The Jeffs chat about the Omicron Variant. They share their predictions for the future of the pandemic, the impact Omicron may have on businesses, and why antibody tests should be more accessible.

Jeff Standridge: This is Jeff Standridge, and this is the Innovation Junkies Podcast. If you want to drastically improve your business, learn proven growth strategies, and generate sustained results for your organization, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the Innovation Junkies Podcast.

Jeff Standridge: Hey guys, welcome to another bonus episode of the Innovation Junkies Podcast. My name’s Jeff Standridge.

Jeff Amerine: Hey, and this is Jeff Amerine. Glad to be back.

Jeff Standridge: Hey man. How are you doing?

Jeff Amerine: I’m always great when we have these bonus episodes, it’s like a free gift brought to you by the department of redundancy department.

Jeff Standridge: Redundancy. That’s right. Very good. So what are we talking about today? What’s the bonus we’re going to give our listeners today, Jeff?

Jeff Amerine: So here we are in, in essentially the third year of the global pandemic, coronavirus pandemic. And I think what we want to talk about is the rise of Omicron. And that really sounds like that ought to be a name for a Transformer, I think. What’s the impact on business going to be or not be based on what we’re seeing? The infection rates are crazy. Everybody’s getting it. The masks are not doing any good. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been vaccinated or not. It’s becoming pervasive. So we wanted to talk a little bit about that. So what do you think Jeff, what’s the impact going to be on business for 2022?

Jeff Standridge: I think there’s going to be a short-term impact, which will be difficult. And then I think there’s going to be a longer-term impact, which will be not so difficult. That’s just my own beliefs. Those do not necessarily represent the beliefs of the community in which I live or the government that I’m involved with. Yeah. A little joke there for you, but I think the short-term impact is it’s going to continue to create unpredictable flows of clients or of business if you will. Some businesses they’re going to probably experience some downturn in client business perhaps because of people’s being a little more cautious. Other businesses where there are particular items that are necessary for households and necessary for organizations to do business may experience the same or slightly increases. I think the real short-term impact is going to be just the continued unpredictability. We don’t really know.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah.

Jeff Standridge: Personally, I believe the long-term impact is going to be much more beneficial. As you said, this particular variant of Omicron is much more highly contagious, but it is much less severe, particularly to those who have been vaccinated and, or who have had prior exposures to COVID or prior inoculation, if you will, with the actual COVID virus. And so in that instance, more people are going to get it. The scare of more people getting it is driving vaccination rates up. And so those two things together I happen to believe were probably one more variant away from COVID being a thing of the past. And that’s just based on my own internal belief.

Jeff Amerine: So you think there’ll be one more variant just based on how these things go and then it becomes endemic.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah, when I say a thing of the past. I think we’re going to always have COVID, right. But I think it will be rendered another version of what’s known as respiratory syncytial virus in pediatric patients or the flu and adults, and seasonal, if you will, bugs that just become part of as you said, endemic and it’s who we are.

Jeff Amerine: Well, and a couple of interesting things that I think are non-controversial hopefully you never know. There’s always tends to be strong opinions on this. But one thing that CDC released recently is 70% of all the previous COVID deaths. I’m not talking about Omicron. In 70% of the instances, there were four comorbidities or underlying conditions.

Jeff Standridge: Right. Yep.

Jeff Amerine: So now with Omicron, there may still be people that are severely compromised, immunocompromised or have other issues, which can be hospitalized, can be intubated, can be all that stuff…

Jeff Standridge: And they need to take precautions and stay at home, isolate themselves, and take significant precautions to keep from getting Omicron.

Jeff Amerine: Absolutely. For the vast, vast, vast majority of people vaccinated and I think maybe the South African data would show unvaccinated. Omicron is not going to be severe. It’s not really more severe because I just went through it than a bad reasonably that seasonable cold or a mild flu. And you get through it pretty quickly and you come out the other side and you’re feeling pretty good. So from a business standpoint point, I think that we’re starting to see a recognition that we can’t have two weeks of quarantine, probably five days is once you’re beyond the symptoms and you’ve tested positive is going to be all that’s required. And I think that some of that’s being dictated by the CDC out of necessity because they realize we can’t shut down the schools. We can’t shut down businesses. Because when you start talking about an infection rate and I think the most recent infection rate in this state of people that tested was like 25%.
You’re talking about having big swaths of the workforce out. Not because they feel bad and maybe not because they’re infectious, but because they were positive tested. So I think that we’re like you said, short-term pain. I think the back end of this is, this is the beginning of the end, hopefully on the epidemic stage of this and we’re going to move to where, if you’re so inclined, you can get an annual shot for it and it’ll be something that will be more routine for most people. A lot of stuff that we don’t talk about is the flu kills lots of people every year.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah.

Jeff Amerine: And typically they’re people that have other underlying issues or it turns you end up getting a secondary infection, pneumococcal pneumonia, or something like that. So I’m really optimistic that this is a significant turning point, even though it’s unpleasant in the short term. And I think businesses are going to respond accordingly. Hopefully.

Jeff Standridge: Well, I think the advice that we gave our business customers and entrepreneurs in the early days of COVID 1.0 was, number one, you need to be looking at the nonintegral parts of your business, the nonintegral expenditures, the discretionary expenditures, and conserving those. Don’t make those purchasing decisions, don’t make those discretionary investments, or what have you at that time. When it comes to serving your customer, be sensitive to the fact that there are people that are still frightened.

Jeff Amerine: Sure.

Jeff Standridge: And if you have a product or a service that is just as useful in the midst of a pandemic as it was before, or it will be after then you have a moral and ethical obligation to continue to tell people about it and to attempt to sell it. But think about some of the concerns or some of the frightened customers that you may have and look for alternate ways to serve those customers in a way that reduces their anxiety. Those things I think are still prudent in even the Omicron days.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I think there’ll still be a little bit of a chilling effect on large gatherings. Although I think we probably had over 100,000 people in Lucas Oil field in Indianapolis for the Collegiate National Championship last night. But I do think there’ll be a chilling effect for normal people that like us that are in the event business, will have to think through and we want to have large gatherings and all that for some period of time. Until the exposure rate is so high that everybody has either had it or has recovered from it. In which case I think most people will start to become more comfortable. And part of what I think needs to be done and this would be a request of those that are in biotech is we need a really accessible antibody test.
And actually, companies like NOW Diagnostics are working on such a thing, they’ve got it FDA approved. So that you can readily know this is my current state of immunity versus well, I either tested positive or I didn’t test positive. There’s a huge rush to get all the tests out. I think the real opportunity is we need more accessible antibody tests that businesses and individuals can use to say, “Hey, this person’s protected.” That’s a whole lot better than just the mass hysteria around let’s wear surgical level masks even though we know the science says they don’t work worth a darn, particularly with Omicron. And let’s push to get vaccinations, which I’m a fan of, even though they’re not going to reduce the spread at this point. They’re going to cause the illness to be less severe. So I think those kinds of things, where the government, where business can help is by getting around the facts and rolling out solutions that actually provide useful information rather than blanket solutions. I’m hoping for that.

Jeff Standridge: Though as a business leader, keep your chin up, continue to be aggressive in leading your business, continue to be prudent in terms of investing and expending in your business. Look for areas to consolidate and conserve, but hopefully knock on wood in the next three, five, seven, nine months we’re going to be looking on the backside of this.

Jeff Amerine: Absolutely. And all of us, per what we said early on. Improvise, adapt, and overcome. All of us are a heck of a lot more resilient to this disruption than we were in February and March 2020.

Jeff Standridge: Very good. Thanks for joining us. This has been another bonus episode of the Innovation Junkies Podcast. We’ll see you next time.

Jeff Amerine: See you next time.

Jeff Amerine: Hey folks, this is Jeff Amerine. We want to thank you for tuning in. We sincerely appreciate your time. If you’re enjoying the Innovation Junkies Podcast, please do us a huge favor. Click the subscribe button right now, please leave us a review. It would mean the world to both of us. And don’t forget to share us on social media.

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