COVID-19 Update: Staying At Home and Connected

There have been plenty of responses to the COVID-19 situation that has permeated into this country. It was reported that the USA now has the most confirmed cases in the world. This has prompted continued responses from governments and the automotive industry to try to stem this virus from doing further damage to society and the economy.

Last week, General Motors and Toyota announced they will start producing necessary equipment to fight the COVID-19 virus. GM will convert their Kokomo, Indiana facility to produce critical care ventilators with Ventec Life Systems. Toyota will also produce face shields and other medical devices at their plants, as well.

There are some other companies that have jumped into producing necessary life-saving equipment in response to COVID-19. Vacuum cleaner designer and manufacturer James Dyson developed a ventilator in just 10 days. It has been reported that Dyson will produce 15,000 of these necessary devices for this effort against COVID-19. Apparel designed Ralph Lauren will also create and produce medical masks gowns. Even hockey equipment producer Bauer has jumped in the arena by making protective face masks, as well.

GM’s production plans were met with some drama from the White House. President Donald Trump called out GM's CEO Mary Barra and the company at large by invoking the Defense Production Act in a press conference last week. He said that GM was "wasting time" in announcing their plans with Ventec. If you look at the time stamps, the GM announcement was made before the President’s statements.

Many manufacturers are also stepping in various ways. They include relief programs for customers who have leased or financed their vehicles directly from the manufacturer’s financing division. The industry has also stepped in helping the communities around their facilities from donations to programs that assist those in need of food and other assistance to get through these tough times. Lunch programs are an important piece of keeping communities going, as schools have been closed and only a few can provide their students what they need to keep up their nutrition. The industry has either provided monetary assistance or volunteers to help keep these students from going hungry.

As of going to press, the state where Victory & Reseda is headquartered is on its second day of a "shelter in place" program called #stayhomeMN. It is similar to other state’s orders to keep its residents at home to help slow down the rate of infections by COVID-19. Governor Tim Walz and the state of Minnesota’s approach is based on common sense instead of a complete imposition that is close to martial law.

In Minnesota, you can drive to the store, pharmacy, and medical appointments – each of which is considered essential. You can also drive to get food from a drive-through or pick-up counter. Many restaurants that remain open are offering contact-less delivery of food, where you do not have to interact with the delivery person. They might even meet you at the curb with your lunch or dinner.

There had been some question about "outdoor activities." The state would rather you take a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park, even walk your dog to these locations. There are some gray areas that should be addressed. What if you have to drive to a place where you can walk in nature, such as a county or state park? If a law enforcement officer pulls you over to discuss non-essential travel in your car, how do you explain to the officer that you are heading to said park to walk in nature, as the #stayhomeMN order has suggested?

Graphic courtesy of the State of Minnesota

The penalty of being caught doing any form of non-essential travel in Minnesota is a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail. The commonsensical answer to all of this is to stay at home during these two weeks. Keep your miles down and your gas tank full until we get the "all clear."

The part of staying home and riding out this virus situation out is the way we are being entertained. Technology is a wonderful thing and we are witnessing the results on how connectivity has made our lives better through broadband and the advance state f the computers we use today.  

The same technology is now seen on television and on viral programs that are usually live on air. Seeing Jimmy Fallon do "The Tonight Show" from his basement with his kids filling in for The Roots is worth the watch. MLB Network began to show its programs with the help of NTT. You can see the podcast microphones in place with clear images from their homes. The stars of Major League Baseball have jumped into the action whenever they are featured on the network's programs. As one of the MLB Network hosts remarks on "how cool" it was to see everyone’s homes on air.

Yahoo's Build Series hosts several shows via YouTube and on other viral platforms. Their programs have now migrated to home-based broadcasts. Last week’s episode of "The X Change Rate," hosted by "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" season 4 co-winner Monet X Change was set in her living room with her guests brought in from theirs.

SiriusXM is also doing their shows from their host’s homes. From Volume's "Debatable" to "Sway In the Morning" on Shade 45, broadcasting from home is the new normal for radio. It is worth noting that 1st Wave host Richard Blade has been broadcasting his show from his Southern California home for years.

I am fortunate that a lot of this site’s work is done in the comfort of my in-home office. While being informed and entertained, I have the task of providing you with content that hopefully you will engage further as this situation continues. In the meantime, I will stay home and concentrate on creating some great content for you on this site.

While staying at home, I have been connecting with family and friends, especially for those of us who do not live under the same roof. The same technology that is seen on television, through our radios and other devices are keeping us together with apps for conference calls – business or otherwise. There are now more apps available for personal/private conversations that are also used for business and broadcasts. Each one is worth exploring to see whether they fit your needs as you stay home through these challenging days.

What’s even better is to simply use your smartphone as a phone. I reached out to a few of you so far. Honestly, texting and social media direct messaging are fine, but one cannot discount the emotion of a voice.

Nor can you discount what’s going on in our world.

Stay safe, dear readers!

Cover photo courtesy of General Motors

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