With the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the imposition of lockdowns in most countries, the WDC called on its members to contribute blogs describing that they were experiencing in their own organizations and households, and how they viewed the impact of the global pandemic.
I write to you from the comfort of my home in Antwerp, which would seem an unremarkable fact were it not the last place I would ordinarily expect myself to be in the middle of a workday during the final week of March. Uncharacteristically, for quite a number of days we have been fortunate to enjoy a beautiful blue sky outside. The bright light streaming in is most welcome during these trying times.
In one short month the world has changed in very dramatic ways. In mid-February I was enjoying some golf in the warmer climate of the southern U.S. There was very little talk of even the seasonal flu, let alone COVID-19, although my 21-year-old son managed to get Influenza B from his college roommates.
As I write this on April 14, 2020, we are completing the 20th day of the lockdown in India and, tomorrow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shall address the nation on his strategy about how he intends to lead the way for India’s 1.3 billion people. But let me take you back in time to December 2019.
I’m writing this during my 1,000th day in “Lockdown London”….no, that can’t be right! But at times it certainly feels like it. It also feels really churlish to complain when I look around and see the misery and heartbreak that this disease has caused.
We are almost halfway through what has been an unexpected and turbulent start to the year. While tens of millions remain in lockdown, others are slowly easing their way back into a “normal” rhythm, albeit at a slow and careful pace. I am proud to say that here in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), we are among the latter category.
More than four months and counting. My last trip abroad was in January. It was to the United States, where I visited New York City and Miami. I remember watching the TV news and hearing about an unusual flu-like virus that had been detected in Wuhan, and later talking about it with my staff in the Far East. At the time, I recall thinking: “Another SARS, far away in China. Just ignore it, stick to your agenda and it will go away soon.”