Uncertainty, Supply Delays Impact Apple, Amazon & Tech Sector
After watching the U.S. stock market take a 1,000 point plunge on Monday, experts are saying it is due to the COVID-19 or coronavirus. There is an informative article in gizmodo.com by Ed Cara that is not very reassuring about how long the spread will continue. Confirmed cases in Iran and Italy that did not originate from the patients in China have raised concerns.
On Friday, South Korean health officials reported a dramatic jump in cases of COVID-19, as the disease is officially known. The 204 cases are more than double the number reported the day before. Iran’s Health Ministry reported 13 new cases on Friday, bringing Iran’s total up to 18, along with four deaths. Italy reported six new cases, all of which were not connected to travel from China.
These newest waves of cases in South Korea and elsewhere show a dangerous new phase of the outbreak. The virus (formally known as SARS-CoV-2) is now routinely showing up in people who didn’t catch it from those who recently traveled to China. In places like Iran, health officials are also reporting cases where the chain of transmission is a mystery. Apparently the health officials have blind spots on how the virus is spreading in communities without detection. The more unwatched sparks of disease in a country, the more likely they’ll erupt into a full-blown wildfire that will sustain the outbreak and turn it into a pandemic.
Health officials from the World Health Organization are warning as much:
“I believe the window of opportunity [to contain the outbreak] is still there, but that the window of opportunity is narrowing,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference held Friday.
As the number of infected people grows, it severely affects the economic outlook globally. Shortages for high-tech products are already being reported, including iPhones. Many tech giants expect to be a month behind on orders. This week Apple cut back its sales expectations, with the iPhone supply being “temporarily restrained.” Nike has shut down half of its stores in China, with Adidas taking similar measures.
But airlines, cruise ship corporations and many other industries are already taking a major financial hit from travel cancellations due to the uncertainty of the spread of the virus.
Amazon Checks the Numbers Closely
Grappling with the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon is already taking steps to avoid supply-chain disruptions in China that could hurt its Prime Day sales event⏤a key revenue driver⏤taking place about five months from now.
Last week, according to qz.com, the e-commerce giant sent emails to third-party merchants indicating it’s concerned about inventory for the two-day sales extravaganza in mid-July, according to the New York Times. One message reportedly read: “Amazon issued off-cycle orders to you last night to prepare for possible supply chain disruptions due to recent global events originating in China.”
Social media drives a lot of the fear about viruses of all kinds, not just COVID-19. Be sure to check sources for information where it concerns this potentially deadly virus.