COVID-19 Daily Summary – March 16, 2020

Author(s): Carmi Levy

A Message From the CEO

As concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic deepen, I wanted to reach out to let you know how we’re responding to this crisis and how we plan to support you and all our members throughout this difficult period.

Info-Tech has been an integral part of the IT community for 23 years, and in that time we’ve built longstanding relationships with the IT leaders who rely on our services. We cherish the sense of community that we’ve created with you and the special culture we’ve created within our offices. This isn’t just work to us: it’s our calling.

To best provide the level of service needed during this period, we are implementing the following changes and enhancements to our services effective immediately:

  • We are extending advisory calls access to all Info-Tech seat holders regardless of membership level. Contact your Account Representative for details on how to book a call with one of our analysts.
  • We have extended our advisory call availability to 24/7 to all members. Again, contact your Account Representative for details on how to book a call with one of our analysts.
  • We have implemented a zero wait time policy for your urgent COVID-19 call requests. Your account reps and directors will be able to automatically transfer your call requests to analysts live wherever possible.
  • We have included access to all COVID-19 people-management research through our sister HR research firm, McLean & Company. This material will be available to all Info-Tech Members via the COVID-19 Resource Center.
  • Our analysts are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to creating COVID-19- and recession-related content. We want to deliver the most practical, up-to-date research relevant to the pandemic as fast as we can.
  • Our team will go above and beyond to provide COVID-19-related custom research on the fly.

We have also created our COVID-19 Resource Center, a centralized web page where we will consolidate all of the research published to support you through this crisis. Consult it daily for the latest insight from our analysts.

These are extraordinary times, and we want you to know we’re doing everything in our power to ensure your ongoing success, in IT as well as in business. We’ve always been there for you and that will never change because we bear that responsibility with a tremendous amount of care and appreciation for the trust you place in us.

Please accept my profound thanks for your understanding and support,

Joel McLean, Founder & CEO

Call us sooner rather than later

If you want to speak to one of our analysts about taking your first steps toward building a comprehensive pandemic roadmap for your organization, book a call through your Account Representative.

Today’s theme: Control what you can

We can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust the sails. – Indian proverb

Recent milestones

  • Investors remain spooked. Markets continue to drop despite Sunday’s emergency measures by the US Federal Reserve. Trading “circuit breakers” kick in 15 minutes after markets open as the index falls over 11% to its lowest level since May 2017. Oil prices continue their slump, dropping another 9%, to below $30 a barrel, as Russia and Saudi Arabia’s price war exacerbates an already-tense energy landscape.
  • Asian markets also slump. New data confirms COVID-19’s impact is deeper than expected, with Chinese retail off 20.5% year-over-year in January-February. Industrial output falls 13.5% in the same period.
  • US manufacturing impact comes into focus. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s general business condition index falls to -21.5. This is its lowest level since 2009 and is well below the original consensus expectation of 4. New order and shipping indexes also slip, with six-month optimism plumbing lows not seen since 2009.
  • Canada closes its borders. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces Canada is closing its borders to most people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The ban exempts US citizens, diplomats, and aircrew. Anyone with symptoms will also be denied entry. Starting Wednesday, international flights will land only at airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary. The government move leaves trade and cargo movement untouched.
  • The Fed intervenes again. In an historic bid to minimize the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Federal Reserve cuts its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage rate – to between zero and 0.25 percent, matching the rate set during the 2008 financial crisis and maintained through 2015. The Fed sets aside an additional USD 700 billion for a quantitative easing program involving large-scale purchases of Treasurys and agency-backed mortgage securities. It partners with five other central banks – the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, and the Swiss National Bank – to ensure the US dollar remains accessible worldwide. It also eliminates bank reserve requirements dictating how much cash banks must keep on hand and encourages them to use the discount window to access rapid financing to ensure they have enough liquidity to satisfy consumer and business lending.
  • Key takeaway: As travel restrictions continue to tighten, firm up your remote work planning to ensure your people can remain productive no matter where they are.

Virus 101: How it all started

  • Thinking about this may make you squirm, but COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is the third major respiratory disease to go global over the past two decades.
  • Like the two outbreaks before it – SARS, caused by SARS-CoV and first identified in 2002, and MERS, caused by MERS-CoV and first identified in 2012 – its viral origins can be traced back to animals.
  • The CDC says, “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people.”
  • According to the CDC, SARS-CoV-2, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, is a betacoronavirus, and all three are likely to have their origins in bats (SARS-CoV-2 & SARS-CoV) or camels (MERS-CoV). Many early COVID-19 victims were linked to a large seafood and live animal market, which suggests animal-to-human transmission. While further study is needed to definitively identify the animal-based origins of the current outbreak, the connection is both familiar and troubling.
  • Bottom line: Some of the most devastating diseases that have wreaked havoc on the economy in recent decades have been zoonotic diseases – pathogens jumping from animals to humans. Reinforce handwashing and social distancing best practices with your team members and stakeholders to minimize their risk of infection.

Want more?

Just call us, anytime

We’ll work together with you throughout this crisis to figure out what you need, and what you must do next to make it happen.

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