Everett, Washington saw the first official case of COVID-19 in the U.S. Mayor Cassandra Franklin remarked on her experience as the world shifted and declared a state of emergency in March, which resulted in a stay-at-home order that saved lives. With the community having completely changed within just a few weeks, uncertainty of what was to come left officials at a loss.
Looking at what it means to be a local leader during the age of COVID-19, Franklin discussed the decision-making processes around emergency management, as she made some of the first safety-related calls that the rest of the nation would soon experience. Motivated around planning for what could be, and taking into account the risks, Franklin and her team immediately began discussing options. With early orders of PPE issued and extensive research, procedures were installed and driven by the decisions to save lives. The push and pull between public safety and the economy was very real to Franklin, and the decisions only became more difficult as cases increased.
With case counts not going down, the new question that Franklin was forced to address was how to reopen the economy and live within this pandemic in a safe manner. Knowing that people are not made to be isolated for long lengths of time, Franklin also began to think about taking care of the community emotionally.
“I think that has been the real challenge of this pandemic—essential operations—and deciding what is essential and what isn’t,” Cassandra Franklin
Key takeaways & next steps:
As we near the benchmark of six months of living in the age of COVID-19, it is vital that we learn how to progress and live with the virus in a safe and healthy manner.