John O’Connor

Remember the good old days?

That simpler time when you could eat meals in a restaurant, send your kids off to school and not work from a bedroom? Seems so long ago.

Kidding aside, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly upended our personal and professional lives, seemingly overnight.

For some youngsters (i.e. Millennials), this may be your first trip to the Economic Downturn Rodeo. And I’m here to tell you, don’t feel bad about feeling bad. What we have here is pretty darn serious.

As a person who said goodbye to running six-minute miles many, many years ago, I know firsthand that getting older is not really a whole lot of fun. At least, physically. However, with years come experience and occasionally, a bit of wisdom.

So if you don’t mind, let me share a bit of what I hope will be both. And I’ll frame it in the form of three things you need to know about COVID-19. So here goes …

1.  Things are going to get worse

Right now, many of us seem to be in borderline panic mode. We don’t really know how bad the virus will be, or if/when it will be brought under control. Long-term care facilities are already seeing medical supplies and equipment dwindle. Many are refusing to admit residents with flu-like symptoms. Many publicly-traded firms are taking a beating on Wall Street. It’s not pretty. And a downward slide will likely continue, at least for a while.

2.  Then things will improve

Nothing good or bad lasts forever. That also goes for this pandemic. We will find ways to manage it better, and maybe even find a cure. There will be all kinds of casualties, to be sure. But we will weather this storm.

3.  We will, too

It’s a pretty bad cloud that doesn’t have some kind of silver lining. Many of us are already learning how to do things that a month ago would have seemed out of the question. Facilities will get better at managing future emergencies. The push for tech tools like electronic records and telehealth will only intensify. Operators will get better at doing many facets of their jobs. Some may even become more desirable employers. And that’s just for starters.

So for now, be safe, be smart and hang in there. We are still on the cusp of what looks to be a very challenging time.  But we’ll get through it. And most of us will be the better for having gone through it.

But I have to admit, a restaurant meal sure would be nice.

John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s