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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Dust off Your Covid Business Continuity Plans: Another Pandemic

Covid-19 was 4 years ago…a lot of us adapted and moved on. Short-term memory is a real thing with disasters. While I am not arguing for raising the alarm for business owners, it is worth keeping tabs on an issue: H5N1.

 

I get into the weeds on things because I understand there are usually 3-4 more answers coming behind the answer you just got…and they all are “if/then” or “but/also” statements. It is not just the second and third order effects, it goes well beyond. To the current concern.

 

You might have heard about bird flu infecting cows. As I write this to pump up some of the research, there has been an explosion of articles on it in the last 2 days. They are talking about what government action can and should be taken to prevent a next pandemic – how to not let lessons from Covid-19 get lost in the government's response.


One poignant statement from the article in Time (and very true when showing value from a business continuity standpoint): it’s hard to prove you prevented the pandemic that didn’t happen.

 

Dairy cows across multiple states are infected. Things are being done, to include testing cows before they cross state lines. Brilliant! But here’s the thing: there are reports - but no exact numbers - of dairy workers coming down with flu-like symptoms. That could – if left to its own devices – allow the virus to mutate and spread among humans.  Now join me as I go into the weeds.

 

A vast majority of dairy workers are undocumented migrant workers. They don’t have health care. They work in remote, rural areas and don’t generally have the ability to access transportation to get to the hospital. They ache anyway from the laborious work they do so they might not even think to stop and wonder if they are sick.

 

Also, for a plethora of very understandable reasons, dairy farmers are not super keen on being proactive and letting the Center for Disease Control or the Food and Drug Administration onto their property to look around in these early stages. Most of the efforts by the government are voluntary at this time, and almost none of the farmers are taking them up on the offer, even when the states are the ones offering it.


This isn't about pulling the trigger on some massive efforts; it is about being aware and ready. Knowledge is a key component to preparation.

 

Think about how your business survived covid-19. It’s an excellent time to look at what pivots and practices you implemented. It’s an even better time to go back and see what you could improve for next time, especially if you acted quickly and (sorry to say it) sloppily. I get it, we were all trying to survive.


The next pandemic may come sooner than you think. Don't let what you learned from the last one go to waste.



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