A pandemic prep expert's poop-in-the-pool analogy explains people's concerns with reopening

As the U.S. begins to reopen after two months of shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are understandably concerned.

Well, some people are. Some people seem to think that the shift to reopening the economy means the virus has miraculously disappeared, that 100,000 Americans dead while we were in lockdown is nothing to worry about, and that those of us who are wary about people going back out into the public are a bunch of fear-mongering worry warts.

Jeremy Konyndyk, global outbreak preparedness and humanitarian response expert and former director of USAID's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, offered an explanation on Twitter for the folks who don't seem to understand the concern—"a short analogy about pooping and accountability."



Konyndyk wrote:

"Alright. There is a LOT of chatter on this website bashing those who are saying most of the country still isn't ready for a safe reopening. So, as we approach what would normally be summer pool season, here's a short analogy about pooping and accountability.

Imagine you're at the pool, and a kid poops in the water. It happens a few times every summer. What happens next? Everybody clears the pool. That's the initial step to protect people from the poop.

But it's not the end of the story.

There's a next step - some poor soul on pool staff has to go fish out the poop. It's a pretty thankless job.

Then they have to shock the pool with chlorine to kill off bacteria.

And then everyone waits half an hour or so til it's safe to swim again.

You can see where I'm going with this.

If the lifeguards tell everyone to clear the pool, but the pool staff declines to actually get rid of the poop, what happens?

No one can go back in. The poop is still there. Limbo.

Whose fault is it that it's not safe to go back in the water? Who is accountable?

Do you focus on the people saying "clean up the poop before we can go back in safely!"?

Or do you focus on the staff whose job it is to clean up the poop?

And what would you think if the staff started saying - look, just get back in. Be a warrior.

The answer is pretty obvious.

So right now, our country is a big swimming pool with a poop problem.

And the President, rather than fix the mess, is urging everyone back into the pool regardless and saying the 'real' problem is those people who think the pool's not safe yet. They must hate the pool, etc.

And a lot of the public is buying it!!

The President's whole play here is to distract from his failure to fix the mess by focusing the country's attention on people who don't want to swim in a pooped-in pool.

He wants you to believe they're saying you should never go back in.

And if you buy that, he's off the hook. He doesn't have to clean up the poop, and he doesn't get blamed for failing to do so. Win-win for him.

But NO ONE is saying 'never go back in the pool.' They're saying - please clean out the poop first.

Everyone wants to get back in the pool. Everyone wants to reopen the country.

And if you're frustrated that we can't, please hold the right folks accountable. The problem isn't the people saying we need to reopen 'safely.'

It's the people saying needn't bother with that part."

Exactly. Without getting cases down to a level where robust testing, tracing, and quarantining procedures will enable us to contain outbreaks when and where they occur, we're just heading into a poop-contaminated pool.

And Konyndyk is right—all of us want the economy to reopen. We all recognize the fact that people are suffering and unemployment is terrible and that lockdowns with no end in sight are not sustainable. However, opening up too quickly and before we have the necessary measures in place to get a handle on outbreaks as they occur will simply put us back to where we were two months ago—facing a pandemic with the potential to injure and kill huge numbers of people. If we just toss up our hands now and say, "Welp, whatever happens happens—if people die, oh well," we will have tanked the economy for no reason.

Let's at least get the poop out of the pool before we start inviting people back in. Reopening is going to have to happen at some point, in some measure, but if we don't do it slowly and safely, we're just asking for a crappier outcome in the long run.


Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.