At PwC’s Global Crisis Centre, we deal with crises every day. But as the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened, the volume of calls fielded by our teams has noticeably increased. By the end of February, the phones were ringing off the hook. Business leaders are concerned, and rightly so, for the welfare of their people and their organizations.
No crisis is an isolated, neatly contained incident, and the COVID-19 outbreak is exceptional by any standards. It comes with extreme scope and levels of uncertainty. It’s a situation that is well beyond the experience of most business leaders — the median tenure of a CEO is five years, and the last epidemic that approached anything near this scale was the SARS outbreak in 2003. SARS infected more than 8,000 people and lasted nine months. In much less time than that, COVID-19 has already infected more than ten times as many people,