Recap: ISRM Coronavirus Campfire 81 and 82

by Marcus Griener

This week on the campfires, we tackled philosophical questions about compliance while at the same time more and more of us had direct experiences with the Coronavirus through friends and relatives and even went through the illness ourselves. Thankfully, with only mild symptoms and a swift recovery. Many were not so lucky as death rates remained high in Europe and the States during the week. Vaccinations have picked up all over the globe, but 90% of vaccine supply and distribution are in the hand of only 10 countries. Will vaccine nationalism emerge as governments are looking to get reelected and look inwards for voter support? We also discussed the benefits of empathetic leadership and turned our heads towards the US and wondered what the next weeks will bring. Many felt the tension growing amidst the aftermath of the siege of the Capitol and the announcement of Trump’s second impeachment.

On compliance: Democracies seem ill-equipped to enforce compliance as it breaks down in many democracies; non-formalization in law, inconsistent enforcement and defiance of regulations causes an increase of non-compliance in parts of the UK, Polish citizen’s look for loopholes, and secret children’s birthday parties are broken up by police in Germany.

On Egypt: Currently hosting the handball world cup which has improved policy tremendously; masks are now mandatory with heavy fines for violation which had a tremendous impact on compliance. There is also an initiative for big business to adopt vaccinations for roughly 10 million people.

On the United States: In many places people behave as there is no pandemic, despite rising numbers of deaths and grave projections. People only have reality checks after direct exposure to Covid. Generally, tension is high and there is the question if the extreme right will accept Biden as president.

On event / hotel industry: Even though there is currently a draught, there is optimism with many bookings for the upcoming summer, expected demand is remarkably high as people are eager to get out again and experience life.

On business travel: There is an expected long-term impact on business travel with a continued emphasis on remote meetings.

On willingness to vaccinate: Antivaxxers are on the rise; currently 50% of France’s population do not believe in vaccinations and parts of medical staff in some hospitals decline the vaccines completely or reject certain variants.

Friday’s Campfire dove into the question of tribalism vs cosmopolitanism which we argued has a direct impact on compliance, and whether we can see both ideas visualized by the pandemic. While there is cosmopolitanism like the global youth movement that emerged through the Fridays for Future protests or industries and institutions working closely together, exchanging knowledge and ideas to find solutions to the current pandemic, there is also a tribal society with bitter opposites and a growing radicalization, which can best be seen in the far-right fringe group QAnon.

Some participants saw a collective responsibility, an understanding of the bigger picture and the need for empathetic leadership as pressing issues since future pandemics will be inevitable and there is much need for learning, better coordination, and more willingness of cooperation. As we are getting closer to Campfire 100, we hope that we can offer some of that thanks to our fantastic participants and their great insight. We hope to see you there!