Coronavirus COVID-19 Resource List for Leaders
WHAT LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19 TO MAKE EFFECTIVE DECISIONS
IMPORTANT NOTE: This article was published on March 1, 2020 prior to the explosion of COVID-19 across the United States. To access our updated, real-time resource guide Click here for COVID-19 Resource List for Leaders Part 2.
While risk currently remains low for coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to understand that it is spreading globally, and both businesses and individuals should be planning for potential impact. As we have seen in countries like China and Italy, the impact can be severe, much unlike seasonal flu and other viruses.
The first step is to acknowledge that the virus is easily transmissible, spreads rapidly, appears to have at least a 1% mortality rate and requires our attention. The second step is to understand that the impact of the COVID-19 virus will likely be far-ranging and long-lasting. The third step is to stay informed and to think strategically about its effects on you, your family, your organization and your employees and coworkers.
To assist you with these three steps, the resources on this page are designed to separate fact from fiction, answer some common questions for leaders (as well as individuals) and provide both clarity and guidance.
As always, your feedback is both welcomed and appreciated.
ABOUT THE VIRUS
Dr. Peter Lin reviews the facts about Coronoavirus / COVID-19 including its origins, how it is NOT the same as the common cold or “flu,” how it spreads and what you can do to protect yourself.
Below are several resources that you may rely upon to track the status and spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- Infection heatmap. Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Research does an excellent job of tracking the spread of the virus. Learn more here.
- WHO Updates. The World Health Organization Situation (WHO) issues regular reports about the status of the virus worldwide. Learn more here.
- CDC Summary. The CDC regularly updates information about COVID-19. Learn more here.
- CDC Travel Notices. The CDC offers three levels of color-coded advisories for overseas travel. They are:
- Level 1 Green. Practice all usual precautions.
- Level 2 Yellow. Practice enhanced precautions.
- Level 3 Red. Avoid all nonessential travel.
If you are planning to travel outside the United States, check out this resource.
- Virus Transmission. The virus is spreading quickly in certain geographic areas and there are three known methods of transmission.
- Person-to-person contact. Virus spread from people within six (6) feet of each other appears to be the main source of transmission.
- Person-to-person airborne. Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes will transmit the virus when they land in a passerby’s nose or mouth – and possibly through inhalation into the lungs.
- Infected surfaces. Someone may become infected with the virus by touching a virus-covered surface or object but this is not thought to be a main method of transmission.
Learn more about the transmission of COVID-19 here.
- Handwashing. Effective handwashing is your most important line of defense against the transmission of ANY virus. Unfortunately, most of our handwashing techniques are ineffective. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and properly following the CDC’s recommended five-step process that includes scrubbing your hands for at least twenty (20) seconds. (Singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice is approximately 20 seconds). Learn more about effective handwashing here.
- Mortality rate. Mortality rates for the disease are being reported at anywhere from 1%-3%. A study of 72,000 COVID-19 cases by China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention was released on 2.24.2020 suggesting that the average case-fatality rate is 2.3%. Additionally, a study of 1099 Chinese patients published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 2.28.2020 pegs the mortality rate at 1.4%. By comparison, the average mortality rate for the flu is 0.1%
- How bad will the outbreak get?
Too much remains unclear about the future spread of the virus to accurately answer that question. Learn more about six key factors that will affect that question.
- How long does it take for someone to show symptoms of the virus?
Estimates indicate that the virus has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days with most people displaying symptoms within 5 to 7 days.
- Should I stop shaking people’s hands?
Yes. As noted above, person-to-person contact is the virus’ primary method of transmission. Avoiding any unnecessary, physical contact is the responsible thing to do. Additionally, humans frequently touch their face with their hands which provides a convenient method for introducing viruses into your body.
- How should our organization prepare for and manage this situation?
Boston Consulting Group has an excellent article titled Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis. Click here to learn about their recommendations.
- All or part of our organization’s supply chain is overseas. What should we expect?
Until now, economists and experts have predicted minimal supply chain impact upon U.S. companies, but that may change. An article published on 2.28.2020 in the Harvard Business Review predicts a negative supply chain impact upon U.S. companies beginning mid-March 2020. Click here for the article How Coronavirus Could Impact the Global Supply Chain by Mid-March.
- How should our organization handle conferences, meetings and employees working from home during this situation?
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) advises that businesses plan for “social distancing” during this period.
- We service customers in their homes or places of business. What precautions should we take to protect both our employees and our customers?
All too often “working while sick” is seen as a badge of honor. Additionally, many organizations only pay lip service to “sick time” and quietly expect their employees to show up and do their job unless they’re severely ill. This is not a “business as usual” situation and you have a moral and humanistic responsibility to your employees, customers and society at large. That charge will mean different things to different people but one way to start is by observing the CDC’s guidelines (detailed below in the answer to Question 8) and extending that same courtesy and level of consideration to your customers.
- How do we prevent the spread of infection in our workplace?
Click here to learn what the CDC recommends in their bulletin Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020.
- Can we require employees to stay home if we believe they are infected with the virus?
The short answer is “yes,” however, there are additional considerations and legal requirements. Click here for the article Can employees require a Coronavirus Exposed Employee to Stay Home?
- Are there any OSHA standards or directives which apply to worker exposure to COVID-19?
While there are no specific OSHA standards or directives, there are applicable requirements. Learn more here about both OSHA Standards and State Standards.
- I’ve heard a lot about surgical masks and something called a N95 respirator. What should I know about these?
Surgical masks generally will not prevent you from exposure to the virus but in certain instances a N95 respirator will offer greater protection. Be aware, though, that there is currently a shortage of N95 respirators. Consequently, health officials caution against citizens stockpiling them as it will prevent them from reaching healthcare workers who will need them the most.