“We might already be half way through but our long term thinking is only beginning”

How Corvid19 is mimicking our society, how we will need to heal and a plea for common sense in a dangerous future

14th March 2020

Speed and Change

The Corvid-19 virus grew from a single person in a place of trade in a large city.

Those same characteristics will replicate across the world — Personal impact, Global scale, Trade

The speed at which this has struck is something to behold.

From case 1 on approx December 1st 2019, to 14th March 2020 (3.5 months) — we have >153k cases, 5789 dead

Wikipedia has a page devoted to modern wars categorised by death rate. Corona is already half way up that page, should we care to think of it as a major international battleground

Countries, populations and economies in isolated breakdown.

A populace that is staggered and uncertain — uncharted waters

We thought we had interconnection through the internet — interconnection like this is nothing compared to a virus.

Pandemics have crossed the chasm from Hollywood entertainment to real life.

A corona will never again be thought of simply as a crown

Human impact

This isn’t going to be about dry hands from over-washing

We are seeing what happens with no natural immunity to a serious respiratory illness

This is about what realistically looks like >1% mortality rate, in a 50% of the population infected situation. The numbers are potentially astonishing.

That will be overweight towards elderly and those with accompanying co-morbidity. Effectively that means our parents generation, our relatives and friends who are already suffering with an underlying condition.

We all know 100, 200 people. We will be attending more funerals this year

Watching good data like the Irish Late Late Show in national crisis mode for the 1st time ever, or the excellent Prof Mallon of UCD brings home to you what a graph cannot.

In my world it’s the difference between a world view and the personas of the smallest most accessible group to you.

So we try and care more, wash more. Stay in — Social isolation will exceed its oxymoronic status to an appreciation by society of the selflessness of the individual.

Deep consideration given while visiting someone, conscious in one small way, that it might be the last time for a while

The emotional impact is large. People move from excitement (if we are honest), through uncertainty, fear, anxiety. We can expect complacency soon.

In June or Sept 2020, we may review and allow ourselves to have been hyperbolic. I don’t care. We have never had a disease that spreads so widely, at pace, or with such impact. No man made problem has ever instilled this dynamic, for which we were so unprepared (population wise, not the experts)

Societal impacts

We saw rising fears among people who had access to information and could understand exponential growth

Shock and Awe from Governments lead to panic buying in retail.

But this seems likely to have been stage-gating, a preparation for deeper and deeper layers of rightful control and isolation as a tactic.

It may yet be our only strategy

A population who has still not come to terms with the potential death rate, applying muscle memory last seen during short term snow closures of schools

Seeking information from the situation in another geography and two weeks ahead of us — a poor imitation of time travel we wish we could reverse

An appreciation perhaps, of those who suffered before under SARS and Swine flu. It’s no longer ‘over there’

A new awareness, with grave learning, that the comments underneath original publishers of information online are no place for spoofers, bots or cranks.

A plea for leaders and the 4th estate to put aside personal ambitions and pursuits for what is becoming not just a simple greater good, but a deep cliff creating a societal and planetary schism

A need for calm too, reasoned heads, wise and prescient voices

A growing population, living in rapid urbanisation, with actually, no barriers. When this is over, it will happen again.

This is our generation’s (and our parents) Blitz. Let’s hope it is not our equivalent of WWII

Mind you, will we learn from this to reflect on other crises — Climate change for instance.

Business impacts

I live in the enterprise world and sometimes cannot help but to try to understand the past, the present and the future through this lens.

An enterprising world contributed to his disaster — driving growth, trade links, a constant push towards the private and corporate individual away from a social public good.

Startups will fail

Consumer businesses like restaurants will fail

Not just in the developed world — but all over — Corvid19 does not discriminate.

(By the way, Covid-19 seems to think all races and sexes are equal)

Cash is king — or more pertinently, wealth in hand will multiply, virus like, just before the population realises that the disease has been beaten. This is the power of standing on a step and seeing over the crowd to what is coming.

Industries will fail — airlines, travel, conferences.

All will be back again, some having gone through the carwash with the same or new owners — the strength of the entrepreneur is something to behold — something I am lucky enough to see every day

Many will have deep and strong Governmental intervention — let’s not quibble about this or that investment will have to be found and paid back over decades.

We can pattern match to economic crises in the past — 1973 Oil, 9/11 on airlines, 2010 banking, but never anything quite so, well, pandemic

We have quite literally never had this depth, strength and scale of negative economic impact in the world since 1939.

Conclusions and next steps


How can you think about conclusions when this calamity is really only beginning?

We need to support each other now in the phase of preparation & readiness

We need to support each other when the death toll rises

We need to support the authorities across all sectors who are dealing with the crisis yet facing the same personal pressures as we are ourselves

Support your Family. Your Neighbours. Your Country. Be a Leader

This isn’t armageddon — our society and culture will move on, perhaps in three-six months, but it will be indelibly changed


We need to think about planning for Black Swans — that’s not an oxymoron — it means pouring investment into preparation and being ok to contain that

We need to watch for and sharply deal with negative influences that will try to take advantage of societal fears

Our world will not regress. Therefore, this will happen again. How it is managed will show the human race for what it is — a learning organisation




Entrepreneurship, innovation, strategy, Venture invest. #positiveireland. All views are personal. Other links , @alanjcostello (Twitter/Linkedin/TedX)

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Alan Costello

Alan Costello

Entrepreneurship, innovation, strategy, Venture invest. #positiveireland. All views are personal. Other links , @alanjcostello (Twitter/Linkedin/TedX)

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