While overall volatility has eased and markets have started to bounce back from recent lows, risks still abound, especially as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. tops 1 million. Yet businesses are working more closely than perhaps ever before to combat COVID-19 and kick-start the global economy.
“The one thing I’ve been incredibly impressed by is this notion of what I call ‘cooperative capitalism,’” Nasdaq President and Chief Executive Officer Adena Friedman said during an interview with POLITICO’s Chief Economic Correspondent Ben White. “Businesses have, in my opinion, really stepped up in this crisis.”
Some companies have changed their entire manufacturing capability to make ventilators, masks and other essential equipment. Friedman called the level of collaboration across the healthcare industry “unprecedented.” Other companies have significantly increased their philanthropic engagements with community organizations to ensure people have access to food and other necessities.
“It’s pretty remarkable how businesses are coming together to try to find a way to bring the economy back,” Friedman said. “As we go forward and we start to reopen different parts of the economy and reopen different states, it is incumbent upon businesses to do their best to try to bring people back together in a safe way.”
With some states reopening, while others maintain social distancing guidelines, Friedman believes that there will be a “fair amount of restrictions” on society in the coming weeks and months, which might slow the recovery. She also acknowledged that it will certainly take some time before people get back to traveling.
“That’s where treatments and the next stage of fighting this virus are going to be very important to getting people back into a confident state,” said Friedman, emphasizing the need for increased testing capacity. “I think we have to assume that treatments and the other improvements against the virus and our ability to fight the virus will be really critical to getting back to that real normal.”
To assist companies in reopening in a safe manner, Friedman noted that Nasdaq is working with the Business Roundtable and other organizations to establish a set of standards or best practices that will help companies bring people back to work.
“We’re all in unchartered waters right now,” Friedman said. “But I think everyone’s most focused on how do we create a sustainable recovery.”