The new fundamentals of caring
Written by Javier Maquieira, Associate
Edited by Laura Hamilton, Managing Partner
This global pandemic has got me living in two realities.
On the one hand, there is my life in Edinburgh. Working from home, limiting my visits to the supermarket to what is only essential, and practicing as much yoga as I can, I’ve somehow found solace in a routine that feels anything but normal. It is only when my second reality strikes that my otherwise productive routine seems to tarnish.
This second reality is the one I’ve come to experience through minutes and hours of FaceTime, Zoom, and phone calls with my loved ones back in Spain. From my mother’s exhaustion toiling away in a hospital for the elderly to my granny’s complaints about her seclusion – which has left her feeling as though “the house ceiling is falling on her” – I’ve inevitably somatised their worries in a completely new way for me.
The situation back home is dire. Having surpassed China in the official number of deaths, Spain’s rate of infection has risen by a fifth in the last 48 hours, with more than 4,300 deaths and more than 57,600 confirmed cases, according to the latest figures. These make it the fourth worst affected country in the world by number of Covid-19 infections after the United States, China, and Italy.
Against that background, I confess being away from my family hasn’t been easy and won’t be in the coming weeks. But I think that these trying times have brought me even closer to them. Every call, no matter how short in duration, reminds me that the less material control we have over the world and our lives, the more evident the need for human connection becomes as we try to recreate a common feeling of safety and survival.
It is that sweet spot of thinking that allows my two realities to live together. That, and repeating to myself that we are not locked up at home. We are safe. And in times of Covid-19, the new fundamentals of caring are ensuring our loved ones and ourselves are kept safe, at a distance.
The United States reported the highest number of known cases of Covid-19 in the world with more than 82,000 infected people. US cases now surpass those of China and Italy; a grim milestone that comes just as country officials announced a new high for deaths reported in a single day and hospitals struggle to keep up with the demand for care.
The president of China, Xi Jinping, has called on Donald Trump to improve relations between both countries, following weeks of tensions as a result of the coronavirus. China is now set to shut its borders to almost all foreign arrivals amid fears of imported infections coming from abroad. The US president has continued to refer to the disease as “the Chinese virus”, despite protestations from diplomats in Beijing suggesting that the virus, although it emerged in Wuhan, was originated in the US.
The US attorney general charged Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, and senior officials in the country with “narco-terrorism” after being accused of flooding the US with cocaine and undermining the health of Americans. William Barr offered a reward of $15m for information leading to Maduro’s arrest in a move that will further escalate tensions between both countries.
Business and economy
The UK Government ordered 10,000 ventilators designed by Dyson to help the NHS deal with the Covid-19 crisis. The order, which still needs to go through medical tests, comes after the British technology company had hundreds of engineers creating a new type of ventilator from scratch.
The chancellor of the exchequer,Rishi Sunak, unveiled economic support for self-employed people affected by coronavirus, who will be able to claim grants worth 80% of their average monthly profits up to £2,500 per month. Sunak announced the scheme as “an unprecedented level of support” to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 and making the majority of their income from self-employment.
Figures by the US Labor Department show that a record of 3.3 million Americans filed claims for unemployment last week as the country tries to contain Covid-19. The rise has beaten a previous record of 695,000 in October 1982, making it the highest ever reported. It also offers a glimpse of the severe economic downturn faced by the US as businesses shut down across the country.
Columns of note
In theFinancial Times, Jo Ellison writes that it is too early to tell whether Covid-19 will be the cure for all of our human failings, ie materialism, covetousness, and greed. While she remains wary of the suggestion that this pandemic has been sent to us to reset, Ellison is more inclined to treating the outbreak as a learning exercise on how to build a respirator. (£)
Writing inCity AM, Alex Edmans insists on the idea that it is purpose that leads to profit, rather than profit allowing a business to pursue purpose. He calls on firms to adopt a “growing-pie mentality”, by which aiming to create social value a company benefits shareholders by growing the pie instead of sacrificing investors’ slice. Edmans concludes that the only upside to the current crisis is that it may inspire business leaders to devote their resources to serving society in new and creative ways.
Source: The New Yorker
What happened yesterday?
London stocks finished higher on Thursday, as investors digested the latest announcement from the Bank of England. The FTSE 100 closed the session up 2.24% at 5,815.73, while the pound was sharply stronger both against the dollar by 2.18% at $1.2137 and versus the euro by 0.92% at €1.1016.
In corporate news, Dixons Carphone (+12.47%) soared after the electrical retailer reported a 24% fall in like-for-like sales growth in the UK. Big Yellow (up +0.16%) managed gains after saying it was considering different initiatives to conserve cash in the short term as a result of Covid-19, while Weir Group (+1.11%) closed in the green as the engineering company said it was scrapping its dividend and cutting costs as a result of declining demand because of the coronavirus crisis.
Across the pond, Wall Street finished higher for a third consecutive session after the head of the Federal Reserve assured investors that more could be done to support the economy if needed. The Dow Jones Industrials was up 6.38% to reach 20,522.17, the S&P 500 added 6.24% to 2,630.07, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 5.6% to 7,797.54.
What's happening today?
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Did you know?
The Guinness Book of World Records holds the world record for the most stolen book from public libraries.
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