If you are one of the massage therapists still laughing about the thing that you see as a mass hysteria event or media hyped event — the COVID-19 pandemic will set you straight soon enough.
Two and a half weeks ago, I was the same way. One of my clients said they went shopping and spent $500 on food and supplies and I asked what for? Then on the weekend, Costco, other big box stores and even regular grocery stores were out of all the basics – beans, canned goods, frozen foods, toilet paper, cleaning products hand sanitizer and just about everything. I was still saying what is going on. It really does not make any sense.
I still don’t get parts of it yet I am in the middle of one of the ground zero areas living 5 miles from the Life Care Center where it started and having my office in downtown Seattle where most everything has been or is shutting down. A week ago (03/04/2020), every one of my clients came in and said they were told to go and work from home until April 1 or some March 24. Schools were just closed yesterday and our Governor closed any event with over 250 people and advised smaller groups to meet only with the recommend guidelines in place.
I didn’t understand why it was happening until I got some numbers yesterday that explained it more.
In the USA, our health care capacity is under 1 million staffed beds; this is not adequate to accommodate the number of hospitalizations we are expected to see (4-8 million). Johns Hopkins University did a 3-year global survey of pandemic preparedness. Although the USA ranked at the top of the countries, even the US only scored a 42 out of 100. We simply don’t have the equipment, training, or messaging in place and we need to ramp up fast. No one does. That is why your choices today matter so much.
I still don’t get it totally though as this is going to create a disaster of unbelievable proportions in the economy with businesses like ours taking a big hit along with restaurants, hotels, airlines, travel of any kind let alone the stock market moving to a bull market. Employees in every industry are panicked to say the least maybe except for www.amazon.com and other tech companies that can work at home. Restaurants are closing temporarily they say. Is shutting down all business and travel worth removing the extra burden on our healthcare system that is supposedly happening or will happen?
That still doesn’t answer my question of why did this not happen with H1N1.
Will this go down as the great American hype pandemic or that we averted a real disaster?
Calling the Massage Profession
I still have not seen any help coming from our professional associations except for an article from AMTA and ABMP saying wash your hands etc. Here is WA we wish we had more help in understanding the situation and how it affects us and our clients. We are figuring it out on our own in closed Facebook groups sharing our fears and strategies.
In my Massage Therapists Guide to COVID-19 report, I included some suggestions for the massage profession to consider. We are clearly not ready for this type of emergency.
What if we had (thanks Laurie Lyons):
- A Dedicated full-time infection prevention practitioner to work on infection prevention aspects of the preparations, including education, training, and exercises.
- Designate a medical director to work closely with the infection prevention practitioner.
- A pandemic preparedness committee (or use an existing emergency management committee) that includes representatives of all clinical and support departments as well as senior administrators. ( applies to larger clinics, spas etc..)
- Participate in a local healthcare coalition, which includes neighboring clinics , local public health agencies, and emergency management. Members of multi-clinic health systems should integrate system-wide planning with local planning with other local clinics.
Still no updates from the major Franchises
I was also hoping for some statements from the major Franchises like Massage Envy, Hand and Stone and Green Spa on their policies mainly because they are so visible in the community and have been a spokes-company for the massage profession even though it is not all good things coming from them.