Global Head, Citi Private Bank
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The experiences of countries, cities, and communities that have achieved successes over COVID-19 can both inspire and guide us.
When battling a global pandemic, complacency can be almost as dangerous as the disease itself. However, this should not prevent us from reflecting regularly upon what is going right. The experiences of countries, cities, and communities that have achieved successes over COVID-19 can both inspire and guide us. Falling infection rates have this week enabled early steps towards normalization in nations on almost every continent. More than a million people globally have now officially recovered from the virus. And that figure would be many times higher if it included all unreported cases. A great deal is going right.
We were fortunate to hear some further compelling examples of this on our client call this week with renowned philanthropist, financier, and public health advocate Mike Milken. As well as the incredible work of the health system, Mike highlighted cases including the success of the unprecedented mass experiment in teleworking, and the resilience of the financial system. The intensity of research efforts into COVID-19 is also very encouraging. FasterCures – the Milken Institute’s center for accelerating medical solutions – currently identifies 197 treatments in consideration and 111 vaccines in development worldwide.
To be sure, there is much more that needs to go right in our struggle against COVID-19 and in the rebuilding that will follow. Happily, we can – and must – all play our part, both collectively and as individuals. You may have seen that Citi and the Citi Foundation have now committed more than $65 million to pandemic-related community relief efforts worldwide. This includes supplying medical equipment for frontline workers, meals for low-income families, as well as support and resources for small businesses and individuals. I know that many of you are deeply involved in assisting your communities at this time. We hope to be able to share some of your inspiring personal stories over the coming weeks.
Making sense of COVID-19’s economic and market implications remains challenging. Today’s recession is no ordinary downturn. The virus’s unequal impact upon different age groups – particularly the higher spending over-50s cohort – could have important ramifications for the coming recovery. The same is true of the timing and degree of the economic restart in different places. The consequences of the US state of Georgia’s decision to ease its lockdown will be closely watched, as David Bailin discussed this week. David and Steven Wieting also explored some of the risks and opportunities that may arise from regional disparities in their latest webcast, along with special guests Jose Ernesto Fuentes, Regional Head – Latin America, and Jorge Amato, our Latin America Strategist.
In the meantime, we continue to experience unusual and trying restrictions in our everyday lives. For many people, I know this is causing growing anxiety and distress. In this environment, it is therefore vital that we seek to nourish the mind however we can. Even under close confinement, our imaginations can still roam freely. In this vein, I am pleased to offer you the latest of our musical interludes. There is something truly otherworldly about Débussy's “Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune.” The composer leads us into an exquisitely beautiful and surreal realm, a perfect place for us to refresh the soul, away from today’s difficult realities. This wonderful performance comes again from the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom Citi is proudly partnering to bring you this exceptional series of interludes.