• Sarah O'Brien

#ThisIsUs America

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

Some places will have to wait for masks and ventilators, a top U.S. official says.

“We’re on mile one of a marathon,” she said, adding, “what does mile 25 look like?”

“We are at war with no ammo,” said a surgeon in Fresno, Calif., who said she had no access to even the most basic surgical masks in her outpatient clinic and has a limited supply of the tight-fitting respirator masks in the operating room. Like many doctors interviewed, she asked not to be quoted by name, worried about retribution from administrators for speaking out.

(March 19, 2020 New York Times)

"The system is at breaking point and they are as well. But they keep going. They aren't the front line in this war, they are the only line.

"I can't say how I feel now, because it's a war, it's a disaster," Dr Leonor Tamayo told me.

The dead in the church all came from the intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital which is on the brink of collapse. This is what it is like when the virus overwhelms, and here in Lombardy it is overwhelming.

(Sky News, March 21, 2020)

#ThisIsUs America.

We can do better.

We have no choice.

We need not help ourselves yet.

It’s time we stop worrying about economic bailouts, industry recoveries, how to entertain the kids while working at home tips, and #ShopSmall #Pandemic campaigns and turn to help those that have been left fighting on the front lines to save lives, wearing bandanas and garbage bags.

If this issue is not dealt with first, then the economic, social, educational, financial, and psychological recovery efforts we’ll need to undertake will not matter. There won’t be enough of us left. You may not make it to that point.

This marketing, tourism, planning, economic development, downtown revitalization, public information, arts and entertainment, public safety, engineering, and local government community that I am connected with online has a huge collective voice and exponential capacity to affect positive change.

Let’s use that voice to turn the tide.

Can YOU, our Public Works experts, Developers, and Construction Managers, help the manufacturing community produce the equipment that our healthcare system will soon desperately need?

Can YOU, our City Engineers and Planning And Zoning Departments, find ways to improve patient flow or enhance the supply distribution chain at your local levels?

Can YOU, our DMO, Communications, Marketing, and Main Street Managers, redirect messaging to the importance of the shelter in place requests? Mandatory or not, it is our duty as members of the human race and as residents of this country to flatten the curve if we want to give our healthcare professionals a chance in hell of keeping up with the onslaught of patients headed their way.

Can WE, all of us, recruit teachers, school kids, unemployed industry workers, our own families, to send letters, emails, and calls to Amazon, GMC, 3M and Proctor & Gamble to consider directing a majority of supplies, production, and shipping capacities to our healthcare system?

Can YOU, the Artists, Musicians, and Social Media Influencers, sing and dance and tell the story to your followers that our healthcare workers are relying on them to stay quarantined because it will save lives?

Can YOU, our Venue Management and Hospitality industry, find out if our empty, unused hotels could be converted to help increase hospital bed capacity?

Can YOU, our Economic Developers and Meeting Planners, call on biotech and medical supply and ask ‘What do you need to increase your production 5000%?’ and then make it happen?

Can YOU, our Social Media Managers and PIO’s, use the local hospital message boards and channels to communicate what those doctors and nurses fighting in the trenches need the wounded and their caretakers to know?

Can YOU, our Administrative Assistants and Finance Clerks, take over billing and medical paperwork and let those with medical degrees or experience join their colleagues on the front lines?

Can WE stop looking ahead to a recovery that we haven’t even won the right to think about yet? We’ve left our army without uniforms, ammo or equipment to fight the enemy trying to kill us and all we can think about is our own industry? Our own businesses? Our lifestyles?

Can we just stop thinking about ourselves and ask the medical industry, the nurses, the doctors, the hospitals, ‘What Can We Do To Help?

If we don’t act now to save them, then when we really need them, they won’t be able to help save us at all.


Sarah served as a Texas Main Street manager for over a decade and is a proud two-time Past President of the Texas Downtown Association. She lives in Smithville Texas and has worked in local government. community development, destination management and downtown revitalization across the State of Texas. She is a motivational speaker, consensus builder, and visionary problem solver who helps organizations and communities understand their purpose and achieve collective impact.

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