Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Engaging the Private Sector in Covid-19 Response


Total confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) cases has surpassed 1 million worldwide, with over 58,000 reported fatalities. The number of confirmed cases in the United States (US) continue to rise with over 258,000 people testing positive for the virus. Reports indicate that many people are concerned that this pandemic will continue to negatively impact the US economy and potentially lead to a recession. In a significant step to engage the private sector, the president invoked the Defense Production Act in an effort to help major manufacturers receive supplies needed to produce ventilators, instructing Health and Human Services (HHS) “to use any and all authority” to provide the necessary materials to these manufacturers. 

Johns Hopkins 2019-nCoV Map of Global Cases: Source

On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, announced the creation of a bipartisan coronavirus crisis oversight committee. The committee will examine all federal efforts in the pandemic response to review how resources are being allocated and “to ensure that the taxpayers dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief, and benefit our economy.”

The economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt around the world. The World Bank will provide $1.9 billion in aid to 25 of the world’s poorest countries, with another 40 countries waiting to receive aid next. The president of the World Bank, David Malpass, signaled that they might provide nearly $160 billion in Covid-19 response assistance over the next 15 months. The United Kingdom (UK) Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, is pushing for increased testing in the county. The UK’s goal is to conduct upwards of 100,000 antigen (currently infected) and antibody (previously infected) tests each day in April. Similar to the model adopted in Germany, the UK hopes to scale up antibody testing operations and provide recovered patients with ‘immunity certificates.’ This certificate will validate that the person has recovered from Covid-19, has antibodies and can leave lockdown early. 

Hospital Beds: Source

With essential personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing agents, and medical equipment in short supply, reports indicate that people are turning to “D-I-Y” projects as innovators across the world find solutions. Silicon Valley’s brightest minds are repositioning to develop Covid-19 response equipment and monitoring tools, including online assessment tools, PPE, and tracking software. Some notable companies (Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook) have sponsored an online coronavirus hackathon to generate technological and innovative Covid-19 response solutions. The New England Patriots football team chartered the team plane overseas, bringing back 1.2 million medical masks for healthcare workers on the frontline.  

Formula 1 (F1) engineers raced to manufacture a state-of-the-art ventilator in 100 hours. While there are concerns about the machine’s integrity and functionality, if approved in clinical trials, Mercedes could produce 1,000 ventilators per day to support the Covid-19 response. Another car manufacturer, Tesla, bought surplus FDA-approved ventilators from overseas and promised to distribute them free of cost to US medical facilities for immediate use. 

The Hagerty Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters affecting the nation.


 Keep track of Hagerty’s Incident coverage here: