With burgeoning talk of restarting production, I feel it important to point out that on set social distancing will be pretty pointless without extensive testing.  Early guidelines from other productions made mention of testing individuals exhibiting symptoms, but  made no mention of addressing the risks posed by asymptomatic spreaders.  Studies have shown that virus-carriers are most contagious when they are showing NO symptoms, so this has to be addressed before anything can move forward.  Productions will be walking the high wire without the insurance safety net whenever they resume principal photography, and they can’t afford any missteps.  I think it’s going to be a lot harder on the smaller players while the bigger studios, with their deep pockets, are better positioned persevere.

I’m curious where my blog readers stand.  Are you still going in to work?  If you aren’t going in to work, how comfortable will you feel heading back when quarantine is lifted?  Say, tomorrow?  A month from now?

Hey, what are you doing Sunday afternoon at 3:00 ET?  Why don’t you come hang out with me and most of the Dark Matter cast at our Home Con panel?  Who’s up for a little reunion?

Continuing my #AGraphicNovelADay challenge…

18 thoughts on “May 12, 2020: Not so fast!

  1. Testing everyone may be the way to go. BUT, unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of false negatives and false positives in those tests. Nowadays, we are just assuming everyone is positive. As for resuming production, it will no doubt be risky.

    Will definitely tune in DM panel this Sunday. Now I just have to figure out how Twitch works.

  2. I Told my employers back in late Febuary that I would no longer be working with them. I have been self isolating ever since. I have had no problems staying at home day after day. I keep busy in the garden or catch up on my writing. I don’t see myself going back to work until may September and I’m fine with that 🙂

  3. I’ve been working straight through it all. I work as a director at a local NBC affiliate station in Wisconsin when I’m not working as a freelance illustrator/ concept artist. I’m working 3 days a week currently but it looks like with one of the directors leaving that will change to 4 days a week soon. Honestly where I live in Eau Claire I haven’t been super worried about it…. yet. I’m still staying at home as much as I can keeping my outings to a minimum mind you. I wear a mask when I go out and when I’m at work. Many employees are working from home if it’s possible so there are only a few people physically working at the station at a good distance from one another. Still, as time goes on and rules begin to loosen I’m going to be even more cautious. I feel like where I live the danger is going to increase in the next few months. And let’s be honest as much as people are careful where I work I find they will often forget to keep their distance and, even worse, there are a few who will sneeze without covering their mouth. I’m glad to be working but I do understand the employees share headsets and keyboards. If someone is sick how safe can anyone here really be. Even with all the hand sanitizer stations etc. I understand I’m taking a risk going to work. But at the same time I’m not sure I have a choice. I can’t direct a newscast from home and I won’t be paid if I don’t. I know I’m luckly to be working. I just hope that luck holds out.

  4. Joe said: I’m curious where my blog readers stand…

    I’ve been a retiree homebody for a few years. COVID-19 has made me less likely to leave the house and more likely to sleep in. 😴

    I had an upper-respiratory illness for two weeks in March. Since the COVID symptom list has expanded, I’ve wondered whether I actually had a mild case. Testing has been opened to asymptomatic patients in my city; I have an appointment tomorrow, so I’ll know within the week.

    Meanwhile, I will start a volunteer gig this week, helping the city health department with contact tracing. (Call-center work has been part of my toolbox since 1980.)

    1. Canceled the COVID-19 test appointment due to schedule conflict. Will wait for antibody test.

  5. From my perspective, sitting in Spain in one of the areas where we were not permitted to move from Phase 0 to Phase 1 (with Phase 3 being the final phase before the “nueva normalidad”), I’m nervous watching countries being so eager to open without proper testing. I get the economic issue, I really do, but 2nd and 3rd waves of past pandemics show how important it is to be cautious. Furthermore it seems like those eager to be open miss the fact that purpose of the lockdown is to flatten the curve. Number of available ICU beds along with infection rate is what determines what phase a province in Spain can move to the next phase. If you lift it too fast, the system gets overwhelmed again. Madrid turned an ice rink into a morgue. Care homes were ravaged. There’s a makeshift hospital 15 minutes from me (I’m up near Barcelona).

    Meh. I could rant. I really could.

    My parents are in a US state that is reopening and they’ve decided to keep their lockdown of their own volition (my dad works remotely anyway and my mom is retired so they can choose to do so). That makes me feel better but I have other friends in the US I’m concerned about…

  6. I live in London, UK and rely on public transport. So, I will continue to WFH until further notice. Luckily I have the support from my manager.
    I want to see if there will be a second spike following this relaxation of restrictions.

  7. My boss told me he won’t be bringing me back on for at least six months because he doesn’t want to risk my health. I’m good with that. Fortunately, I have a pension that helps a lot. I’m going to have to figure out a way to supplement that and tighten the budget, but I think it is the right decision. I’m also going to file for unemployment. We’ll see how it goes.

    I definitely think that resuming production is a mistake. There’s no real way to socially distance on set and it is a huge liability if people start getting sick. I don’t think the timing is right. There are too many unknowns. Until a reliable antibody test is widely available and immunity is proven, resuming life as normal is a mistake in any environment.

  8. Hi Joe,
    I’m an elementary teacher and over my 30 years of teaching I cannot count how many times a child has wandered over to me and explosively sneezed/coughed in my face. They mostly apologise afterwards. Some kind of illness usually follows 2 or 3 days later. I’m very worried about going back to school, picking up the virus from one of my 55 daily contacts, and bringing it back to my 60 yr old husband. If you tell kids they need to cover their coughs and sneezes some will do it, some will try to remember to do it and some kids will break the rule because that’s what some kids do. Asking them to cover sneezes is like asking them to walk in the halls… they don’t see the reasoning.

    I’m shocked that just across the river Quebec schools are back in. I’m feeling stressed about being forced back without planning and safeguards in place.

    1. I told sympathize. My sister works as a child care provider in Quebec and the provincial government there is clueless.

  9. Productions would certainly have to factor in cost of testing kits and someone trained to perform them. They make those rapid tests that are supposed to catch the asymptomatic people. $$$$

  10. When I went to the clinic, plenty of people were not wearing masks. My friend took me into the grocery store, most customers were not wearing masks, were ignoring the one way lanes, and would get right up next to me. While I was glad I could do my own shopping for once, I was nervous. And it turns out Prednisone lowers your immune response. Oh. Joy. I fear the next wave of cases, and it is coming faster that people want to acknowledge.

    I am retired, I can stay in my little room and my huge yard full time. I brought comfort items into my new room, my husband’s urn, my Japanese vanity, my Lokis. The plaster walls in my bedroom are not drying, not sure if demolition or surrender is next. I know the fans must stop soon. the house wiring cannot handle that sort of current draw much longer. My nieces and friends are almost all back at work, retail, senior care, food production, food service . I think even my elderly brother is working and he’s 72. I fear for them.

  11. Safer production on a budget?
    100% Animation. Lots of new Godzilla
    and Short Circuit (Johnny 5, alive) type movies.
    Or … Get ready to psyche yourself up for
    sequels 2 thru 10 of Cast Away with Tom Hanks and his buddy Wilson.
    Only, he never makes it back to modern society in any of them.

    As for me:
    I hear there’s some pretty cheap real estate
    and plenty of science research and coordinator positions in Antarctica.

  12. I have always been afraid of other people’s germs. Now I finally have an excuse to wear a mask in public. I only go out when necessary, always wear a mask, and hold my breath when people walk by me.

  13. If the immediate future is anime, you can make an offer to anyone in the world to act in it since you don’t have to worry about bringing them into a studio.

  14. I don’t think it’s a wise decision. If it has to open, lots of testing and ongoing retesting with intensive contact tracing will be critical.

    My area (Wisconsin) just received a Supreme Court ruling overturning our Governor’s stay-at-home orders. He was planning a stepped system for reopening, but the Republicans who have a majority in the Legislature and on the Court are all about the economy and I don’t think they care about people dying as long as they and their wealthy friends are taken care of. So, as of 5/13 everything is cleared to reopen. It’s insane. I fear that we’re going to see a sharp rise in cases.

    I’m 70 and retired plus disabled so I don’t get out much anymore. Doctor visits are my primary outings. I do miss going out to restaurants to eat, but I plan to stay away from them for now. People are not social distancing and few wear masks. That makes it especially dangerous for people like myself. Not only am I older, but I also have asthma, diabetes and a heart condition so I can’t afford to take chances.

    Stay safe everyone.

  15. I teach in Texas, am lucky I can work online from home but it’s harder on teachers and students. My wife telecommuted anyway so we’re OK with work. We’ve been alarmed to see many in our community going about their business as usual the past two months but we are staying home and distancing as much as possible. (I am also an epidemic modeler for work so keeping a wary professional eye on all this. Indoor gatherings like classes and filming still unadvisable at this point, I’m sad to say.)

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