The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has been in the news for weeks now. Last week, with the virus having been identified in more than 50 countries, stock markets took significant dives. Markets have since rallied, in no small part due to anticipation of stimulus efforts on the part of central banks.
Concerns include supply chain issues and consumer behaviour. Anecdotally, some people and organisations have curtailed personal and business activities or changed travel plans.
I often have a business channel on in the background while working, and the frequency of coronavirus-related discussions seems to be on the rise. In Paris today, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD released its interim economic assessment, “Coronavirus: The world economy at risk” [OECD (2020), OECD Economic Outlook, Interim Report March 2020, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/7969896b-en]. The report projects a drop in global economic growth, from 2.9% to 2.4%, “… with growth possibly even being negative in the first quarter of 2020. “
Keep calm and wash your hands – and leave face masks for those who need them
You’ve likely heard such advice. There have been multiple recommendations that healthy individuals save face masks for health care professionals and for individuals who are ill and hope to prevent spread of an infection.
How’s your hygiene etiquette?
How’s your coughing etiquette? In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guidelines on hygiene etiquette (yes!) and practices, long before we heard of coronavirus. The common sense advice? Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and discard used tissues. If you don’t have a tissue at hand, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve rather than into your hands or the open air. Wash your hands with soap and water – and not only after you’ve coughed or sneezed, but also after touching contaminated objects. It comes down to common sense, which we know isn’t always so common.
What we’re being told
Governments everywhere are providing information on coronavirus. In Canada, our federal government has listed fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia in both lungs as among the symptoms. The website advises that it may take up to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19 before symptoms appear.
It recommends, “If you are ill and must visit a health care professional, call ahead or tell them when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness. You may be asked to wear a mask while waiting for or receiving treatment to prevent the spread of the illness.”
In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has also published resources for people who want to learn more. The NHS has noted, “It’s very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.”
World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to publish updates and recommendations. Today, the WHO Director-General provided a media briefing and you can find his opening remarks by clicking here.
Is this impacting your workplace?
Let’s take a look at if, and how, the coronavirus is impacting your place of work – and whether employers have business continuity plans (BCPs) in place. Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below, and check back here for results.
Is coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting your world?
This poll is now closed. You can see the questions, and full results, by clicking here.