#BlueStarBrief May 2020

Coronavirus Response

What We Are Doing

COVID-19 Donation

Blue Star Strategies is dedicated to supporting efforts to protect vulnerable populations and to keep our communities safe during the coronavirus pandemic. As we strive to do our part, and in honor of #GivingTuesdayNow
on May 5, we have contributed to the COVID-19 relief efforts of two acclaimed organizations:

Direct Relief
  • Supports doctors and nurses in 80 countries and all 50 U.S. states by providing life-saving medical resources, including protective gear and critical care medications.
  • Coordinates with public health authorities, nonprofit organizations, and businesses around the globe. Also coordinates with regional response agencies, including in the Caribbean and South America through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
  • Operates in more than 70 countries worldwide, providing medical humanitarian assistance to save lives and ease suffering in crisis situationsfocusing on improving infection prevention and control measures and keeping essential medical services up and running.
  • Works to provide critical relief to patients and medical staff at hospitals in COVID-19 epicenters across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

As the international business community works to navigate this uncertain and difficult time, Blue Star Strategies is committed to staying engaged, supporting first responders, and leading with our values at home and abroad.

For Our Clients

  • In response to the unprecedented health and economic crisis brought about by COVID-19, governments around the world are unveiling massive and far-reaching economic relief packages. Our analysis of the early economic responses in the EU and the U.S. can be found here and here.

  • International and development-oriented financial institutions, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation are forming partnerships and adjusting lending practices to help mitigate economic consequences across the globe.

  • Ministries of Health are facing new challenges in protecting vulnerable and high-risk patient populations—including, in some cases, a growing need to purchase and supply drugs and medication critical for the safety and quality of life of these groups.

  • Since early February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued 48 Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for pharmaceutical products and devices used to diagnose and treat coronavirus. EUAs accelerate the process by which pharmaceutical companies can strengthen their efforts to help end the pandemic.

  • Prolonged shelter-in-place and quarantine orders are changing how cities—and their citizens—conduct daily operations. The sudden reliance on social/physical distancing technology is increasing calls for "smart cities" that can provide upgraded transit systems, communication platforms, and environmental solutions.

  • Many philanthropies, foundations, and other charitable organizations are reassessing and reorienting their giving strategies to plan for the long-term consequences of coronavirus—particularly in low- and middle-income countries and communities.

  • The coronavirus epidemic has unsettled and delayed elections across the globe, including the U.S. presidential primary elections in some states as well as national and legislative elections in other countries. Some of the political contests we are watching include:


  • France's Scientific Council, set up by President Emmanuel Macron, is expected to announce on May 23 its recommendations for a second round of municipal elections which are unlikely to be held sooner than June 2020more likely in September or early October. France's Senate elections, originally scheduled for September 2020, could be delayed until September 2021.

  • While Poland and Iceland were each supposed to hold presidential elections via mail-in vote on May 10 and June 27, respectively, Polish judges and the political opposition are alarmed that the country has no experience organizing a vote by mail, including at such short notice. Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PIS) party is pushing to move the election to an upcoming weekend, however the legal basis for such a move is being disputed.

  • In North Macedonia and Serbia, parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for April 12 and April 26, respectively, have been postponed. Neither country has published new dates for the elections.

Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • Guyana held its presidential election on March 2 before the coronavirus lockdown was in full-swing, but has yet to release a final result.

  • Chile’s much-anticipated constitutional referendum, originally scheduled for April 26, has been postponed until October 25.

  • Bolivia has postponed its May 3 presidential election. Last week, the Bolivian Parliament passed a law calling for elections by August 2, while the Electoral Tribunal has set a separate window between June 7 and September 6.

  • The Dominican Republic has postponed general elections, originally scheduled for May 17, until July 5.

  • The Haitian parliament expired in January and legislative elections intended for last autumn continue to be delayed. No plans appear to have been made for rescheduling the elections.

  • On April 28, Colombia formally became an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member country. Colombia began the accession process in 2013 and is the 37th country to join the OECD. Colombia has completed all of its domestic procedures and ratified the OECD Convention. This included major legislative reforms in areas including labor issues, the justice system, corporate governance, anti-bribery, and trade.

United States:

  • Thirty states have completed their primaries and caucuses. Sixteen states with elections in March, April, and May have rescheduled voting for later in the summer or implemented voting by mail only.

  • The Democratic National Committee has rescheduled its convention from mid-July to August 17-20, 2020. The Republican National Convention is scheduled to take place August 24-27, 2020.

  • Joe Biden, as the only Democratic candidate still campaigning, is the presumptive Democratic nominee. He currently holds 1,435 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Thought Leadership

Dan Erikson spoke on a virtual panel on COVID-19 in Latin America focusing on the political and epidemiological impact of the coronavirus on the region and examining what lies ahead during this critical period.

Karen Tramontano published an op-ed Don’t Forget the Forgotten Workers, highlighting the plight of workers in the informal economy amid coronavirus and the need to integrate and extend to these workers the benefits and protections of the formal economy:
"COVID-19 has laid bare the stark reality of economic inequality around the globe. When we finally emerge from the COVID-19 lockdowns, how will we respond to what we have experienced? Will we ignore the chasms in our economies, our health care, and our social safety nets, exposed by COVID-19?"

Ken Frankel, President of the Canadian Council for the Americas and a Blue Star Strategies Senior Advisor, has moderated numerous informative teleconferences on Latin American public health responses and economies in the time of coronavirus, including an overall view of Latin America and country specific ones on Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. On May 6, Ken will be speaking with the Governor of Antioquia, Colombia and local experts on COVID-19 reopening strategiesregister link here. Ken’s latest "Two gringos with questions" podcast features a discussion with Francis Fukuyama.

Helping Our Communities

Working Remotely and Physically Distancing while staying active, mindful, and engaged.

Combating Food Insecurity
by supporting local groups through financial donations and volunteerism:

Supporting Local Retail by
ordering prepared meals from restaurants in our neighborhoods for delivery and pick-up and shopping in local stores:

Promoting Education & Awareness of global efforts to combat COVID-19 through virtual briefings with Ambassadors of Italy, Spain, Austria, India,
France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates and the
challenge of xenophobia amid the pandemic.

Supporting Institutional Resilience through board membership volunteerism to help nonprofit organizations cope and strategize in the face of adversity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic:

Community Member Outreach
by supporting older and isolated community neighbors, residents, and those in need:

  • Making regular personal check-in telephone calls
  • Picking up and delivering groceries and preparing meals
  • Reading calming books like The Velveteen Rabbit to our neighbors' children (physically distancing)

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