On March 5, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) convened a panel of experts to discuss how philanthropy can effectively address the growing threat of coronavirus. Watch the full webinar or continue reading to find out what donors can do to protect the health and livelihoods of people in the United States and around the world. [Find the most updated resources from CDP here.]
Support Medical Research and Healthcare Systems:
From testing to vaccine dissemination, there is much work to be done in the coming weeks and months.
- Fund testing. Testing is the only way to develop a full understanding of the extent of the outbreak. It will also help answer pressing questions about the nature of the epidemic.
- Fund vaccine development (and manufacturing and access). Funding now can advance the development of a vaccine. Later, it can be used to create an adequate supply and support efforts to get it to those who need it.
- Support local medical systems. Healthcare providers may not be appropriately equipped to deal with the burden that coronavirus places on them, especially during the flu season. Funding to hire extra staff and fill in other gaps can keep existing systems from being overwhelmed.
Enable Social Distancing:
Social distancing refers to staying away from other people, particularly in large groups. In the United States and around the world, conferences and concerts are being cancelled or postponed, companies are encouraging workers to work remotely, schools are closing, and individuals are being asked to self-quarantine or simply choosing to stay home. These behaviors can slow the spread of the virus, reducing the burden on the healthcare system and buying time to test, treat, and vaccinate against coronavirus. Social distancing works, but it comes at a cost.
Office workers and students who need to stay home require access to reliable devices and internet. Parents may be forced to miss work to watch their children who can't attend school. Hourly workers miss out on income if they are forced to stay home. Missing income makes it even harder for people already living paycheck to paycheck to afford medical care, housing, and supplies that could keep them healthy. Small business that choose to close or face declining patronage may not be able to afford to reopen. According to FEMA, 90% of smaller companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days of closing after a disaster.
- Help small businesses, especially those owned by members of marginalized communities. Remember that Asian- and Chinese-owned businesses are being stigmatized. Consider supporting local businesses through patronage, technical and logistics support, and loans.
- Contribute to local nonprofits providing direct services. Food banks, organizations providing housing assistance, and other community organizations will be called upon to serve the growing needs of individuals feeling the financial squeeze of social distancing and healthcare bills. Organizations already in place are best suited to judge and serve the needs of communities.
- Support teachers and students. When schools close, unprepared students and teachers will attempt to muddle through their curricula remotely. Donors can work to ensure that students have access to the necessary devices and internet to do their work. Donors can provide financial support for training programs that help teachers learn the skills they need to be effective in virtual classrooms.
Be a Voice of Reason:
In times of fear and uncertainty, misinformation can reign. Spreading factual information in a calm manner can help to dispel unproductive rumors. Turn to WHO and the CDC as well as your local department of health to find out the latest information about the outbreak and how to react appropriately.
View the full webinar about COVID-19 coronavirus at The Center for Disaster Philanthropy.