Peter Fisk

We are sharing with you this new post writed by our speaker Peter Fisk

“The human and economic impacts of COVID-19 … What should business leaders do now, to support people and society, whilst also sustaining their businesses?


It’s a difficult time. All around us, the news updates on television screens and social media are relentless as COVID-19 multiplies across our cities, nations and continents. The human tragedy, concern for our loved ones, frustration at politicians, admiration for health workers, disbelief at those still socialising, adaptation to new routines under quarantine or lockdown, affects us all. As a society there is a huge concern for each other, whilst as business leaders we know we have to keep our businesses going too.


In years to come we will look back, sociologists and economists, at the way in which we behaved, and the positive and negative impacts it had. Questions will rage about the causes and effects. From the impact of climate change and urbanisation that likely sparked the leap of the virus from animal to human, the global connectedness of travellers that accelerated the contagion’s spread, to the panic buying of some, and the total lack of social responsibility of others.


Of course, Bill Gates was right when in his 2015 TED Talk, he argued that the biggest threat to humanity was not economic or conflict, but a global pandemic for which we were woefully unprepared.


Business impact, and accelerated innovation

The impact on every business has obviously been significant. The travel and hospitality industry was perhaps the first and most dramatically affected. As travel bookings were cancelled, airline share prices plunged (United -57%) as did hotels (Marriott -48%) and booking engines (Expedia 53%). Worst were the cruise lines, with the sight of quarantined ships around the world (Carnival -68%).


In the medical world, scientists are racing to find a vaccine. As they seek to accelerate their research and development, human trials have already started on possible solutions, but it is still 12-18 months away. Incredible, considering previous vaccines took 20 years. Other anti-viral drugs may help patients to recover faster, like Avigan developed by Fujifilm, the former maker of camera film, in 2014. 3M is racing to manufacture millions of new hospital ventilators, whilst Dyson has used its air purifier technology to develop CoVent, a new ventilator in just 10 days, and is now racing to produce 20,000 of their new design.


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