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COVID-19 Time Capsule 1: DATE: March 15, 2020

Powell, Suzanne K. RN, MBA, CCM, CPHQ

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doi: 10.1097/NCM.0000000000000457
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It is interesting to write the Professional Case Management journal Editorials within the publication timelines. For example, it is Saturday, March 15, 2020, and I am writing the Editorial for the September–October issue. For the next two (maybe three) Editorials, I will present a time capsule of the COVID-19 Coronavirus on a specific date. Because stances, positions, and data numbers change almost hourly, consider this a “historical” document—a snapshot in time.

The Demographics

March 15, 2020—There are now 152,428 cases worldwide and 5393 deaths. Cases have been reported in 141 countries and territories. There are at least 2,885 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the state and local health agencies, governments, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, there are 70 cases from repatriated citizens. According to CNN Health's tally of U.S. cases that are detected and tested in the United States through U.S. public health systems, there are 2,815 cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 2,885 in total, while 60 people have died. West Virginia remains the only state yet to report a case of coronavirus (CNN, 2020).

Political Position

Just days ago, America was declared a National Emergency. The President has tested negative for coronavirus. France is closing restaurants, cafes, cinemas, clubs, and ski resorts. People in Spain are restricted from leaving their homes. The Philippines capital is under a partial lockdown, and there is talk that America will follow suit. France has already closed places considered more nonessential.

CMS Position

See the “COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Health Care Providers Fact Sheet” (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2020). Many of us will be happy to note that the antiquated 3-day rule for skilled nursing facility (SNF) admission has been temporarily waived, as has protection for those who have exhausted their SNF benefits—They do no need to wait for a new benefit period.

Acute Care Position

Mayo Clinic has developed a test for COVID-19. There are already tents in Rochester for people with doctor's orders to get tested in a “drive-by” manner. Phoenix, AZ, will have the tents erected in the coming days. Hospitals are also cautioning staff to refrain from hoarding hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and chlorine wipes and to use protective clothing and hospital materials used in isolation rooms judiciously.

Stores Position

This is common knowledge. The stores are empty (or emptying). The hours are positioned to be cut back. “Senior” hours have been activated.

Schools Position

Higher institutions are going “online” only, and elementary schools are being closed for an unknown time frame.

Airlines Position

There are long lines at airports, even as flights are being cancelled. I was on an airplane flying home a week ago and the smell of hand sanitizers, chlorine wipes, and protective essences overpowered the small cabin.

Consumer Position

There are many facets to this. News is claiming this will bring out the worst in humanity (if fighting over toilet paper is the worst of humanity that will be written in Time Capsule 2, I will be happy). Yes, there does appear to be panic; this panic can fuel bad behavior. The store shelves are devoid of canned goods, alcohol, toilet paper, paper towels, and much more. The same is true online.

And a new lexicon has emerged: Social distancing: In some countries, the lockdown prohibits movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and community assemblies. People attending essential work-related gatherings and religious events must keep 1 m (about 6 ft) apart.

Many of our readerships are nurses. Remember when an ill patient was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with “coronavirus?” To us, that meant the “sniffles.” How different things are now. Remember that viruses are self-limiting. See you in 2 months. Hopefully, by then the tipping point of COVID-19 will be reached and on the downside. As of today, China remains the hardest-hit country, with 81,048 cases—but the number of new infections there is falling to just a dozen or so every day. Italy has also been hit, and in the vein of “bringing out the GOOD in humanity,” I have cited a prayer written 2 days ago from Brother Richard Hendrick.

It is essential that case managers continue to be the leaders we are: Keep calm and carry on.

ENDNOTE: How much things have changed in 2 months! Fast Forward to May 2020. In this issue, Dr. Tahan wrote two manuscripts about case management during these months of COVID-19 in which the challenges and hopes are defined. The issue departments also define the strengths of case managers. These articles are the “real” Time Capsule.

A Prayer from Italy

By Brother Richard Hendrick

March 13, 2020


Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul.

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again.

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul.

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,



Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020). COVID-19 emergency declaration health care providers fact sheet. Retrieved March 15, 2020, from
Yeung J., Marsh J., Kottasova I., Vera A., CNN. (2020). Coronavirus pandemic spreads around the globe. Retrieved March 15, 2020, from

case management; COVID-19

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