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© PrepLounge Brainpower: COVID-19 – Which problems and issues will arise?

Dear PrepLounge community, dear PrepLounge experts,

First of all, we hope that you are well and healthy during this global health crisis the world is experiencing right now.

On PrepLounge, we and most of our community are no doctors, nurses or cashiers who must risk their health for each and every one of us every day. Most of us are management consultants now in their home offices or university students doing online courses. All we can contribute is by staying at home and preventing the virus to spread any further.

Or is there more we can do? We are a global and digital community of thousands of bright and smart people! Why not take the additional time we have to put our brainpower together and try to create some value during this crisis?

The coronavirus has caused and will cause many problems and issues in so many areas of our lives, economies, businesses, politics, health care systems etc. What are they and how can we solve them? #combatcovid

In a three-step approach, we want to answer these questions together as a community. Today we will start with:

  • Step 1: Let's identify the specific problems and issues this crisis may cause. Can we make a comprehensive MECE list of them?
  • [Step 2: Let's evaluate the probability of these issues and prioritize them.]
  • [Step 3: Let's find solutions to those problems!]

Experts and candidates, let us know your suggestions by Friday, March 27th! Any contribution is valuable!

As a global community, we know we have access to so many parts of the world and also countries in which the virus may have not yet spread. Please act early and let's all keep in mind the necessary prevention measures against COVID-19:

infographic corona prevention tips

Until then, all the best and stay healthy!
Christine

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

Follow us on: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | twitter

Dear PrepLounge community, dear PrepLounge experts,

First of all, we hope that you are well and healthy during this global health crisis the world is experiencing right now.

On PrepLounge, we and most of our community are no doctors, nurses or cashiers who must risk their health for each and every one of us every day. Most of us are management consultants now in their home offices or university students doing online courses. All we can contribute is by staying at home and preventing the virus to spread any further.

Or is there more we can do? We are a global and digital community of thousands of bright and smart people! Why not take the additional time we have to put our brainpower together and try to create some value during this crisis?

The coronavirus has caused and will cause many problems and issues in so many areas of our lives, economies, businesses, politics, health care systems etc. What are they and how can we solve them? #combatcovid

In a three-step approach, we want to answer these questions together as a community. Today we will start with:

  • Step 1: Let's identify the specific problems and issues this crisis may cause. Can we make a comprehensive MECE list of them?
  • [Step 2: Let's evaluate the probability of these issues and prioritize them.]
  • [Step 3: Let's find solutions to those problems!]

Experts and candidates, let us know your suggestions by Friday, March 27th! Any contribution is valuable!

As a global community, we know we have access to so many parts of the world and also countries in which the virus may have not yet spread. Please act early and let's all keep in mind the necessary prevention measures against COVID-19:

infographic corona prevention tips

Until then, all the best and stay healthy!
Christine

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

Follow us on: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | twitter

8 answers

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Hello community!

This would be my contribution of possible "buckets" of issues we face globally.

  • Human casualties: By the time I am writting this (20th March 19h CET), there have been world-wide +11K human casualties, out of +266K infected people. Of those, older population has been proved to be at greater risk (see graph 1, from McKinsey). Hence, protecting human lives and particularly the elderly is of huge importance in the global agenda.
  • graph mortality by age corona covid19
  • Overwhelmed health systems over the world: (see graph 2) The virus is very contagious, hence, health systems of the most affected countries (Italy, Spain, etc.) are experiencing a huge demand boom. The system is not prepared for this pike, and this translates into shortage of beds, facilities, health personnel, equipment... This breaks down into:
    • COVID 19 patients: who come to the hostpital by the thousands with respiratory issues and, in worst-case scenarios, cannot be treated due to capacity shortage
    • Other patients: hospitals receive daily a great amount of patients, some of them whose treatments cannot be postponed. Think of car accidents, complicated labours, emergency surgeries, strokes... these patients are somehow Corona victims too, since they will suffer from a saturated system. graph corona flatten the curve
  • Current economic implications: Mainly broken down into:
    • Production paralization: affecting most industry sectors and particularly punishing economies that rely heavily on industry and manufacturing. Massive issues all across the value chain.
    • Consumption paralization: affecting all services sector (e.g., Hospitality, Restaurants & Restoration, HoReCa, transports, etc.)
    • Bankrupcy: across sectors, affecting multiple companies
    • Impact in financial markets: see graph 3
    • graph effects of corona covid19 on the stock market
    • etc​​
  • Future recovery: McKinsey explains very clearly 3 possible scenarios, that I summarize below, since they are very straigh-forward and concise:
    • Quick recovery: Case count continues to grow, given the virus’s high transmissibility and other countries are able to achieve the same rapid control seen in China, so that the peak in public concern comes within one to two weeks. Younger people are affected to change daily habits (they wash hands more frequently) but not enaugh to survival mode. McKinsey + Oxford Economics model suggests that global GDP growth for 2020 falls from previous consensus estimates of about 2.5 percent to about 2.0 percent. The biggest factors are a fall in China’s GDP from nearly 6 percent growth to about 4.7 percent; a one-percentage-point drop in GDP growth for East Asia; and drops of up to 0.5 percentage points for other large economies around the world. The US economy recovers by the end of Q1. By that point, China resumes most of its factory output; but consumer confidence there does not fully recover until end Q2.

    • Global slowdown: Most countries are not able to achieve the same rapid control that China managed. In Europe and USA, transmission is high but remains localized, and strong countermeasures (including school closings and cancellation of public events) are taken. For USA, the scenario assumes between 10,000 and 500,000 total cases. This scenario sees some spread in Africa, India, and other densely populated areas. This reaction lasts for six to eight weeks in towns and cities with active transmission, and three to four weeks in neighboring towns. The resulting demand shock cuts global GDP growth for 2020 in half, to between 1 percent and 1.5 percent, and pulls the global economy into a slowdown, though not recession.

    • Pandemic and recession: Similar to the global slowdown, except it assumes that the virus is not seasonal. Case growth continues throughout Q2 and Q3, potentially overwhelming healthcare systems around the world and pushing out a recovery in consumer confidence to Q3 or beyond. This scenario results in a recession, with global growth in 2020 falling to between –1.5 percent and 0.5 percent.

At this point, points 1 & 2 are probably the most "urgent" ones, the fires that are really burning us atm. However, it is clear that this sooner or later will pass and then 110% of the world´s effort will be focused on mitigating the economic impact this has generated.

Hope it helps in the conversation, looking forward to next steps!

Stay healthy everyone!

Clara

Hello community!

This would be my contribution of possible "buckets" of issues we face globally.

  • Human casualties: By the time I am writting this (20th March 19h CET), there have been world-wide +11K human casualties, out of +266K infected people. Of those, older population has been proved to be at greater risk (see graph 1, from McKinsey). Hence, protecting human lives and particularly the elderly is of huge importance in the global agenda.
  • graph mortality by age corona covid19
  • Overwhelmed health systems over the world: (see graph 2) The virus is very contagious, hence, health systems of the most affected countries (Italy, Spain, etc.) are experiencing a huge demand boom. The system is not prepared for this pike, and this translates into shortage of beds, facilities, health personnel, equipment... This breaks down into:
    • COVID 19 patients: who come to the hostpital by the thousands with respiratory issues and, in worst-case scenarios, cannot be treated due to capacity shortage
    • Other patients: hospitals receive daily a great amount of patients, some of them whose treatments cannot be postponed. Think of car accidents, complicated labours, emergency surgeries, strokes... these patients are somehow Corona victims too, since they will suffer from a saturated system. graph corona flatten the curve
  • Current economic implications: Mainly broken down into:
    • Production paralization: affecting most industry sectors and particularly punishing economies that rely heavily on industry and manufacturing. Massive issues all across the value chain.
    • Consumption paralization: affecting all services sector (e.g., Hospitality, Restaurants & Restoration, HoReCa, transports, etc.)
    • Bankrupcy: across sectors, affecting multiple companies
    • Impact in financial markets: see graph 3
    • graph effects of corona covid19 on the stock market
    • etc​​
  • Future recovery: McKinsey explains very clearly 3 possible scenarios, that I summarize below, since they are very straigh-forward and concise:
    • Quick recovery: Case count continues to grow, given the virus’s high transmissibility and other countries are able to achieve the same rapid control seen in China, so that the peak in public concern comes within one to two weeks. Younger people are affected to change daily habits (they wash hands more frequently) but not enaugh to survival mode. McKinsey + Oxford Economics model suggests that global GDP growth for 2020 falls from previous consensus estimates of about 2.5 percent to about 2.0 percent. The biggest factors are a fall in China’s GDP from nearly 6 percent growth to about 4.7 percent; a one-percentage-point drop in GDP growth for East Asia; and drops of up to 0.5 percentage points for other large economies around the world. The US economy recovers by the end of Q1. By that point, China resumes most of its factory output; but consumer confidence there does not fully recover until end Q2.

    • Global slowdown: Most countries are not able to achieve the same rapid control that China managed. In Europe and USA, transmission is high but remains localized, and strong countermeasures (including school closings and cancellation of public events) are taken. For USA, the scenario assumes between 10,000 and 500,000 total cases. This scenario sees some spread in Africa, India, and other densely populated areas. This reaction lasts for six to eight weeks in towns and cities with active transmission, and three to four weeks in neighboring towns. The resulting demand shock cuts global GDP growth for 2020 in half, to between 1 percent and 1.5 percent, and pulls the global economy into a slowdown, though not recession.

    • Pandemic and recession: Similar to the global slowdown, except it assumes that the virus is not seasonal. Case growth continues throughout Q2 and Q3, potentially overwhelming healthcare systems around the world and pushing out a recovery in consumer confidence to Q3 or beyond. This scenario results in a recession, with global growth in 2020 falling to between –1.5 percent and 0.5 percent.

At this point, points 1 & 2 are probably the most "urgent" ones, the fires that are really burning us atm. However, it is clear that this sooner or later will pass and then 110% of the world´s effort will be focused on mitigating the economic impact this has generated.

Hope it helps in the conversation, looking forward to next steps!

Stay healthy everyone!

Clara

(edited)

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Hi Christine,

Thank you for this very interesting and very timely question. Here is my attempt at making the list.

Forgone Revenues (and sometimes risk of bankruptcy):

  • Transport and logistics industry – (people are travelling less and are also afraid of ordering things from abroad due to the virus), especially this is true for the airlines industry
  • Hospitality industry – hotels all over the world are empty
  • Restaurant industry – people are either themselves afraid to go to the restaurants, or there are laws in place, which demand closure of the restaurants (e.g. Italy, Austria)
  • All HoReCa adjacent industries – new projects in HoReCa are being put on hold, think furniture for restaurants and hotels, HoReCa hygiene products, architectural bureaus, designers etc.
  • Event industry – events all over the world are being cancelled
  • Banking industry – a lot of industries above take out bank loans, which they cannot fulfil anymore due to the revenue collapse (think of airplanes being usually financed by banks)
  • Construction and adjacent industries (contractors, materials, equipment etc.) – all the new projects are being put on hold
  • And last but not least – consulting industry :) The clients already cut on consulting spend, which means less projects, less revenues and less hiring, unfortunately

Additional Costs

  • Manufacturing industry – due to the chaos a lot of manufacturers cannot get components from China and need to buy them elsewhere / in their country, which drives up the costs
  • Food industry – possible new regulation in place to implement stricter sanitation norms to combat the virus
  • Insurance industry – which probably now needs to make a lot of pay-outs across many verticals they have

Societal damage

  • Mental health problems – a lot of people are now struggling with the anxiety to the point of not being able to work properly
  • Costs on the families – some families are isolated from one another, either in different countries or in different cities
  • “State is our saviour” attitudes and danger to liberal economics – it seems like in Western democracies the states are coming to the rescue now with lots of subsidies for all the failing businesses (and even for freelancers). This creates a situation where people perceive state as a fall-back option, which is always there when the problems emerge. This creates an attitude of creating unsustainable business models: “my business works only if there is no rain”. Which is unsustainable in a long term and will probably further drive the tax burden up in the Western societies

This is for the start – everybody, feel free to add additional buckets on the first level, or bullets on the second level :)

Best,
Daniel

Hi Christine,

Thank you for this very interesting and very timely question. Here is my attempt at making the list.

Forgone Revenues (and sometimes risk of bankruptcy):

  • Transport and logistics industry – (people are travelling less and are also afraid of ordering things from abroad due to the virus), especially this is true for the airlines industry
  • Hospitality industry – hotels all over the world are empty
  • Restaurant industry – people are either themselves afraid to go to the restaurants, or there are laws in place, which demand closure of the restaurants (e.g. Italy, Austria)
  • All HoReCa adjacent industries – new projects in HoReCa are being put on hold, think furniture for restaurants and hotels, HoReCa hygiene products, architectural bureaus, designers etc.
  • Event industry – events all over the world are being cancelled
  • Banking industry – a lot of industries above take out bank loans, which they cannot fulfil anymore due to the revenue collapse (think of airplanes being usually financed by banks)
  • Construction and adjacent industries (contractors, materials, equipment etc.) – all the new projects are being put on hold
  • And last but not least – consulting industry :) The clients already cut on consulting spend, which means less projects, less revenues and less hiring, unfortunately

Additional Costs

  • Manufacturing industry – due to the chaos a lot of manufacturers cannot get components from China and need to buy them elsewhere / in their country, which drives up the costs
  • Food industry – possible new regulation in place to implement stricter sanitation norms to combat the virus
  • Insurance industry – which probably now needs to make a lot of pay-outs across many verticals they have

Societal damage

  • Mental health problems – a lot of people are now struggling with the anxiety to the point of not being able to work properly
  • Costs on the families – some families are isolated from one another, either in different countries or in different cities
  • “State is our saviour” attitudes and danger to liberal economics – it seems like in Western democracies the states are coming to the rescue now with lots of subsidies for all the failing businesses (and even for freelancers). This creates a situation where people perceive state as a fall-back option, which is always there when the problems emerge. This creates an attitude of creating unsustainable business models: “my business works only if there is no rain”. Which is unsustainable in a long term and will probably further drive the tax burden up in the Western societies

This is for the start – everybody, feel free to add additional buckets on the first level, or bullets on the second level :)

Best,
Daniel

Thank you Daniel, for this great first contribution! :) — Christine on Mar 20, 2020

Hi Daniel, thanks for the contribution. “State is our saviour” attitudes and danger to liberal economics is a highly arguable statement. Paulson acts (and Greenspan before him) in the frame of the GFC 2008 have been one of the main cause of the 10 years recession/stagflation that followed across the world, only counter-balanced by huge QE policies that leads nowadays to higher unstabilities. One could argue that Paulson wasn't a "State is a saviour" type of person. Happy to discuss this together. — MPLUX ONE Sàrl - Matthieu on Mar 23, 2020 (edited)

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Thanks Christine for this interesting question.

This is a post I really didn’t want to have to write. Unfortunately, what seemed to be an issue related to a single country turned out to be a lot more serious than expected as a consequence of multiple mistakes done in prevention, in particular by my country, Italy.

To answer your question (specifically on the problems and issues the crisis may cause) we may divide them in short-term and long-term related. I see many people concentrate these days on the short-term ones. However, in my opinion, the most dangerous are the structural effects that the virus could bring to the weakest economies affected, such as Italy.

In terms of short-term effects, which are clearly easier to measure nowadays, we may consider the problems as related to the following:

A) Economic impact.

1) Direct loss of revenues. This is mainly related to lost GDP for some sectors and risk of bankruptcy. It is interesting to consider that the decrease in revenues is due to two main factors:

  • (i) disruption in value chain which makes impossible to complete products (supply side)
  • (ii) decrease demand for finite products and investments (demand)

The joint effect is a global slow down, assuming the economy recovers at the end of the year.

graph economic growth 2020

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

The most hit sectors so far have been:

Tourism/hospitality. Probably the most affected sector due to lockdowns

graph restaurant and tourism industry due to coronavirus

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Transportation. Mainly related to airlines and tourism-related transportation

map travel restrictions due to coronavirus

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Oil and gas. Driven by the decreasing price of oil related to demand shock

graph oil prices development

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Automotive. Mainly due to disruption of value chain and expected recession effects on demand

graph car sales in china after coronavirus

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Consumer products. This sector is split in performance due to online (growing) vs offline (shrinking) effect

graph domestic mobile phone shipments

(Source: Forbes - https://bit.ly/2J83L3q)

2) Unemployment. Unemployment regularly follows recessions. Many countries create subsidies and legislation which makes not possible to layoff people, thus this will likely be a long-term factor

graph unemployment rate coronavirus

(Source: ResearchGate - https://bit.ly/2vNT4A4)

3) Increase in government debt. Due to subsidies and higher cost of healthcare. This will likely be visible long term for the countries with the highest debt, in particular after the raise of interest rates

graph debt of nations covid-19

(Source: IMF - https://bit.ly/3aaBsgF)

B) Human impact.

This refers to affected human beings and social impact. In terms of numbers the reported cases as of March 24 are:

  • 380k+ Cases
  • 16k+ Deaths

graph dramatic spike coronavirus infections

(Source: Businessinsider - https://bit.ly/2UAjsFZ)

Besides the number of affected people, a relevant problem is the isolation many people and families face in this situation.

In terms of long-term effects, I see the following as the main critical issues:

  • Higher risk of solvency for countries with high debt such as Italy – in particular once interest rates will rise again
  • Hit to consumer confidence and lower propension to spend (unless of very successful government intervention)
  • Increase of unemployment rate
  • Raise of online vs offline sales (eg groceries)
  • Raise of online vs offline services (eg online education)

Hope this helps the discussion!

Best,

Francesco

Thanks Christine for this interesting question.

This is a post I really didn’t want to have to write. Unfortunately, what seemed to be an issue related to a single country turned out to be a lot more serious than expected as a consequence of multiple mistakes done in prevention, in particular by my country, Italy.

To answer your question (specifically on the problems and issues the crisis may cause) we may divide them in short-term and long-term related. I see many people concentrate these days on the short-term ones. However, in my opinion, the most dangerous are the structural effects that the virus could bring to the weakest economies affected, such as Italy.

In terms of short-term effects, which are clearly easier to measure nowadays, we may consider the problems as related to the following:

A) Economic impact.

1) Direct loss of revenues. This is mainly related to lost GDP for some sectors and risk of bankruptcy. It is interesting to consider that the decrease in revenues is due to two main factors:

  • (i) disruption in value chain which makes impossible to complete products (supply side)
  • (ii) decrease demand for finite products and investments (demand)

The joint effect is a global slow down, assuming the economy recovers at the end of the year.

graph economic growth 2020

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

The most hit sectors so far have been:

Tourism/hospitality. Probably the most affected sector due to lockdowns

graph restaurant and tourism industry due to coronavirus

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Transportation. Mainly related to airlines and tourism-related transportation

map travel restrictions due to coronavirus

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Oil and gas. Driven by the decreasing price of oil related to demand shock

graph oil prices development

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Automotive. Mainly due to disruption of value chain and expected recession effects on demand

graph car sales in china after coronavirus

(Sources: BBC - https://bbc.in/2UvjQ8K)

Consumer products. This sector is split in performance due to online (growing) vs offline (shrinking) effect

graph domestic mobile phone shipments

(Source: Forbes - https://bit.ly/2J83L3q)

2) Unemployment. Unemployment regularly follows recessions. Many countries create subsidies and legislation which makes not possible to layoff people, thus this will likely be a long-term factor

graph unemployment rate coronavirus

(Source: ResearchGate - https://bit.ly/2vNT4A4)

3) Increase in government debt. Due to subsidies and higher cost of healthcare. This will likely be visible long term for the countries with the highest debt, in particular after the raise of interest rates

graph debt of nations covid-19

(Source: IMF - https://bit.ly/3aaBsgF)

B) Human impact.

This refers to affected human beings and social impact. In terms of numbers the reported cases as of March 24 are:

  • 380k+ Cases
  • 16k+ Deaths

graph dramatic spike coronavirus infections

(Source: Businessinsider - https://bit.ly/2UAjsFZ)

Besides the number of affected people, a relevant problem is the isolation many people and families face in this situation.

In terms of long-term effects, I see the following as the main critical issues:

  • Higher risk of solvency for countries with high debt such as Italy – in particular once interest rates will rise again
  • Hit to consumer confidence and lower propension to spend (unless of very successful government intervention)
  • Increase of unemployment rate
  • Raise of online vs offline sales (eg groceries)
  • Raise of online vs offline services (eg online education)

Hope this helps the discussion!

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

Thanks for the question Christine.

I would structure the problem in three dimensions: Effect of crisis on Humans health and society, Effect of crisis on Science and Pharmaceutical development, Effect of crisis on larger economy

Effect on Humans health and society:

    • COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the seasonal flu. This is based on the current data, it might well be that it is much more contagious due to cases we are not able to measure. Having rigorous scientific epidemiological studies will be key to establish this
    • The infectious period is a median of 5.5 days (up to 14 days), while the annual flu is commonly a 3-day period; data suggests that viral shedding continues beyond symptom resolution
    • Case fatality rates are trending at 4.9% globally (vs. 0.1% for the flu). Same applies as for contagiousness: rigorous studies will be needed to assess how many people were infected. Diamond Princess testing estimated asymptomatic rate of 17.9%; emerging sources in Asia suggest potentially higher rates.
    • No herd immunity exists yet as the virus is novel in humans: Social distancing (quarantines, WFH, school closures) is the only “brake” to slow the spread

  • Other effect on Health & Wellbeing: it’s early to define other effects of crisis on overall Health & Wellbeing of people, however there are some first indicators:
    • Mental Health: In the US Suicide Hotlines are experiencing very high volumes of calls, as the social isolation, fear of unemployment and disease is having a toll on people’s mental wellbeing. The problem is for sure not only an American one
    • Domestic violence: there have been several media reports across countries (e.g. US, Switzerland) that this is becoming a major problem due to the curfews.
    • Reduced ability to work out with consequences both on mental and physical health
  • Effects on Healthcare delivery
    • Capacity of ICUs / number of respirators are mentioned often in the media. One additional important point is the training and availability of care personnel. Several countries have called retired medical personnel to fill the gaps
    • Low and Middle-Income countries will have a much tougher time and need not to be forgotten while we focus on our own problems. There are also reports that the situation in refugee camps are catastrophic
    • Oliver Wyman has developed a tool to predict hospital supply and demand, and is helping several healthcare providers to prepare for impact (You can find the model here: https://oliverwymangroup.wufoo.com/forms/s12hwj5h0qqcxx1/)

Effects on Science

Being a scientist by training, I have to say that this is one area I see mostly positive developments

  • Scientific community and publishing of results:
    • Increased collaboration by the scientific community across the globe
    • Use of pre-print services for scientific publications for quicker knowledge dissemination
    • Quick crowd review of results, with timely retractions of wrong findings
    • Extended open-access to published literature: Elsevier has made free access available for 20,000 related articles. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend of easier to access scientific knowledge
    • On the downside: many universities across the world are ramping down research in biomedical sciences due to employer safety and social distancing rules, resulting in slower progress in overall research
  • Development of vaccines and therapeutics
    • It took Moderna Therapeutics only 42 days from the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 to develop a new vaccine candidate, clinical trials started last week. However, the development of a new vaccine will likely take more than a year. And a year is an unseen success in vaccine development
    • Other therapeutics are currently in development and will likely come to market earlier than a vaccine. However, those drugs will not help stop the spread of the disease, but only reduce mortality and time in ICU and therefore have a positive impact on health systems
    • Infectious diseases, while having a heavy toll on global health, were not in the focus of most pharmaceutical producers and public due to low impact on the developed world. We are currently seeing a shift in both

Effects on overall economy

Oliver Wyman has developed three scenarios and their impact on the overall economy

  • Scenario 1 (Outbreak suppression in 4-6 months):
    • Supply chain shocks in some sectors; Chinese manufacturing shutdown in part tempered by inventories stockpiled in advance of Lunar New Year
    • Corporate and government-mandated travel restrictions lead to drop-off in demand in airlines and hotels and impact some retail supply and demand
    • Earnings dented for 1-2 quarters post outbreak with gradual recovery and rebounding consumer confidence allowing companies to return to normal 2-3 quarters later
    • Small local businesses (e.g., restaurants, gyms, salons) struggle to tread water during suppression measures, some do not reopen
    • Central bank intervention and government stimulus implemented
    • As international travel restrictions and quarantines are lifted, recovery in travel and hospitality begins
  • Scenario 2 (6–12 months to rein in pandemic):
    • Employers reluctant to relax travel and WFH mandates without guidance from public health officials
    • Vulnerable industries experience a continued drop in demand driven by suppressive measures and shaken consumer confidence; take measures to stabilize balance sheets and ensure liquidity
    • Supply chain shocks play out over a six+ month period, after which momentum could begin to stabilize and recover
    • Moderate to potentially severe recession in impacted countries; larger, more diversified economies with less dependence on international trade and/or foreign income than other economies prove better able to weather slowing growth
    • Significant central bank intervention and government support programs (e.g., extended unemployment insurance, credit support for SMEs) are implemented
    • Some governments may choose to remove suppression measures to resuscitate economy, leading to restart of once dormant economic sectors, but re-emergence of COVID cases suggests more suppression measures may be needed
  • Scenario 3 (12+ months; ongoing pandemic):
    • Severe recession on the order of Global Financial Crisis in 2020, possibly into 2021
    • Dramatic drop in demand (consumer confidence, access to supply, part-time/gig economy workers with less discretionary income) results in severe contraction in Q2 and Q3 with uncertain recovery in Q4
    • Companies in particularly vulnerable industries (travel, energy, hospitality) require additional liquidity, and may trigger complications for related industries
    • Massive central bank intervention plus government stimulus injected to protect vulnerable workers and businesses on a scale exceeding TARP
    • Some governments may choose to remove suppression measures to resuscitate economy, leading to restart of once dormant economic sectors, but re-emergence of COVID cases suggests more suppression measures may be needed

For more information about those three scenarios: https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/hubs/coronavirus.html

Thanks for the question Christine.

I would structure the problem in three dimensions: Effect of crisis on Humans health and society, Effect of crisis on Science and Pharmaceutical development, Effect of crisis on larger economy

Effect on Humans health and society:

    • COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the seasonal flu. This is based on the current data, it might well be that it is much more contagious due to cases we are not able to measure. Having rigorous scientific epidemiological studies will be key to establish this
    • The infectious period is a median of 5.5 days (up to 14 days), while the annual flu is commonly a 3-day period; data suggests that viral shedding continues beyond symptom resolution
    • Case fatality rates are trending at 4.9% globally (vs. 0.1% for the flu). Same applies as for contagiousness: rigorous studies will be needed to assess how many people were infected. Diamond Princess testing estimated asymptomatic rate of 17.9%; emerging sources in Asia suggest potentially higher rates.
    • No herd immunity exists yet as the virus is novel in humans: Social distancing (quarantines, WFH, school closures) is the only “brake” to slow the spread

  • Other effect on Health & Wellbeing: it’s early to define other effects of crisis on overall Health & Wellbeing of people, however there are some first indicators:
    • Mental Health: In the US Suicide Hotlines are experiencing very high volumes of calls, as the social isolation, fear of unemployment and disease is having a toll on people’s mental wellbeing. The problem is for sure not only an American one
    • Domestic violence: there have been several media reports across countries (e.g. US, Switzerland) that this is becoming a major problem due to the curfews.
    • Reduced ability to work out with consequences both on mental and physical health
  • Effects on Healthcare delivery
    • Capacity of ICUs / number of respirators are mentioned often in the media. One additional important point is the training and availability of care personnel. Several countries have called retired medical personnel to fill the gaps
    • Low and Middle-Income countries will have a much tougher time and need not to be forgotten while we focus on our own problems. There are also reports that the situation in refugee camps are catastrophic
    • Oliver Wyman has developed a tool to predict hospital supply and demand, and is helping several healthcare providers to prepare for impact (You can find the model here: https://oliverwymangroup.wufoo.com/forms/s12hwj5h0qqcxx1/)

Effects on Science

Being a scientist by training, I have to say that this is one area I see mostly positive developments

  • Scientific community and publishing of results:
    • Increased collaboration by the scientific community across the globe
    • Use of pre-print services for scientific publications for quicker knowledge dissemination
    • Quick crowd review of results, with timely retractions of wrong findings
    • Extended open-access to published literature: Elsevier has made free access available for 20,000 related articles. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend of easier to access scientific knowledge
    • On the downside: many universities across the world are ramping down research in biomedical sciences due to employer safety and social distancing rules, resulting in slower progress in overall research
  • Development of vaccines and therapeutics
    • It took Moderna Therapeutics only 42 days from the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 to develop a new vaccine candidate, clinical trials started last week. However, the development of a new vaccine will likely take more than a year. And a year is an unseen success in vaccine development
    • Other therapeutics are currently in development and will likely come to market earlier than a vaccine. However, those drugs will not help stop the spread of the disease, but only reduce mortality and time in ICU and therefore have a positive impact on health systems
    • Infectious diseases, while having a heavy toll on global health, were not in the focus of most pharmaceutical producers and public due to low impact on the developed world. We are currently seeing a shift in both

Effects on overall economy

Oliver Wyman has developed three scenarios and their impact on the overall economy

  • Scenario 1 (Outbreak suppression in 4-6 months):
    • Supply chain shocks in some sectors; Chinese manufacturing shutdown in part tempered by inventories stockpiled in advance of Lunar New Year
    • Corporate and government-mandated travel restrictions lead to drop-off in demand in airlines and hotels and impact some retail supply and demand
    • Earnings dented for 1-2 quarters post outbreak with gradual recovery and rebounding consumer confidence allowing companies to return to normal 2-3 quarters later
    • Small local businesses (e.g., restaurants, gyms, salons) struggle to tread water during suppression measures, some do not reopen
    • Central bank intervention and government stimulus implemented
    • As international travel restrictions and quarantines are lifted, recovery in travel and hospitality begins
  • Scenario 2 (6–12 months to rein in pandemic):
    • Employers reluctant to relax travel and WFH mandates without guidance from public health officials
    • Vulnerable industries experience a continued drop in demand driven by suppressive measures and shaken consumer confidence; take measures to stabilize balance sheets and ensure liquidity
    • Supply chain shocks play out over a six+ month period, after which momentum could begin to stabilize and recover
    • Moderate to potentially severe recession in impacted countries; larger, more diversified economies with less dependence on international trade and/or foreign income than other economies prove better able to weather slowing growth
    • Significant central bank intervention and government support programs (e.g., extended unemployment insurance, credit support for SMEs) are implemented
    • Some governments may choose to remove suppression measures to resuscitate economy, leading to restart of once dormant economic sectors, but re-emergence of COVID cases suggests more suppression measures may be needed
  • Scenario 3 (12+ months; ongoing pandemic):
    • Severe recession on the order of Global Financial Crisis in 2020, possibly into 2021
    • Dramatic drop in demand (consumer confidence, access to supply, part-time/gig economy workers with less discretionary income) results in severe contraction in Q2 and Q3 with uncertain recovery in Q4
    • Companies in particularly vulnerable industries (travel, energy, hospitality) require additional liquidity, and may trigger complications for related industries
    • Massive central bank intervention plus government stimulus injected to protect vulnerable workers and businesses on a scale exceeding TARP
    • Some governments may choose to remove suppression measures to resuscitate economy, leading to restart of once dormant economic sectors, but re-emergence of COVID cases suggests more suppression measures may be needed

For more information about those three scenarios: https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/hubs/coronavirus.html

(edited)

Hi Mario, Thank you for this comprehensive and detailed answer on behalf of Oliver Wyman! It's great to see how Oliver Wyman has already put together the expertise of their consultants to measure and estimate the effects of this crisis. We also appreciate your personal knowledge on positive side affects from a scientific point of view. This is very interesting! All the best and stay healthy. — Christine on Mar 27, 2020

Hi,

I think the answers list the main problems and issues in an excellent way.

However, if I were a client and could give a difficult assignment to a brilliant consulting team, I may phrase it differently: I would want to ask not only how to solve the issues that this crisis caused, but also what are the main opportunities this crisis opened and what are the main evolutions that would be wise for our current systems. 3 key areas where I see this question unfolding are:

1. the health system;

2. supply chains and globalization;

3. GHG and our ability to curb our emissions.

Examples of the disruptions at play:

1) The virus exposed the structure of the health systems: from incentives to work even sick when one doesn't have health insurance (the Economist), to the decline in acute care beds (OECD data). In France, Macron declared "free unconditional health (…) is not a cost or a liability but precious assets (…) invaluable when fate strikes" (Le Point). Scientists warn about the "second wave" of the virus, and about possible more deadly viruses that could appear, migrate North, or be unthawed in the years to come.

2) The McKinsey Economic Conditions Snapshot, March 2020, shows that +11% respondents plan to focus on diversifying supply chains across countries in the next 3 years (to 35%), +9% plan to source more from regional supply chains (to 27%), +5% plan to invest more in supply-chain-management technologies (to 48%) and +4% plan to focus more on ESG issues in the supply chain (to 41%).

3) China's GHG emissions are down 25% in recent weeks: "a microscopic pathogen (…) may be capable of accomplishing what our political leaders thus far cannot" (Washington Post).

So, my question as a leader would be: how to make this crisis an opportunity for creative disruption, and come up with a plan to get back to value creation as soon as possible while incorporating changes for a more sustainable and antifragile organization?

Take care everyone!

Clémence

Hi,

I think the answers list the main problems and issues in an excellent way.

However, if I were a client and could give a difficult assignment to a brilliant consulting team, I may phrase it differently: I would want to ask not only how to solve the issues that this crisis caused, but also what are the main opportunities this crisis opened and what are the main evolutions that would be wise for our current systems. 3 key areas where I see this question unfolding are:

1. the health system;

2. supply chains and globalization;

3. GHG and our ability to curb our emissions.

Examples of the disruptions at play:

1) The virus exposed the structure of the health systems: from incentives to work even sick when one doesn't have health insurance (the Economist), to the decline in acute care beds (OECD data). In France, Macron declared "free unconditional health (…) is not a cost or a liability but precious assets (…) invaluable when fate strikes" (Le Point). Scientists warn about the "second wave" of the virus, and about possible more deadly viruses that could appear, migrate North, or be unthawed in the years to come.

2) The McKinsey Economic Conditions Snapshot, March 2020, shows that +11% respondents plan to focus on diversifying supply chains across countries in the next 3 years (to 35%), +9% plan to source more from regional supply chains (to 27%), +5% plan to invest more in supply-chain-management technologies (to 48%) and +4% plan to focus more on ESG issues in the supply chain (to 41%).

3) China's GHG emissions are down 25% in recent weeks: "a microscopic pathogen (…) may be capable of accomplishing what our political leaders thus far cannot" (Washington Post).

So, my question as a leader would be: how to make this crisis an opportunity for creative disruption, and come up with a plan to get back to value creation as soon as possible while incorporating changes for a more sustainable and antifragile organization?

Take care everyone!

Clémence

Agree. I think it is important to start reprioritise the resources on different sectors of economy. For instance if there is unemployment, how to shift the workforces towards industries that need people to end the crisis. On the other hand, start designing the new ways of how economies work without over-reliance on consumerism. — Ash on Mar 24, 2020

Again, tech that helped businesses to shape digital landscape and capitalise on people's impulse for instant satisfaction and consumerism, has already been used to promote auto-detection of temperature for example. Think about the helmets that security was wearing in China to auto-alert when people with high temperature passes by. There should be more focus on the contactless technology and how that enables us to be safer. The news also mentioned today that Uber Eats see a surge of demand, which is unusual at this time. So in general, demand is still there and needs fulfillment albeit more cautious and towards conservatism. — Ash on Mar 24, 2020

Thanks Ash for these thoughtful comments ! — Clem on Mar 26, 2020

Hi Clémence, thank you for your input! We will add your thoughts as another step of this Q&A challenge to discover the main opportunities of this global health crisis! All the best and stay healthy! — Christine on Mar 27, 2020

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Hey Christine,

What we now know from the open sources is that China is experiencing already unforeseen crisis and recession. In Jan-Feb 2020 its domestic consumption has reduced by 20% and its industrial output reduced by 13% comparing to Jan-Feb 2019!

The whole global economy will be hit by the virus this year because similar effects will be experienced by all the countries. Leisure, entertainment and travel sectors (hotels, airlines, restaurants, etc. – which corresponds for approx.. 5% of the global GDP) were hit first, but the whole global value chain is now breaking down with more severe consequencies.

Consequently, the governments of most countries will start taking massive actions to ease the effects of global recession. The interest rates have been now lowered to 0%, quantitative easing will be introduced again shortly. I even assume that governments will increase national debts and support the companies saving them from the wave of bancruptcies.

In order to quantify the impact of COVID on China (or any other country), I would analyze the following buckets:

  1. Economic impact (economy slow down, forced demand decrease, shortage of supply, lower productivity)
  2. Social impact (increased medical costs, number of fatalities, other social impacts of people being locked for few months)
  3. Long-term impact (global recession, global ties with/to other countries been broken)

I hope it helps – keep safe and stay healthy!

Best,

André

Hey Christine,

What we now know from the open sources is that China is experiencing already unforeseen crisis and recession. In Jan-Feb 2020 its domestic consumption has reduced by 20% and its industrial output reduced by 13% comparing to Jan-Feb 2019!

The whole global economy will be hit by the virus this year because similar effects will be experienced by all the countries. Leisure, entertainment and travel sectors (hotels, airlines, restaurants, etc. – which corresponds for approx.. 5% of the global GDP) were hit first, but the whole global value chain is now breaking down with more severe consequencies.

Consequently, the governments of most countries will start taking massive actions to ease the effects of global recession. The interest rates have been now lowered to 0%, quantitative easing will be introduced again shortly. I even assume that governments will increase national debts and support the companies saving them from the wave of bancruptcies.

In order to quantify the impact of COVID on China (or any other country), I would analyze the following buckets:

  1. Economic impact (economy slow down, forced demand decrease, shortage of supply, lower productivity)
  2. Social impact (increased medical costs, number of fatalities, other social impacts of people being locked for few months)
  3. Long-term impact (global recession, global ties with/to other countries been broken)

I hope it helps – keep safe and stay healthy!

Best,

André

Dear community,

I'm happy to contribute our view!

The Coronavirus disease pandemic sweeps away economic forecasts that are just some weeks old. For now, the health of every one of us takes precedence over most economic matters. However, both our individual health and our democracy depend on a functioning economy.

Therefore, it is important to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on major economies across the globe. We at Roland Berger have developed two main scenarios for how COVID-19 will affect different countries and industries. The first scenario assumes that the current economic disruption continues for four weeks. In the second scenario, we assume the economic disruption to continue for twelve weeks.

The global view

One thing is clear: GDP is currently taking a severe beating. However, the size of the impact in different parts of the world will depend fundamentally on how long the present economic disruption lasts. We foresee a drop in GDP growth in 2020 compared to the pre-crisis base case ranging from 1.9 to 7.1 percentage points.

China is further along the coronavirus curve than Europe and the United States. The government's actions have been effective so far, quarantine measures have been gradually lifted and social and economic life is slowly returning to normal. In the event of a four-week economic disruption, China will feel the effect of closures of production sites and lack of demand from the United States and Europe, but production will quickly return to normal driven by pent-up domestic demand and demand from key trading partners post-lockdown (Japan, South Korea). The result will be a drop in GDP growth of just 1.9 percentage points in 2020 compared to the pre-crisis base case. In the event a 12-week economic disruption, European and US demand will remain in the doldrums for longer and domestic demand will not completely compensate for this, leading to a drop in GDP growth of 3.3 percentage points.

If mitigation actions by governments in Europe are effective, we could see the number of new infections declining here at the beginning of Q2 2020. A four-week period of economic disruption will mean negative growth in Q1 and Q2, i.e. we will have a recession and GDP growth for the whole of 2020 will be down 3.4 percentage points. Should the disruption continue for 12 weeks, on the other hand, we foresee a steep drop in growth in Q2 2020, with the closure of many non-essential production sites and a substantial increase in unemployment, especially in the services sector. In this case GDP growth for the year could be hit by as much as 5.8 percentage points.

Four weeks of economic disruption in the United States will mean a temporary halt in production by some manufacturers and a dip in consumer confidence. The recovery will then be driven by the strong US economy, consumer spending, public investment and government relief packages. The result will be a 4.2 percentage point drop in GDP. With 12 weeks of disruption, recovery with positive growth rates will not occur before Q4 2020, production will see lengthy delays, layoffs will drive down consumer demand and asset and credit bubbles may burst. In this scenario GDP growth could dive by as much as 7.1 percentage points.

Graphic GDP Impact Overview Coronavirus

The industry view

Whether the economic disruption lasts four weeks or twelve, the impact on industry will be two-fold, affecting both annual profitability and short-term liquidity. Tourism and travel, the airline industry and retail (excluding FMCG) will be hit strongly on both fronts, putting them in the upper right-hand quadrant of our coronavirus impact matrix below. Tourism and travel have already experienced short-term cancellations and a sharp drop in cash inflow as new bookings for June to August evaporate. The industry has limited options for catching up after the crisis has ended, putting 2020 results under immense pressure. In the airline industry, last-minute cancellations combined with a tendency towards flexible bookings have led to a cash shortage; the long-term financing of aircraft limits the possibilities for adjusting cash outflow accordingly. Profitability will be impacted by the industry's close correlation with tourism and travel. Non-FMCG retail is seeing drastically reduced demand, leading to a shortfall in sales.

The automotive, logistics and oil and gas industries will take a similar blow to short-term liquidity but demonstrate greater ability for their earnings to catch up after the crisis ends. In the automotive industry, demand will further drop off during the crisis, which will be particularly challenging for automotive suppliers with fixed cost structures. However, recovery in China may allow firms to make up for some of the losses they suffer. The logistics industry is seeing a big drop in profitability as production stops, but the rebound effects when the situation relaxes will allow for partial catch-up. The oil and gas industry has been through crises before and enjoys some flexibility due to third-party oilfield services. However, its liquidity situation is exacerbated by the current price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia: With an oil price of 30 USD/bbl, upstream free cash flow is close to zero.

The financial services industry will be less impacted in terms of short-term liquidity, but 2020 results will come under pressure. Low interest rates and monetary policy measures will provide financial aid during the crisis, although the inevitable bankruptcies will lead to reduced cash inflows for the industry. Profitability for the year will be affected strongly by the depreciation of distressed and bankrupt corporate financing, while regulatory requirements on core capital may lead to fire sales of credit portfolios.

Coronavirus impact matrix Industry Overview

However, it cannot be ruled out that the crisis will cause much deeper, structural damage to the economy. Therefore, we have also compiled some estimates for a "Profound Recession" scenario. This scenario reflects multiple insolvencies, skyrocketing unemployment and governments unable to stimulate economic growth. In this worst-case scenario our forecasts are that GDP would grow just 0.3 percent in China in 2020, and shrink by 9.3 percent in Europe and 10.4 percent in the United States.

Dear community,

I'm happy to contribute our view!

The Coronavirus disease pandemic sweeps away economic forecasts that are just some weeks old. For now, the health of every one of us takes precedence over most economic matters. However, both our individual health and our democracy depend on a functioning economy.

Therefore, it is important to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on major economies across the globe. We at Roland Berger have developed two main scenarios for how COVID-19 will affect different countries and industries. The first scenario assumes that the current economic disruption continues for four weeks. In the second scenario, we assume the economic disruption to continue for twelve weeks.

The global view

One thing is clear: GDP is currently taking a severe beating. However, the size of the impact in different parts of the world will depend fundamentally on how long the present economic disruption lasts. We foresee a drop in GDP growth in 2020 compared to the pre-crisis base case ranging from 1.9 to 7.1 percentage points.

China is further along the coronavirus curve than Europe and the United States. The government's actions have been effective so far, quarantine measures have been gradually lifted and social and economic life is slowly returning to normal. In the event of a four-week economic disruption, China will feel the effect of closures of production sites and lack of demand from the United States and Europe, but production will quickly return to normal driven by pent-up domestic demand and demand from key trading partners post-lockdown (Japan, South Korea). The result will be a drop in GDP growth of just 1.9 percentage points in 2020 compared to the pre-crisis base case. In the event a 12-week economic disruption, European and US demand will remain in the doldrums for longer and domestic demand will not completely compensate for this, leading to a drop in GDP growth of 3.3 percentage points.

If mitigation actions by governments in Europe are effective, we could see the number of new infections declining here at the beginning of Q2 2020. A four-week period of economic disruption will mean negative growth in Q1 and Q2, i.e. we will have a recession and GDP growth for the whole of 2020 will be down 3.4 percentage points. Should the disruption continue for 12 weeks, on the other hand, we foresee a steep drop in growth in Q2 2020, with the closure of many non-essential production sites and a substantial increase in unemployment, especially in the services sector. In this case GDP growth for the year could be hit by as much as 5.8 percentage points.

Four weeks of economic disruption in the United States will mean a temporary halt in production by some manufacturers and a dip in consumer confidence. The recovery will then be driven by the strong US economy, consumer spending, public investment and government relief packages. The result will be a 4.2 percentage point drop in GDP. With 12 weeks of disruption, recovery with positive growth rates will not occur before Q4 2020, production will see lengthy delays, layoffs will drive down consumer demand and asset and credit bubbles may burst. In this scenario GDP growth could dive by as much as 7.1 percentage points.

Graphic GDP Impact Overview Coronavirus

The industry view

Whether the economic disruption lasts four weeks or twelve, the impact on industry will be two-fold, affecting both annual profitability and short-term liquidity. Tourism and travel, the airline industry and retail (excluding FMCG) will be hit strongly on both fronts, putting them in the upper right-hand quadrant of our coronavirus impact matrix below. Tourism and travel have already experienced short-term cancellations and a sharp drop in cash inflow as new bookings for June to August evaporate. The industry has limited options for catching up after the crisis has ended, putting 2020 results under immense pressure. In the airline industry, last-minute cancellations combined with a tendency towards flexible bookings have led to a cash shortage; the long-term financing of aircraft limits the possibilities for adjusting cash outflow accordingly. Profitability will be impacted by the industry's close correlation with tourism and travel. Non-FMCG retail is seeing drastically reduced demand, leading to a shortfall in sales.

The automotive, logistics and oil and gas industries will take a similar blow to short-term liquidity but demonstrate greater ability for their earnings to catch up after the crisis ends. In the automotive industry, demand will further drop off during the crisis, which will be particularly challenging for automotive suppliers with fixed cost structures. However, recovery in China may allow firms to make up for some of the losses they suffer. The logistics industry is seeing a big drop in profitability as production stops, but the rebound effects when the situation relaxes will allow for partial catch-up. The oil and gas industry has been through crises before and enjoys some flexibility due to third-party oilfield services. However, its liquidity situation is exacerbated by the current price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia: With an oil price of 30 USD/bbl, upstream free cash flow is close to zero.

The financial services industry will be less impacted in terms of short-term liquidity, but 2020 results will come under pressure. Low interest rates and monetary policy measures will provide financial aid during the crisis, although the inevitable bankruptcies will lead to reduced cash inflows for the industry. Profitability for the year will be affected strongly by the depreciation of distressed and bankrupt corporate financing, while regulatory requirements on core capital may lead to fire sales of credit portfolios.

Coronavirus impact matrix Industry Overview

However, it cannot be ruled out that the crisis will cause much deeper, structural damage to the economy. Therefore, we have also compiled some estimates for a "Profound Recession" scenario. This scenario reflects multiple insolvencies, skyrocketing unemployment and governments unable to stimulate economic growth. In this worst-case scenario our forecasts are that GDP would grow just 0.3 percent in China in 2020, and shrink by 9.3 percent in Europe and 10.4 percent in the United States.

Hi David! Thank you for this very comprehensive answer. Interesting to see how you, on behalf of Roland Berger, have structured this problem. We hope to see you also participating in the problem-solving part of this Q&A challenge. All the best and stay healthy! — Christine on Mar 30, 2020

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If you're looking for a way to help fight Covid-19, I will recommend to check out the website mentioned below where there is opportunity to volunteer for a great list of projects looking for support in various areas as well as funding:

https://helpwithcovid.com/