What a global pandemic failed to teach us… yet

Reality vs Fantasy

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic: A viral pandemic is still revealing its magnitude and severity. What we know is that when the next, more lethal virus appears, every city in the nation will be woefully unprepared.
  2. Local economic disruption: A freezing of entire industries as we entered into prudent self-distancing created an economic downturn of unknown proportions. What we know is that if unemployment benefits end, large percentages of the populations will be without a livelihood in a marketplace where jobs don’t exist. Like weather reports, we should be getting local data on business closures and how many people need jobs (not vague stats from the feds).
  3. Lack of capacity: Lack of government and non-governmental infrastructure impact our capacity to address the growing demand for assistance in services for surviving like medical care, mental health care, food, housing and transport to services. We know from our countywide surveys that significant percentages of our parents can’t access vital services for a variety of reasons. If you wonder why families struggle daily and how woefully under-resourced your county is, we have a useful survey for you to implement.
  4. Existing challenges increase: Long-standing health and safety challenges are increased by the pandemic, social isolation and economic disruption, including adverse childhood experiences, trauma, maltreatment, domestic violence and substance misuse — all requiring local community services. Here we arrive back to where we were before COVID-19, with historical disparities, injustices, and our children enduring up to tens forms of abuse and neglect as their parents struggle without help.
  5. Digital divide: Large segments of populations are without access to online resources: telemedicine, options for working remotely, and online education and training options. We know we are a two-class society in regards to tech, with those who can and those who can’t access vital information, help and resources online.
  6. Emergency response requires alignment: County, city and community agencies, including emergency management, struggle to coordinate in times of emergency to meet the urgent needs of residents. What we know is that when the next public health crisis (or crises) hits — possibly something bigger and more lethal — our coordinated emergency response, from state to county to city government, won’t be ready to ensure everyone’s safety and stability.
  7. Local leaders facing unprecedented problems: Elected leaders in city, county and school government face unprecedented challenges. Government, across the board, is lacking a data-driven coordinated process of problem-solving. Hunches and political whim, not data and research, guide many multi-million dollar state and local government policies and initiatives. In an era of colliding crises that won’t be going away, we need local leadership to use data to identify and solve challenges, amid the urgent need for both a short-term response and long-term recovery.



You. Us. Them.

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Dominic Cappello

Dominic Cappello


A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.