The technology industry has experienced a famine over the last few weeks as the effects of the novel coronavirus devastate production and sales. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and other companies reliant on Chinese production are experiencing massive disruption to their businesses.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported an outbreak of COVID-19 to the public on Dec. 31, 2019. It is a highly-contagious disease with symptoms similar to pneumonia.
As of March 5, the WHO estimates that the coronavirus has spread to 88 countries including China, where it was first discovered. Over 98,062 cases worldwide have been confirmed and the death toll is 3,356. Fortunately, 54,135 victims have made a complete recovery.
The coronavirus is not only devastating to the sick and their families — it is also widely affecting the business of technology. Major tech companies such as Apple, Sony and LG are reporting delays on product releases.
“It is expected that production and shipment delays will be inevitable,” said Nintendo, the major Japanese gaming company and U.S. exporter, in a Feb. 6 press release.
These delays are the result of to a huge disruption in the supply chain. Forbes reports that the Chinese government denied the reopening of factories in coronavirus-affected areas. Travel within China is becoming increasingly difficult, as more than 60 million people have been quarantined.
Corporations such as Amazon, LG, Nvidia, Sprint and Samsung have even pulled out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), a major tech expo held in Barcelona.
Each corporation cited the coronavirus as motive in their respective press releases, fearing that the event’s gathering 100,000 originally planned attendees — many from China — could risk an outbreak. The MWC expects significantly fewer overall attendees to the conference this year.
Katie O’Daniel, freshman behavioral sciences major at California Baptist University, said America’s dependence on China for production is concerning.
“It is a little scary how dependent America is on other countries for their tech,” O’Daniel said. “I wish America would focus on producing their own tech so that these other countries don’t have so much power over our
Over the past few weeks, many Americans have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #coronavirus to express concerns over purchasing Chinese products.
James Rierson, freshman biomedical science and sociology major, visited Beijing over Christmas break and had remarks for those afraid of products coming from China.
“That’s xenophobia. It’s just being afraid of people,” Rierson said.
So far, the WHO has found no evidence that the virus can exist on inanimate goods.
Pennee Robertson, associate professor of nursing, said she wants to redirect attention away from fear of the virus and back toward more local issues.
“We have a flu virus that is actually worse in America than the coronavirus is in China,” Robertson said.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths have been estimated in the U.S. alone from the flu every year since 2010, which is larger than the current death toll for the coronavirus.
Robertson urged students to maintain personal hygiene, wash their hands and disinfect surfaces to lower their chances of getting sick. Tech continues to suffer as the coronavirus death toll grows. Companies must find innovative ways to control the market.