Issue No. 290 | March 4, 2020

Wear the Mask

The modern resilience movement developed after 9/11 when government, businesses, and local communities recognized that they could not keep “black swan” events, which have a low probability of occurring but when they do, they have a meaningful impact, from happening.

The latest Corona virus outbreak may be another black swan event. It seems we are watching it unfold as if it is occurring in slow motion leaving us to wonder, each day, if there is something else, we should be doing to protect ourselves. Maybe it means searching for Purell or making a Costco run to load up on non-perishables in case we are stuck at home for an extended period of time.

Resilience thinking would suggest that the most important action we could take right now is related to personal preparation related to work, family and ourselves. We should definitely pay attention to the CDC and public health experts but ultimately we have to make decisions about what is best for us at work and at home

An example of where it is important to consider our own thinking is related to facial masks. The CDC and virologists point out that masks may be beneficial, if you have a cold or potentially the virus, in that it may help keep you from spreading the virus. Masks, however, will not help you avoid picking up the virus from an infected person. Where the mask can be helpful, however, is to prevent you from touching your face which is a significant route of transmission. Making a personal decision to wear a mask, particularly when travelling or in big crowds may serve as a personal reminder that face touching should be kept to a minimum means brings personal resilience responsibility into play.

No one knows whether this latest health emergency will become a health crisis but there are billboards up pointing out that there may be an issue. There were many signs up throughout 2001 that America might be targeted but not enough folks paid attention. Don’t plan on the government taking care of you. Make some plans to make sure you are taking care of your business, family, and self.

® Richard Citrin 2020

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