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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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On Thursday June 11, Axios media reporter Sara Fischer hosted a live, virtual event on critical decisions CEOs have made around company values, layoffs and surviving economic turbulence with Accenture CEO Julie Sweet and CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo.

Julie Sweet said Accenture has maintained pay equity by hiring an outside adviser to annually review the company's pay policies and immediately act to correct any imbalances found.

  • On what companies can do to immediately advance equity: "Addressing pay and equity is completely within our control as companies."
  • On companies that were positioned to transition to remote work: "[Before COVID-19] the top 10% of companies that had done digital transformation were performing twice as well as the bottom 25%. Overnight, that gap has become almost a chasm because those who had invested in advance were able to adjust much more quickly to everything going online."

Larry Merlo discussed CVS Health's response to COVID-19, from turning drive-throughs into testing sites and how the company has adapted to a predominantly remote workforce.

  • On the response to COVID-19: "[CVS Health] was able to scale within 30 days...We're not doing testing from within the store, we're doing it from our drive-through. And we now have tested more than 400,000 individuals."
  • On managing a remote workforce and transitioning back to in-person operations: "We probably had about 20-25% that work from home. But since the March timeframe, we have close to 90%...we're working to bring those colleagues back in a very phased approach, working with the guidelines established by state governors."

In a View from the Top segment, Axios CEO & co-founder Jim VandeHei spoke with SJR CEO Alexander Jutkowitz about the evolving role of leadership in the private sector.

  • "Leadership used to be sort of dynamically thinking about what's good for your organization...The reality now in a post-COVID environment is that it's a form of servant leadership. You have to care about the world at large. You have to care about the people inside of your house and outside of your house."

Thank you SJR for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 5, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: Small business recovery during the pandemic

On Wednesday August 5, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and "Axios Today" host Niala Boodhoo hosted the last of a six-event series on how small businesses have pivoted during the coronavirus outbreak, featuring Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), owner of The Curvy Bride Michelle Files and Satori Yoga studio owner Andrea Stern.

Sen. Lankford discussed the federal government's response to the pandemic, financial support for small businesses, and the importance of NGOs as economic safety nets within communities.

  • On the effectiveness of PPP loans: "The Paycheck Protection Program has had some problems, but overwhelmingly it's been very, very successful. Paycheck Protection Program was designed to keep small businesses and not-for-profits running so their people didn't have to end up on unemployment assistance...and it has done that."
  • How the coronavirus has changed the economies of small towns: A lot of small towns in Oklahoma have had their highest tax revenue they've ever had in the history of their towns this year...They're used to those folks in small towns driving to big cities to shop. But they're not. They're staying at home. They're shopping online."

Michelle Files and Andrea Stern highlighted the unique challenges of running a small business during the pandemic and how their respective businesses have pivoted to digital tools in these changing times.

  • Michelle Files on adapting her brick-and-mortar business to a virtual world: "Mobile appointments...really took off. People loved that they were still able to shop from the comfort of their own home. I would just bring the dresses to them and safely be on a Zoom call from my car with any questions that they would have."
  • Andrea Stern on transitioning to live, online yoga classes: "We decided that livestream was the best way to go...one of the nice parts about livestream is that [instructors] actually have people in front of them. You can get feedback from the students. It was just a matter of getting everyone up to speed on the technology."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Karen Kerrigan, who discussed trends in how small businesses have adjusted to the new economy.

  • "[Small businesses] are massively moving to technology platforms. 51% said that they've upped their use of social media in order to engage with customers and find new customers. So they really embrace technology at this very critical time, which is helping them to survive the COVID-19 economy."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

8 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

10 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

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