Let’s start with the good news. We have no new COVID-19 infections within our staff over the past week. All five of the previous cases are recovered or well on their way to recovery.
We continue to proceed with great care, deliberate caution and diligence to protect the health and safety of everyone in the B&M community. Thank you all and please keep it up.
From a business perspective, B&M has plateaued momentarily at a level of activity that is about 25% below normal for this time of year. Some of our Regions are considerably worse off and some are better. In general, I believe we have found our footing albeit in a precarious and diminished state. As a total company, we are suffering but not nearly as significantly or as catastrophically as the many other businesses and industries that have been temporarily shuttered. I feel very fortunate that our people have adapted so quickly and effectively, that so much of our work is critical in nature, and that we have many customers who regard us as indispensable.
Our company will recover. Of that fact, I have no doubt.
The bad news is that COVID-19 is still strongly upon us. The pandemic “math” based on growth rates, case counts, hospital capacity and many other factors may be improving in some of our communities but the virus still presents a grave and unpredictable threat. When you are healthy, the thought of being ill seems so abstract and distant. I am also hardened by all the bad news to the extent that it is easy to rationalize a separation from that reality to my own. It seems worse elsewhere. I seem unlike that seemingly small percentage of our total population that is getting seriously ill. I am as prone as anyone to be misled by the optimistic chatter about peak-passing, curve-flattening and re-opening.
But please believe me when I tell you that the danger remains very real to each of us. The anecdotal evidence from clinicians in the hottest of virus hot spots is that everyone is vulnerable. The virus is impulsive and unpredictable, presenting meekly in some and devastatingly in others. Much remains unknown about COVID-19 in spite of the feverish research and analysis that is underway across the globe.
There are many positive signs that we are slowing the growth of the North American outbreak. In spite of a few horrifying exceptions such as New York, we are successfully protecting vital healthcare capacity from being overwhelmed thus far. I am encouraged by the response of my fellow citizens and in awe of the courage and commitment of front-liners everywhere.
But the fight is far from over. Each of us must continue to do our part to protect ourselves and each other. We will adjust as we learn more but for now we must remain highly attuned and aggressively defended to the menace of coronavirus.
Please stay isolated if you feel unwell, remain vigilant about hygiene and disinfecting the surfaces around you, remain at home as much as you can, stay physically apart whenever possible.
Most of all, stay positive. Give yourself permission to have a laugh. We are getting through this.