Short Essay on Covid-19 and Risk Management

Albert Schot

28 July 2020.Admin.1 Like.0 Comments

Short Essay on Covid-19 and Risk Management

Albert Schot

Short Essay on Covid-19 and Risk Management

Knowing the Origin of a Risk

Let me start with a life example. When a woman learns she is pregnant, the probable first questions she has are: when did I get pregnant, what does it mean to my life now and what about the father?
The second set of questions are: is it a girl or a boy, will it be healthy, how can I make sure we will be alright along the way?
These questions are fundamental to welcoming a baby.

With Covid-19, the first obvious question should be: what is the origin of this virus?
Finding the answer is key, as it will highly impact how we have to deal with it.

Remarkably, this question is not on the radar of most scientists or world leaders. As a matter of fact, those who did raise this question have been cut short.

Our first lessons learned here is that it needs courage to handle the question of origin of a risk. It indeed also demands finesse. You certainly do not want to look for punishment, or for a scape goat. But the answer is key to allow proper and efficient risk management.

“You certainly do not want to look for punishment, or for a scape goat. But the answer is key to allow proper and efficient risk management.”

A Risk Evolves Overtime

I am not an expert in virology, but to our knowledge, most viruses mutate (though not all, e.g. polio). Now, does the Covid-19 virus mutate?

Again, this key question seems seldom raised by experts. But the impact is massive.

Our second lessons learned is that we need to look at how a risk evolves on the longer term. This means that while we do need to immediate resolve the consequences of a risk, in parallel we also need to consider how future occurrences can be mitigated. This requires a cold head approach.
As a matter of fact, average persons are working in a reactive mode. Whereas experts, aim at a pro-active management, considering ways to mitigate future occurrences and damages.

Having Efficient Mitigation Actions

Which factors spread the infections of Covid-19?
This is where our leaders did mostly quite well. This resulted in proper risk management mitigations: the regular hand washing and the keeping physical distance.

Yet, our politicians had various way to implement mitigation actions, and indeed, some did better than others.

Our third lessons learned is about how efficient are our mitigation actions. A complete risk avoidance is not realistic. Implementing mitigation actions requires outstanding communication skills, built on trust.

Coherence in Mitigation Actions

How to trace down potential infections, and handle confinements?

Again, this is on the radar of our leaders, with much variations in the implementation. On one extreme you find China, literally locking people in their homes. On the other side you find maybe Brazil or Sweden. Most people get confused by the incoherent rules set by diverse countries, even within each country.

Our fourth lessons learned is that incoherent mitigation plans lead to chaos. Mitigation actions must make sense.

What it takes is to define a clear yet fine set of mitigations that tries to take into account all factors, and adapt the curser overtime with proper communication. This is very hard to achieve indeed!


As we saw, Covid-19 risks have much improvement capacity.
What about improving risk management in your business environment?

Tackling risks necessitates asking difficult or painful questions while maintaining a meek approach.

It necessitates expertise!

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