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Calm Is Contagious

Strategizing and Helping Others Through COVID-19 Social

March 16, 2020

I heard that listening to a decorated Navy Seal Commander and those words are very appropriate for the world we live in today. The world is facing a global pandemic with COVID-19. One cannot escape a conversation without discussing COVID-19. Therefore, it is quite easy to feel angst, anxiety and unease. I know I do at times.

The situation with COVID-19 is incredibly fluid. Schools are getting canceled and some states are closing all bars and restaurants. While I hear some say this is an incredible overreaction, I say, I hope it is and all returns to normal. No matter what, it is quite clear that our lives and plans will be changed and diverted and we all need to understand that.

Lessons from the Flu of 1918

It is important in times like this to evaluate the situation and understand what it is we are facing. A while ago I read a great book, “The Great Influenza” by John Barry. This book will scare you, but it will also provide some relief. The book outlines the 1918 flu and provides some of the best epidemiological studies about that flu. The 1918 flu was a global pandemic that killed tens of millions of people. In fact, it was more deadly than WWI, which ended in November 1918. Mr. Barry outlines in that book how that virus “reverted to the mean” and actually dissipated over time. He discussed how cities that were hit early and first were actually hit harder than cities later in the cycle. He also chronicled the mutations of the virus and how future mutations weakened when compared to earlier versions. It was clear that the 1918 virus hunted people, but people grew accustomed to dealing with it and as it went through the population it weakened and people and their lives carried on.

How You Can Help Others

COVID-19 is not seasonal flu. It is incredibly serious and may be a once-in-a-100-year type of virus. However, I think we need to ask what we can do for those in need the most. We will have health care providers that likely get quarantined in a hospital for weeks or months. How can we help care for their children during these unprecedented times? How can we help kids when they are not going to school? Can we provide meals, money or gift cards? How can we help the more frail and elderly? What I know about stressful times like this is that we are a great people and we will help each other. I also know that helping others in need is a great way to lessen your own angst.

I have no doubt we will get through this. We will start to test at scale and get our arms around caring for those in need. We are blessed with amazing health care providers in Greater Des Moines (DSM) and in our state. I personally know many of the leaders of these organizations and I know they are committed to doing all they can. We will see private industry and government work together and it will get better and we will flatten the curve. We all need to realize that at this moment in time, we can do our part and ensure that as Iowans and society at large we are here for one another because that is what Iowans do.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

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Nick Gerhart

Nick Gerhart is chief administrative officer of FBL Financial Group Inc.