• In this daily round-up, we'll bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories: Confirmed cases reach 2 million, WHO funding cut by US, restrictions eased in Spain and Austria, while the IMF says lockdowns could shrink the global economy 3%.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe

New research from Japan shows microdroplets can remain in the air for 20 minutes in enclosed spaces, suggesting that infection could be spread by simply holding a conversation with another person.

NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, conducted an experiment with a group of researchers to capture the movement of microdroplets – particles that are less than 100th of a millimetre in size. The findings underline the social distancing message from the World Health Organization, which advises people to keep at least 1 metre apart at all times.

Coronavirus has caused a dramatic drop in energy consumption in the United States, according to analysts at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) trade group, as stay-at-home measures have closed businesses and halted industrial activity.

During the week ending April 4, power usage fell 5.7% from the same week in 2019 and was the lowest in a week since April 2004. The trade group predicts total US energy consumption to fall by 3% in 2020.

Total U.S. power consumption could decline by 3% in 2020.
Total U.S. power consumption could decline by 3% in 2020.
Image: New York Independent System Operator

4. Why informal networks will be key to the COVID-19 recovery

Thanks to the scale of the pandemic, community organizations, faith groups and other informal networks will be essential to local response efforts. These groups fill gaps other groups don't, have rich understandings of their populations and have attained the trust of their communities. A swift recovery will need to empower these networks to deliver aid to people that larger organizations and federal programs might not service as efficiently.

With billions of people under some form of lockdown, many are eager for tips for how to manage boredom, frustration and tight living arrangements. Two mariners, Captain Jens-Christian Schou and Cap San Lorenzo recently shared their advice with Agenda.

  • Stay entertained. Activities such as games, quizzes, films and competitions can be key.
  • Keep busy. Maintain routines and control what you can.
  • Have empathy. Actively look out for way to boost others' morale and help others through difficult transitions to a new way of life.