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Fred Hassan: A Case for Calm in the COVID-19 Storm

Business leaders must keep the current crisis in perspective

Last week, we saw an unprecedented panic selling of stocks, with the market down 12 percent, driven by fear of the economic impact of COVID-19. It was a scary time, and I worry there is more to come.

For CEOs, this is the time to lead from the front. Urgency, decisiveness and action becomes the need of the hour—yet the temptation to get “bunkered-in” remains very high. It’s crucial to maintain a calm tone and demeanor while the external storm rages. Broad-based decisions such as “stay at home” should be taken only as needed—and not as a knee-jerk reaction.

It may help to put things in perspective, based on the two-month cycle observed in China. So, let’s look at the facts.

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