While everyone is busy trashing the politicians for their handling of this crisis (COVID-19 Pandemic) here are a few anecdotes from corporate America:
An Nursing Home:
The manager, being aware of what was going on in the world, asked the corporate office for a budget variance in order to stock up on PPE especially N95 masks as well as non-perishable foodstuffs and paper goods (especially toilette paper and paper towels). Was told no. Maintain your budget, this will be no big deal and won’t come here.
Being resourceful she was able to acquire masks, gloves and even some TP by requesting donations from local organizations and some creative budget manipulation (paper products purchased from office supply stores and coded as office supplies rather than TP or paper towels). Being naive she mentions the windfall of PPE to her director.
Fast forward three weeks and ALL the PPE is being shipped off to other properties that were not as resourceful and followed corporate guidelines. Options given are to “ship them out” or be terminated and your replacement will do so. Although naive, said manager is not stupid. Additional PPE acquired by other means is being kept in her car and not put into corporate inventory systems…
The Oilfield #1:
A hand on a rig may have been exposed to the coronavirus (his sister has tested positive). The entire crew is sent to self-quarantine at home. Between all the crew that means they traveled, taking the coronavirus with them, across several states…
Keep in mind these guys work two to three weeks on and one week off. They had just started their shift and would have been quarantined on a rig in the middle of nowhere with each other and little to no outside contact for the duration of their stint and their quarantine time…
The Oilfield #2:
Service crew that visited the rig in #2 is told they may have been exposed. They are interviewed for all the stops they made on their route and all of those people will be told to self quarantine. Crew is told to stay in the truck until further notice.
Initially, they are told to report to the “man camp” where crews like this normally stay during off hours. The man camp says no way. You are NOT coming in here with a few thousand of your closest friends. So, the crew is told to park the truck in the yard and then head home to self quarantine. Want to know why there are man camps for these guys? None of them live less that 500 miles away. Only one has a car. The rest would have to Uber to the airport, take public flights to several states and then (potentially) bring it to their families…
In this particular case, threats to call the CDC and the local health departments resulted in an arrangement where they could bunk in a separate section of the man camp, isolated from the rest of the inhabitants and be brought boxed lunches twice a day.
I am pretty sure there are thousands, if not millions, more stories like this. It just goes to show that regardless private or public, regardless of the industry, no one was really prepared for this.
Take care and God bless.