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Africa Is Polio-Free, After Nigeria Reports No New Cases

Source: The World Health Organization

The WHO has declared Nigeria to be polio-free after the country reached its three-year mark of reporting no new cases. Just eight years ago, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all cases worldwide. This means that Africa is reportedly finally free of the wild poliovirus, although the continent awaits official certification from the Africa Regional Certification Commission, which is expected in August

Although the region is free of endemic transmission of the virus, it continues to struggle with some transmission via vaccine, with Niger recently reporting a vaccine-derived outbreak. The WHO warns that immunization and surveillance activities must continue to prevent the risk of the virus re-emerging.

As the region struggles with coronavirus, “mass immunizations … have been postponed,” according to the WHO, but countries in the region are “planning the resumption of immunization and outbreak response in compliance with the guidance to stop COVID-19 transmission.”

Now, only Pakistan and Afghanistan are left in the fight to end endemic transmission of polio.

Views on Mental Health In The Workforce are Misaligned, From the Top Down

Source: IBM Institute

Less than half of workers surveyed worldwide believe their organization is doing enough to support their physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic — despite four in five employers’ belief that they are providing such support. At the same time, only about half of employees surveyed think their executives are genuinely concerned about their wellbeing, according to a report by the IBM Institute for Business Value.

This research illustrates a stark contrast between how employers feel they handle the sudden shift to remote work and how employees feel it was actually handled. IBM interviewed 3,450 executives in 20 countries and sent online questionnaires to 50,000 people in eight countries. Many of the people surveyed also expressed how overworked and disconnected they are when working remotely.  

As many organizations consider their post-COVID business strategy, these findings show that executives must align with their employees’ priorities and needs. “Employers significantly overestimate the effectiveness of their support and training efforts,” concludes the report. To build successful businesses, IBM says that executives should “enable a diverse workforce to perform optimally.”

Which Cities Are Equipped to Lead in the New Normal?

Source: Oliver Wyman Forum

Singapore once again tops Oliver Wyman’s 2020 Urban Mobility Readiness Index. This sovereign island city-state in Southeast Asia invested in one of the world’s first automated rail systems as a leader in forward-looking traffic management. 

European cities also dominate the index’s top 10, as most have easily accessible, highly sanitized and safe transportation. These qualities make these cities more resilient to handle future disruptions, like the pandemic. Oliver Wyman based its city ranking this year on infrastructure, innovation and focus on preparedness. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to consider relocating as many jobs turned into permanently remote roles. Oliver Wyman found that for cities to flourish in the post-COVID world, they will need a holistic and forward-looking mobility plan. “Many cities around the world were at a tipping point, even before COVID and while we won’t know the true impact on cities yet, the cities that ranked high are in a better position to meet future challenges,” said Guillaume Thibault, one of the creators of the index.

What Is Contributing to Western Europe’s New Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

Source: Oliver Wyman

Note: Graphs show actual cases from January 22-Oct 6 and projections through October 27

Western Europe is experiencing a second spike in COVID-19 cases, especially in Spain and France. Testing improvements have allowed most Western European countries to catch a greater proportion of COVID-19 cases in mid-September compared to mid-April — however, this is not the case for all countries.

Travel and tourism contributed to some of these late-summer outbreaks. For instance, in Germany, nearly 40% of new infections were brought back by returning vacationers. Additionally, some groups of younger people have neglected to follow social distancing measures: 15- to 24-year-olds now represent 15% of new cases in the EU, a rate three times higher than recorded in April. Quarantine fatigue is also taking a toll, as increasing disillusionment with regulations is resulting in subsequent declines in social distancing.

To avoid broad lockdowns and business restrictions, governments are focusing on alternative prevention measures, such as mask mandates, targeted business closures and travel screenings for those returning from high-risk areas.

Health Care Companies Respond Most Effectively During COVID-19

Health care companies have responded most effectively to stakeholder needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 68% of stakeholders surveyed. Fifty-one percent of respondents say technology and communications companies responded best, followed by food and consumer goods companies, according to a recent study called A Test of Corporate Purpose

Eight in 10 stakeholders in the study also believe that companies with a strong corporate purpose are better equipped to respond effectively and authentically to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter events. “You don’t turn into a resilient company, a strong server of stakeholders overnight. That’s something you become over time with quite a lot of deliberate effort,” said Sara Murphy, head of research for TCP, to BRINK.

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