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Quick Takes

Gender and Race Are Driving Different Priorities in the US Election

Source: Pew Research Center

Women are more likely than men to factor in abortion (51% vs. 36%) and healthcare (71% vs. 59%) when voting in this year’s U.S. presidential election. Women are also more likely than men to rank the coronavirus pandemic as an important decision driver by 8%, according to Pew Research Center. Over the past 40 years, women cast almost ten million more votes compared to men, and are more likely to lean Democratic. 

82% of Black registered voters also say that they will factor in the pandemic while casting their vote, as opposed to only about half of white voters. In nearly every state, the CDC has reported disproportionately higher COVID-19 cases in the non-white population. The Black and Hispanic population also face a greater economic fallout from the pandemic — they are twice as likely than white adults to have been laid off or furloughed.

More than 69 million ballots have already been cast in next week’s election. The U.S. has also already seen record-breaking numbers in early voter turnout compared to the 2016 election, and could potentially surpass 139 million votes that were casted in 2016.

Executives Are Too Optimistic About a Return to Normal

Source: Oliver Wyman Pandemic Navigator; https://pandemicnavigator.oliverwyman.com/

Note: Each example represents only one of many possible pathways to the herd immunity threshold; pathways become more numerous and flexible the further out the target date.

Many executives are making planning decisions based on the notion that by the very beginning of 2021, things will get “back to normal.” However, according to recent Oliver Wyman analysis, the long haul will be longer than most expect with normalcy unlikely before Q3 2021.

Recent news on 90-95% vaccine efficacy and significantly higher daily case run rates than those examined above will also have an impact on timing to herd immunity. Taken together, an average new daily case rate of 120,000 and a 90% efficacy vaccine, can improve the timeline by over a month and a half. However, the impact of such a rapid daily case run rate is dramatic — it would result in an additional ~200,000 deaths as compared to a run rate of 70,000 new cases per day. 

Given the long haul in front of us, companies may need to consider if what has been working for the past seven months can be sustained for the next 9 to 12.

Coronavirus Pushes Millions of Children Further Into Extreme Poverty

Source: World Bank & UNICEF

Globally, one-in-six children lived in extreme poverty prior to coronavirus. A UN study released in September showed that an additional 150 million children were already pushed into poverty as a result of the pandemic. This number will likely continue to grow from COVID-19’s impact on income generation and food security, according to a report by UNICEF and the World Bank Group. 

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 65.8% of children living in extreme poverty, followed by South Asia. Nearly 20% of children under five-years-old in developing countries live in extremely poor households. These regions especially have limited access to resources, such as water, education, food and electricity. Studies show that children in poverty have a higher chance of developing long-term health complications. 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to prioritize funding and international cooperation to help end extreme poverty by 2030. When the public and private sector work together with communities, “change happens: families move out of poverty, children are protected from diseases, girls become students, instead of brides, and much more,” according to the United Nations Foundation. 

The Opportunity for Countries to Invest in Carbon Neutrality

Source: Oliver Wyman

China — the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases — announced that it will be carbon-neutral by 2060. The country accounts for nearly half of energy-related carbon emissions, mainly caused by its coal consumption. North America and Europe combined contribute to nearly 20% of the industry’s global carbon emissions, according to Oliver Wyman. Britain, the EU, Japan and South Korea recently announced their own commitments to carbon neutrality, whereas the U.S. officially left the Paris Climate Agreement in early November. 

To lower their carbon footprints, countries will need to focus investments in technical advancements that have the potential to reduce carbon dioxide in the industrial sector — which accounts for 34% of all energy-related carbon emissions. 

In the last few months, countries have prioritized the economic fallout from COVID-19 and helping businesses recover. However, the businesses that bring a “green lens” into their recovery plans have the potential to create growth, efficiency and innovation that extend beyond high-carbon industries, like energy and transport, and benefit all sectors. 

Americans Are Less Inclined to Share Data If Contact Tracing Steps Are Unclear

Source: Pew Research Center

Less than half of Americans feel comfortable sharing personal data for contact tracing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a survey from Pew Research Center. Though 51% of adult respondents say they would likely be resistant to at least one of the actions involved in contact tracing, 48% say they would be comfortable with engaging in all three actions, which entail speaking to officials, sharing location and data, and quarantining if needed. 

About four-in-10 Americans have low confidence in public health organizations’ ability to keep their data safe from hackers. Half of respondents to the survey felt the same regarding sharing their data with the federal government. 

Most countries have enforced comprehensive contact tracing options during the pandemic, through apps, for example, unlike the U.S., which has been relying on manual options. Sixty-eight percent of Americans feel that their personal information is less secure compared to five years ago, so to successfully enforce contact tracing apps while also maintaining American trust, the government needs to communicate privacy policies clearly.

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