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COVID 2020 : Why COVID-19 is as Good as Dead

Online Event
Event Date: Apr 01, 2020 - Apr 01, 2020
Submission Deadline: Apr 01, 2020

Categories

 
COVID-19

About

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a clear and present danger to public health and the U.S. economy, but businesses, along with Federal, State, and local governments, are already taking effective countermeasures to retard its spread. It is possible, if not actually likely, that the disease will become a still-dangerous but manageable nuisance by summer due to suppression of its effective transmission rate as opposed to availability of a vaccine.

The COVID-19 crisis has also revealed enormous risks in complex international supply chains, and China has openly threatened to cut off supplies of lifesaving drugs and their precursors on which our own pharmaceutical industries rely. This is a strong argument for reshoring vital American manufacturing capability, and American industrialists such as Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford addressed the issue of labor costs more than 100 years ago. The same off-the-shelf methods will work equally well today.

Social distancing countermeasures such as postponement and cancellation of conferences, closures of schools and colleges, and curtailment of international travel, meanwhile create opportunities for existing technology for virtual conferencing, distance education, and virtual tourism. These sectors can deliver value for customers (such as conference attendees, students, and tourists) even after coronavirus has been suppressed or defeated.

Call For Paper

Areas Covered in the Session:

  • Danger associated with COVID-19
    • Risks to human life and health; the disease has a higher lethality than seasonal flu, and can be spread from one person to another through coughing and sneezing. The recommended safety distance is 6 feet (OSHA reference) and not 3 feet as stated by some other online references.
    • Risk to the economy; supply chain disruption due to force majeure (such as illnesses at supplier plants) and China's threat to intentionally disrupt supply chains (e.g. Buncombe, Andrew. 2020. "US and China in war of words as Beijing threatens to halt supply of medicine amid coronavirus crisis." The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/coronavirus-china-us-drugs-trump-rubio-china-virus-xinhua-hell-epidemic-a9400811.html). Travel also has been disrupted.
  • Overview of "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" from OSHA (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf for the complete document)
    • Duty of care for workers
    • Continuity of operations considerations
    • COVID-19 spreads primarily through coughs and sneezes, but can also be transmitted by contaminated surfaces.
    • "Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers' Risk of Exposure"
    • Encourage sick employees to stay home
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE); note that face masks are not respirators.
    • OSHA classifies jobs as very high exposure risk, high exposure risk, medium exposure risk, and lower exposure risk. 
  • Additional countermeasures
    • Social distancing
    • Travel restrictions
    • Abandonment of the traditional handshake in favor of other greetings
    • Face masks versus respirators. 
  • Is the stock market oversold? Nobody can predict this for certain (if they could, they would be the richest person on earth by now) but it is reasonable to expect COVID-19 to be suppressed to a still-dangerous but manageable nuisance by summer. This leads to the next topic.
  • Why Covid-19 is as Good as Dead: "It's as simple as R" (the actual or effective transmission rate of the disease in question). If R>1, it will spread but, if R<1, it will die out through failure to propagate to new hosts. 
    • The countermeasures that are already being taken are likely to reduce R to less than 1 in which case coronavirus will never attain epidemic proportions.
    • Dr. Anthony Fauci's proposed 14-day national shutdown would reduce R to almost zero, thus finishing the job in two weeks. Whether this will happen is not known as of today (March 16).
    • This does not mean we can let our guard down because there will still be infected individuals, any of whom could spread the disease (until their immune systems eliminate it), but the disease will be a manageable nuisance as opposed to a major public health and economic menace.
    • The same countermeasures kill the seasonal flu just as dead as COVID-19, or prevent its transmission while the host's immune system kills it, which should also mitigate this year's flu season and those of subsequent years as well (if we continue to be diligent about hand washing and similar activities).
  • Complex international supply chains have always been a source of risk, and force majeure due to coronavirus threatens to disrupt them.
    • China has threatened overtly to cut off our supply of drugs, and excessive dependence on China for pharmaceuticals was recognized as problematic even before the COVID-19 outbreak (Dilanian and Breslueur, 2019. "U.S. officials worried about Chinese control of American drug supply." NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/u-s-officials-worried-about-chinese-control-american-drug-supply-n1052376)
    • China does not, however, produce much (if anything) the United States cannot produce for itself. It is to be remembered that we developed synthetic rubber when the Axis cut off our natural rubber supplies during the Second World War. Executives and other decision makers should therefore look for opportunities to re-shore manufacturing capability.
  • Adaptation to COVID-19 creates new opportunities to serve customers and stakeholders at lower cost.
    • Distance education is less expensive than on-site education.
    • Virtual conferencing can involve more attendees at a lower per-person cost.
    • Virtual tourism eliminates travel costs (and time) and lodging costs

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