People around the world are feeling anxious in the wake of the global health challenge posed by COVID-19. The virus responsible for this illness is new, and right now, there are more questions than answers.
The constant barrage of information doesn’t always help either. Not all of it is credible and it can produce conflicting messages and cause unnecessary harm, including health risks and market volatility.
It’s natural to feel uncertain about what might happen next, and how this could impact our lives, as well those we care deeply about. My thoughts are especially with those who have been personally impacted by the virus.
During times like these, it’s important to step back and separate fact from fiction. The reality is as a society, we’ve been put to the test many times before. In recent memory, we’ve faced public health and financial crises, and managed through them successfully.
I’m confident that we will again, and there are several reasons why:
- Our world class experts: I’m encouraged to see the health care experts and scientists around the world take the lead on information sharing and public outreach. These experts are at the forefront of managing the outbreak and we should read and follow their evidence-based information. Whether it’s smart hygiene actions, travel guidance, or the medical facts about the actual risk of the virus – which remains low – the resources from agencies like the World Health Organization and Health Canada can and should be trusted as the reliable source for information. They are working around the clock to help us manage through this crisis.
- A number of options are available to help manage potential impacts on consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole. This includes a range of monetary and fiscal tools, including lowering interest rates and debt costs, to effective and targeted fiscal stimulus. We are also supported by a resilient financial sector that’s proven it can weather challenges. And despite the volatility around us, many organizations have contingency plans in place. RBC, for one, is ready to support our clients and partners during these uncertain and challenging times. We know we need to be there for them more than ever.
- The enduring spirit to adapt and work together. People pull together in times of adversity. I’ve seen so many examples already of people and teams doing just that. This week, RBC celebrated and championed the achievements and progress of women around the world at our enterprise-wide International Women’s Day celebrations – and we did so virtually on a webcast with thousands of employees from around the globe.
We are living through some unprecedented times. But as the Director General of the World Health Organization recently said “we are not at the mercy of this virus.” All of us can take actions to help address the challenge. Let’s take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves, and the places where we live and work.
The importance of being resilient and continuing on with our daily lives and routines really matters. It will require us to adapt to the context around us, to thoughtfully source information from experts, and to support each other.
You have my commitment that we’ll be a source of stability for those we serve.