Kent Watkins: The Progression of Coronavirus Information Part I


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Kent Watkins is chair of the American Academy of Housing and Communities who look at strategic and historical issues and focus on the meaning of it all. This is Part 1 of his podcasts. He met with Chinese delegations in December on disaster management and COVID-19 was not mentioned. The second group after that was emergency managers from Beijing with some discussion of coronavirus but not much. In January he received calls and emails from China asking him for masks and medical gowns. That was his first inkling of a problem, but no one in the U.S. seemed to know anything about it. He talks about the progression of the information – and the virus.

Living in Washington DC, he talks about his personal move during the beginning of the crisis. The Academy meetings and disaster consortium and funding for affordable housing are all taking place over Zoom. Kent is a history scholar and began reading about previous disasters and many of the issues sounded familiar to the issues and events today. He cites books to read about past pandemics.

He talks about how people in other historical pandemics got bored with isolation, like we do, and talks about containment strategies they had back then. And how the second wave came. He talks about vaccines for other illnesses and how we have learned to live with those, but there is no vaccine for this one yet.

Health and safety vs. politics and power was prevalent back then, too. He talks about business coming back, and how many of the businesses may start using robots in manufacturing. The desire to telework will be more in demand. How we plan cities and how we plan office space with density considerations will be affected.

About nanmckay

Nan has been President of Nan McKay and Associates, Inc. since 1980. She started Nan McKay Connects LLC in 2019 and has started 4 other businesses over the last 50 years. She has received numerous awards including the Allan Anderson Award of Merit from Minnesota National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Section 8 Administrators Award, in 2018 the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) Signature Award for Southern California, and in 2019 she was selected by NAWBO as the California Woman Business Owner of the Year. She was co-founder of Minnesota Women in Housing and has served on the Board of Directors for the National Leased Housing Association for many years. She has two buildings named after her in Minnesota, a 10-story elderly high-rise, the Nan McKay Building, and a family subsidized development, McKay Manor. Nan now hosts four podcast shows featuring stories of women empowerment, oral history makers of affordable housing and community development, and stories of ordinary people coping with COVID-19 pandemic.;

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