The Covid-19 outbreak has slammed Europe in the last ten days and a viral tidal wave is breaking in the USA. Many other countries are tracking only a week or two behind and will be severely impacted too.
No doubt tough times lie ahead – but we also see an opportunity to use this crisis as a catalyst to rethink our priorities and to rebuild more resilient companies and a more resilient economy.
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Our decision to move to 100% remote working was ultimately triggered by an excellent article published on Medium by Tomas Pueyo. You can find it at this link. Most importantly, this included an analysis of actual infections in Hubei, showing how these ran ahead of reported case numbers by a factor of nearly ten times.
Of course this should come as no surprise - few people report to a doctor at the sign of the first sniffle. The implications, however, are serious and align with current experience in the US, UK and Australia. If you have 100 to 200 cases reported, the likelihood is that you have 1000 to 2000 active cases in the community, mostly undiagnosed.
The implication of this, is that you are already at or beyond the point where urgent action to control the spread of the outbreak is essential. If you do not act, the hospital system will be over-run in a matter of days - as was exactly the case in China, Iran and Italy, and will likely occur in other countries.
The good news is that the data also shows that imposition of a total lockdown has a near immediate effect in limiting further increases in the number of actual infections, though reported numbers of cases will increase significantly for a period of around a fortnight.