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Raul Martins

COVID-19 - Discussion center

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Hi all,

Today we will be creating a slightly different topic than what we are used to.

The world is going through an unprecedented situation, called COVID-19.

Road to Reliability online community has members from many different countries and, although each country is currently facing a different situation, infection rates and putting different preventive measures in place, nearly everyone has been affected somehow.

The idea of this topic is to have an open discussion about this situation. Feel free to share how you are going through it, what is the situation of your country/city, ask for or give ideas about how to deal with this (exercising, think about the future, watching movies, reading books, etc). Absolutely anything that will help you or others to move on and have a better day.

 

Regards,
Raul Martins

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Here in Canada we have shutdown non-essential businesses, closed borders and restricted internal travel. Big gathering spots (malls, sport events) are closed. People are being asked to "stay home" and most businesses have sent people home. Social distancing is being practiced when going out (e.g.: shopping for groceries, walking for exercise, etc.). When I get out for walking the dogs or my own exercise I am seeing a lot more people gardening, walking, riding bicycles and all keeping distance. I notice more people now than when things are "normal".

Our biggest growth in our cases is from nursing homes where there are large concentrations of seniors who are cared for by usually minimal staff. Deaths are mostly there right now, probably a result of having been visited by relatives a couple of weeks ago before the "stay home" practices were really being followed. The numbers of new cases is gradually flattening out now and I expect to see it drop fairly soon. People are more serious about precautions now than they were being. 

My office is in my home, so for day to day work, it's not much of a change, but very few clients are in their offices - for them it's a big change. Travel to their locations (which is quite normal for me) is down to zero, with a number of client business related trips deferred to later in the year. Conferences and classes are being cancelled and we are moving more to online offerings. New courses are being developed. Our old ones that were already online are being offered free right now until the end of April. If you are looking for something to do you might want to take advantage of that: https://consciousasset.com/front-page/training/online-training/ 

Please everyone - if you can stay isolated at home - do so. If not, then stay apart from others as best you can. Let's all help stop the spread and "flatten our curves".

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Although I live in Australia, I am originally from Brazil. So I have closely watched the situation in both countries.

Australian has put strict measures in place, closing non-essential businesses for nearly three weeks now. On top of that, Australia has one of the highest test rates in the world. As a result, the curve has started to flatten.

On the other hand, Brazil has done something similar to some European countries and the USA, and the test rates are quite low (although it has started to change), hence the number of cases are still getting higher and higher.

When it comes to work, I have worked from home since the 23rd of March. In order to keep busy during my spare time, I have watched many series and movies, especially from Netflix, read some books and given my family and friends calls more often than before.

@UptimeJim, thank you for offering free online courses at this moment, as many people are going through financial crysis due to the economic side effects of the virus.

 

Regards,
Raul Martins

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Raul - like you I'm comparing numbers between countries. Earlier in the year I was in Australia with a client so I'm watching Australia and Canada, as well as the UK and USA. Australia and Canada had similar numbers for a while but Canada's have grown much faster. Our measures here were less strict and slower. The UK and USA - both very slow and very lax. The US doesn't even have a single health care system to speak of so they are really in rough shape. I think Boris in the UK got a lesson on "herd immunity" and fortunately for him, survived. Given the timing of the crisis, a lot of retired Canadians who winter in Florida (our "snowbirds") have returned home from one of the hardest hit areas of the USA and had to go through yet another hard hit area (NY). A number returned with the disease. We do count what's going on in our nursing homes and they have been very hard hit. Sadly they are not set up like hospitals. Isolation is a challenge for them and the workers are just not used to handling something like this. Sadly, a lot of seniors are passing away prematurely. 

What is good, are the various reports of nature bouncing back as human activity slows - whales off Marseilles, the Himalaya's visible from 200 km away, noticeably less pollution in China and elsewhere, fuel consumption is way down, there are few contrails in the sky (and green house gas from them is going down), wildlife is appearing in cities. Nature is telling humanity something here and we would be wise to listen. 

As maintainers and asset management people, we have a role to play in keeping our planet healthy. Efficient running equipment consumes less energy and helps our atmosphere. Ensuring that containment works keeps our planet's earth, water and air cleaner. Making sure our designs are functionally capable of doing the least harm is needed, perhaps more than pure myopic return-on-investment. Life is precious - we can see that as many are losing loved ones unexpectedly. Reliable assets are safer! 

When things ramp back up, let's make sure they do it with speed and efficiency and cleanly. We are an important part of earth's recovery and we will be (as we always have been) a part of sustaining it. Now let's do a better job!

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Jim & Raul,

Nothing more to add than already presented by Jim.

the company I work for have made significant, deep cuts and I will be off on temp lay-off for 4 weeks pending.

staying at home and getting a lot of overdue projects completed.

stay safe my friends

Jim

 

 

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Thanks for your insightful contributions @Raul Martins and @UptimeJim

The immediate impact of this pandemic is terrible indeed and I'm afraid we're not out of the woods by a long shot. Many countries are still only at the early stages of this pandemic. 

As you both mentioned, Australia reacted fairly quick and with strong measures so early indications are that we have indeed flattened the curve - for now. 

What worries me is what an exit strategy looks like once the curve has been flattened. A vaccine is likely to be 12-18 months away (or more) and how do you re-open a country without a vaccine (or herd immunity)? Huge economic damage has already been done. I'm afraid a lot more is to follow. Job losses have been huge - here in Australia and around the world - I'm worried that a recovery could take many years. 

But I am also an optimist so we'll have to work through this and for many of us around the world it is important to realise how good we've had it to date. Maybe an opportunity that we come out of this more grateful and more caring for others (and indeed our beautiful planet). 

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3 hours ago, Jim Vantyghem said:

the company I work for have made significant, deep cuts and I will be off on temp lay-off for 4 weeks pending

Sorry to hear that @Jim Vantyghem, hopefully things will start getting back on track in 4 weeks at least to the degree that you can get back to work. take care.

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I am presently posted in a FMCG and considered a key worker.  Our plant of 1500 workers was going very strong as people were panic buying at the start however things have taken a major slow down and with the closure of many fast food outlets the company if faltering slightly.  

We have implemented social distancing in the factory and installed screens on the production lines to mitigate the risk to the staff and ensure their safety.

Staff have been off and the maintenance dept has been bringing in people that are not working on 4 week contracts to assist. 

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At present, with a supposed Covid wave starting to reduced numbers of cases, it seems that the USA is opening more of its doors for business. The Window manufacturing business that I am in is now in a boom phase with sales at it's highest numbers ever in a frenzy to meet market demands and supply the stock replenishment of other intercompany plants . Of course, there is the concern of a 2nd wave of a Covid 19 outbreak based on herding effects but with this said, there is a strong sense of a mindset change towards applying precautions for such future events and to keep the virus a bay.

The positive outcome has me believing that with a common influenza season in place, social distancing, plexiglass barriers and an emphasis on better hygiene may reduce the number of infected thus reducing any spin off negative affects.

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Hi @Jim Vantyghem,

That is great news!

Here in Australia the number of new cases has been really low over the last month (10 new cases a day on average). The restrictions are being eased in three stages. Here in Queensland, the first one was on May 15, when restaurants were allow to offer dine-in for up to ten customers at a time, beaches were re-opened and people were allowed to drive up to 150km from their houses. Then on June 12 more restrictions will be eased (up to 20 customers on restaurants, campings re-opened, etc.). Finally, on July 10, the third stage will allow gatherings of up to 100 people, interstate traveling and more.

In short, slowly things are getting back to normal here.

On the other hand, in Brazil the situation is out of control. Nearly 400k cases, more than 1,000 people died only yesterday and no signals of flattening the curve at all. 

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Good to hear that Australia is on the mend!

As for Brasil, well South America is an emotional continental with traditions deeply embedded into the fiber of their societies. Does not surprise me.

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