Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

A very simple gesture of a handshake to diffuse a hostile situation

June 20, 2022

I was standing at the ATM on the South Mall in Cork and suddenly from behind me I heard a booming voice “Excuse me, excuse me”.

When I turned around it was a guy on a bike shouting at people to get out out of his way as he sped through.

One of the pedestrians quite rightly had an issue with this speeding cyclist who should have kept his racing for the road and suddenly the two of them were arguing.

The cyclist was way out of order so I jumped to the pedestrians defence.

He’s right, what are you doing racing on the footpath?” I said.

Suddenly he’s in my face, a tall guy, one of these triathlon types, dressed in black from head to toe.

What’s your problem, tell me, tell me-I was being polite, I said excuse me

I responded “You were roaring, and besides, you shouldn’t have been cycling on the footpath

He came closer to me and repeated what he already said. I repeated what I said and he repeated what he said, getting closer again. This was only going to escalate.

I looked at him and told him it was a waste of time talking to him if he couldn’t get the point about cycling on the footpath and I turned to walk away.

He came after me and once again he was repeating what he had already said “What’s your problem, I was being polite

This was pointless …I looked at this tall guy, all fired up and from nowhere I found myself offering my hand to shake his. This could go either way, but it was one way of breaking the cycle (pardon the pun!)

He looked puzzled for a second and then met me in a handshake. I said “hey man, calm down, it’s a Friday

He smiled and said “you are right, that’s what I call great conflict resolution!

He then hugged me and said he probably shouldn’t have been on the footpath and we both wished each other a good weekend and parted ways.

My spontaneous gesture surprised even me, and I was amazed at how quickly it diffused something that could have easily turned ugly.

It turns out a handshake is hard to resist as we are programmed to treat it like a gesture of kindness or friendship – try it !!

Greg

Greg is a partner at Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Time to lose the “kind regards” and say something meaningful

January 18, 2022

I was listening to a fascinating conversation on a podcast with the founder of Toms Shoes, Blake Mycoskie who was sharing his career story including the incredible story of where the idea of Toms Shoes came from, the powerful notion of giving away a free pair of shoes to those who badly needed shoes for every pair they sold and how this idea caught on and quickly led to a legendary success.

At the close of the chat he was asked to give some advice to the listener and he shared a phrase that he lives by “Carpe Diem”, or seize the day.

His basic philosophy is that life is precious, we have no idea how long it will last so make the most of each and every day.

A little habit he uses to remind people of this advice is to sign off all of his emails with the phrase “Carpe Diem” instead of other meaningless salutations such as yours sincerely, kind regards or even my more casual one “cheers” – I do hate formality!

The cynic might think what is that fella all about but this is really clever as it is using a frequent method of everyday communication to replace something meaningless with something meaningful and possibly trigger a positive thought or emotion for the reader.

I was chatting with the fantastic Paul Born of the Tamarack Institute in Canada on my Win Happy podcast and he does something similar but uses equally powerful words “Much joy” – why not spread joy and remind people of joy each and every single day?

Taking all of this onboard I’ve started to sign off all of my emails with the words “Win Happy” which is my core philosophy – I want people to succeed, whatever success looks like for them but to go about this in a way that makes them and those round them happy. If we all lived by that approach I think life would be better and more positive, in particular our working lives.

And taking this one step further maybe even (when appropriate of course) sign off your social media posts with a hashtag with your “words” – if that’s what you believe let people know.

My challenge for you is to think about replacing your meaningless closing salutation and replacing it with something meaningful.

It might get a few strange reactions to begin with but at least it will give people something to remember you by, something to think about and maybe, just maybe, create a shift in their day.

Win Happy !!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Time to talk to the unvaccinated?

November 23, 2021

We are reading about the need for taking more care, not going back to the workplace, socialising less and the need for possible regular antigen tests to keep us safe. Fancy a stick up your nose three times a week?

We are reading about Covid sweeping through our schools with students and teachers alike falling with the disease.

We are reading about how the hospitals are under severe pressure with over half of the serious Covid cases being unvaccinated people who have fallen seriously ill and the other half being vaccinated people with underlying conditions. (92% of the adult population are vaccinated – the numbers are clear).

We know 100% that the hospitals are rammed with Covid patients and as a result normal procedures are being postponed and god love anyone who goes there with an emergency case.

We are also reading that the unvaccinated are a big part of the problem, allowing the disease to spread more and possibly mutate.

A restaurant or venue owner is obliged to ask customers for their Vaccine passport and proof of ID but they are not permitted to ask their own team members if they are vaccinated ..”invasion of privacy“.

Do we not have a duty of care towards our employees?

We are reading about huge protests in Rotterdam and Vienna as people are freaking out about the necessary restrictions that have been introduced – angry with the wrong people?

If more severe restrictions are introduced here, no doubt people and businesses will be freaking out and all of this will be aimed at NPHET and the government, who will only be doing this to keep people safe and our hospitals functioning.

Maybe it is time to stop pussyfooting around, enough of the “PC” stuff and if we want to get out of this Covid mess and keep our loved ones safe and our businesses open it is time to focus our messaging on those who have so far been unwilling to vaccinate.

Maybe not quite “boot in” but it is time to apply some real peer pressure because it is needed.

Instead of the various lobby groups pressurising the government, maybe it is time to start focusing on those members of the general public who are not playing ball and putting everyone at risk and our lives on hold and livelihoods at risk.

Instead of being angry at the government, maybe it is time for us to start talking to family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to keep us safe. (instead we are all dancing around them gently- it’s their right)

If the unvaccinated are the biggest part of the problem, let’s tackle this head on and stop trying to solve it by tinkering with other measures that won’t deliver a solution.

We’ve all seen the advert about wearing a seatbelt..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design Podcast Production and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Backing Brave and “Your Relationship Manager”

September 1, 2021

I just received a significant piece of correspondence from the bank I have been with for 40 years.

It was important, great, huge even, but it captures in a nutshell how far we have come from the bank where you knew your manager and there was a genuine relationship, to the one that exists today, which is nothing but a connection to an entity that just processes transactions.

My significant letter starts with..

Dear Customer(s)..

Even though it was written to me this generic piece of auto generated crap didn’t use my name and tried to cover itself with an “s” in plural just in case the generic BS correspondence was intended for more than one person.

As well as the humbo jumbo in the middle section which did include a “thank you for your business” message there was some technical stuff with no effort at providing an actual relevant contact person if I had a query about any of it.

And then it signed off .., with a

Your sincerely

that’s another joke, this was auto generated.

and then the “person” who sent it.

The Manager , no name, and no actual signature (does this possibly make this correspondence invalid?).

The only contact details on the letter was a phone number in Dublin – I can imagine how far I would get if I called the number and asked to speak to the person who sent me the letter.

I’m fairly sure I would get a “your call is being recorded“.

Oh, I forgot to mention what was included in the humbo jumbo, a pure classic..

Should you require any further details or other AIB products please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager at your local branch

Hey AIB and everyone on this automation, bot, AI, less people drive, let’s stop pretending… this is not a relationship and no advertising campaign can rescue this empty BS.

Getting simple things like important correspondence right, even in an automated world might just make a difference.

Backing Brave?? …Maybe start with real people?

Rant over ..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day and looking in the Covid rear view mirror

March 18, 2021

So, the ISAG (Independent Scientific Advocacy Group) last December were advocating for an approach (mostly known as Zero Covid), that they said would have us out of lockdown and enjoying some return to freedom on St. Patrick’s Day.

They were talking about a similar approach to how New Zealand had dealt with Covid, whereby we could potentially be enjoying a mask free life in our country, meeting friends, eating in restaurants, drinking in pubs, celebrating our special national day and most importantly getting “Back to Normal”.

I myself was a big advocate for the approach they were taking, as I believed it made total sense and was the only way for us to get out of our grave situation with minimum loss of life, health, jobs, damage to the economy and mental health.

I went as far as blogging about it, tweeting about it and even giving their team some pro-bono strategic guidance about their communications – we even did some design work to help simplify their messaging. I am not involved now, but I do support what they are doing.

Note: I was quiet surprised at the abuse I took in some quarters for supporting that approach and was even targeted by the “brilliant” Gript crew (…very strange). The “we are all in this together” horse bolted in April 2020 and still hasn’t come back!

On one hand we can now throw our eyes up to heaven and say the ISAG crew were talking rubbish and isn’t where we are right now proof that they were totally wrong

OR ..we can now look back and say they were spot on all along, and if only we had done what they said then, we would be in a pub with a creamy pint of Murphy’s toasting our national day and the end to the hardship we have all endured at varying levels.

So…were they right or were they wrong?

Let’s take a look..

What they were advocating for was:

  • An aggressive suppression of the virus by going into a sharp, decisive lockdown
  • Quarantining all visitors to the country for two weeks to ensure those entering were not introducing even more Covid and possible new variants
  • Some cooperation with Northern Ireland (who were in a worse mess at the time) about people moving between jurisdictions
  • An effective contact tracing regime to focus in on any cases that happen
  • A sensible opening up of the country on a county by county basis

While all of this initial effort seemed very extreme, a sacrifice by the population for two months or so could have us in a much better, enjoyable place for 2021 while we all waited for vaccines.

Initially many of the usual suspects argued that this “Zero Covid” crew were a bit nuts and what was being suggested just wasn’t possible here – as I said I took a small amount of that abuse for my small part in advocating for the approach.

When we look at what has happened since then until this St. Patrick’s Day (our supposed “freedom” day):

  • We came out of the October/November lockdown when there were still too many cases in the community (we stupidly allowed schools to stay open despite outbreaks)
  • We never controlled international travel or the border with the North
  • Christmas shopping and entertaining kicked in
  • The UK variant came to Ireland with all of the thousands of people returning home for Christmas and….

BOOM !!!

We had an explosion of Covid with an incredible amount of cases and the inevitable deaths that followed.

Suddenly that aggressive and inevitable lockdown was needed and there was no issue with the general public, we knew it was necessary and with that more and more people were seeing the sense that the ISAG crew were advocating for, except instead of a “hill” of Covid cases in the community that we needed to suppress it was suddenly a colossal “mountain”.

OK, we could still do what the ISAG were suggesting, but the scale of the problem meant the St. Patrick’s Day target was now unrealistic, but instead a few weeks later if we did the right thing.

What did we actually do?

  • We took the tough lockdown on the chin, including home schooling (sensible and necessary) – the only exception is that the lockdown period needed to be longer (how long will it be?)
  • And…a token effort to restrict “unnecessary” travel (as we know there are still thousands travelling each week unnecessarily)
  • And….despite the talk about hotel quarantining we still haven’t managed to put an arrangement in place
  • And….schools will return and the community spread will kick off again
  • And….we are stumbling through a vaccination programme (my 85 year old mum will receive her 2nd vaccination next Saturday , my 47 year old brother in New Jersey received his two weeks ago!)

The most significant problem since December is that the flights kept coming with all sorts of visitors from everywhere including new Covid variants from Brazil and other places.

A simple question may be asked: how bloody stupid are we in this country?

Basically, we can’t go beyond 5kms in Ireland, but you can go to Lanzarote!

As far back as last summer Ireland has been “so good” at putting restrictions on it’s citizens, but for some stupid reasons that I will never fathom we have to leave the back door open, which leaves us on this St. Patrick’s Day, not free but looking into a fog of uncertainty with no plan, a shambles of a vaccination rollout and staring down the barrel of a 2021 and even more hardship and economic devastation.

As well as the high number of deaths and sickness since December, the other very serious problem now is that people have lost patience and lost faith and compounded by extremely poor communications a very depressed country is ready to explode.

So, a big salute to the dedicated ISAG crew who persisted with their very simple, spot on approach that could have had us raising our glasses together in our favourite watering holes.

You were right, all along and for whatever political reasons those in power did not do the “5%” that would have us out of this mess.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Landing on the Zoom!

January 11, 2021

Landing on the moon

Happy New Year to you!!

As we start into a second full working week of the new year amidst a severe lockdown and an even more severe pandemic with outrageous Covid case numbers it looks like we need to remain on the Zoom for a while longer!

While we barely knew anything about this incredibly powerful communication tool this time last year and most likely had never used it, it’s amazing how quickly it has become a way of life.

Before this year I hated any visual meetings online, and part of that was the clunky software (I’m amazed how Skype never became more intuitive) and the unreliable performance.

I’m not sure if it was lucky timing, but when Covid sent us home in March it seemed to be Zoom or Microsoft Teams in pole position, and very quickly Zoom took a lead and became the standard, the easy one to use and before we knew it, the one most of us were using.

Even now, when I get an invite to a meeting or a webinar I find myself groaning when it is something other than Zoom, because now in this impatient age of ours we want to go click click click and we are in, 100% at ease and knowing what we are doing.

And since March, Zoom have been clever and we have seen better security and new features – I am now using it for meetings, and in Fuzion we have used it for events, training, webinars and workshops, complete with breakout rooms (another great feature), Q&A sessions and polls.

For training purposes alone it has been transformational – we quickly adapted and with a few little tricks of the trade (and humour) you can have a really engaging session with all participants.

I have also been using it for recording my podcasts and as long as the broadband is ok, it has been fantastic!

Making it work for you

Deirdre, the founder of Fuzion  wrote a really excellent blog post early on last year about online meeting etiquette, and it gives some great tips about how you present yourself online and since then I wanted to add a few more tips as we get into even more of the subtleties.

Your Name

When you join the online meeting make sure that your name is right (proper spelling, use capital first letter for first name and surname- even if you are using someone else’s account you can rename yourself on entry) and maybe even consider adding your company name.

If it is a meeting with people from a number of different organisations or departments then make it easy for the others.

Who is in the Spotlight?

When the numbers of participants are high during a meeting then “spotlight” the speaker/speakers as it makes it much easier to see who the speakers are and it makes the session more interesting – even when they are screen sharing you can see just them as they present, instead of everyone.

This is a great feature in Zoom.

Meeting Room message!

As part of the improved Zoom security measures most people will end up in a “meeting room” before being left into the session – there is a facility in your settings to customise the message people will see while waiting in your room. Why not customise and add a little humour!

Where are you on the screen?

My own team just throw their eyes up to heaven (or wherever they like to go!) when I start to ask them where I am on their screen, as part of a silly game we play to break the lockdown monotony. On a serious note I do believe that where you are on the screen can be important.

If you are on the top row (having followed all of the other tips about looking good etc) you are probably better off than being on the bottom row when it comes to being noticed and gaining attention.

The first on the Zoom call occupy that space, and as long as you don’t turn off your video during the session for some reason you will stay in pole position!

For all of the tips and tricks that we have spoken about, and for all of the Zoom learning that we should have on board at this stage I am still amazed how many presenters are still not set up properly and we end up looking up their nose for the duration of their presentation.

..make sure that’s not you!

If you do land on the Zoom make sure you make a great impression!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Dangerous People!

December 14, 2020
Dangerous People !

Don’t you just hate those “dangerous people” who come to meetings because

– they ask the question you hope no one asks

– they don’t just go with the flow and nod their head politely at what is being said

– they are there to fulfil a role and not to be popular with the group

– through their actions they encourage others to speak their mind

– they provide another point of view and quite possibly an inconvenient one

– they can make you feel uncomfortable

– they might take the meeting in an unplanned direction

– they could cause the meeting to run over

– they might just result in making more work for everyone

Next time you have a meeting where you really want to trash out an issue, hold people accountable, get alternative views and maybe even arrive at a much better conclusion, make sure you have a dangerous person in the room..

Of course if you want an easy life..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Ireland, Visitors and Closing the Schools

October 21, 2020

Schools - lockdown

Another severe lockdown in the depths of winter, full of confusion, anger, worry and concern for all cohorts of society that are being severely damaged by a cruel disease that doesn’t really care how we feel about it – it’s just quite happy to have new homes to visit, while we can’t !

This leaves us facing into six weeks of varying degrees of misery, depending on your circumstances, so it better be damn worth it and deliver a result that will allow people to recover both their lives and livelihoods when it is over.

I feel metaphorically speaking we have all had the Covid virus (In saying that I am not belittling anyone who has suffered directly as a result of having the disease). 

To make sure these six weeks are as effective as they can possibly be (does anyone want 12 weeks??) it’s vital that everything that can be done, is done right now and for me besides Irish people adhering to the rules and the spirit of the rules, there are three stand out measures that are an absolute must:

  1. The island of Ireland must work together
  2. People coming into Ireland cannot add to the spread that is already here
  3. The right decision needs to be made about schools

Getting these things wrong will totally diminish the benefits from the six weeks of hardship.  

But that’s not possible” is what I hear people say when we talk about the island of Ireland. This is bullshit and we need to call it out – we have a common problem that deserves a common solution, and the cooperation that happened with foot and mouth disease needs to happen again.

People coming into the country should be tested before they get on any plane or boat and shouldn’t be allowed to wander freely in Ireland until we know they are not carrying a virus. Quick tests that are in other jurisdictions would make a big difference.

The final measure is possibly the very contentious one, as it really effects us because we have a lot of young and old students and their families, all with a vested interest in their education and their health.

Hey teacher leave those kids at home!

I would love to believe that our precious children, young and old, are largely immune from this horrible disease and play no part in it’s spread to others in the general community.

On that basis they could safely go to school, continue with their development and in truth allow their parents to get on uninterrupted with their work and lives – That would be a fantastic scenario, one that is great for society but is it the case?       

I for one, don’t believe it..

I know from my own Twitter account and from texts and messages that I have received from people including a national journalist, I am getting lots of vitriol for daring to suggest that the reopening of schools followed by colleges could be a contributing factor to the sudden spike in cases that happened in Ireland in August and has continued and has been replicated across Europe.

My hunch was based purely on the story of the pandemic timeline (very few cases, schools open and then cases spiked – this was before wet pubs opened) in Ireland. I’m sure people returning from overseas holidays (Green or non-Green list countries – flights continued to and from both) was also a contributing factor but that would have been a gradual thing on the timeline.

With the schools you can pinpoint the actual date they reopened and the timeline of the cases at that time.

I hear the arguments against my position:

But…young kids are not likely to get Covid and spread it?

But..older kids are more likely to get Covid and spread it but they are most unlikely to be sick from it?

But …colleges. They are adults who will hang out and party like we all did back in the day, so that’s a fairly straightforward argument.

But…the data from our test, track and trace system and the resulting published stats hasn’t been identifying schools as being a problem?

Maybe my hunch is totally wrong and the decision or choice by the government to keep schools open unlike in Northern Ireland is a justified one – lets think about it and see what the experts are saying and figure out what we know and don’t know?

So…

Do we know that young kids cannot get Covid? – we don’t

Do we know that young kids if they do contract Covid are most likely to be asymptomatic (just like many adults are)? –  likely

Do we know that asymptomatic kids cannot pass Covid onto others? – definitely not 

Older kids, teenagers will be more likely to contract Covid than younger kids, but will be more likely to be asymptomatic? – likely

At this point we need to ask ourselves a simple question..

Will asymptomatic kids (of all ages) who contract Covid pass it to others who then get sick, test positive and we NEVER know who the source was

In my simple mind, that’s quite plausible and it stacks up my hunch about schools opening and the spike, but lets see what the professionals are saying about schools, children and young adults

In the U.S. this is what is being said:

Yes, children can get COVID-19..

Dr. Lisa Gwynn, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics and public health sciences at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, said that yes, children can get COVID-19.

However, according to Brian Labus, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the infection rates in children are low.

When children do get infected,” explained Labus, “they tend to have a very mild disease compared to adults.

Gwynn said that children can transmit COVID-19 to adults.

She noted that children ages 10 and older are especially able to transmit the illness to the adults around them.

While there’s limited information regarding children younger than 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report Trusted Source on September 18 indicating that younger children can transmit the virus to adults as well.

The report cited one case in which an 8-month-old child transmitted the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, to both parents. Another child at the same day care facility who contracted the virus was 8 years old.

Both children had mild signs and symptoms, including runny nose, fatigue, and fever. The report included information about 12 children who had developed COVID-19 at three different child care facilities.

Transmission, either confirmed or probable, was shown to have occurred to 46 people outside of the facilities, including one parent who had to be hospitalized. Also, two children who had confirmed COVID-19 but were asymptomatic were shown to have transmitted the disease to adults.

There was even a more concerning article that says

Asymptomatic children can spread coronavirus for weeks, study finds

New US studies show viral loads of the coronavirus are especially high among children and youths, who can unknowingly spread it for weeks.

The article went on to say:

A new, unsettling study on children and the coronavirus pandemic has just been published as countries around the world reopen kindergartens and school classrooms. The study’s findings are sure to further fuel already heated debates over the risk of infection in institutions of learning.

Doctors at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC have found that infected children can spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus for weeks even though they themselves show no COVID-19 symptoms. That means that children with only mild symptoms, or none at all, can unknowingly infect people around them.

In an earlier study, researchers in Boston showed that children and youths they observed had surprisingly high viral loads.

This led to an inevitable question:

Are asymptomatic children spreading the virus?

It went on:

The new study, which was published on August 28 on the website of the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, was conducted by Roberta L. DeBiasi and Meghan Delaney, who analyzed data from 91 children in 22 hospitals across South Korea. “Unlike in the US health system, those who test positive for COVID-19 in South Korea remain in the hospital until they have completely recovered from their infection,” says DeBiasi.

According to the study, roughly 22% of the children developed no symptoms throughout their infection, 20% began asymptomatic but later developed symptoms, and 58% tested symptomatic. The study also showed great differences in the length of time children remained symptomatic, ranging from three days to three weeks. One-fifth of the asymptomatic patients and roughly half of the symptomatic patients were still passing on the SARS-CoV-2 virus three weeks after initial infection — though this did not directly reflect their contagiousness.

The authors readily admit that there is still much to be learned about the role of children and youths in the spread of the coronavirus, and that their findings will further fuel that debate.

With our testing and tracing system would we even discover that an asymptomatic child (no temperature, cough etc) was the possible source for the spread of Covid in an outbreak – it’s impossible unless there was mass testing.

Moving away from the Korean data:

Researchers in Boston, meanwhile, found surprisingly high viral loads among the youngest patients they observed. For their study, they took nose and throat swabs from 49 children and youths under the age of 21. The study found far more SARS-CoV-2 virus presence among them than among adults being treated in intensive care units for COVID-19.

According to the Boston study, which was published on August 1 in the periodical The Journal of Pediatrics , scientists found far fewer ACE-2 receptors among smaller children than in youths and adults. Those receptors are thought to be SARS-CoV-2’s gateway into the body’s cells.

Read on:

They talk about tiny “superspreaders”:

The role of children and youths in the spread of the coronavirus has been hotly debated since the first infections were registered. One thing is clear, children and youths can infect others. It is also clear that infected children and youths often show few or no signs of being ill. And it is also just as clear — though most people prefer not to talk about this — that children and youths can also die or suffer lasting damage as the result of a COVID-19 infection.

That doesn’t automatically mean that all children and youths are potential “superspreaders,” driving infection rates around them. Still, children and youths — through kindergarten, school, friends and sports — often have far more social interaction than adults. The past few months have also shown that young people are just as likely as adults to ignore social distancing and hygiene rules if they are not compelled to do otherwise.

Amid a flood of returning vacationers, along with parties and crowded events, German infection rates are now the highest they have been since April. A great number of those testing positive for COVID-19 now are young, driving down the average age of infection to the lowest figure registered since the pandemic began.

Still, despite high viral loads and the ability to pass on the virus for weeks — even if a child is asymptomatic — young people can still act decisively to stop the spread of infection.

Centre of Disease Control

In a report by the CDC in Sept based on research, they arrived at the following conclusion:

To be sure, the best available evidence from countries that have reopened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children – at least in areas with low community transmission. That said, the body of evidence is growing that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection (3-7) and, contrary to early reports (1112), might play a role in transmission (71314).

World Health Organisation

In a report by the WHO in September they also addressed the role of schools:

The role of children in transmission is not yet fully understood. To date, few outbreaks involving children or schools have been reported. However, the small number of outbreaks reported among teaching or associated staff to date suggests that spread of COVID-19 within educational settings may be limited.

As children generally have milder illness and fewer symptoms, cases may sometimes go unnoticed. Importantly, early data from studies suggest that infection rates among teenagers may be higher than in younger children.

Closer to home

Closer to home Dr. Tomás Ryan, Assistant Professor at the School of Biochemistry & Immunology, Trinity College Dublin chats with Eamon Dunphy on his podcast – he welcomes the six week lock down as he believes it is necessary to correct the course of the disease, but he does feel that schools should be part of this as we should be doing everything to make this period work.   

He also speaks about the need for cooperation with the North and controls with those visiting Ireland from abroad.

He is also a big advocate for a ZeroCovid approach just like in New Zealand, who are now enjoying international rugby matches in packed stadiums – that sounds nice!  

Click here to listen.

Conclusion?

While all of this information is confusing and inconclusive, none of it has eased my concern about schools and while we are  taking brutal action against other areas of society then we should be absolutely sure that schools are not part of the problem.

  • Coordinate with the North
  • Carefully control visitors to Ireland
  • Close the schools 

Lets’ get to zero and start living again,

What do you think?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zero Covid and the “Future Green List”

October 5, 2020

New Zealand lockdown

This is not working, this is not living and we shouldn’t accept any plan that doesn’t have us working towards a return to our normal lives – shopping without masks, having people to dinner from more than one household, having parties, going to gigs and the theatre… looking at others without judgement 24/7.

We need to go for Zero Covid just like they have managed it in New Zealand, but this can only happen if we do everything to starve the virus and ONLY do this if we have international cooperation with other countries that wish to be part of a “Future Green List“.

But it’s easy for them in New Zealand….they are different.” (Really?)

I hate when I hear people saying this is not possible “because of politics“.

When we think it’s not possible this is the first problem, because it is absolutely possible.

Which country in the world is sailing through this pandemic without people living in fear, getting sick, dying and their economies in free-fall?

We all have something in common, don’t we? – The prize for getting this right is big, it is GIGANTIC.

Background:

Please listen to some excellent podcasts hosted by Eamon Dunphy, The Stand with various guests who give some valuable perspectives to support this argument/approach: 

Dr. Niall Conroy, Consultant in Public Medicine in Queensland, talks to Eamon about how the combination of strong leadership and listening to the doctors suppressed Covid-19 across Australia.

Prof. Gerry Killeen, Chair of Applied Pathogen Ecology in UCC – Unless We Abandon Our Defeatist Strategy We’re Looking at 35,000 Deaths

Tomás Ryan, Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience – Get Real or Get Ready for a Terrible Winter

So…how do we do this?

  • We find out which countries want to be Covid free and want to restore normal life and their economies again – anyone interested?

Some strong common sense leadership is required for this part!

  • Then we agree a ‘Future Green List’ and put a target date for this to happen.
  • Let’s say 25th December, Christmas Day is the goal and at that point the objective is that countries in this ‘Future Green List’ are 100% back to normal: YEP – 100% BACK TO NORMAL!

Imagine living normally and being able to travel freely between these countries and doing all the things that we are dangerously close to forgetting?

For some stupid reason that idea seems preposterous right now, the most ridiculous, rubbish thinking by a mad man….right? It isn’t, listen to podcast with Dr. Niall Conroy, about a place with a population larger than Ireland. 

  • Once we agree who is in that ‘Future Green List’ each country closes their borders except for essential travel and a proper 14 day quarantine programme is put in place for other travellers.
  • Then each country goes about doing the hard yards to bring us to Zero Covid and try desperately to get everyone back to a “We are in this together” place, which has long since disappeared.

The 25th December, Christmas day, seeing friends and family normally might be a great motivator?

If we believe in the goal and witness the progress, people will hopefully stay the course.

I’ll gladly take that, if it is leading us towards a tangible worthwhile goal that we can all believe in, which certainly is nothing like where we are now, society is choking as we drift rudderless towards nowhere.

  • When Ireland hits Zero Covid we maintain our borders and start living again, fully living (not this current version)
  • When Spain hits Zero Covid we can open our borders to Spain and vice versa.
  • When the UK hits their Zero Covid we open to them and so on and so on

The countries outside the Green List will work hard to be on the list and will know how to get there from those who have got there – New Zealand have shown us what is possible.

If there are (inevitable) bumps along the way, just like in New Zealand you hunt them down and stamp them out just like they have done.

Are we in?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Just a Drop of a West Cork Story ..

September 3, 2020

Old Head KInsale

We were in the car all five of us on a Saturday morning, the last one of August, the last one of summer (I know it’s autumn, but I always consider August to be part of summer) taking a trip around West Cork.

The five of us was Dee and I, the two dogs Honey and Bert who have started to enjoy our summer excursions and Ayla, from New Zealand, my son’s girlfriend (he’s busy filming for Failte Ireland at the moment).

From a chat we had a few nights earlier we reckoned she hadn’t really experienced that wonderful part of Ireland, so this plan was hatched.

As usual, we totally underestimated the amount of time it would take to explore but we did manage to take in the Old Head of Kinsale and then a scenic coastal drive that included Harbour View beach, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty via Ring.

The sun was shining and Clonakilty town was buzzing and we strolled through the town with our two four legged buddies, enviously looking at the patrons enjoying the selection of cafes and restaurants that were calling to us.

Eventually, the pangs of hunger and the gentle waft of a chipper called to us and we grabbed two bags of “proper” chips with some mouth watering, juicy, succulent chicken goujons from an immaculate place called the ‘Chunky Chip‘ and enjoyed those sitting on the grass on the green near Emmet Square.

Emmet Square, Clonakilty

Walking off those chips was a must so we headed on to Red Strand and then onto Long Strand at Owenahincha and went for a fabulous walk meandering through the sand dunes that go on forever and then onto the beach.

Owenincha

The dogs enjoyed the water, but did realise it wasn’t for drinking and we managed to sit for a few moments to enjoy a glass of white wine (Dee is always prepared!) looking out at the ocean, taking in all of it’s beauty and bidding farewell to this very strange summer.

Driving back home (there was a Liverpool match to get back for..) we were chatting about all sorts of everything including “wouldn’t it be great to live near the sea” which seemed to be the recurring topic of the day.

Throughout the journey we had the music playing with a mix of all our tastes along with the selection that the Spotify algorithm throws you and before we knew it we were listing to a fantastic song by one of my favourite bands, The 4 of Us, called “Just A Drop“.

I was able to tell Ayla and Dee (and the two dogs!) the story of the song, which not only brought it to life but it also gave them an insight into the character of the band and something that they could carry with them and tell others.

The reason I knew the story was because they told it to me via email.

Every week during “lockdown” the band have been sending an email featuring a different song, whereby they tell the story behind the song and they leave you with the gift of a free download.

This is the fantastic story behind the song in their own words:

Just A Drop. The story behind the song…

Dad was a big Johnny Cash fan and suggested, on more than one occasion, that our songs could benefit from a bit of the boom-chicka-boom rhythm that characterised Cash’s early recordings.

We eventually took up his suggestion, writing Just A Drop, for the Sugar Island album, as a tribute to him and his love for the Man in Black.

Before we recorded it, we headed home to Newry to play it for him.

“You are finally going to love a 4 Of Us song,” we told him.

To make sure he was in a suitably receptive mood, we bought some insurance – a bottle of his favourite whiskey.

He sipped a glass of it, relaxing in his favourite armchair as we played him the song.

Three minutes later, we waited to hear his opinion. He paused.

Then he looked up at us and said just two words:

“More whiskey.”

We insisted on playing it to him again, assuring him that sometimes it takes a while for a song to grow on you.

After three more performances – and three more whiskeys – he started getting into it.

So, if you don’t think our performance in the video below sounds anything like Johnny Cash, we understand.

But can we recommend that you combine it with a glass or two of Black Bush?

Brendan and Declan ❤

(you can watch the song on YouTube at the bottom of this post)

It’s such a very clever thing to do.

At a time when they can’t do gigs, they are still talking to us and what’s more, they are building a special bond and a connection that brings us closer to them and one that works when it comes to selling their music and their gigs.

It was nice to get an unexpected lesson in marketing from an unexpected source..

Are you taking the time to tell your interesting story?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland