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Welcome to Info-Tech Research Group’s and McLean and Company’s COVID-19 Daily Summary, our regular update for our members. We’ll scan the horizon, identify the news and issues that are most relevant to you, and share insight to help you prepare for – and stay ahead of – this fast-evolving situation. You want to understand the landscape and mitigate risk to your organization and stakeholders. Use Info-Tech’s and McLean and Company’s COVID-19 Daily Summary to do just that.

We’ve been here before

This isn’t our first global-scale health scare, and it won’t be the last. With this in mind, we believe it helps to look back to better understand what’s happening now. Consider this quote from Dr. Michael Osterholm, from 2005:

“There would be a scramble to stop the virus from entering other countries by greatly reducing or even prohibiting foreign travel and trade. The global economy would come to a halt, and since we could not expect appropriate vaccines to be available for many months and we have very limited stockpiles of antiviral drugs, we would be facing a 1918-like scenario.”

His words ring eerily familiar today. Dr. Osterholm was describing a hypothetical scenario involving the influenza virus – not the coronavirus that’s spanning the planet today. Osterholm suggests the global community is vulnerable to not just one type of pathogen and crisis but potentially many more that public health professionals are monitoring, and even those that have yet to appear on their radar.

So as immediate and acute as the COVID-19 pandemic has become, HR and IT must take the longer view. Having a business continuity plan in place will be crucial for organizations, not just during this crisis, but for others likely to occur in future. As the world population continues to increase and global supply chains become more complex, the potential for pandemics and crises such as this will likely grow. The ability to execute these response plans effectively can be the difference between life and death.

Virus 101

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – formerly tentatively called 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – is a type of coronavirus that is associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans.

The virus and clinical manifestations were first isolated and studied from Wuhan, Hubei province, China, with the first hospitalization reported on December 12, 2019 (Wu, Fan, et al., Zhou, Peng, et al., Zhu, Na, et al.).

At the time of this writing, there are there are 142,557 confirmed cases and 5,359 deaths associated with COVID-19 around the globe. Considering the developments of this virus to date, reacting slowly is irresponsible. Doing nothing is unacceptable.

Recent milestones

March 13

  • Trump declares a national state of emergency, as does Spain.
  • Multiple world leaders test positive, including Australia’s minister for home affairs and a top advisor to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. A number of senior Iranian leaders are also infected.
  • Paris closes the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre until further notice.
  • The Boston Marathon and the Masters golf tournament are cancelled.

March 12

  • Major venues shut down, including Disney theme parks and Broadway theatres.
  • South by Southwest conference cancelled. Coachella postponed to October.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, tests positive for COVID-19. PM enters 14-day isolation at home.
  • Multiple American states and Canadian provinces shut down public schools for periods ranging from two weeks to a month. Universities across North America announce similar closures and campus restrictions.
  • Other major sports leagues follow the NBA’s lead: The NHL pauses its season, Major League Baseball cancels the remainder of spring training and delays the start of the regular season by two weeks, and Major League Soccer suspends play for 30 days.

March 11

  • The World Health Organization officially declares COVID-19 a global pandemic.
  • US President Donald Trump addresses the nation and imposes travel restrictions between the US and Europe.
  • The NBA suspends its season after a Utah Jazz player tests positive for COVID-19.

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What’s next

The situation is so fluid and fast-moving that it’s difficult to predict what happens next. We believe knowledge is power, and we will use this COVID-19 Daily Summary to keep you informed and give you what you need to make the best possible decisions, reduce risk, and minimize costs through this turbulent period. Stay tuned.

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