How unity and common purpose can help us defeat this virus

covid couple

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer, American Heart Association


  • Each of us has a role to play in overcoming this pandemic.
  • Industry leaders are at the forefront of efforts to manage the crisis.
  • By working together, we can emerge from this stronger and better connected.

The phrase, “It takes a village,” has never been more timely. The COVID-19 pandemic is a call to action for everyone to work together by staying apart and flattening the curve.

When nations, leaders and everyday people unite, we can change the trajectory of COVID-19 by following the science and mobilizing a response. Each of us has a role to play, whether through innovation or altruism, and so many people are stepping up and scaling up for the good of humanity.

I’m reminded of the beloved entertainer, Fred Rogers, who said that in times of disaster, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”. That sentiment is a source of comfort and an important reminder that we are not alone. From courageous healthcare workers on the frontlines, to essential employees in the service sector, we appreciate you and we thank you.

I’m heartened to see insurers waive all cost-sharing and co-payments associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment, and companies mass produce ventilators and accelerate work on proven ventilator alternatives. Even mobile technology and multinational companies are jumping in to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE). All parts of our society are coming together in a spirit of collaboration unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Industry leaders are also at the forefront of the coronavirus response, including members of the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, who are driving therapeutic, financial and economic solutions to this global pandemic and making a significant impact. These corporate influencers are building vaccine research teams and testing sites, transforming operations to manufacture PPE, and putting people at the centre of healthcare by enhancing employee health benefits. Together, they’re committing millions of dollars to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

The time is now for CEOs to lead by example with relentless courage. More than half of respondents to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and the Coronavirus said they looked to their employer’s CEO as their most-trusted information source. That responsibility cannot be taken lightly. Second only to health authorities, employees look to their employers for guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak. Protecting them and their family members must be priority number one.

At the American Heart Association, we take seriously our responsibility to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially for those at greatest risk. Our teams have been adaptive, resilient and focused on fulfilling our mission as a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

Our evidence-based information continues to answer burning questions from patients and caregivers regarding COVID-19, with an emphasis on those living with high-risk health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

We also offer robust lifestyle and educational content to support people who are “sheltering in place” as well as those who must leave their homes to work.

The human spirit never ceases to amaze me when put to the test. The American Heart Association village stands in solidarity with the global village to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we will emerge stronger, wiser and healthier.

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