of the world we all share.

As it happens, while I was paging through Pueyo’s essay, I also had a chance to hear the governor of New Jersey this weekend. He was addressing the State and informing everyone of his executive order. New Jersey effectively “shut down,” like Pennsylvania and several other states yesterday. Changing from a mood of recommendation to an intent to enforce all of the recommended practices designed to keep us safe.

In itself it wasn’t a remarkable briefing, although Gov. Murphy used language that I hadn’t heard before around the goal of our efforts. Language that stuck with me. We’ve all become familiar with the idea of “flattening the curve,” which is hyper-critical to coming out of this pandemic. What Gov. Murphy offered was that together, with our vigilance we will “break the back of the curve!”

So today, we’ll persevere and do our part in breaking that curve’s back. We’ll also take leadership and maybe take heed of Mr. Pueyo’s ask of all of us.

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Unfortunately, millions of lives are still at stake. Share this article—or any similar one—if you think it can change people’s opinion. Leaders need to understand this to avert a catastrophe. The moment to act is now.