International

If Covid-19 Were a Business Entity

Businesses across the world have to be aware of the challenges they face to survive and sustain. They have to use all sorts of strategies and competitive advantages to rise above their competitors. As most of the readers are aware, there are several topics in business management that students enroll in and try to gain skills that help them succeed in this field.

In the business world, leaders and executives continuously analyse their organization and the market. While there are many methods of analysis, two such methods are SWOT analysis and PESTLE analysis. These two analyses can help the organizations know about their strengths and weaknesses, and what external factors affect them. With the help of the results from the analyses, an organization can turn its weakness into strength and course-correct if it is going in the wrong direction.

If an organization can use these analyses to augment its growth, it can also use the same to attack its competitors by knowing its their weaknesses and turning their strengths into weaknesses. So, what if we consider Covid-19 as a business entity and use the SWOT and PESTLE analyses to know its strengths and weaknesses? Can we combat it more effectively? Chances are we can!

SWOT Analysis of Covid-19

Let’s do the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis of Covid-19.

Strengths of Covid-19

Covid-19 is a new disease. Its owner, the Novel Coronavirus, as the name implies is new. We have seen the predecessors of the Novel Coronavirus. They were not as ‘intelligent’ as this new one. As a result, they could not take a big toll. However, the Novel Coronavirus had two strong mentors – SARS and MERS viruses. It may be that these two viruses trained the Novel Coronavirus, and the student surpassed the mentors.

This ‘Novelty’ of Coronavirus is it’s most valuable strength. Human beings have no antibodies that can combat the Coronavirus. As a result, more and more human beings are getting dying due to Covid-19.

Another strength of the Coronavirus is that it is an RNA based virus. RNA based viruses are usually single-stranded viruses. DNA based virus is usually double-stranded. Because it is single-stranded, any anomaly in the RNA results in the mutation of the virus. There is no second strand that can correct the anomaly. The result is that the virus changes (mutates) its features as the time passes by. That’s how some countries have high infection and death rate while others have high infection rate but low death rate.

Weaknesses of Covid-19

Covid-19 is lethal, and that might be its weakness too. Unlike most other viruses, Coronavirus kills too many of its hosts. As the host dies, so does the Coronavirus. Can the Covid-19 spread rapidly if the ‘business owner’ (Coronavirus) breaks its own organization?

There is another weakness of Coronavirus – the herd immunity of human beings. As the Coronavirus tries to capture more and more markets (i.e. humans), the marketplaces are becoming too uncomfortable for it. As more and more people come in contact with the Coronavirus, the antibodies for it start kicking in inside the body of humans in a significant way. Just like the common cold, human beings won’t need any medicines to fend off Covid-19 as the herd immunity kicks in.

Opportunities that Coronavirus Would Leverage

If the governments and their citizens remain complacent, it would present a ‘great opportunity’ for the Coronavirus to spread even more rapidly than what we have seen earlier this year. During the initial months of the Covid-19 outbreak, the politicians were living in denial for quite a bit of time. The general (but unspoken) thinking was, “ Oh, it can’t affect us, we are an advanced nation!” In retrospect, every politician or leader who thought on those lines would now be in a state of remorse. Even when the Coronavirus was rampant during March, there were politicians who advised people to drink Lysol to prevent it. The general public also displayed carelessness when the lockdown was in effect in some countries- they would just wander on highways, chat at the tea shops, and attend religious or social events. All this made Covid-19 even more ‘effective’ in showing its lethal power over human beings. If the governments and citizens don’t come out of complacency, the pandemic might engulf the entire globe.

Threats To The Covid-19

Even if the herd immunity of the people kicks in, Coronavirus can still stay in humans through some biological compositions. Think of it like a strategic deal that two rival companies make so that both can survive. However, there are researchers who are working day in and day out to find a vaccine that can prevent Covid-19 before the herd immunity kicks in. If the whole world population takes such vaccination, then the Coronavirus will face the same fate as that of polio.

Leveraging the SWOT Analysis

After performing the SWOT analysis, the next step is to take tangible actions to stop the spread of Coronavirus and annihilate Covid-19.

As said, the novelty of the Coronavirus is its greatest strength. So, how can we make the Coronavirus relatively old? The best way, which most governments have proposed anyway, is to know how the Coronavirus spreads and how we can avoid more people getting infected. Let us recall the dialogue in the movie ‘Go Goa Gone’ – What Do We Know? What Have We Learned? Even the great businessmen and innovators such as Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein ask the same questions. We know that if we wear masks and gloves, we can significantly decrease the risk of getting infected. We know that it is necessary for a person to stay at home if he or she is suffering from cough and cold. These are simple steps to follow, but not everybody has been following. Looking at the Covid-19 statistics end of May, everybody must rethink about whether they have been following these steps seriously or not.

Another way to make our body ‘familiar’ with Coronavirus is by acquiring herd immunity. But here is the problem: we actually don’t know if recovering from Covid-19 makes us immune to the Coronavirus. Herd immunity means a high percentage of the population will have to be infected by the virus to develop antibodies for it. But there will be many patients overcrowding the hospital, which a country like India may not have the capacity yet. Even the most advanced countries are not ready yet. More importantly, the elderly and the people with other pre-existing diseases are succumbing to Covid-19 easily. Thus, it is better to maintain social distance, wear masks & gloves, and santizise ourselves frequently.

In essence, we must not give the Coronavirus the opportunity to spread further. Coronavirus is real and staying indoors for the most part is the most effective solution to stay safe. Yes, our freedom is getting curtailed. But freedom can be regained if we stay alive in the future.

PESTLE Analysis of Covid-19

Now that we know that Coronavirus has its weaknesses and that its strengths can also be diluted, let us understand the factors that can actually offset the spread of Coronavirus. It is not unusual for a new business to do a PESTLE analysis, so let’s do the same for Coronavirus.

Political Factors

Politicians can negate the spread of Coronavirus should they work more effectively. If the politicians spend as much money on healthcare as they spend on the military, they can easily find chinks in the armor of Coronavirus. Then again, intelligent politicians have the ability to destroy the Covid-19 in a more organised way. A Forbes article pointed out that the countries with female political heads have managed to contain the spread of Coronavirus much more effectively than their male counterparts.

Environmental Factors

While India has relatively a low death rate on Covid-19 as compared to some advanced countries, it shouldn’t be inferred as warm weather played a role without further research or analysis. For the moment, based on the current research, Coronavirus is ambivalent to tropical, temperate or polar regions.

Social Factors

The society as a cohesive unit can combat the Coronavirus much more effectively. Citizens must listen to their governments’ rules and follow them carefully. There is nothing ‘cool’ in defying the lockdown rules. There is always time (in future) to gather and celebrate Durga Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi, dance with our friends, enjoy (or bear) riding a packed bus, and we can see what it means to be social again – but first, let us fight the Covid-19.

Technological Factors

We may not need to wait for the herd immunity to kick in. With every passing day, the Coronavirus testing kits are getting advanced. The day is not very far when we can buy portable testing kits from the market and check for ourselves if we are Coronavirus positive – sitting at our desks. As we look forward, the best way to eliminate Coronavirus is to do widespread testing, which is getting better with advanced technology. And with the help of contact tracing apps (not the ones that are designed to track people with malicious intention), we can further weed out Covid-19 from the globe at some point.

Legal Factors

The wet markets in China (and few other countries) are helping the viruses set up their targets as human beings, albeit unknowingly. Thus, China must take the lead and issue legal orders and ban the wet markets. We can’t think of any other legal factors that come into play here.

Economic Factors

Lockdown is necessary to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. But what about the loss of jobs? How will people be able to buy food and other necessities? Why do we have to see the tragic stories of the migrant labourers? Governments across the world spend so much money on war, space exploration, and other non-essential things. It is high time that the governments set their priorities straight and allocate more funds to the social security of the downtrodden, improving the healthcare, and on medical research that would help us combat future viruses. That way, we don’t need to hear the heartwrenching stories of migrants yet again.

Conclusion

As the governments, public administration and scientists try to come up with ways and means to stop the spread of Coronavirus, there is no doubt about the fact that the Coronavirus too is trying to get more advanced and give rise to its variants and mutants. In this race for survival between the humans and the past viruses, humans had an advantage due to their ability to think. Let us hope we think more effectively in light of the fast-spreading Coronavirus, and annihilate the Covid-19 altogether.

-Marifur Rahaman (One of the winners of the Covid-19 Article Writing Competition in the 25-34 years age group)

Picture Credits: wix.com / Jennifer Kaplan



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