In partnership with CEO.org, TopRight recently conducted a survey of 183 global business leaders on what the central priorities should be regarding Covid-19. A large majority of the companies were from the USA, but 29 were from Europe, 12 from Asia, 12 from Australia, nine from Africa and the Middle East, and seven from Latin America. Participants were asked to organize a prepared list of ten items according to importance and also leave comments or amendments where they felt necessary.
Though short and informal, the result of this survey was nevertheless instructive. Here is what we found.
First Priority: Detection
What is the availability and accuracy of testing alternatives?
Nearly all of the respondents felt that tests and testing was the clear first priority. Tests should be produced, distributed, and widely available for all people dealing with the possibility of either present and past exposure. They felt that test quality was of extremely high importance, and that assessments should be made regarding the occurrence of false negatives and false positives.
Second Priority: Immunity
What’s the development on antibody testing, understanding immunity, and production of a vaccine?
Testing for immunity using antibody analysis was a major priority for most. The news on this issue has recently been very positive.
Third Priority: Recovery
What are the protocols for returning to work and protecting employees, customers, and others?
Participants were concerned about the conflict between restarting the economy and thus saving businesses and jobs and the threat of a second wave of infection. They want specifics on the appropriate standards and information on how damage to the world economy can be mitigated. Government overreach was also a concern: they sought a comparative analysis of the various government responses around the world and their effectiveness. Measuring the increase in non-Covie-19-related deaths as a consequence of lockdowns, plus the phenomenon of people avoiding hospitals for non-Covid-19 conditions, was also important.
Fourth Priority: Innovation
How can we realign resources and assets to invent, produce, and deliver solutions?
Participants wanted to know which industries might become obsolete and what new industries may spring up. How health systems and global disaster response organizations can make our healthcare less fragile and more prepared for any type of rare “Black Swan” event, no matter the type of communicable disease.
Fifth Priority: Relapse
What is the threat of a second wave of infection, and its consequences and implications
Information about the rate and likelihood of relapse in different contexts was a priority. How many relapses may occur before a vaccine is discovered and what will be the overall economic impact?
Sixth Priority: Protection
What are the requirements to identify and protect the vulnerable?
The challenges of protecting the vulnerable—the homeless, elderly, and ill—remain complex and difficult. Unfortunately, many of the obstacles remain.
Seventh Priority: Capacity
What is the efficacy of the health-system during a surge and how can it be maintained over time?
Expanding the capacity of existing medical facilities was among the concerns of those who participated, and not just for Covid-19 but for possible future catastrophes (health, natural, manmade, etc.).
Eighth Priority: Investment
What is the assessment of overall global economic and geopolitical impact?
The world economy was a concern. Covid-19 is a slowly evolving complex crisis that started as a health care issue and is now evolving into a major economic crisis. Participants wanted to know what’s next, what we’ve learned, and how to make sure we protect ourselves in the future. Questions of timeline arose: how many months or years until we hit bottom and how long will the recovery take? Participants wanted to see a projected economic impact and timeline for recovery. Regulatory trends and consumer trends were also on their radar, as most had an interest in what future trends and emerging risks businesses need to prepare for. The preservation of capital and investment strategy were also important, as well as M&A markets and trends and investments in green technology.
Ninth Priority: Debt
How will we as a society pay for the damage to date?
Not just the current costs, but the ongoing requirements for society in a post-pandemic context was a major concern. Using what we’ve learned from Covid-19 and improving global prevention, preparedness, and efficiency of crisis response was important.
Tenth Priority: Business Leadership
What are CEOs uniquely positioned to do to help?
Business leaders were eager to make an impact with what tools and resources they themselves have at their disposal. Making a meaningful difference at scale for the world’s most vulnerable populations was especially important. Also they wanted more discussion of the role of leadership, and CEOs wanted to define and compare how various political figures have exhibited leadership with an analysis the drawbacks and benefits for each.
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