What the Corona Virus Teaches About Trust

In my last conversation with you I spoke about one of my favorite topics, trust. I truly believe it is the holy grail and yet it also sometimes seems like a unicorn. Coincidentally, since we were last together, the Corona Virus which causes COVID-19, has arrived on the global stage and boy oh boy the topic of trust is front and center. The stock market saw one of its worst weeks since the 2008 meltdown, and yesterday rallied to one of the biggest single day leaps in recent years helped by the Fed who jumped in to assist by lowering rates by a half a percent. Fear and lack of trust and efforts to build trust was clearly illustrated.  In my mind this pandemic and the worldwide response, shines a Hubble space telescope lens on the importance of trust.

To help build trust around the Corona issue, I’m presenting you with some facts and a source for more because as I quoted last week, “We are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts”. Here you go:

John Hopkins  Defined: COVID-19 Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2. Flu Caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.

Transmission

While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways, there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.

Antiviral Medications

COVID-19: Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms.

Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness.

Vaccine

COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though it is in progress.

Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity of the flu.

Infections

COVID-19: Approximately 92,818 cases worldwide; 118 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 3, 2020.

Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.

Deaths

COVID-19: Approximately 3,159 deaths reported worldwide; 7 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 3, 2020.

Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. Since this is a new virus, people do not have immunity to it, and a vaccine may be many months away. Doctors and scientists are working on estimating the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be higher than that of most strains of the flu.

And I found a list of potentially reliable sources from Enoch Pratt Library of Baltimore that also serves as the Maryland State Library Resource Center.

That’s what I have to offer for facts and resources. So on to the “everyone has a right to their own opinion part!”

Some would say that I trust too much. Okay, that’s an opinion I respect. It’s just not my belief. I come from a place where I believe that people are basically good, have integrity and are trustworthy. It’s a core belief that I didn’t have growing up, but developed over time. One of my favorite stories of trust occurred when I was in my 20’s at a small bar in the Virgin Islands – a place that I still frequent whenever possible. I was totally surprised the first time I went because the place was on the honor system. There was no one in attendance! You helped yourself to the bottles of liquor and mixers, putting little tick marks next to your boat’s name for each drink you had and then came back the next day to settle up. That’s a whole lot of trust when the majority of your patrons are sailors who have likely had an adult beverage or two before coming ashore, have numerous over the course of the evening, then return by dingy to their floating beds. There was a lot of trust by the bar owner for sure!

For a more business related example of how trust works, there’s Stefan Molyneux the founder of Freedomain the largest and most popular philosophy entity in the world. With more than 4,500 podcasts and millions of listeners, Stefan has released his podcasts and several of his books completely free of charge and yet he generates a profit. I use him as an example because it’s the trust he puts in people – asks listeners to voluntarily donate based on the value they find in the podcasts.  The model works really well, as it gives him constant incentive to produce relevant and interesting podcasts – if he doesn’t, people don’t step up and “donate”.  He proves that where there is trust, money will follow.

As you can tell, I’m fascinated by the observations this terrible pandemic is enabling and at the same time very saddened by its existence. The only good that I see as we work through this, is we get some lessons in the importance of trust, and not just lessons about the importance of washing our hands and using hand sanitizer. So I say to you, Everyone be safe!

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