Special Covid-19 Series, Issue #42

Autore : Action Institute

Data: 26-07-2021

Tipo: Other

Tematica: Action Institute

While the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the global economy, we at Action Institute aim at delivering a whole-rounded perspective, cutting through the noise.
Our weekly Special series approaches the effects of the virus from different perspectives: from medical facts to health policy, from economic policy to macroeconomic issues, from politics to financial markets, from technology to the impact on businesses, and more. We encourage our esteemed readers to provide us with feedback and suggestions.

This weekly issue proposes a selection of papers and articles focused on (i) Technology and (ii) Impact on Business.




“Technology is a word that describes something that doesn’t work yet.”, Douglas Adams



 We investigated whether digital contact tracing actually worked in the US” (MIT Tech, Betsy Ladyzhets, June 16th, 2021). In the spring of 2020, the first versions of COVID-19 exposure notification systems were released to the public. In an attempt to learn more about how this technology fared in the US, MIT Technology Review reached out to every state public health department that launched a digital contact tracing system and examined app reviews left by users. Many of the exposure notification apps are underutilized and misunderstood—and yet this technology may yet come into its own as a public health tool for future disease outbreaks.

 “Covid boost for cyber security deals” (FT, Chris Nuttall, July 13th, 2021). The COVID-19-induced necessity to work remotely has increased the risk of cyber attacks. The most sensible targets – big service providers – responded to the challenge by boosting their arsenals for customers. Indeed, 2020 was characterized by an intensified M&A activity, with web giants acquiring tech companies specialized in cyber defense. So far, Microsoft has been the most prominent buyer, today counting over 3500 workers devoted solely to data protection. 

 “The digital transition” (CEPS, Andrea Renda, Lorenzo Pupillo, Rosanna Fanni and Carolina Polito, July 19th, 2021). For the post-pandemic recovery, the new European industrial strategy pivots on digitalization both to relaunch European leadership and to achieve a sustainable growth. The publication proposes three policy recommendations aligned to the main aim of the process, that is to create a human-centric, resilient and sustainable industrial ecosystem. These address 5G and connectivity technologies, to have them both safe and inclusive; AI and industrial transformation, in favor of sustainability and human well-being; industrial collection (edge/cloud computing) and sharing of data, to foster a single market of the IoT.

 “The impacts of the shift to telemedicine” (, Dan Zeltzer, Liran Einav, Joseph Rashba, Ran Balicer, July 21st 2021). The large-scale access to telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic raised some concerns for its financial sustainability and for its effect on care quality. Data from the first lockdown in Israel show that telemedicine did not raise the overall costs in health care even in front of a slight increase in primary care use. Since decreased accuracy in diagnosis or increased likelihood of adverse events were not reported, telemedicine did not compromise care quality.




“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”, Warren Buffett



 “How to Re-Onboard Employees Who Started Remotely” (Harvard Business Review, Rebecca Zucker, June 22nd, 2021). Though it is true that going back to the office will be an adjustment for everyone, remote hires will be the most affected from the transition, as they will be catapulted into a previously unknown environment. Nonetheless, re-onboarding employees who started remotely does not need to be a traumatic experience provided that suggested precautions are followed.  For instance, remote hires should be allowed to bond as a cohort, they must be oriented to the facilities and managers need to communicate with the new employees regularly.

 “COVID-19 and the corporate sector: Where we stand” (, Damien Puy, Lukasz Rawdanowicz, June 22nd, 2021). The COVID-19 crisis has had a largely negative effect on firms, harming corporate profitability and leverage around the world. This column presents findings from the recent OECD Economic Outlook, highlighting how these negative effects have in fact varied across firms. In maintaining the buffer against corporate bankruptcies, the authors identify three clear policy challenges: debt overhang, financial instability, and the rise of ‘zombie’ firms.

 “Why You May Actually Want to Go Back to the Office” (Harvard Business Review, Art Markman, July 1st, 2021). When leaders start talking about getting people to return to the office, it’s natural for many employees to resist. The central problem is that many of the benefits of working from home are good for the individual, whereas many of the benefits of working from the office are good for the organization and affect the individual more indirectly. The author presents three ways the office can make working life easier: culture, collaboration and purpose.


Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

Herbert Hoover […]


Good health is essential to social and economical development and it empowers all of the public sectors.

World Health Organization […]


Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

Peter Drucker […]

Human Capital

Talent is a source from which water flows constantly renewed. But this source loses its value unless it is properly used.

Ludwig Wittgenstein […]