My colleague, Dr. Burton Bentley, has published a practical and timely Q&A ­­– Coronavirus & Your Law Practice: Two Leading Authorities Share Actionable Advice ­–­ that every small business owner, executive, and decision maker ought to read right now.  The 10 questions and answers cover everything from some basic science of the COVID-19 pandemic to real-world advice on everyday do’s and don’ts.  

  1. What does the latest data tell us about the risk of individual citizens contracting COVID-19 in terms of infection and seriousness?
  2. What are the first signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection?
  3. Given the limited availability of testing, how will people know if they have COVID-19 versus another illness?
  4. What is incubation period and can people be infected or contagious before showing symptoms?
  5. What are recommendations and tips for employee self-isolation (self-quarantine)?
  6. What do we know about COVID-19 transmission from surfaces?
  7. What should small business owners and their offices do to mitigate employee and business risk?
  8. When should a company mandate working from home for most or all employees?
  9. What should people have ready at home?

The tenth question that Dr. Bentley addresses ­­– How will businesses know when the coast is clear? ­­– offers the following:

Public health authorities, including the CDC and WHO, are monitoring the COVID-19 situation very carefully and are updating the public with any new developments. Important milestones that will inform decision making may include the following: 

  • When we learn the case fatality rate (dangerousness of the disease) through widespread testing.
  • When the total incident rate (number of new cases) begins to plateau and decline.
  • When we identify the true spectrum of disease and the number of mild or asymptomatic cases.

Currently these answers are unknown, but data from additional testing over the next few weeks may provide clarity.  In the best-case scenario, the data will reveal disease severity similar to seasonal influenza in which case businesses will have less operational anxiety.

Dr. Bentley turned to two authorities to write his Q&A — ­­ Dr. Venktesh R. Ramnath, Associate Professor of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine and the President of a global medical consulting firm, and Dr. Tom Fariss, recent Vice President of Global Health at Kimberly Clark Corporation.

Finally, here’s what Burton said to me today:  “Feel free to post and disseminate anyone in our profession who runs a biz.  This is a timely topic and people have a lot of questions.  Please help spread the word.”