4.21 The Pulse Of Covid-19: The Trends Of The Past Week

I don’t think it’s just happenstance that this week my Spotify Discover Weekly first track is titled “Where are we going?” by Donald Byrd, a 1973 Jazz track with lyrics like, “Tell me, where are we going? Oh, what’s the future showin’? Oh, where are we headed?” Aren’t these the million-dollar questions of the moment? 

One thing is for certain: it’s not going to be an all or nothing equation; instead, it’s more likely there will be new creations and norms that form from our old lives merged with new values, attitudes, and behaviors we’ve seen during this pandemic.

Just like the Zonkey – a rare Zebra/Donkey– leaders, companies, and individuals will evolve to become new and unique combinations of themselves, leveraging the past and present to emerge with strength and resilience. With that in mind, let’s look into what combinations of new and old are evolving in the market as a source of insight, inspiration, and maybe even a point of levity.

This week we’ve woven Harris’ latest data throughout the trends, highlighted in bold

Leaders Shift Into Zonkey Mode: Confronted by disruption, leaders are asking themselves, “ How should we change and adapt to the times?” This level of responsibility is forcing businesses to reimagine how they can deliver value today – and consumers are watching. For example, Did they Help?, a site run by volunteers in the UK, documents actions companies are taking today ranking them as “zeros” or “heroes” in relief efforts. Here’s how we see companies pivoting to ‘hero’ status:

Gearing Up For A New Job Market: In the past four weeks, a total of 22 million Americans have filed jobless claims. The next phase is figuring out what’s next and helping Americans get back on their feet. Of those who have been furloughed, 24% say they believe they will be rehired in 1 to 2 months, while one third it will be 3 to 6 months (36%), and a similar number anticipate it taking 6 months to 1 year (30%).

Rewired Sports Arenas: Sports leagues in the U.S. and around the world are working to figure out how to build the excitement and experience of watching sports, without stadiums and arenas packed with fans. And this is a relatively urgent pursuit: Nearly half of Americans say they miss watching sports on TV (45%) and attending sporting events in person (49%).

Staffs of Japan Pest Control Association conduct a disinfection operation at Hotel Mikazuki where 197 Japanese returnees from Wuhan, China by the government charted the first evacuation flight stayed in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture on Feb. 16, 2020. Returners left the hotel on Feb 13th. The 197 returnees found negative in a coronavirus test and went back home after staying two weeks for prevention of spreading new coronavirus COVID-19. The number of the COVID-19-hit patients has reached to 68,500 and the death toll has been confirmed 1,665 so far as of February 16th in China. As the outbreak continues to spread outside China, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a Global Health Emergency on Jan 31st. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

Sani-Lux Travel: What happens when sanitization becomes the ultimate act of luxury service?

  • Luxury hotels that have pivoted to service frontline workers are shifting their service models to prioritize sanitation, offering new ‘sanitization’ standards like 72-hour deep clean gaps between users. Industry travel experts believe consumers will need new sanitation guarantees, policies, and crystal clear communication to feel safe traveling again. 
  • Our latest data shows that, for Americans to feel safe flying again, they will want hygienic wiping down of seats (55%); hand sanitizer packets handed out with snacks (54%); mandatory masks on the plane for passengers and crew (46%); required temperature tests for passengers and crew (45%), and planes configured for social distancing (e.g., no middle seats) (45%).
  • In the meantime, people are traveling through their own creative portals, such as thisAustralian family that recreated a 15-hour holiday flight from their living room, while these travelers recreated their best travel memories from home.

Permission To Chill: A time for our greatest minds to come together and reimagine what the world should look like for the better as we emerge. 52% of Americans say they have felt grateful for the break from work to be at home with their family or by themselves since the stay-home orders have gone into effect (up 4% from last week).

Low-Pro-tainment: Entertainment gets permission to go low production, fail fast, and try new things while Hollywood is locked down.

  • John Krasinki’s new YouTube show, Some Good News, continues to bring low production, high-spirited vibes to the internet and, this time, Brad Pitt joins him to deliver the weather. He is also throwing virtual prom parties with Billie Eilish and the Jonas Brothers for high school students. Meanwhile, everyone is invited to a virtual happy hour at Downton Abbey and Cardi Binterviews Bernie Sanders on Instagram Live, talking politics, pandemics and manicures.

The Messy Work/Life Exposed & Accepted: There is no more sweeping the mess of work/life balance under the rug. Many employees have families and finally aren’t apologizing for it, especially as more Americans work from home. 

Bots On The Frontline: When does Hollywood’s imagination and sci-fi hypotheticals become our reality? They’ve imagined the future of robots, drones, and AI, and now we may be at the tipping point of adoption out of necessity. 81% of Americans approve of large technology companies helping to trace coronavirus cases to monitor exposure (vs. 19% who disapprove). Even the director of Contagion, Steven Soderbergh, will be the one who will lead the entertainment industry coronavirus committee.

Finding Light in the Darkness: The ultimate Zonkey: finding the human spirit of ingenuity and relief in times of crisis. 

That’s it for now. Till next week.