Coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe are surging towards a new peak. Frustration with the virus has led to rebellion against restrictions sparking global warnings about “pandemic fatigue.” Both the U.S. and Europe are facing a dangerous combination of apathy and surging Covid cases heading into fall. Skeptics question the rise in the number of recent reported cases; however, testing rates in the U.S. have not risen enough to otherwise explain this steep increase. Additionally, Covid hospitalizations and deaths have also risen across the U.S. in recent weeks, with 42 U.S. states experiencing an increase in hospitalizations.
In Europe, parts of Spain, Italy, Germany, and the entirety of Ireland are returning to lockdowns reminiscent of this past spring. While the federal governments of several EU states have balked at reinstating national lockdowns, some officials have proposed isolating regions to contain the spread of the virus. Such lockdowns would face sharp political and social backlash in the U.S.; however, fresh restrictions are not implausible should U.S. hospitals face a spike in cases that threaten available beds.
Business leaders should prepare for resurgent lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe. Such lockdowns have the potential to disrupt manufacturing on both sides of the Atlantic as well as disrupt supply chains already made fragile by the pandemic. Burgeoning consumer confidence may also take a hit should hospitality, service, and retail industries once again be deemed “non-essential.”
Question to Consider:
How can business leaders build the resiliency necessary to face a second round of Covid-19 lockdowns?
COVID-19: The HIGHLIGHTS
Covid cases in the U.S. are climbing towards their third peak in eight months, with growth shifting towards the central United States. The most recent rise in cases has occurred primarily in the Midwest and the Mountain West where hospitals are filling up and rural areas are seeing significant caseloads. Meanwhile in Europe, parts of Spain and Italy have reimposed lockdowns and Ireland is set to become the first European Union country to reimpose a national level lockdown. The new European restrictions reflect the lockdowns of spring, with non-essential businesses closed, restaurants limited to takeout, and travel limited. The potential for lockdowns to expand remains likely, furthering the potential for economic turmoil.
Beyond the noise: The new normal
The World Health Organization along with media outlets around the world credit pandemic fatigue with the surge in Covid cases in recent weeks. Demotivated populations are less likely to follow recommended health and safety measures such as social distancing, wearing masks, and traveling. Exhaustion and impatience are creating new risks as people’s tendency to minimize the dangers of Covid – either out of desire or necessity – is growing. In the parts of the U.S. and Europe where the virus is resurging, outbreaks and a rising sense of apathy are making for a dangerous combination.
TRUSTED RESOURCES: for numbers & guidance
Johns Hopkins University – Coronavirus Resource Center
World Health Organization – COVID-19 Pandemic
Center for Disease Control – Coronavirus (COVID-19)