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What Are the Optimal Risk Management Strategy for Each Risk Exposure of Epidemics Like COVID-19?

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The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how vulnerable companies are to systemic risk events — and how limited our normal business risk management approaches are in these situations. In January 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Harvard Global Health Institute published a white paper about how businesses should prepare for a pandemic. It recommended a number of steps companies can take to prepare for infectious disease risks.

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Traditional resilience planning doesn’t do enough to prepare for a pandemic. Learn how organizations can improve their response. The rapidly evolving threat around the COVID-19 virus, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is impacting the business and investor community across the world. The global and interconnected nature of today’s business environment poses serious risk of disruption of global supply chains that can result in significant loss of revenue and adversely impact global economies. The impact on the global economy may increase depending on the extent of geographic spread of the virus. However, the pandemic has already negatively impacted the global economy as a whole. The role is all the more complex in a rapidly evolving situation in which many unknowns emain. Overconfidence or utilizing an inaccurate mental model of an issue can lead to missteps anddiminish public trust. It is critical for this reason to be very cognizant of what is known, what isunknown, what is controllable, and what is not controllable. This humility allows rapid adjustmentsto strategies and tactics and allows an accurate and credible message to be delivered to andreceived by the public and policymakers.

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Among all known pandemic pathogens, influenza poses the principal threat because of its potential severity and semiregular occurrence since at least the 16th century (Morens and others 2010)

The infamous 1918 influenza pandemic killed an estimated 20 million to 100 million persons globally, with few countries spared (Johnson and Mueller 2002). Its severity reflects in part the limited health technologies of the period, when no antibiotics, antivirals, or vaccines were available to reduce transmission or mortality (Murray and others 2006). During the 1918 pandemic, populations experienced significantly higher mortality rates in LMICs than in HICs, likely as a result of higher levels of malnutrition and comorbid conditions, insufficient access to supportive medical care, and higher rates of disease transmission (Brundage and Shanks 2008; Murray and others 2006). The mortality disparity between HICs and LMICs likely would be even greater today for a similarly severe event, because LMICs have disproportionately lower medical capacity, less access to modern medical interventions, and higher interconnectivity between population centers.

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Generally speaking, the impacts of a global disease outbreak can be particularly severe for organizations lacking adequate communicable-illness policies andresponse plans

The COVID-19 crisis highlight show organizations must update and expand their crisis management and business continuity plans with an emphasis on employees, customers,supply chain contacts, stakeholders and business assets

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Moon S, Sridhar D, Pate M A, Jha J K, Clinton C., and others. 2015. “Will Ebola Change the Game? Ten Essential Reforms before the Next Pandemic. The Report of the Harvard–LSHTM Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola.”

Morens D M, Taubenberger J K, Fauci A S. 2008. “Predominant Role of Bacterial Pneumonia as a Cause of Death in Pandemic Influenza: Implications for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness.”

Brende B, Farrar J, Gashumba D, Moedas C, Mundel T., and others. 2017. “CEPI—A New Global R&D Organisation for Epidemic Preparedness and Response.”

Murray C J, Lopez A D, Chin B, Feehan D, Hill K H. 2006. “Estimation of Potential Global Pandemic Influenza Mortality on the Basis of Vital Registry Data from the 1918–2.

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