Day 18 of quarantine – A Father’s Epiifany

    The other day I saw a smartphone video of a woman who bought up all the toilet paper in a strip mall store and needed a large-bed pickup truck to load it all into.  When the girl shooting the video asked why she bought it all, leaving others in need with nothing, she was told to “f*ck off and mind your own business.”

    I thought crisis brought people together, like the compassion and camaraderie I witnessed first hand in New York City following 9/11.

    Then I stumbled upon a social media ad for #stayhomesavelives19. My first thought was someone was looking to capitalize on people’s emotions.  So I did some digging to find out that just the opposite were true — people were being selfless. Perhaps my faith in people was about to be restored. 

    So I reached out to Brian Corso of Red Button Films, who (together with Sal Dell Italia and Kameron Ramirez) launched the Stay Home Save Lives 19 movement.  

    Brian had told me in a recent phone interview that it was a conversion he had with his son that prompted him into action: 

    “I was on the phone with my 23-year old son, a student at Arizona State University. While discussing the coronavirus he said, ‘Don’t worrry Dad, this could never happen to me.” 

    In that moment something clicked within me. People just weren’t taking this whole situation seriously. So I called a few friends and asked them to contribute and support an awareness campaign. We produced a ton of wristbands. All that they say on them is ‘Stay Home Saves Lives’ and pledged any proceeds from the sale of then to Northwell Health, New York’s largest health provider. “

    Many across the country are getting the message and staying home.  Google released data that they’ve been tracking whether people are complying with guidelines and avoiding public places like public transport, restaurants and other shopping.  

    Jen Fitzpatrick, SVP of Geo and Karen DeSalvo, Chief Health Officer at Google Health, wrote in a blog post. “We have heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymized data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19.”

    CueBig also released data for about 15 million cell phones with results posted int eh New York TImes article ‘Location Data Says It All’.

    A recent article in The Hill said that 90% of people are staying home.  

    However, not everyone is listening. A Florida pastor was actually arrested for defying a stay at home order after holding church services. 

    Knowing the novel coronavirus is global, immediate efforts were taken by Mr. Corso, Dell Italia, and  Ramirez to establish international awareness. “Surprisingly, we did get some pushback by some on social media” said Mr. Dell Itlaia. “People thought we were running a get-rick-quick scheme and preying on people’s emotions. The exact opposite was true, we were investing our own money to sell the wristbands with proceeds pledged to Northwell Health. Once they understood that, people began helping. At a time when we all feel a bit helpless, this is something everyone can contribute to.”   

    Philanthropist / entrepreneur Roman Pyasik and Kevin Thomson, Toronto native and entertainment attorney to Grammy Award winners Mario Winans and Seven Aurelius, also came on board as #stayhomesavelives19 team members. 

    Never in our lifetimes have we witnessed so much distress; empty supermarket shelves, and ghost towns in some of the world’s largest metropolitan cities. International borders have been closed. In early March before my town was locked down, I went to pick up take out at a local restaurant. While driving there it felt like the day after the apocalypse — there were no cars in sight. 

    Rarely in our lifetimes do we encounter moments like these: worldwide engagement in the same thought, the same struggle. As a race it can be unifying.  No matter what race, gender, religion, or financial status, COVID-19 has no bias, “ We must unite, we must all agree to just stay put and stay home – so we can save lives” Brian added. I concur. 

    For more information about #stayhomesavelives19 connect with any of these links below:


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    • Serial Entrepreneur and Digital Nomad. CEO of Inicia INcorporated, Incognito Worldwide, and I2 Media Labs.

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