COVID-19 is a global societal crisis
We at BCG believe that the COVID-19 outbreak is first and foremost a societal crisis, threatening lives and the wellbeing of our global community. Society now, more than ever, needs to collaborate to protect peoples lives and health, manage mid-term implications and search for lasting solutions.
Leaders need to drive an integrated response to navigate the crisis
It is the duty of health, political, societal, and business leaders to navigate through this crisis. A complex interplay of epidemic progression, medical response, government action, sector impact, and company action is playing out jointly. This document intends to help leaders find answers and shape opinions to navigate the crisis in their own environments. It encourages thinking across the multiple time horizons over which we see the crisis manifesting itself.
The COVID-19 disease progression continues to be a global challenge to societies, but interventions are starting to show positive effects
Government measures to mitigate the spread are largely effective in slowing cases (doubling every ~10 days a week ago, to every ~15 days now)
Testing is increasing, giving more transparency and control; in several countries, this is complemented by digitally enabled contact tracing
Impact on sectors and business depends on intensity and shape of the health and economic recovery, especially in an extended fight phase
Economic indicators and forecasts signal a severe downturn; global equity markets continue to be challenged and unemployment rates are rising
The last weeks showed a bounce in equity markets and in Total Shareholder Returns (TSR), but credit risks remain in many sectors
It remains critical to understand the specific context and environment (e.g. geography, sector) to distill implications for future pathways of companies
There will likely be an extended phase of fighting the virus with many investments to bring forward therapies/vaccines in the next ~12-18 months
Navigating the COVID-19 crisis, particularly an extended fight the virus phase requires integrated action by governments and business leaders
Governments need to ensure that reopening activities are guided by national health, and economic and social priorities, allowing for local adaptation
Reopening requires careful preparation, for governments as well as business; e.g. Managing for a safe workplace also requires managing risks outside work
Business leaders and governments can use this crisis as an opportunity to strengthen their cooperation for a united fight against the virus