'One of your children just walked in...'

The news keeps coming. We laugh because it's funny and we laugh because we're worried it could be us.

The news keeps coming. It seems we’ve all been hyper plugged-in for years, but suddenly more people are really paying attention.

A few of the developments in the last 24 hours:

  • There are now 1,600 confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus, and 41 deaths. Those numbers seem rather small, but of course it’s about the projection, not the history. (NBC News)

  • Ohio public health officials say they think their state alone actually has 100,000 people infected already; they can’t prove it because of a “delay in being able to test.” (The Hill)

  • Worst case scenario emerges: Up to 150 million Americans could become infected. At a 1 percent mortality rate, that would mean 1.5 million people, which would make it the leading cause of death in the U.S., vs 650k annual deaths due to heart disease and 60k flu/pneumonia. (AFP via Yahoo, but it’s widely reported.)

  • It’s important to emphasize that’s worst case scenario, but for comparison’s sake, the total combined military deaths in all wars in U.S. history is slightly less that we’d be worried about here: 1,354,664.

  • President Trump shook hands with a Brazilian government official this week named Fabio Wajngarten, who has now tested positive for the disease, and both Trump and vice president Pence posed for photos with him. The White House says neither Trump nor Pence will be tested. (Associated Press)

“Make Brazil Great Again” @realdonaldtrump @mikepence @alvarogarnero 🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
March 8, 2020

Speaking of working from home

Do you remember this from a few years ago? It made me laugh rewatching it, and I think we could all probably use a good laugh right about now.

Professor Robert Kelly was doing a BBC interview from an office in his home in South Korea, when his kids — and ultimately his horrified wife — burst into the background.

It seems a bit more relevant today. As you might remember from yesterday, I’m launching a second email newsletter called Working From Home.

Another newsletter? Are you crazy Murphy?

Well, this won’t be be another daily newsletter.

(Repeating for my wife’s benefit: DON’T WORRY THIS WILL NOT BE ANOTHER DAILY NEWSLETTER.)

Instead, it will be a separate series of articles and features, maybe once or twice a week over the next few weeks. Also: probably not in the morning, since you are already receiving an amazing and incredible (yet humble) morning newsletter.

It’s limited-run, too. If it turns out to be wildly successful, and people say it’s like how NCIS spun off from JAG but was even more successful, that will be a good problem to have and we’ll figure things out then.

What prompted it? Well, first, a hunch that so many more of us will now be working from home, at least temporarily.

But also, I put the word out on Twitter and Help a Reporter Out and a few other places that I wanted to talk with people who’d worked from home successfully for years, and get their best advice for those who are suddenly having to do it.

I was swamped with more than 300 replies. The emails alone ran 86,000 words—both advice-givers and those saying: “Yeah, I'm going to be working from home now, and I'm very interested to hear what these other people have to say!”

Trying to cram it all into a one newsletter or a single Inc.com article seemed crazy. So, I came up with this idea, which you can sign up for here.

We’ll talk about things like:

  • The technical steps you probably want to take if you’re going to be working from home—especially what you need to do on Day 1.

  • How to maintain structure while working from home, so your work life doesn’t overwhelm your personal life (and your family)—and vice-versa.

  • Best advice on physical setup: Where you should spend a few dollars if you can, and where you might want to wait and see before doing so.

  • Keeping your spirits up and motivation on track: basically how to avoid TV and less-than-crucial Internet, books you’ve been meaning to read, that giant, cold vertical box in your kitchen, or other distractions.

  • How to avoid becoming isolated. This is gigantic. I think a lot of people don’t realize what a danger it is until they’ve tried working from home for a bit. (Zoom meetings and phone calls only go so far.)

Probably some other stuff too. And, if we can find a way to attack that last bullet-point about avoiding isolation, I’ll feel like we’ve done some real good for people.

IMPORTANT POINT: If you want to receive Working From Home, you have to sign up separately, which you can do here.


Ideas and feedback actively solicited. If you haven’t subscribed to this main “mother ship” version of Understandably, please do so!

(You can also just send an email to signup@understandably.com.)

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