Friday, March 13, 2020

Covid-19 and Art #3: The timeline for cancellations and postponements?

This post explores when the coronavirus peak will occur and when it will be all over and hence what's the TIMELINE FOR ARTISTS for cancellations, postponements and rescheduling of art exhibitions, events, workshops and courses and art fairs etc in the future.

The overall timeline relates in part to:
  • when the virus peaks and 
  • how long it is around for - within the context of the summer weather
  • how successful the action measures to flatten the peak are 
  • and whether the government get the timing right for their implementation!

One thing - our best hope in terms of deaths is that this is not going to be speedy.

More specifically, this post is based on
  • what was said yesterday by the Chief Medical and Scientific Advisers to the UK Government.
  • what I've read today - by learned people.
However first I'd like to introduce you to my brand NEW Coronavirus / COVID-19 and Art Resource Page on my Art Business Info for Artists website
This page aims to highlight
  • issues which many people in the art world will need to deal with during the Covid-19 Pandemic - over the next few months
  • what might be potential solutions to the challenges being faced.
  • Plus updates on the current situation for planning purposes
This is where all useful information I come across will go. Plus links to this and previous and future blog posts about this very challenging situation.

My NEW RESOURCE WEBPAGE about the impact of Coronavirus COVID-19 on art and response to this

What's the Covid-19 Timeline looking like?

The timeline will be different in every country because of:
  • different demographics
  • started at different times
  • acceleration through the community varies
However the basic epidemiology of how an epidemic behaves remains the same in broad terms. There are four salient factors/questions to be considered when planning as an artist or art organisation for what to do for the rest of this year.
  • where we are now?
  • when will it peak?
  • how long this will go on for?
  • how influential is the weather?

Where are we now?

Where we are (in the UK) right now is:
  • FOUR WEEKS behind Italy (which sent a shiver down the spine of a lot of people yesterday when that was announced!)
  • we're in the acceleration phase - but nowhere near the Peak - this is the phase when numbers keep doubling every few days until we get an exponential curve which becomes virtually vertical just before the peak
  • at the peak (whenever that is) the numbers stabilise and then start to reduce. However one needs to be wary of the fact this is happening due to poor collection and reporting of data. 
  • HOWEVER: The Peak will become more distant and take longer to reach if 
    • the government succeeds in "flattening the peak" - to match sickness to capacity - and help public services and resources in terms of beds and medical staff accommodate the sickest patients. 
    • if this happens then the doubling of numbers will take longer and the pandemic will "pancake" to some extent 


However today I heard that Italy has definitely NOT yet peaked (i.e. the growth curve for both cases and deaths is still exponential (i.e. still growing and going up in terms of daily numbers). Also bear in mind we are four weeks behind this profile of cases and deaths - although hopefully in the UK it will be flatter.
(courtesy Worldometer)
(courtesy Worldometer)

Daily Deaths MIGHT be beginning to flatten out - but in part this depends on how good the reporting processes around the country are working.
  • Deaths on 10th, 11th and 12th were 168, 196 and 189 respectively 
  • BUT that might be due to under-reporting on the 9th when the number reduced!

When will it peak and how long will this go on for (in the UK)?

Measures will cause disruption for very many months and will progress as we get nearer to the Peak. (Statement in the briefing yesterday)
Two things you need to know:
  • the classic curve and timeline is STEEP and SHORT. It has a 
    • very rapid acceleration into a massive peak (doubling of numbers every few days) and 
    • then a similar deceleration as it runs out of people to infect 
    • it's all over in a relatively short time - in that particular place - and there are many more deaths as the health system is totally overwhelmed (just read of the accounts of what it's like in Italian hospitals and how many health staff have died for a taster of what might be like)
    • The virus will meanwhile move on to other places and start all over again..... i.e. this is a pandemic (global).
  • The managed curve and timeline is FLATTENED and LONGER. This means that
    • the acceleration rate is slower, 
    • the doubling rate takes longer
    • the peak comes later
    • the peak is flattened - and hopefully stays within managed healthcare capacity (i.e the reason for pushing/managing the curve)
    • there may be fewer deaths as more people will get active treatment
    • BUT the whole process takes much longer - probably twice as long.

THIS IS MY EXPECTATION - based on what was said yesterday and what I've read today.
Measures need to be in place for up to 13 weeks. Measures only work with cooperation of the population (Statement in the briefing yesterday)
  • OFFICIAL VIEW: with no action it will peak in 4-13 weeks
  • My view:
    • gets pretty bad in the next 4 weeks (by mid-April)
    • but measures taken have a positive effect, the community complies and the peak is moved forward and arrives between 8-13 weeks from now (by mid- May to end of June)
    • it starts to get better in late July/August - but is not over
  • HOWEVER as a result:
    • the deceleration rate takes longer and the end of the epidemic may not arrive until the end of September
In part it will depend on the weather. 
  • If we get a very good summer it will finish faster
  • If the weather is awful then it it will drag on much longer
In part it will depend on the co-operation of the population
  • if people get fed up and stop co-operating with government measures then the curve cannot be managed. 
  • If they stop co-operating just as we get to the peak, then we'll get a Pandora's box situation. 
  • This is why the government is putting off the strictest measures for as long as they think they can get away with this. Other countries will have to hope their population is resilient and behaves well!
So my expectation is "not nice" with LOTS AND LOTS of exhibitions, events, fairs, workshops, courses being cancelled between now and August. Particularly if they are likely to be attractive to older people who have got fed up with staying at home.

Bottom line - if you plan for anything after 1st October you're probably OK. I'd describe this as a cautious view of how it will "pan out" - but I have been known in the past (during my career) for being very good at predicting how things will happen over the longer term.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Those who get the best dates and venues after the pandemic are those who move fastest right now! There's going to be six months worth of activity trying to move forward!!

A CAUTIONARY NOTE: Bear in mind all this is guesswork on my part - even if I'm using facts from authoritative sources - and hence I have no liability for any decisions you make based on my prediction

That's because it's just that "a prediction". It's not a fact. If you want facts you'll have to wait and see how it all works out in the end. :)

My next post

My next post will either be about
  • EITHER the need to take your third party liability very seriously - people could die!
  • OR the legal aspects of ecommerce you need to know if selling art online
Tell me what you think on my Facebook Page.

More Resources

Previous posts include:
Coronavirus / COVID-19 and Artmy NEW webpage on Art Business Info for Artists which covers:
  • Updates
  • Risk Management
  • Practical Measures & Solutions
  • Innovations / Good Ideas
  • Closures of Art Galleries & Museums
  • Cancellation / Postponement of
    • Art Fairs
    • Art Exhibitions
    • Classes, Courses, Workshops
    • Art Schools

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