FOX 11 News In Depth : Coronavirus Pandemic Planning

SEGMENT A: Coronavirus: Planning Ahead

Michelle Constant, the CEO of pandemic planning firm Constant and Associates joins us to discuss the job of a pandemic planner, what government agencies and businesses they assist and how they do that. Constant says that seeing the Coronavirus crisis has been like watching one of their case studies play out in real-time.  She says the government has put into effect many of their recommendations, for example, non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as personal actions like handwashing, and community actions like isolating people and environmental actions such as cleaning surfaces., FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates. 

She is encouraged to see public/private partnerships emerging to help mitigate the crisis. Constant says there are many lessons to be learned from this pandemic, and that there will be assessments afterward to make sure that changes are made going forward to assist in future scenarios. She shares the resources put in place by the government before a disaster such as the Strategic National Resource, where stockpiles of supplies from medical supplies to pharmaceuticals can be quickly deployed to supplement local facilities. She also talks about how the Navy Hospital ship the Mercy will take some of the load off of medical facilities in case of a spike in seriously ill patients.

SEGMENT B: Coronavirus Protecting Businesses

Constant says she sees a lot of movement from the government to assist businesses and workers affected by the crisis. She mentions, in particular, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which contains provisions for extended sick leave, flexibility for parents who have childcare issues. She also mentions the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, which offers help for businesses like the delay of employer payroll taxes, tax credit rebates, and deferral of excess business loans. Constant talks about how businesses will be able to get restarted when all of this is over. She believes we’ll see a staggering reopening of businesses, most likely due to orders from the health department.

SEGMENT C: Coronavirus Stress and Anxiety

Therapist John Tsilimparis joins Hal to talk about how to handle the stress of dealing with the coronavirus crisis. He says part of the stress is that people don’t know much about what the virus is all about and they don’t know how long the personal distancing is going to last.   

Tsilimparis says that some people with mental and emotional problems have even more trouble dealing with the isolation because humans are social creatures challenges our basic instinct to reach out for support from others. H   He says that the main thing to do to cope is to learn self-regulation skills, and avoid “emotional reasoning” when a person confuses feelings with facts.  He tells people to do a “five-minute rule.” He tells patients to not react emotionally until they’ve taken five or ten minutes to rationally consider what they are facing, and after that brief “pull-back”  they are in a better place to deal with things.  He also says people need to stay informed but don’t “news saturate” because they will likely become more distressed over the situation. Tsilimparis says we need to use our technology to reach out to people, to keep busy and keep a sense of normalcy to keep emotionally stable.


Hal promotes his “What The Hal” podcast.  He shares a photo of a chalk drawing by children that says “everything will be okay”  and we end with the Chino Hills high school choir singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”  over their personal devices, which was edited into a full chorus video.

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