A Year of COVID-19: Comparing Advice Published 52-Weeks Ago and How It Measures Up Today

Fifty-two short weeks ago, I started my journey with the Crisis Ready® Institute with a post titled: Is the COVID-19 end in sight? A look at where we are three weeks in, and what’s needed to get “back to normal”.

With a year behind us and so many experiences under each of our belts, I thought it worth taking some time to look at what I said back then and see how well my statements and advice have aged.

Was “the COVID-19 end in sight”?

Not so much. I am not sure there will ever be an “end” for COVID-19. If we are lucky, it will fade into a part of our every-day lives, similarly to Influenza and the Common Cold. If we are unlucky, COVID-19 will play a similar role to Tuberculosis, Polio, and Measles during the early 20th Century – continuing to extort a price in human suffering and lives until science can catch up.

“Supply chains for food and critical goods (outside of personal protective equipment {PPE}) are stabilizing.”

I was pretty accurate with this statement. Supply chains have stabilized, but the stores, restaurants, and businesses that are the endpoints for the supply chains have been crushed by the economic consequences of lockdowns and other associated protective measures. A survey published by the U.S. Census Bureau in December 2020 showed that 53% of small business owners did not expect to return to pre-COVID operations for a least six months. The UN estimates that COVID has cost global workers more than $3.7 Trillion in lost earnings.

There are serious discussions that the “cure” may have been worse than the disease in this case. From a purely public health point of view, I disagree.  From a more holistic view, considering social, economic, political, mental and emotional health angles, I’m not sure. 

“Terminology is changing to help you better protect yourself.”

It was a valiant effort, but “Social Distancing” is still the term of choice used to describe increasing the physical distance between individuals to decrease the likelihood of cross-contamination with respiratory droplets. I will revisit the “6-foot” question later in this post.

Humans are social creatures. We are experiencing the consequences of disrupting our social structures and limiting interpersonal interaction. Several people whom I have a lot of personal respect for are concerned that these consequences will include a marked increase in anti-social and violent behaviors. The risk is in these bahaviors being used as coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress and strain of the overwhelm of daily life. In other words, our effort to apply physical distancing as a protective measure has resulted in social distancing that will have ongoing consequences for the predictable future.

It remains true that “Fear will not help anything”.

While the COVID-19 crisis has continued much longer than anybody hoped, and the loss of life has reached numbing levels, we cannot allow fear to drive how we continue to live our lives. Science has demonstrated how we can protect ourselves and others from SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. We are learning how to better treat this disease. We have made immense progress in the development and delivery of multiple types of vaccines. To steal the catchphrase, we all need to Keep Calm and Carry On.

“Keep yourself healthy.”

This one continues to hold true.  Where I was focused on physical health and chronic illness when I made my initial statement, this concept needs to be applied to mental and emotional health as well.

We continue to be under extreme levels of stress as individuals, communities, and societies. As that stress becomes strain – and our coping methods begin to crack – it falls on us to act as communities and support each other. Recognize when your friends, peers, and neighbors are asking for help. Or when their behavior does the asking for them. There are resources available to provide that help. Don’t try to be ‘tough’ and “power through” this mess. Support is out there. Take advantage of it. Choosing to do so makes you stronger, not weaker.

“Do not forget to unplug and try to relax.”

I have to admit that I have failed spectacularly at this one. Since transitioning to a Work from Anywhere (WFA) mindset, I find myself engaged at all hours, any time the muse strikes. This has resulted in several discussions with my family about how I no longer have a daily three-hour commute, but I seem to be working longer hours than before the Pandemic.

Burn-out is real. There are physical and psychological signs and symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue: A feeling of a lack of energy or tiredness, progressing to feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.
  • Insomnia: Despite feeling tired, you have difficulties falling or staying asleep.
  • Forgetfulness / Impaired Concentration & Attention: A lack of focus and a loss of productivity.
  • Increased illness: As you wear down, your immune system suffers. You become more vulnerable to infections and other immune-related problems.
  • Loss of Appetite: Not in a good way.
  • Anxiety: Tension, worry, and edginess increase.
  • Depression: Ranging from mild feelings of sadness to guilt and worthlessness as your productivity decreases.
  • Anger: Presenting as interpersonal tension and irritability, and evolving to an increased potential for angry outbursts and serious arguments.

“Along the same lines, give yourself time to detox from COVID-19.”

This is another element that I was pretty accurate with. Media coverage of the Pandemic has changed since January 2021. Even with those changes, the Pandemic is still everywhere in our infotainment ecosystem. My advice is to unplug for one day each week. Do not consume any media that has anything to do with the Pandemic, and try to look at what else is going on in the world around you.

“If possible, spend time with your family.”

I’ll give myself a 50% on this one. Some families are beginning to experience stress and strain from being isolated together. Make sure that you have some together time but protect some alone time as well.

“Think of the gas money you are saving!”

In the U.S., we are still saving some money on gas. Still, mobility on a national scale is edging back toward pre-COVID levels.  The March 23, 2021, COVID-19 Community Mobility Report from Google shows a mixed bag of mobility trends, with decreases in Retail & Recreation, Grocery & Pharmacy, Transit Stations, and Workplaces with increases in Parks and Residential mobility statistics.

“Invest in yourself.”

Another point that still holds true. There is opportunity in any crisis, even this one. Those opportunities can be engaged for personal and professional development – learning a new skill, finishing a degree or certificate, starting a new blog. Take some time and make the investment – be genuinely resilient and come out of this disruption better than you were when it began.

“Wash your hands.”

Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Enough said.

“Physical distancing—six feet is the minimum target.”

And here’s one of the newer controversies of the COVID-19 response. New guidance from the CDC reflects that the “six feet” may actually be three. Other research shows that respiratory droplets can travel as far as 27-30 feet under certain conditions. Either way, physical distancing works – the farther away you are from a person who is shedding the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the better. While I’ll let more intelligent people than me work out the exact distances involved, I do calmly request that you respect my (and others’) sense of self-preservation if I / they feel you are standing too close and either step back, or ask you to do so.

“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).”

PPE works as it is designed to. We STILL have not addressed the crisis communications failures from early in the Pandemic. Many people still do not understand that cloth and surgical procedure masks do not protect you from other people. They protect other people from you.

N-95’s, N-100’s, Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs), and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) all provide additional protection for the wearer, but only if they are correctly fitted and worn.

“The pandemic’s end-date depends on all of our choices, including yours.”

Of all the things that I wrote in my April 3, 2020 post, this remains the most applicable and vital. The government is not going to save us from this crisis. The only way that the COVID-19 Pandemic will be managed in any way that is even close to being considered adequate, is if every individual chooses to protect themselves and respect other people’s choices.

Regardless of masks and distancing, there are two other core protective behaviors have been shown to be highly effective. These two simple things can significantly decrease your chances of catching or spreading COVID-19, along with several other illnesses as well. These two core protective behaviors are:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Frequently.
  2. If you are sick or even think that you are sick, stay home. Do not share.

I will close with the same line that I used 52 weeks ago.

There have been pandemics in the past. There will be pandemics in the future. The question is: how will you deal with the Pandemic in the present?

  • Subscribe to the Crisis Ready® Blog

  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Categories

  • Upcoming Crisis Ready Course:

    Developing Your Crisis Communication Program

    Join us, September 21st and 23rd, to take your crisis communication skills to the next level.

    Take the first step towards your
    Crisis Ready® Certification

    Course: Mastering the Art of
    Crisis Communication and Leadership

    Our next cohort kicks off soon!

    The Crisis Ready® Coaching Program

    The new ‘normal’ is both complex and here to stay. More than that, it offers opportunities into a new way of engagement.

    The Crisis Ready® Coaching Program provides professionals with access to leading experts, ongoing support, and best-practice strategies for confidently navigating the complexities of today’s ever-changing world. All while elevating your team’s skills and your brand’s overall resilience for the security you need into an even stronger tomorrow.

    Click here to learn more.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Newsletter Signup

    About the Inaugural Membership Feedback

    As we get this membership off the ground, we’re looking to our 2022 inaugural members to be a part of helping us strengthen and tailor this program to meet your needs.

    This will involve regular communication with the Crisis Ready Team to provide feedback, share requests for additional ways to support you and your business, etc.

    About the Crisis Ready Courses

    Each Crisis Ready Course is designed to help you strengthen your Crisis Ready® Expertise. Course subjects will include crisis communication, establishing governance, crisis leadership, storytelling for crisis comms, DEI integration, and more.

    Each course is complete with:

    • Anywhere from 4-15 hours of virtual learning that you can do at your own pace
    • Knowledge tests
    • Worksheets and resources to help you bring these valuable learnings and use them within your client work (applicable solely to those who have the license through this membership)
    • A Certificate Of Completion upon successful completion of each course

    Crisis Ready IMPACT, the Mastermind for Consultants

    $12,500.00 USD

    Select your payment option below. You can choose to pay for your annual membership in full or in two equal instalments (50% due immediately and 50% due in three months).


    Select your payment option below. You can choose to pay for your annual membership in full or in two equal installments (50% due immediately and 50% due in three months).


    There are no reviews yet.

    Be the first to review “Crisis Ready IMPACT, the Mastermind for Consultants”

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Wait... don't miss out on these opportunities!

    Opportunity for Individualized Coaching and Support

    If you:

    • Sometimes feel as though you’re in over your head with your clients’ issue and crisis management needs
    • Could use support and coaching to help you prepare for and have business development discussions with prospective clients
    • Wish you had more behind-the-scenes support as you serve and support your clients
    • Would benefit from personalized coaching and support as you take your Crisis Ready skills and services to the next level...

    ... then you will benefit from Crisis Ready Institute's 1:1 coaching and support. This opportunity is retainer-based and is offered exclusively to our consultant and small agency members.

    This offering provides personalized coaching and support in:

    • Managing client issues and crises as they arise. We support you as you support your clients so that you can feel confident in the recommendations and advice you provide.
    • Integrating the Crisis Ready Model into your business and client work.
    • Helping you strategize business development conversations and close more deals.
    • Gaining buy-in from existing clients. We can be your frontward-facing partner or remain behind-the-scenes, whatever the situation calls for.

    Two Packages Available:

    Monthly retainer*
    Hours of support per month

    $2,500 USD
    Up to 5

    $5,000 USD
    Up to 10

    * This is in addition to the annual membership fee.

    Before you go to checkout...

    Sign up to demo this course!

    We're excited to be sharing Sustained Resilience: Building Tomorrow's Leaders with you. Fill in the form below to gain access to demo this course. Once you fill in this form, we'll send you an email with further instructions.

    Thank you for the honor of considering this important course for your curriculum. We look forward to sharing in the experience with you!

    Melissa Agnes


    • Recognized globally as an expert, thought-leader and visionary in the field of crisis management.
    • Has worked with global players, including NATO, the Pentagon (DoD), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, global non-profits, etc.
    • Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World—ranked amongst the leading crisis management books of all time and named as one of the top ten business books of 2018 by Forbes.
    • Creator of the Crisis Ready® Model–which is recognized and being taught as leading industry best practice in universities and higher education curriculums around the world, including at Harvard University.
    • Sits on the panel tasked with developing the International Standard for Crisis Management— ISO 22361, Guidelines for developing a strategic capability.
    • Visiting scholar at D’Youville University, where she co-created and co-teaches a Crisis Ready Program for young college students.
    • Sits on Police Professional Standards, Ethics and Image Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
    • Global Advisor for The Institute for Strategic Risk Management (ISRM), a global player established to help progress and promote the underlying understanding and capabilities associated with strategic risk and crisis management on a global scale.
    • Leading international keynote speaker on the subject and TEDx alumna.
    • Founder of the Crisis Ready® Community.

    Build for a stronger tomorrow by strengthening your team’s skills in issue management, crisis management, and crisis communication.

    Between the demands of our social impact economy, the divisiveness of society and the many other challenges in front of us, embedding a crisis ready culture is more important than ever before. Having a team that is trained, poised, and empowered to effectively respond to risk, controversy and other threats, will strengthen stakeholder relationships and increase the brand equity of your organization. This is a powerful opportunity. The Crisis Ready® Coaching Program is specifically designed to equip your team with the tools needed today for launching into a stronger tomorrow.

    Effectively manage through today’s challenges with the help of a diverse group of experts.

    From best practices around re-opening, to diversity and inclusion, to managing through the impacts that 2020 has left on your business, the Crisis Ready® Coaching Program is designed to support you through the challenges of today, in order to recover faster and stronger for an even better tomorrow.

    Gain strategic foresight into the coming months, giving you the tools you need to better anticipate and plan for a stronger future.

    COVID-19 continues to affect a great majority of professionals and businesses, leaving them blindsided by its impact and all the uncertainty that came with it. The Crisis Ready® Coaching Program provides you with access to a diverse group of experts, each with unique areas of insight, to help provide you and your team with strengthened foresight to better anticipate and plan for both the risks and opportunities that lay ahead of us all.

    Licy Do Canto

    Licy Do Canto, is a veteran of public policy, corporate strategy, health care communications and diversity and inclusion, is managing director of APCO Worldwide’s Washington D.C. office headquarters and mid-Atlantic region lead. Licy is also a Global Advisory Council (GAC) member here at the Crisis Ready Institute and a highly recognized African-American public affairs, lobbyist and communications strategist— recognized by TheHill newspaper for the 11th consecutive year as one of the most influential leaders in Washington, DC.

    As Executive Vice President and Managing Director in the BCW Public Affairs and Crisis practice, Licy drives healthcare and social impact policy and strategy, and helps shape strategic direction on diversity, inclusion and belonging for the firm and its clients across North America, in public and corporate affairs, government relations, communications, crisis and reputation management. Licy also leads the BCW Healthcare Team in Washington, D.C.

    An expert in public affairs, policy and diversity and inclusion, with over twenty five years of experience at the international, national, state and local levels across the nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate and government sectors, Licy is an accomplished, values-driven leader with unparalleled experience in developing and leading integrated public affairs campaigns combining strategic communications, public relations, political/legislative initiatives, policy, coalition building, grassroots efforts and advocacy.

    Before joining BCW, Licy built and lead a nationally recognized minority owned strategic public affairs and communications firm, served as Health Practice Chair and Principal at The Raben Group, was the Chief Executive Officer of The AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and managed and helped set the leadership direction for strategic policy, communications, and advocacy investments in executive and senior government affairs roles for the American Cancer Society and the nation’s Community Health Centers.

    Before joining the private sector, Licy was domestic policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and served in several capacities in the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. During his extensive tenure in Washington, D.C., Licy has played a leading role in efforts to draft, shape and enact legislation and policy to improve the public health, health care safety net and the lives, livelihoods and well-being of the nation’s disadvantaged and underserved communities. 

    Licy also has worked with Moet Hennessey to drive diversity and inclusion on Wall Street and corporate America. He has partnered with Vice President Al Gore, senior government officials, scientists, NGOs and activists, on global climate change impact and sustainability across Africa. And he was appointed by Republican and Democrat governors to oversee the conservation, preservation and management of a prominent U.S. national historic landmark.

    Licy is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership in epidemic preparedness and management from the University of North Chapel Hill—School of Public Health and Kenan Flagler Business School, and is the recipient of multiple industry awards and citations for his leadership, policy and public affairs acumen, including being named to The Hill Newspaper list of most influential  leaders in Washington, D.C. consecutively over the last ten years. As a global citizen, Licy has lived in Turkey and Spain, and is fluent in Spanish and Cape Verdean Portuguese.

    Melissa Agnes

    Recognized globally as an expert, thought leader and visionary in the field of crisis management, Melissa Agnes has worked with global players, including NATO, the Pentagon (DoD), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, global non-profits, and many others.

    In 2020, Melissa founded Crisis Ready Institute, a public benefit corporate dedicated to creating a crisis ready, crisis-resilient world by elevating industry standards; providing training and certification programs to professionals that better protect people, brands, the environment, and the economy in times of crisis; and promoting and incentivizing organizations and leaders to invest in effective crisis readiness.

    Her book, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, is taught in dozens of universities around the world, including at Harvard University; is ranked amongst the leading crisis management books of all time, by Book Authority; and was named one of the top ten business books of 2018 by Forbes.

    Melissa is the creator of the Crisis Ready® Model, which is recognized and being taught as leading industry best practice in the fields of crisis management and crisis communication.

    As an in-demand international keynote speaker and a TEDx alumna, Melissa has traveled the world helping organizations and leaders further strengthen their crisis ready mindset, skills and capabilities.

    In 2019, Melissa founded the Crisis Ready® Community, a space for professionals to come together to support one another, collaborate and strengthen their crisis ready skills.

    Melissa sits on the Board of Trustees for D'Youville University, a private University in New York, where she also serves as a visiting scholar for the course she co-created and co-teaches on Crisis Leadership.

    Melissa also sits on the Board of Directors for ZeroNow, a non-profit organization committed to ending harmful events in schools.

    Passionate about serving law enforcement and bridging the trust divide between agencies and the communities they serve, Melissa is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In 2021 she co-chaired a committee that was tasked with developing a strategy and plan of action to begin managing and overcoming the trust crisis in the U.S.

    In 2019 and 2020, Melissa sat on the panel tasked with developing the International Standard for Crisis Management— ISO 22361, Guidelines for developing a strategic capability.

    Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec (Canada), Melissa currently lives in New York City and enjoys traveling, rollerblading, sailing, and working out when she isn’t working.

    Erick Anez

    Erick Anez is the Global Head of Business Resilience at Finastra. Erick is a proven leader with well over a decade of experience leading change and transformation in the Operational Resilience field.

    His hands-on approach focuses on operational learning, culture, and reputational management. Erick holds a Bachelor of Emergency & Homeland Security, Graduate studies in Security and Disaster Management, is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), Certified Risk Management Professional (CRMP), graduate of the FEMA institute in Incident Management and Command, and is a respected member of Public-Private partnerships within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and  the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    Some of his most notable achievements in the field include leading the private sector response to Hurricane Maria as well as working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Continuity of Operations (CCOP) projects for mission-critical facilities in the United States. Erick has also trained with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Infectious Disease Planning and community response, including Point of Dispensing initiatives.

    From 2016 to 2019, Erick held several roles at Crowley and, most recently, was the company’s Managing Director of Safety & Resilience. During this time, he was responsible for resilience operations supporting all business segments as well as leading the organization’s safety culture improvement journey. At Crowley, he led the Occupational Health & Safety, Business Continuity, and Crisis Management teams.

    Before joining Crowley, Erick held similar roles at Southwest Gas and Third Federal Savings & Loan.

    Aaron Marks

    Founder and Principal, One Thirty Nine Consulting
    Global Advisory Council Member, Crisis Ready® Institute

    Aaron Marks is the founder and principal of One Thirty Nine Consulting, providing services for small and large businesses in Risk, Crisis, and Consequence Management.

    Supporting both domestic and international clients, he provides operational and subject matter expertise in readiness and preparedness, crisis and incident management, and business and operational continuity for complex systems and organizations.

    Aaron has provided in-depth review, assessment, and analysis for technology, policy, and operational programs for clients in healthcare, critical manufacturing, and entertainment and hospitality, as well as for state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal governments in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He is a recognized authority on the application of nontraditional techniques and methodologies to meet the unique requirements of training, evaluation, and analytic games and exercise.

    Prior to entering the readiness and preparedness field, Aaron was the Director of Operations for a commercial ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider in western New York State where he participated in the integration of commercial EMS and medical transportation resources into the local Trauma System.

    During his 30-year career, Aaron has worked in almost every aspect of EMS except fleet services. This includes experience in Hazardous Materials and Tactical Medicine, provision of prehospital care in urban, suburban, rural, and frontier environments, and acting as a team leader for both ground and aeromedical Critical Care Transport Teams.

    Aaron is a FEMA Master Exercise Practitioner and received a B.A. in Psychology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. He is also a Nationally Registered Paramedic and currently practices as an Assistant Chief with the Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Amissville Virginia.

    Chris Hsiung

    Chris is the 11th Police Chief of the Mountain View Police Department, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. For more than 25 years, he has served the Mountain View community, and as the department’s leader, is passionate about maintaining MVPD’s role as a progressive law enforcement organization in the 21st century.

    Chris is an internationally recognized speaker and columnist on the areas of crisis communications, critical incident management, leadership, and engagement with stakeholder groups. In his time with Mountain View PD, Chris has held a variety of investigative, tactical, and leadership roles, serving in every division in the organization. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program and has a master’s degree in eBusiness Management from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA.

    Chris also serves in several leadership positions on multiple boards, including as president on the Government Social Media Leadership Council and committee member on the IACP's Professional Standards, Ethics, and Image Committee. Previously, Chris served as a board member for the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and two terms as a commissioner on the City of San Mateo Community Relations Commission.

    You can connect with him on Twitter @Chief_Hsiung or LinkedIn.

    Ashley Davis

    Ashley is a Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with CEOs, executives and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands. After spending over a decade working in strategic communications for multimillion dollar brands and startups, Ashley knows what truly drives conversations, builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their stakeholder groups and attracts strong strategic partnerships.

    Ashley has helped organizations and leaders increase employee awareness and overall understanding of the company vision. She has strong experience / knowledge of social media tools and techniques for driving awareness, reputation and brand—and is known for advancing a company's messaging in the marketplace by growing the following of now multiple multimillion dollar brands and startups.

    Ashley has served as the Editor of monthly all employee publications by managing the planning, writing and production. She is an integral part of new product launches and is frequently engaged to train entire sales teams along with channel / distribution partners on new product launches. In addition to her extensive experience, Ashley is a trained business coach.

    Ashley holds a BA in Global Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

    Newsletter sign up

    Stay informed and at the forefront of your Crisis Ready Mindset, Skillset, and Capabilities. Subscribe to the Crisis Ready Newsletter.