In the midst of COVID-19, governors across the U.S. will each begin their version of opening their states and asking their citizens to attempt normal activity, with social distancing guidelines in place. Regardless of how each state’s rules vary, individuals and families will have to decide for themselves how they will re-enter the economy. It will require careful consideration and planning. It will take place, however, and the after-effects will vary as well.
For many people, this move towards opening will bring back their jobs and their income. There’s no denying the need for it to happen. But with this opening comes the very real risk of a second wave that could cause an increase in confirmed cases, illness and mortality rates. For the first responders and medical community, this is of great concern. What will happen when people begin to restart their lives? How will this impact an already stretched-too-thin industry that has been carrying the burden in the first place?
One of the many positives that has come out of all of this, is our joining together to help wherever it is needed. Organizations have been formed for various causes related to COVID-19. One of those is Frontline Foods, which is devoted to feeding hospital workers with restaurant food to help two populations in need – the medical staff working tirelessly every day and night, as well as local restaurants whose employers are able to bring back furloughed employees to help prepare and deliver this food.
Frontline Foods has quickly spread across the nation with chapters in almost every major city in the United States. Recently, we had the opportunity to catch up with the Indianapolis Chapter City Lead, Megana Rao, who is a medical student at Indiana University. CuroGens began volunteering with Frontline Foods Indianapolis in early April to spread the word about this nonprofit organization and the good it is doing. By the end of April, the Frontline Foods Indianapolis chapter raised over $5000 in donations with the #317Challenge to feed hospital workers with takeout food from restaurants.
Megana met with us in between her studying for her Medical Boards, and we asked her, “What’s next after the state reopens? What is the medical community saying and what are they concerned about?”
After the Indiana Governor released his 4-stage plan for reopening our state on May 1, we wondered how this may affect donations.
Indiana will open slowly with social distancing guidelines clearly spelled out and expectations defined, and at the moment, Indiana’s medical resources aren’t stretched extremely thin. With this in mind, people may assume donations aren’t needed as we return to a more public life. What Megana predicted, though, was just the opposite.
“There will be an illusion that everything is ok, when in fact, the risk for spreading germs will be very high. If anything, the medical staff will be working more than ever once people really get comfortable being out and about in public places with the potential of the virus spreading more easily. The risk for increased numbers is very high, and if we are not careful, we will see ourselves right back where we started. There is no vaccine or cure yet,” she told us.
A false sense of safety with restrictions being lifted, businesses reopening to eager customers and a yearning to feel more normal after a two-month quarantine is exactly what could undo all that we were able to prevent in the first place. But with no effective treatment or method of prevention yet, there is still something to be wary of when going out into the public.
In other words, this is the very time when donations should not wane, but substantially increase.
There could be a great need soon after restrictions are lifted, and people begin to interact. While restaurant workers will likely get some level of employment for the reopening of doors, many will not earn enough to make a living due to capacity limits. Donations to Frontline Foods gives restaurant employers the opportunity to bring back more staff to handle the take-out orders that are funded through the organization.
Preparing for a potential relapse and return to “Shelter in Place” order is possible, and we should take what we have already learned and apply it. Until there is a vaccine or a cure, we haven’t prevented an outbreak, just moved it. We are not through the woods just yet, and it would be wise to find the right balance between resuming economic flow and protecting the most vulnerable populations and exhausting the people who will continue to fight on the frontline every day. These heroes include medical staff, firefighters, EMTs, and police. They need our protection as well.