Study finds that two-thirds of UK organizations surveyed had no pandemic plans in place before COVID-19

What Rome Learned From the Deadly Antonine Plague of 165 A.D.

plague of Rome
An engraving by Levasseur after Jules-Elie Delaunay depicts the angel of death at the door during the 165 A.D. plague in Rome. (Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 4.0)

round 165 A.D., the Anatolian town of Hierapolis erected a statue to the god Apollo Alexikakos, the Averter of Evil, so that the people might be spared from a terrible new infectious disease with utterly gruesome symptoms. Victims were known to endure fever, chills, upset stomach and diarrhea that turned from red to black over the course of a week. They also developed horrible black pocks over their bodies, both inside and out, that scabbed over and left disfiguring scars.

For the worst afflicted, it was not uncommon that they would cough up or excrete scabs that had formed inside their body. Victims suffered in this way for two or even three weeks before the illness finally abated. Perhaps 10 percent of 75 million people living in the Roman Empire never recovered. “Like some beast,” a contemporary wrote, the sickness “destroyed not just a few people but rampaged across whole cities and destroyed them.”…


Study finds that two-thirds of UK organizations surveyed had no pandemic plans in place before COVID-19

New research from Databarracks has revealed that two-thirds of organizations (66 percent) surveyed had no plans in place for responding to an infectious disease pandemic before the COVID-19 outbreak. This is despite pandemic ranking highest in terms of impact and likelihood in the UK government’s National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies; and despite 61 percent of respondents having a business continuity plan which was considered to be up-to-date.

These findings were taken from Databarracks’ Data Health Check survey. The annual survey, which has been running since 2008, questions 400 IT decision-makers in the UK on a number of critical issues relating to security, disaster recovery and business continuity.

Peter Groucutt, Managing Director at Databarracks, said: “For years, pandemics have been consistently at the top of both National and Community Risk Registers as the hazard with the highest potential impact and likelihood of occurring. However, our survey shows that the COVID-19 outbreak caught the majority of UK businesses off guard, which represents a fundamental failure in business continuity and resilience planning.”

Groucutt believes that organizations can learn some valuable lessons from the crisis:

“Good business continuity shouldn’t be overly complex. In many ways it’s simply applying common sense at scale…


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