3 Reasons I'm Hopeful, Even Optimistic, in the Midst of Covid-19
First, let me acknowledge the difficulty and pain so many are facing during this pandemic. Unemployment and bankruptcies will reach uncharted record highs, and hospital systems are overloaded and having to make unconscionable decisions about who lives and who dies. Uncertainty is plaguing us all, and the worst is still to come.
Yet there are reasons for optimism in the long term. Additionally, I want to share the 3 things you can do right now as an entrepreneur to push forward and leverage new opportunity. These have helped me hone my focus, stay positive, and build value on the other side of this crisis. Let’s dive in.
1) The human race has never before faced a singular enemy – and we are responding, in unison, in record numbers!
By my estimates, somewhere between 100 and 200 million physicians, scientists, nurses, technologists, and engineers are all taking aim at this pandemic. They are running tens of thousands of experiments in parallel and sharing information with a transparency and at speeds we’ve never seen before.
These advancements may seem deceptively few at the moment (as we are only hearing about the earliest treatments), but thousands of additional impromptu experiments and therapeutic approaches are being initiated globally, across hospitals, doctors’ offices, and research labs. As these experiments bear fruit and yield data, I have little doubt that we will experience a tsunami of solutions that will disrupt and decimate this pandemic.
A recent New York Times article encapsulates this optimism perfectly:
“While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency…. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been launched, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.”
United by urgency, scientists are casting aside nation-specific territorialism, research secrecy, and academic publishing politics. At the same time, government approval processes for clinical trials are now expedited at a historic pace. And online archives of pre-published academic research, such as medRxiv and bioRxiv, are being flooded by scientists from every corner of the globe. As a result, new diagnostics, antivirals, vaccines, and therapeutics are rushing toward society at exponential speeds.
2) It could have been much worse — we’ll be prepared for next time
Imagine if the Covid-19 virus had the mortality rate of Ebola (25% to 90%), or even SARS (11%+), while maintaining its high infectious rate. A lot of people treat this virus today as if it’s a death sentence. Yet it’s not for the vast majority of people; for many, it is a severe cold. When Bill Gates and a multitude of scientists (e.g., Larry Brilliant) warned us about pandemics over the past decade, the majority of society ignored these warnings. We didn’t prepare… at all.
I think of Covid-19 as a “practice pandemic,” making us brutally aware of the failure points and weak links in our economic system, healthcare complex, and communication channels. Next time – and there will be a next time – we will be ready. A slew of exponential technologies, from AI, networks, and sensors to CRISPR and gene therapy, will be there to detect it immediately, creating solutions and distributing them globally at lightning speeds.
3) Compelling opportunities are ahead
We are in the midst of a fear-and virus-driven economic meltdown. Yet, once we make it through to the other side, there are going to be incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs. These opportunities take three forms.
First, countless outstanding employees are losing their jobs (and my heart goes out to them). Yet the faster we digitize, the sooner we can harness this extraordinary talent, newly available in the near future.
Second, multiple assets are fast becoming available, many of which can be refocused on higher-value applications.
Third, the stock market will soon be ripe with the best buying opportunities we’ve seen in a dozen years! You can see here a U.S.-wide prediction engine from Futureloop that shows when experts predict the stock market will hit its lowest point.
After the economic crash of 2008, what followed was a period of economic growth. What also followed was the birth and boom of revolutionary business models and startups such as Airbnb, Uber, Groupon, WhatsApp, Venmo, Slack, Square, and more. We may well have another “Roaring Twenties” coming our way (once again), one that uplifts all of society.
Peter Diamandis, named by Fortune as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” is the founder and executive chairman of the Xprize Foundation, which designs and operates large-scale incentive competitions. He also is the executive founder of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world’s leaders on exponentially growing technologies. He has started more than 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital, and education, and is a New York Times best-selling author. His newest book, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, was released in January 2020.
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