Starting in April, the WSIS Team will host a weekly virtual WSIS TalkX the for the WSIS Stakeholders to interact, connect and collaborate. Preparing towards the WSIS Forum 2020, High-level Track Facilitators, Workshop Organizers, WSIS Prizes 2020 Champions and others will be conducting virtual interactive talks highlighting their linkages with the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs.
Join our sixth live session with Q&A on Drones and COVID-19: How do these applications help and do these applications make any sense?
Older persons have been particularly vulnerable in the COVID-19 pandemic, given they are more likely to have underlying medical conditions. This makes social distancing extremely important during the pandemic. But, many older persons require assistance with activities of daily living, and the risk of social isolation can also threaten the mental and emotional health of individuals. Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and a panel of experts will explore the essential service of home care and—paired with smart ICTs—how it is helping to alleviate stresses on healthcare systems during COVID and beyond.
Moderator and Speakers:
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Ms Gitanjali Sah -- Strategy and Policy Coordinator, ITU: 0:05
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, good morning, to all WSIS stakeholders joining us today. This is our sixth WSIS TalkX on Threat of Social Isolation in Older, Vulnerable populations. It will be connected through technology and also bring in the angle of COVID19. I'd like to now hand over to Michael Holdin, who will be leading the conversation today. Michael, over to you.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 0:38
Thank you very much, Gitanjali. I am Michael Hodin. A pleasure to also welcome everyone and hope that in this moment of our unusual pandemic that all viewers healthy and safe as possible. I'm CEO and founder of the Global Coalition on Aging, which is the business voice on the topic of aging. We have, ah, membership of mainly global companies on, and we engage in strategies and approaches to provide for the healthier and more active agent. So it's in this moment of COVID 19, whereas we all know one of the risk categories are older people, particularly those with my challenge health conditions, that we thought this would be a moment to bring to all of us a special discussion on the threat of social isolation in older, vulnerable populations enabling human connections through technology during this COVID 19 crisis. And then also, what can we learn in the post COVID19 world, which we all hope we get to as quickly as possible? I'd now like to welcome my three panellists, Emily Allen, who is with Home Instead Senior Care, based in Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States-based Global Elder Home Care Company. Matthew Smith, who is chief science officer for Embr Labs, an interesting, innovative start-up. And Raymond Saner, co-founder and chair for Socio-Economic Development. So what we'd like to do is ask each of our panellists to introduce themselves and their organizations for a minute or two. First Emily, then I'll go to Matt and then Raymond. And then we will start having interactive dialogue among us. Thank you very much. Emily, please open by introducing yourself.
Ms Emily Allen -- Director of Thought Leadership and Advocacy, Home Instead Senior Care: 2:58
Good morning from Omaha, Nebraska. I am delighted to be part of this important conversation and honoured to represent Home Instead. I love the share just a little bit about Home Instead with all of you, in case you're unfamiliar with our organization. At Home Instead, we provide home care for older adults wherever home, maybe from an apartment to living with an adult child facility. We have more than 1100 franchises in 12 countries and at any given moments, more than 100,000 from one set senior care caregivers are providing essential life-sustaining, life-saving care to seniors around the globe. During a COVID pandemic, we've seen a significantly increased demand for services, and a lot of this is due to these seniors being set home early from hospitals in rehab centres, not only to safeguard seniors but also to make room for more beds for COVID patience. At times, they're going home with you and wherever that may be alone still we are the ones who are trusted not only to provide care for their chronic conditions and help them gain strength but also keep them safe from this Coronavirus infection. I'm very excited to talk with all of you today about the lessons that Home Instead is looking at it and how technology and human interactions something we like to call high-tech or an absolute essential combination. We're going to come back to social isolation. Thanks, Mike.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 4:40
Thank you, Emily. Appreciate that. Great opener for us uh, so Matt Smith, I give us a little bit of background on Embr Labs and yourself.
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 4:53
Thank you, Mike. Absolutely. It's my pleasure to be here. Everyone. I'm Matt Smith, the chief science officer and co-founder of Embr Labs, the first thermal wellness technology company. Amber Labs is a Boston based technology startup started in 2014 when my co-founders and I were at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We developed Member Wave, a bracelet that cools or warms you with the press of a button. The wave unlocks the therapeutic power of temperature for health and wellness, which we refer to as thermal wellness. Embr Wave has been widely adopted by aging populations for thermal comfort, to improve sleep and to manage hot flashes and anxiety, prior to co-founding member labs. Iron, my PhD at MIT and material science and engineering. And today I'm leading a research collaboration with Dr Hans IJzerman, a social thermal regulation expert at University of Grenoble, to leverage our thermal technology to promote high-quality relationships in the face of widespread social isolation. Thank you, Mike.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 6:03
Thank you, Matt. It certainly links us to the particular needs around COVID 19 and how our all at our Homes were social distancing. So we're looking forward to the discussion. Raymond, please give us your background. We know you have a very fine relationship with organizations around aging and socioeconomic work at the UN and with WSIS itself. So we are delighted to have you with us on the panel.
Dr Matthew J. Smith -- Chief Scientific Officer, Embr Labs: 6:39
Well, thank you, Michael. And thanks to all of you for assisting and for participating in this one-hour webinar. It's a pleasure to be with you. And I'm looking forward to sharing some of my knowledge and experience when it comes to intergenerational coexistence between the older and the younger generations. Now, with COVID19, of course, a lot has been put into question because as you already said Mike, when you look at the statistics in terms of who dies of COVID who needs intensive care, older people are not solely dependent on getting care, but they do need special care those who get sick with the virus. But my focus is from the work we do in Geneva, the Center for Socioeconomic Development is policy-oriented, so it's a 26-year-old NGO Echo Soak accredited. We participate in discussions and debates at the UN in New York, but also here in Geneva on topics, for instance, related to the protection of the rights of older people and how to facilitate integration and how to prevent isolation of older people. I'll say a few things more later on.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 8:16
Excellent. So let's jump into the discussion. For my co Panelists, please feel free to post questions to one or several of you. As you are prompted to, I respond to one of your co-panellists, please jump in and we want to have a good and dynamic interaction here. Well, let me open up with Emily from Home Instead Senior Care. So, here we are at WSIS, World Summit on the Information Society, about information and technology largely. As we know the Global Coalition on Aging is delighted that for the first time this year, we are a partner where we're all on this aging track related to technology. So my question Emily is what are you doing here? Home Instead is not a technology company. Of course, you are engaging with COVID-19 and health of everyone, including seniors, but give us a little bit of idea behind Home Instead, your people that you care for the relationship with technology and home care.
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 9:45
Uh, that is a great question, and I'm certain that many individuals may have same one, so you'd be better to the punch with asking that. Home Instead actually has the seat at a lot of different tables, whether it's Global Coalition on aging with Mike, the world Economic Forum, we partner occasionally on a fusion with those WCD, WHO. And because of these seats, we get to be at the leading edge of so many different innovations. Home care itself is an innovation. Our type of relationship-based care didn't actually exist 25 years ago. Additionally, we manage some mant different with municipalities all over the globe with different regulations so in other to remain the global leader in health care, we have to be high-tech. But when I really reflect on, as to why his home instead, here today I see home instead in our professional caregivers built as the connection and the catalyst for the uptake in these like Matt's Ember wave and other exciting in an occasion. So a lot of times, what we see, being the front line first responders at home, when it has technology is that I had the tablet the grand pad sits on a shelf untouched. The Fitbit, the step tracker, the Apple Watch is sitting in the back of a drawer. Anyone untouched and unused these innovations and technologies really aren't doing anyone any good, but we see that as an opportunity. So this is where the high tech meets what Home Instead delivers through our relationship-based care high attached. We're providing human engagement through our professional caregivers that will allow these technologies and that I'm gonna use you again, like the heating and cooling bracelet to be learned, to be used invented to maximize in the right way. That's a That's why we're here today.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 11:51
Great. Well, terrific opening and thank you. So, Matt, let's take the other side of this equation, which you're obviously right at the centre of the technology itself. But you're scientific knowledge of and background with respect of loneliness. It has been one of the motivators, I believe in developing the technology itself. I don't think any of us today here or anywhere else can think of a more a timely moment in COVID-19. So it's not only the older among us who, perhaps or even more lonely today, but everyone is now experiencing. Most people are experiencing this. Loneliness is, we are at home and self-isolating. So tell us a little bit about how this technology can link to that and perhaps help us, particularly on the front lines of COVID-19. But then post COVID-19.
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 13:07
Absolutely thank you, Mike, I think technology, Um, I'm I'm a technology optimist. So Cove in 19 is forcing us all to physically distance. But it's because of the potential of technology that we don't necessarily have to be socially distanced. Um, and the key to battling loneliness is to cultivate high quality social connections. However, um, technology that's not necessarily a given with technology. For example, Jen's er most connected generation is also our loneliness are loneliest, so Ember Labs has developed number wave. As I mentioned this heating and cooling wrist bands, and we have also dug deep into the science of temperature and appreciate the wealth of understanding around how sensations of warmth can have a powerful effect on feelings of social connectedness. So while technology has a lot of challenges ahead of it, in terms of how to cultivate high quality relationships and also how to overcome accessibility and adoption challenges in many populations, especially the aging population, we're really excited about the potential to use our technology to allow people to send warmth to each other as a way that can enhance feelings of social could neck connectedness in this physically distance worlds. Well, I was going to break their mikes. I don't want to go too far down the temperature science rabbit hole. Um,
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 14:45
thanks. Okay, that's great. And it does occur to me that maybe this is a new, uh, I gift we could give when people get married. But, you know, that's a, uh, Lehman's reaction, Raymond, I've, as you indicated, and we know from C send, uh, you've been involved in this space for for a long time on contributed a great deal on the policy side. Um, one of the topics that you've been very involved with with is the consequences of digital literacy for older persons. And here we are in the middle of Cove in 19 where even Wises is only happening at the moment by virtue of elements of digital technology. One suspects that it's going to be a long time before any of us go back to what we thought of his normal to respect everyday life and work and so forth. So I could imagine that your work and thinking and background Raymond on the consequences of digital literacy for older persons could never be more important and timely. Maybe you could give us a little of your thinking on that some background and how we use this moment of Cove in 19 to push the envelope even further.
Dr Matthew J. Smith -- Chief Scientific Officer, Embr Labs: 16:11
Be to do that on. In fact, I'd like to build on what what we just heard from Matthew in terms of loneliness and isolation, and I take a little bit of ah um let let let me bring back some history because it's relevant for what we discussing in regards to the situation of older people into the today's society, but also in regards to the cove in 19 and how it aggravates or amplifies the potential of isolation and loneliness. I like to come back to a very well known um person called Jacob Levy Marino, who was Ah, Austrian Romanian site psychiatrist who worked in Vienna before the First World War and during the first World War. Now, looking back at that period and also bearing in mind that some of our leaders, like President Macron, is talking about a war against the covert 19 conjuring up analogies to war, of course it's not the same kind of traditional war. The enemy is an invisible enemy, but the repercussions in terms off the destruction to our society through a bait because off the wires was already a major concern. For instance, during the end off the First World War, when in Vienna, thousands off refugees flooded into the city and we're trying to survive Now. Jacob Moreno was studying that, and he came up with solutions, which I think are very much still relevant for today. Let me explain, break briefly what it's about. He studied people, orphans, spouses without their spouse, people stranded, lonely, living in in ah, terrible conditions in Vienna at that time, but feeling mostly left left to themselves. Onda feeling psychologically speaking, very vulnerable. So he came up with a proposal to look at the way they cooked the Copia recreation off a social environment where people again could bond and be part off a social community, which they have lost because off the war. And this is based on in his science of the contribution to social science, which is soc aama tree. But the main domain findings of it. And that's why I think it's relevant for today as well, is what to do with people who are isolated either due to war, all because off the age how to bet, try to find ways to re integrate them and to put them into a new environment where they could get nurturance from being part off a societal environment. Not here. Yeah, chai tea I'm taken off course, provides some tools for all the people who are isolated and in sometimes, especially today with the covert, 19 are very much isolated. How to get back into some form of interaction and integration with society. And I can say more to that later on.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 19:56
Great. Well, thank you, Raymond. That's terrific. And it is always good to ground ourselves in history. We know from other past pandemics, including the one about 100 years ago. It oftentimes changes the course of human history. I'm on the but picking up on your point about how to deal with isolation. Let me come back to Emily on mad if you have a comment and this is well pleased from your point of view. But, Emily, at least the phrase we've been using is that you're on the front lines. Uh, you, the organization, your elder caregivers, Um, and in terms of the clients, you know, all the people that you're serving, uh, what are you know, two or three of the most immediate needs that you're seeing that you're now building into your work And maybe, you know, you have the basis for but is truly new and builds on what Raymond was just suggesting we learned even over 100 years ago.
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 21:10
Absolutely. I am going. Teoh released a line with Let Raymond and Matt. We're talking about social isolation and loneliness because that it is so important to all of us at Romans said to really Iraq eight, that in seniors. And in early March, I was on a call with group leaders around Kobe. My boss, our global advocacy officer. He slid. Dolan was also on the call and drink call. She made a very, very profound point to the group that has been haunting ever since for at least hunting for me, specifically these lockdowns to shelter in place to stay at home orders. Everything that we're all experiencing really for the first time is something that seniors older people experience every day. So I understand room and you're saying it's been absolutely amplified by the pro bed, but I think it's been there, and we're just now noticing it. So this loneliness, this lack of connection and feelings associated with it they're all very, very rial for each and every one of us. But their temporary, unlike seniors who have already experienced this and will continue to experience it. So it's really are coping home instead of empathy across all generations. For what are all these generous lives every day? I'd love to get a specific example from our network that makes me incredibly optimistic about the next normal and eradicating special isolation, and that's from our partners Mark and Sara Wanna, for Australia, New Zealand. And it started with something that I didn't realize what was going on outside of the United States, that a toilet paper shortage in Australia and an individual had reached out to the Warners. Incredibly concerned that seniors wouldn't have access to toilet paper due to the shortage, they asked if I were donate toilet paper to you. Would you and with your franchisees, Oliver Australia, be able to distribute it? This quickly gained traction on social media and the Warners decided to turn it more into something more than just toilet paper. They actually stood up. A website created a Berks will help program so long with toilet paper. Socially isolated seniors are able to get letters that Children and other individuals upload website. So it took a crisis for our network to come up with this simple and elegant solution that's really made a change in the world for the better. So empathy is one of the best drivers action. It creates a connection, and empathy is taking it to a different level is really something that all our homes that caregivers kind of their east ecos has compacted It allows us to walk in each other's shoes, no path and really then be inspired to change. So it's our hope that Holmes said, that this unifying experience that we're experiencing were sheltering in place while we're at home. And while our caregivers are experiencing while they're on the frontlines with these socially isolated seniors keeping them safe bruises program changed Teoh every single one of our behaviors in the next normal in that seniors who have often been forgotten it started are no longer that. But they were made a truly seen and truly value.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 24:53
Yeah, great, thank you very much and one of the points that highlights as well, uh, that that the Global Coalition on Asian we've been talking about is the transformation of what one might call the health ecosystem which might be separated from the healthcare system itself. We all know the role of help. Professionals are doctors or nurses, hospital workers, everyone else who are literally the front lines. But then there are others like elder caregivers and all of us even personally part of two healthy ecosystem, perhaps as a result of the impact of this public health pandemic on virtually every one of our lives. I'm not sure any of us have experienced in quite like this. Thank you for that framework, family. But, man, let me come back to you and ask you very direct question, which will probably reflect on my innocence and naivete of your technology as much as anything else. So I'm home. I'm sheltering in place. I'm feeling a little the press, not clinically, but, you know, I'm feeling a little out of sorts. Well, this technology help me actually make me feel better. And how does that work? Actually,
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 26:25
Thank you, Mike. Yeah, I appreciate the ah, the hypothetical situation, huh? I think you know, the most powerful thing about this situation is loneliness. You know, humans are social animals. It's very natural to feel lonely when you don't have the level of social connectedness that you desire. And and in that way, it's It's as natural as experiencing experiencing hunger. And the most incredible thing about this, um, Cove in 19 scenario, as Emily mentioned, is it's bringing awareness to everyone of a problem that has existed that existed long before co vid. And my sort of grounding and optimism is that we actually have the medicine for each other, right? Because ultimately it's about social connections. And in as much as I need social connections, I am capable of giving that to others. And so we have a heating and cooling respond as our core products and by allowing people. The idea is that by allowing people to send warmth to each other because
Dr Matthew J. Smith -- Chief Scientific Officer, Embr Labs: 27:43
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 27:44
their mobile app we can enhance feelings of social connectedness. So while you and I are on a video chat, or even just thinking of each other while we're waiting in line outside the grocery store, we can give each other a tangible physiological sense of social connection. And I think unlocking using the connectedness of modern technology to try to bridge into this, um, fundamental sense of what is touch and warmth could be really powerful, a really powerful tool that, um, is of use now but also into the future as the new normal. This challenge is not going to go away
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 28:30
Well, thank you very much that it already makes me feel better. Uh, but it's another element that we're observing, uh, with urgent impact today, but assumes shifts post Kobe 19 world is use of the increasing use of telehealth and telemedicine is another part of technology. Particularly important as we shelter in place and particularly for isolation of, uh, older among us who need some reference to health care workers there. Actor to nurses to care givers themselves but for a variety of reasons, may not be able to connect directly but can now go through the increasing use of telehealth. I tell him, Edison remote patient monitoring. Uh, many of you may have seen a piece, and I think it was the UK Guardian. But we've seen in many places now, about a week or so ago, which suggested that Kobe 19 pandemic is pushing that element of technology from what would have taken about 10 years we're achieving in basically a week or so would have taken 10 years and then maybe true of other pieces of technology as well. I'm so Raymond back to you. You you've done a particular amount of work on, uh, what I think you've described as the autonomy of older persons. Whether that's done through technology, social connections, public policy, etcetera, Um, and one certainly observes the impact of covert 19 on an older person's autonomy. Hi, How are you? How are you thinking about that? What can we do it to address that even now, during the pandemic itself. And what might be the lessons in the post pandemic era on elder persons autonomy, which, of course, we all want We want a healthier and more active aging I decades being declared by the W H O on the U. N. Now. But autonomy certainly should be a part of that. Raymond, if you could give us some of your thoughts on that
Dr Matthew J. Smith -- Chief Scientific Officer, Embr Labs: 30:55
Thanks, Mike. Yes. Uh, autonomy, maybe is not fully the right word to use. It is autonomy, certainly. But it also in enabling all the persons to get the resources they need. The who's now during the consignment off Corbett 19 ordering fruit because older people, or even everybody else, is not encouraged to go outside how to all the food, how to pay for it using digital means. That's what I meant about autonomy. To be able to still act, interact, get what what people need. And no matter what age there in that is helping them Tiu stay alive, so to speak. But also the social interaction is very very important. We have a colleague here, University of Geneva, Matias Kriegel, psychologist who's looking at cognition. And they were There is the the results off their research are very clear. Um, of course, we always age drop off a little bit when it comes to cognitive abilities. However, one could pushed his into later age by staying interactive Lee uh, alive. So I t cook p a. Means if people have iittie literacy, they could stay inter actively in contact with other people. Without that, they have to be physically present. And I'm not supposed to be physically present to some extent because of covert 19 today, however, the key is to interact, to be able to talk to people as well as new people. You know what I said before about Jacob Moreno? The Siri was with people who were stranded on. People with age are in a way, stranded in the sense they lose important others. So the social environment shrinks. And the question is how to replace the lost space that was taken over what was part off the important others We all have, from parents to spouses, friends, but so I t literacy could help if the people are helped to use it to make new friendships, to have new access to people who could enrich their lives, besides also or helping them in their autonomy, to get the food they need or to get other things they need in order to survive just at the basic level.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 33:45
Great. Well, thank you. That's some very good explanation and highlights. One of the points we've all been alluding to, which is not only our older persons, generally at least one of the high risk all right demographic in this terrible pandemic, but particularly vulnerable where there are pre existing conditions. So you talked about cognition. We know Emily, I'll come to you back to you in a second we know about. I think it's 50% of all elder caregiving is for those with some form of dementia. Alzheimer's, uh, but conditions of aging that are often, uh, confused as well. She's 83 that shortness of breath is because she's 83. No, it's because she has symptoms of heart failure or vision loss by which might be taken as an automatic part of aging. But in the New World, we understand that perhaps it's macular degeneration or another disease. It doesn't automatically have to be that or fragility fractures way. You know that 80% of those with the first fraction are not treated effectively for rehabilitation, a lot of that being what we've all alluded to as this sort of ageist approach, even to health care. And so it's particularly challenging during a covert 19 pandemic crisis when we now know that one's health is even further compromised. And I wonder, Emily, how much of that you're seeing in this elder caregiving space? Or Matt, you're integrating into some of the way you are innovating the technology. Emily. Maybe you want to jump in something?
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 35:54
Absolutely so since Day one of the global pans and that Komen Stud has been at the forefront and are care givers have been, and they remain front line first responders we've really seen, and even more importantly, he really felt the movement of the pandemic from East West and every market we serve. So is your question. My in North America are first boots on the ground, so to speak. Experience with Kobe was around families all over the country being unable to see their senior loved ones due to the necessity to lock down facilities in order to protect our older populations within policy makers and health care systems quickly realized that our caregivers and the central service that our network provides are absolutely part of the health care ecosystem in Ireland. I believe it was around the end of March, March 27. I wish the government officially recognized home care workers and our services as essential. So the take away that we're really seeing around the globe when it comes to our care in our care givers is that the relationship based home care that we provide is essential, and it's been firmly cemented in as part of the global healthcare ecosystem. We can't senior state became engaged. You keep them as independent as possible in their homes, for all of us. Wanna grow older and we keep them out of the hospitals, not care facilities, which come with challenges and costs and risks which have been really magnified by the Kobe crisis.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 37:41
Excellent, Matt or Raymond. If you have any comments or reaction to that or any any questions that any of you have of your fellow Panelists, I provocative or not go ahead, man.
Dr Raymond Saner -- Director, CSEND, Geneva: 37:57
Just building on the theme. I think that this create this acute crisis is bringing a lot of attention to a lot of the challenges that remain about unlocking the potential of technology to address what have been very big problems for certain populations. Um, my grandmother is in her room in a care facility and can't leave and can barely operate the television. So, like having all of these amazing technologies that exist are completely she does not have the autonomy toe Raymond's point to actually use those tools. And so I appreciate what Emily's company is doing through the caregivers bringing both the human touch and technology. And I'm hopeful that we every all of the challenges that we're encountering because of this discrepancy, um, you have to be fully aware of the problems in order to develop solutions. And so we are bringing an urgency to doing what we can to develop new solutions. But also, I'm optimistic that in the same way that we've all personally become Zoom and Microsoft team experts ourselves in the last month, um, in the longer term, society is gonna have both tools and skills to make that gap smaller.
Dr Michael Hodin -- CEO, Global Coalition on Aging: 39:23
Thank you, and I like, Conclude now and think everyone who joined participating Emily Allen from home, he said. Senior Care by Raymond Santer from CC Send and Matt Smith, chief scientific officer, November Labs Thank you all on Thank you to witness. I would simply conclude by reminding all of us that we are launching the decade of healthy aging Uh, the I t use sister organization, World Health Organization, down the road from you in Geneva, eyes 11 of the major sponsors, along with the U. N. Itself and so one of the goals of the decade of healthy aging eyes to address this loneliness epidemic, particularly for those who are older. But for all of us. Thank you again, everyone and appreciate your participation. Everyone, please stay safe and healthy and talk to you soon By