Thoughts on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) from the CEO of a Nutritional Supplement Company

Thoughts on COVID-19

(The original article was posted Thursday March 12, with Update #1 on Tuesday March 17, Update #2 on Saturday March 21, Update #3 on Tuesday March 24, and Update #4 on Thursday March 26.)

Thursday March 12,

This is an open letter to all Jigsaw Health customers. It’s adapted from a letter I wrote to our team on Wednesday evening, March 11, about an hour after President Trump’s Oval Office address. I share this with all of you in hopes that it’ll help give you perspective on our plans at this moment in time regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) health crisis. Best wishes to all of you!

Hi Team -- Ashley & I just watched President Trump's 12 min speech (which we thought was mostly positive), had dinner (it was chili...yum!), and then discussed a few things that we wanted to share with all of you to make sure our #Jamily (ed. note Jigsaw + Family) makes it through what the World Health Organization (WHO) has now labeled a "pandemic."

Here's the theme of my post: I'd like everyone to prepare as if they might have to spend 2 weeks at home.

This is not "OMG" panic reactionary thinking... nor is this "doomsday prepping" where you’ll need to fight off zombies and learn to milk a goat.

This is somewhere in-between, in the realm of the Boy Scouts... "Be prepared.”

First, I know many of you leave your laptops at the office. Start bringing it (AND YOUR CHARGER) home with you each and every night after work...

If you wake up feeling kind of crappy, stay at home!  Everyone but the Warehouse team has the capability to work remotely if need be. (Of course, if you feel really bad, just get some rest!)

Second, tomorrow at the office, everyone should take home a supply of various Jigsaw Health supplements to keep at your house for you and your roommates, children, spouse, etc. to use in case you do get sick.

Now, I'm NOT saying that you should raid the warehouse like a bunch of characters from Lord of the Flies. I am requesting that you make sure you have a bottle of the following at your house, because we know these things strengthen the immune system: 1) Probiotics, 2) MagSRT, 3) Alaskan Cod Liver Oil, 4) Adrenal Cocktail + Wholefood Vitamin C, and 5) Electrolyte Supreme.

With these supplies at home, if you or someone else at your house wakes up feeling sick, you'll already have much of what you need to fuel your immune system.

And please, again, do like I did today -- STAY HOME.  On that note, my scratchy throat is still feeling about the same as better, no worse. I'll keep you posted while I self-quarantine at home for the next few days.

Third, everyone should have some canned goods at their house… beans, soups, tuna, chicken, etc. If you don't have a 2 week supply already, go to the store right now and get some. These should be held for emergency use only.

Fourth, you are all likely aware that the travel and hotel industries are really struggling right now because they have virtually zero customers. We are economically fortunate to be in the HEALTH industry in the middle of a HEALTH crisis. We have products that people really need! And we sell almost exclusively online (and through doctors), so we don’t have to be concerned about people coming to our office.

The only risk we have is in making sure that our raw material suppliers & manufacturing partners can continue to deliver inventory to us... That our warehouse team is healthy enough to pack and ship boxes at the office... and that USPS, FedEx, and UPS can continue to deliver packages to our customers.

Well, our supply chain team is already on top of things as best as they can be. Our warehouse team will closely monitor their own health and self-quarantine if need be... And I don't foresee any reason why carriers would stop delivering packages to homes. But if anything changes, I’ll let you know.

In conclusion, keep your head down (on the work) and your chin up (for your attitude). We'll get through this together as a #Jamily. We'll help our customers in need as best as we are able. And these actions will put the USA right back on track, which will put the rest of the world right back on track. :)


A few more thoughts, less than 24 hours after composing that note to my #Jamily (Jigsaw Family).

First, according to some health experts, COVID-19 / Coronavirus does seem to be a more-serious-than-usual type of virus. If that’s true, then we have to act differently than we would during the “normal” flu season. In the face of uncertainty, better safe than sorry, right?

Second, I hope that the “at-risk population” is already self-quarantining themselves at home for the next few weeks in order to limit their exposure to the virus. (According to the CDC those “at higher risk” are, “Older adults, people who have serious chronic medical conditions like Heart disease, Diabetes, Lung disease, etc.”)

Third, our immune systems are designed to fight off foreign invaders -- like viruses -- and our immune system runs on nutrients -- specifically, the minerals & vitamins that we get from our diet and nutritional supplements.

Please note, I am NOT saying Jigsaw Health nutritional supplements will cure or prevent Coronavirus!! I have no intention of getting a notice like this from the FDA:

However, I do feel a duty to remind everyone that nutrients help to bolster our immune systems. Period.

Bottom line, I have absolutely zero desire to profit on panic. And I have absolutely zero desire to cause a “run” on our inventory -- I don’t want us to run out of Jigsaw Health products the same way every store in America suddenly ran out of toilet paper!!

Fact is, I was reluctant to post anything related to Coronavirus on our website because I didn’t want to add to the panic that seems to be gripping the nation today.

But after discussing it internally, the team convinced me that you, our customers, might appreciate hearing our opinion, and hearing how we’re planning to cope with this current health crisis. And the good news is I'm free to do this because Jigsaw is a medium-sized, family-owned business. We don’t have any special interests or shareholders to please. We have our Jamily and our customers to take care of. That’s why I shared what I shared.

So now -- more than ever -- I want to wish you and your family WELLNESS!!

Patrick Sullivan Jr.
Co-founder & CEO of Jigsaw Health

PS - Though I'm reluctant to share it for the aforementioned reasons, here’s a link to the  Jigsaw Health Immune Support products that I mentioned earlier in this post. Please note: We'll be restricting orders to 1 item of each product per household because I’d rather 1,000 homes have 1 bottle each than for 100 homes have 10 bottles each.

And while we’re on the subject of hoarding, if you stocked up on toilet paper and you currently have 400 rolls at your house, please share with your neighbors in need. We’ll all get through this together if we remember to be gracious and generous to our fellow human beings. :)

Update #1 on Tuesday, March 17th at 10:33am Pacific Time.  The following was adopted from another internal post I made to Team Jigsaw earlier this morning:

Good morning #Jamily!  It's Tuesday, but it feels like Friday... or maybe Sunday? I don't know. Hard to say with everyone being at home.  ;-)

I do know that it's St. Patrick's Day today -- so when this crisis clears, please be sure to go visit an Irish bar. They're missing out on their biggest day of the year right now.  :(

So...I wanted to touch on a few things this morning to let you know where my head is at, and to give some plans for the rest of the week...

First, I think we should expect to stay in this "work-from-home" / "self-quarantine" for the rest of the week, and most likely next week as well. One key data point (in multiple ways) is that Apple has closed all retail stores until Fri Mar 27th, except for those outside of China.

Wait... that means the stores in China are open? CHINA!?!?! The place where COVID-19 started oh so many weeks ago? Yes, that's correct. Apple stores in China are actually open right now.

This fact means that if the drastic quarantining measures worked there, then the drastic measures should work in the USA as well. Which means that maybe things will get back to normal by Mon Mar 30th? Wouldn't that be nice!!?!?!?

Just like everyone else, we'll continue to play this out day by day. So thanks for staying nimble!

And a special thanks to the Warehouse team for continuing to show up and ship packages to our customers!! You guys are the best!! :)

Second, Amazon posted a notice today that it will not be accepting non-essential items into FBA. But good news for us, "Health & Household" is one of the essential product categories, and Jigsaw products are in this category. So I suspect our FBA inventory will continue to be received by Amazon.  But stay tuned in case there are new developments.

Third, my sore throat from last week is all but gone, but the dry cough that showed up on Friday is still slightly present as of this morning. Thankfully, I'm not feeling any other symptoms. So again, most likely not COVID-19... Could be allergies... Could be a cold... I'm not certain, but I'll just keep staying away from everyone except for Ashley who thankfully, hasn't seemed to pick up my cough. (knock on wood!)

Fourth, if you haven't already, please reach out to your neighbors, your family, your local friends...ask them if they need any help. It'll feel good to be of service to them.

If you yourself start to run out of any supplies, reach out the rest of #Jamily. I'm sure we help each other out.

On that note, to prevent (or at least limit) "hoarding", I would recommend "interest-free loans" on items that you are giving to others. Basically, the idea is this -- "Hi neighbor, here's 4 rolls of TP now. If you need more in a few days, just let me know... you can pay me back in a few weeks when all of this clears up."

Fifth, everyone working from home AND at the Jigsaw HQ warehouse, go outside at least once a day and walk around the block. The sunshine is especially good for your immunity, helping to increase your level of Vitamin D. And it just feels good to get out of the house for a bit!!  :)

We're blessed to have some great weather in Arizona today, but it's supposed to rain tomorrow, so better get out today!

Sixth, if you have the means to do so, buy some breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner take-out from your local restaurants, and tip twice as much as you normally would. Those in the service industry are going to really be hurting, so those of us in jobs that can work-from-home can sort of pay-it-forward to those who don't. Again, everyone has different situations, but please do consider being generous as you are able.

Seventh, thankfully, our business at Jigsaw continues to show very strong numbers for March. I don't know if it's panic buying, or what.  But we're continuing to impose rations that I mentioned last week just in case... Like I said before, I'd rather 1,000 homes can have 1 bottle each rather than 100 homes having 10 bottles each.  

Also, as previously mentioned, my greatest concern continues to be that our suppliers are able to keep our inventory in stock, and that Fedex, USPS, and UPS continue to deliver packages to our customers. So far, as of today -- even with the stock market going absolutely bonkers -- the signs on these two fronts remain positive for us.

In conclusion, I spent an hour on the phone yesterday afternoon with my Dad. I said, "You've been a CEO through crises like this before, so how am I doing? And what can our team do that we aren't already doing?"

He replied, "Actually, no one alive has been through anything quite like this where a virus grinds the American economy to a virtual halt, and no one knows how long it will last. But I think the actions you and your team are taking are on the right path. Just keep it up... stay nimble and flexible."

Love you guys. Hang in there! We'll make it through this. AND REMEMBER THIS -- the Apple stores in China are open right now. There is hope around the corner!  :)

Update #2 on Saturday, March 21 at 7:51am Pacific Time.

I am moved by emotion — the open letter from the Italian medical worker that I read last week was frightening.

I am also moved by hard data — I just read an in-depth round up from a data scientist (link is shared at the end of this update) saying, essentially, we have much more data now than we did a week ago, and based on that, COVID-19 isn’t quite as bad (transmission rates, etc.) as we first thought. However, this draconian shutdown of the economy… how’s that going to work out???

I’m willing to admit when I make a mistake, and to change my course of action. Usually, my first reaction is emotionally-based, and my course correction is data-driven. (From the article, “Data will calm nerves and allow us to utilize more evidence in our strategy.")

Before I give the link, let me share what’s been happening at Jigsaw Health over the past 10 days, which is right about when stores started running out of toilet paper — we’ve seen signs of what I can only describe as “panic buying”... our sales are about 60% higher than normal. I’ve talked with several friends in the health & nutrition industry, and they’re seeing similar numbers in their businesses.

As I said to my team before, we are economically fortunate at this time to be in a HEALTH business in the middle of a HEALTH crisis. And as the CEO of Jigsaw, my primary concern over the past 10 days is that we manage our current inventory — and the cash required to restock inventory — as best as we can. (Fast growth consumes cash fast.)

I’m glad that we implemented rationing last week on the basis that I would -- figuratively speaking -- rather 1,000 homes have 1 bottle each than 100 homes have 10 bottles each. (I detest the hoarding mindset.)

And because of rationing, over the past week, every Jigsaw Health customer has been able to receive the products they ordered, aside from a few of the items that we were running low on (such as Jigsaw Alaskan Cod Liver Oil), or out of stock on (such as Jigsaw Pureway-C Plus). Our supply chain team continues to work very, VERY closely with our manufacturing partners and ingredient suppliers to make sure that we can continue to replenish inventory as fast as possible because I know so many of you are counting on us!

Like so many other Americans, I too am very concerned about our fellow citizens who lost their jobs in the last week, or who are at risk of losing jobs very, VERY soon. The longer we “shelter in place” in this panic-driven hysteria, the harder it will be for the economy to recover.  And I’m not talking only about the stock market — I’m talking specifically about the small businesses across America: family owned restaurants, bars, event planners, hotel workers, airport workers, musicians, personal trainers, Pickleball Pros, Pickleball instructors… Yes, I said Pickleball. :)

By my nature, I am positively minded. So I am taking hope based on  this data-driven article written by a data scientist(ed. note.  That article was taken down; please see Update #3 below for an explanation and a new link.)  

I hope you will, too.

Wishing WELLNESS to you, your family, your neighbors -- and the global economy!

Patrick Sullivan Jr.
Co-founder & CEO of Jigsaw Health

Update #3 Tuesday March 24 at 11:30am…

The link to that article in my previous update currently has a message that says, "This post is under investigation or was found in violation of the Medium Rules."

Maybe the author made some mistakes in the numbers? Maybe the editors at Medium didn't like his message? Are politics at play? I'm not sure... But the original article has been reposted here on ZeroHedge, along with a rebuttal. (Hard to follow who is correct in these strange times… read both and decide for yourself.)

Over the past few days, I read two more articles that still continue to give me hope that COVID-19 isn't as bad as we initially thought it was two weeks ago:

First, the “Italy question” was bugging me -- "Why is the fatality rate so much higher in Italy?!?” Then I read this article, which included these quotes:

"The country's high death toll is due to an ageing population, overstretched health system and the way fatalities are reported. The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus. 87 per cent of deaths in the country have been in patients over 70 years old."

Second, the "Diamond Princess cruise question" was bugging me as well -- "Exactly how many people were on board? How many got it? And how many died?” Based on this article, here's Diamond Princess Cruise by the numbers::

3,711 people on board, and (only) 17% tested positive for COVID-19. So 83% of people who were also stuck on the ship for a week plus did not contract the virus even though they were presumably exposed to the virus floating around in the air, on the surfaces of railings, door handles, elevator buttons, etc.?? This is a lower than expected transmission rate, which seems to be GREAT news, correct? So, what happened to the 17% that did contract COVID-19? That's 630 people... sadly, 8 people died, a fatality rate of 1.2% — all of them were over 70. But that means EVERYONE under 70 who go the virus lived? A 100% recovery for those under 70.

Maybe I’m crazy or naive — or both ;-) — but I’m HOPEFUL that government officials are continually monitoring all new incoming data. Because we would all love to see he USA get back to work, aside from those in the “at risk” groups (70+, respiratory conditions, etc.). They need to stay isolated at home until hospitals can increase capacity, and more data becomes available on effective treatment programs.

Wouldn’t it be great to hear this message within the next few days from President Trump and the COVID-19 team? "Hey guys, we were wrong, we made decisions based on the early data we had at the time, but now we have new data and we're making new recommendations...everyone under 70 go back to work and back to school.”

In the meantime, at Jigsaw Health, we continue to implement the rationing measures I’ve previously discussed in this article. 

Our Warehouse Warriors continue to ship packages to you, our customers. 

Our Customer Happiness Team is working near around the clock to provide answers and assistance. 

Our Supply Chain team is in contact every day with our manufacturing partners and ingredient suppliers. (And as of today, our Supply Chain is still looking good.) 

Our Marketing team is creating new content on topics such as,  You Need Good Sleep For Healthy Immunity … I’m sure we all could use a Marvelous Mood right now, eh? ;-)

I've heard from several customers over the past few weeks that these semi-regular updates have been useful.  Thanks for reaching out.  I'll continue to post every couple of days as I get new data to analyze.  

Best wishes to you all!  And boost your immune systems!!

Patrick Sullivan Jr.
Co-founder & CEO of Jigsaw Health

Update #4 Thursday March 26 at 12:01pm…

In a desire to help out families during this crisis, and following in the footsteps of our friends at Thrive Market, Jigsaw Health just launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund (learn more).

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