What’s next? 3 COVID-19 future scenarios and HOW you can respond

With COVID-19 deaths now surpassing 500,000 1https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 against a backdrop of easing lockdowns, many are starting to wonder “what’s next”? In this post, we’ll explore 3 pandemic wave scenarios to help start a discussion about how laser eye surgeons can respond in each case. Renowned epidemiologist Dr Michael Osterholm, Director of The Center for Infectious Disease and Policy (CIDRAP), has put forth 3 scenarios based on previous pandemics.2https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars/episode-7

To help you respond to any of these scenarios in the widely cited report, we’ve laid out some ways you can assess which scenario you might experience in your area. We also explore how we expect your markets will respond, given our understanding of how different generations are responding to the global pandemic.

First, let’s review what’s happened so far, as we predicted in March 2020.

Importantly, these scenarios are not predictions. Instead, they are three alternate futures.

“There is no crystal ball to tell us what the future holds and what the ‘end game’ for controlling this pandemic will be,” the report authors wrote.

The 3 pandemic scenarios

  1. Peaks & Valleys
  2. Autumn Peak
  3. Slow Burn

For a brief summary, watch Dr. Osterholm weigh in on the new 18-24 month COVID-19 timeline.

Scenario 1: Peaks & Valleys

This scenario projects a series of repetitive smaller waves that follow the Q2 wave through the summer and then consistently over a one- to two-year period, gradually diminishing sometime in 2021. This scenario will likely require localised mitigation.

Peaks and Valleys

You’re more likely to experience the Peaks & Valleys scenario if:

  • Your government has imposed strict mitigation measures like social-distancing, non-essential business closures, and travel restrictions
  • People diligently follow government regulations
  • Governments roll-back restrictions in a careful way, respecting R0 values
  • Immunisation roll-outs successfully penetrate the population starting with those most at risk through to 80% of the population.

Scenario 2: Autumn Peak

This scenario suggests that there will be a larger second wave that will be dramatically larger than the initial wave we just experienced, and then one or more smaller waves in 2021. “This pattern will require the reinstitution of mitigation measures in the fall in an attempt to drive down the spread of infection and prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed,” wrote Osterholm. “This pattern is similar to what was seen with the 1918-19 pandemic.”

Autumn Peak

This Autumn Peak scenario is likely if:

  • Governments present mixed-messaging or leave much of the response to the initiative of the people
  • People ignore government advice or do not adopt vaccinations when offered
  • Governments relax regulations without heeding scientific advice

Even though this is a worst-case scenario, unfortunately, this is what experts at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy consider to be the most likely outcome. Plan for this scenario, and you are prepared for any of the 3 alternatives.

Given the mass social gatherings across the world that we’ve seen occurring in the weeks since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police – this scenario is looking even more likely. The Washington Post quoted the director of the American CDC, Robert Redfield saying “I do think there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event.”

Scenario 3: Slow-Burn

Scenario 3 is a “slow burn” of ongoing transmission until we reach herd immunity (60-70% of people infected or vaccinated). “This third scenario likely would not require the reinstitution of mitigation measures, although cases and deaths will continue to occur.”

Slow Burn

In this scenario, the report authors stated that there would not likely be a need for a further lockdown.

This slow-burn scenario could happen if the other two scenarios above do not come to pass.

How laser eye surgery and cataract surgery clinics can respond

First, differentiate what you can do from what is beyond your control.

You’ll be at an advantage if you are located:

  • In slow-burn scenarios
  • In areas where lockdowns were early and short
  • In areas with more government trust
  • In areas with a high proportion of highly educated, white-collar workers
  • In high-affluence areas
  • In areas with state-sponsored income, education & healthcare
  • In areas with population tubes (as opposed to population pyramids)

Whether you are in this situation or not, you can

  • Bridge the valleys with patient re-engagement campaigns
  • Offer services to Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers (not just Gen-Ys)
  • Go virtual, reducing time in-clinic to mitigate social distancing
  • Charge premium prices (and can justify value)
  • Offer more profitable procedures
  • Reduce cost/patient
  • Market and sell emotionally (using empathy and trustworthy guidance)

If you need our assistance, you know where to find us. Book a compatibility call today.

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Rod Solar

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Rod Solar co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our clients. He’s on a mission to double the size of 150 cataract and refractive surgery practices. He figures the best way to achieve that is by applying proven frameworks to discover & leverage the hidden growth opportunities in the very best practices. Rod is passionate about digital marketing.

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Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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