Sometimes Early Looks Like Wrong

By: Kayode Owens

I live in the South Bronx, but I’m not from the South Bronx (there’s a difference…and ”If ya don’t know, now ya know”). I moved from Harlem to the BX five years ago…Not enough time in to have my BX passport, but enough for my BX travel visa to get stamped a few times. Having survived my own Coronavirus experience and now back at home, I’m noticing some things about my community and communities like mine with regard to how we’re coping. A couple of observations:

Given how serious this shit still is, there’s still waaaaaaay too many people out in the streets on a daily basis. Herald Square? Ghost Town. Times Square? Ghost Town. 138th st? Lively AF. What are we doing, people?

Photo by Omar Albeik on Unsplash

Don’t go outside unless you have to. Even when you’re stir crazy. It’s really, really hard to change your behavior, especially when we are getting mixed messages from our government about the level of seriousness of this pandemic, and it’s really easy to discount the effects of a single person’s actions, especially when we all have people that rely on us, but that’s the main fallacy here: Everyone’s actions count.

Every person that could be home but instead is out in the street when they don’t absolutely have to be is another vector for infection — either to infect others (even if you feel healthy and have no symptoms) or to pick up the infection.

Changes in behavior require a level of faith that is often in short supply. All the things that they say about developing new habits (working out, learning a new skill, etc.) apply to social distancing. It’s not our norm, and as a new habit, it takes time to set in.

Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

Coronavirus spread is, at its heart, a math problem. If you want a really simple way to understand this, click here. All the pretty charts translate back to an exponential growth function (initially).

Our fundamental lack of understanding of the underlying math hampered our willingness to commit to hard changes before we saw the large numbers that result from small numbers doubling repeatedly.

Photo by Jumpx Distrix on Unsplash

This infection has been running around in the wild in our communities for weeks (if not months) before it was acknowledged. This is the only way to account for the tremendous growth in the number of infected individuals in all communities, but particularly communities of color.

One of the smartest CEOs I ever worked for was fond of saying “Sometimes ‘early’ looks like ‘wrong’”. This is one of the truest things I’ve ever heard and seen play out with startups, and it’s definitely true of COVID19 as well: “Early” looked like wrong. I have a few friends who self-quarantined 2–3 weeks before everyone else. We thought they were crazy. They weren’t wrong, just early. They got in like 5 full Instacart deliveries with no waiting times before shit got crazy and wait times got up over two weeks. Sigh. Should’ve listened.

Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

The game is far from over — People wanna act like this is the 7th inning stretch, but really it’s just the bathroom break while they change pitchers in the 3rd…

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