Written by Paul Greenberg
"The COVID-19 news is so continually grim that we lose sight of the hopeful things occurring at the global, national and local levels to get control of this deadly virus.
I am, like all of you, sitting at home, trying to not only make sense of all of this, but also trying to lead the new normal or as analyst and principal at HFS Research, Phil Fersht calls it, the New Abnormal.
I'm sitting at a PC much of the day, working on varying business projects, trying to make sure that my friends and family are all safe, being supportive of friends and strangers, working with my partner and bud Brent Leary on our 11 years running show CRM Playaz and expanding the scope of it. (See some announcements at the bottom of this post on that.)
I'm also watching the news until what seems to be the relentless grimness of it all is too much and then I just blitz out and watch some of my favorite shows (happy to let you know what they are if you ask) so that I can escape. But, yesterday, an old friend of mine, Gene Morphis, who is the former CFO of David's Bridal (that's how I met him) put out a post on Facebook that was just an aggregation of positive news and I decided to take that and run with it here – and also to add quite a bit so that you can see that this pandemic will end and we will emerge – I don't want to say better for it or not – I don't know that beyond just my normally optimistic view of the world – but we will emerge able to deal with this and at least hopefully in a better place than we came into this crisis. Despite the amount of news that engenders mostly fear and hopelessness – even if it is true – there is also a good deal of hopefulness – and it's also true. So, that the good signals don't get lost in the grim noise, here are many of them for you to at least be aware of the end of March. Gene's positive news is interspersed with mine.
Crisis – Medical Supplies, Testing
Hockey mask manufacturer Bauer is converting its two plants- one in Quebec and the other in NY – to making protective medical shields. Manufacturing is underway with expected volume up to 50,000 per week. Since they know that demand is greater, they have published all the design and material specs online so that any other manufacturer with those capabilities can make them. Shields will be sold at cost. (From Gene)
Running shoe manufacturer New Balance has converted its Massachusetts factory to make masks. (Remember that when you buy your next pair of running shoes). (From Gene)
Licensed apparel manufacturer Fanatics, which makes NFL licensed jerseys, NBA jerseys, and is the official manufacturer of MLB uniforms, converted its Easton PA factory from making baseball uniforms to make protective gowns and masks. (From Gene)
Abbott labs has released its toaster-sized COVID-19 testing unit that can get results in between 5 and 13 minutes. Initial units will go to hospitals and first responders. Will ramp up production into hundreds of thousands of devices. (From Gene)
Burberry has transformed its Yorkshire trench coat factory into making what will undoubtedly be the most fashion forward surgical gowns and masks. (Thanks to major tech influencer and diginomica co-founder and my friend, Dennis Howlett for this one)
There are 588 distilleries in the United States making hand sanitizer as of yesterday according to a list on the Distilled Spirits Council website. That's the ones that have reported it. Maybe more.
Kathryn Bonesteel, the CEO of Nixie Technologies, created a Houston-based woman's organization (starting with her friends) dedicated to getting masks to the local work force that was out providing service to the Houston population. Calling it Hack Coronavirus, they collected thousands of N95 masks and got them to local government workers, first responders, Instacart delivery people, pharmacy employees, etc. and did a lot to boost morale by personally going around and handing them out. Watch the KHOU-11 video on their effort here.
Read more on ZDNet here.