Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemie

Fears about the coronavirus or Covid-19 are going around. But it has now grown more into a general panic, which does not help anyone. On the contrary, it is unnecessary. In such situations rational thinking has an an advantage. One should deal with the right facts. So, we thought we would publish some facts and resources about the coronavirus here.

The input for this article was the yesterday’s video shoot on a large construction site of one of our customers. We met there with young apprentices and their supervisors. On our way home, our team was discussing if we would have been able to do this shoot maybe a week later. We feel, probably not at all.

In our company and at the customer’s premises, working from home is recommended. Of course, this is not so easy on a construction site, because then the site would have to be shut down. Many other professions would also suffer as a result.

Helpful pages including useful metrics:

  • Ressource page from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (it loads slowly but has all the facts and tips like don’t shake hands, keep distance to others, wash hands often with soap or disinfectant, don’t put your hands in your face and others).
  • Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 – a graphic showing the worldwide spread in countries and more here (slow during the day, early mornings okay response)

Reality check

The coronavirus scenarios may justifiably frighten us. But the deaths caused by the coronavirus are modest (but of course tragic) compared to those caused by global air pollution, for example. For many, a spreading virus is a greater danger because it is more present. Deaths due to environmental influences, on the other hand, are skillfully ignored, as they do not lead directly to death. Yet it is precisely here that the risk for death should be taken more seriously.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 13 million deaths could be prevented annually if our environment became cleaner. The WHO estimates that around 7 million people die every year as a result of air pollution.

  • WHO: Deaths per year caused by air pollution (a PDF)

Just for comparison, as of March 13, approximately 130,000 were infected with the coronavirus worldwide. Of these, nearly 5,000 people have died. The Covid-19 leads to death in under 4 percent of those infected. And that is only if they are in the coronavirus risk group. In the remaining 96% of the sick, the medical condition is mostly comparatively harmless.

According to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, these persons are in a higher risk group:

  • Persons over the age of 65

All persons with one of these previous diseases have a greater risk if they get infected:

  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic respiratory diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Diseases and therapies that weaken the immune system
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancer
Girlfriend taking a selfie. Coronavirus - soziale Nähe vermeiden.
Girls taking a selfie. Coronavirus – soziale Nähe vermeiden.

What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for meetings and association assemblies?

There is no simple answer to this question. But Europe can learn from the Italians: Rome hesitated for a long time until drastic measures were taken. The closure of entire regions has also meant that many people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 oder coronavirus have left this region shortly before. This has probably resulted in a faster spread throughout the country.

Replacing the greeting with a handshake, hug and kiss on the cheek with pantomimic gestures, however, worked well. Certainly, in large rooms, 1m distances between the participants in a meeting can be kept.

For this reason, for example, Zurich’s City Council and the Cantonal Council of Zurich have moved their meetings to Zurich-Oerlikon from their usual meeting place. This was done in the hope, that the 1 meter distance between elected members of these councils could be assured during meetings.

In Switzerland, meetings with more than 300 people will probably soon no longer be permitted. Some companies like Credit Suisse have already cancelled all meetings since the beginning of the month.

We cannot determine whether sessions with 50 people pose a danger. In Zurich, restaurants cannot have more than 50 people including staff. How this can work we will see. There is always a residual risk. Nevertheless, one should not be completely deterred by the risk. Whoever takes precautions can already drastically minimize the risk of being infected by Covid-19.

The law or association statutes can also put obstacles in our way here. For example, shareholder meetings cannot yet be held virtually in Switzerland because the new law that would allow this is not yet in force. The statutes of an association also require that a meeting must be held in a room to ensure the necessary quorum.

What do you think? Will your next club event or meeting be canceled?

Also interestingt: model calculations for the pandemic with facts, figures, prognosis

PS. Spokesman Fabio Weingarten, President Jair Bolsonaro’s press officer met USA President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence in Florida on March 6, 2020. As of this week, Fabio Weingarten is also in quarantine/isolation due to the detection of coronavirus. Whether he infected President Trump in the process is as of now unclear.

PPS. Schools in Austria are closed. Starting March 16, all schools from kindergarten to university education will stay closed In France and Switzerland.

This post is also available in: Englisch

6 Kommentare
  1. Cynthia
    Cynthia sagte:

    Karen Harris, Bain’s managing director, recommends that companies should create a “war room” and a coronavirus czar to effectively manage the pandemic

    Centralizing a company’s plan for handling’s the outbreak to one team sounds great. Unfortunately, that works only, if each state in the US can just follow policy from the federal government. At this stage, this is not working since we fail to know exactly how many people are infected.

    Instead, the federal government should establish what is needed and companies need to deal with the reality that each country in Europe has a different approach. To establish a war room or a car type position seems a bit of an overkill.

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  2. alexisat16
    alexisat16 sagte:

    Thanks for writing this blog entry.
    I thought it was right on the money. We should be careful but not go overboard and panic in any way.
    Follow the health authorities’ advice / instructions and things will improve.
    Alexist16

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    • Urs E. Gattiker
      Urs E. Gattiker sagte:

      Alexisat16
      Thanks for leaving the comment
      It is actually weird to live in a country that is kind of locked down, i.e. neither restaurants, stores and so forth are open.
      One of the things that surprised me is that while food stores are open, food markets in open spaces such as city centres are not… i.e. daily or twice a week held events with food stands, vegetables, meat, etc. must be suspended until April 19, e.g., in Switzerland.
      Vegetable stores are closed but food stores with vegetables are open?
      Sometimes I have difficulty in understanding why these what seem weird differences were made in which stores to allow to stay open and which stores with food not to allow to remain open.
      Stay safe.
      Urs

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