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.


True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

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"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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