“The Calm before the Storm”
In the past 100 years, the world has faced some of the most disastrous events from floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, to spread of disease. We struggle back and forth between natural phenomena and viral and bacterial attacks. It’s a non-stop war against humans.
How the outbreak of Covid-19 affected the world
Today, we are facing a real worldwide pandemic that has hit 188 countries, and killed more than 500million human being; COVID- 19.
Earlier this year, in the 28th of January, Chloe Demrovsky, CEO of Disaster Recovery Institute, wrote at a Forbes article that “the potential business impact – of a pandemic- could be devastating”. She wrote that when COVID-19 had only spread to 12 countries, infecting only three thousand people, and with only a death toll of 80 deaths. The fact that the novel coronavirus has completely demolished businesses in a period of six months is unbearably depressing which shows how unprepared we are for global pandemics. The business world wasn’t ready for such a disaster, and many doors were forced shut.
How dealing with COVID -19 first went:
1. IGNORANCE, The period between the first of January until the beginning of February:
When the coronavirus started spreading at the beginning of January, WHO reported, at the 10th of Jan, that there won’t be any specific measures taken for travellers which was great news for business owners because it won’t affect their businesses and they could lead their lives normally. However, this whole situation led to further spread of the disease. People were merely speculating no earnings growth if the virus spread globally or a 5% reduction in global GDP if the virus is on the scale of 1918 influenza pandemic. The first case wasn’t as frightening as the 2nd one, but in either case loss could be avoided. People who didn’t live in a global pandemic before believed that the problem isn’t theirs and that they could carry on their lives normally, so they simply ignored the situation. Many business owners forgot to look at the ability of their businesses to withstand a condition like total lockdown, so they were completely unprepared.
Statistics says that the probability of a global outbreak like that in 1918 is as low as 0.5%. The low probability risk of a global pandemic made many companies unaware of what comes ahead. Businesses don’t usually give enough attention and budget to such situations, so when something like a global pandemic hits, they are understaffed and underprepared. We usually forget that when a major trade country like China is hit by a pandemic, the probability for global risk increases significantly. Companies rarely ever consider the probability of quarantine measures, or flight restrictions, so many countries depend mainly on business-flights, package deliveries, and face-to-face interactions with partners and customers.
Many of the retail companies were too confident with their sales and earnings that they never expected the probability of shutting down stores or permanently closing. Major retail companies like Alibaba, Pier 1 Imports, Microsoft, and Victoria’s Secret have many stores spread across the entire world. With total lockdown, those stores would lose their employees and close which will lead to major losses. However, situations like that were never considered to begin with.