Coronavirus: affecting more than just health?

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CDC coronavirus

*Hi’s Eye realizes that many of these facts and figures have changed since publication. The information and numbers reflect Hi’s Eye’s print deadline of  Wed. 3/4. 

According to the New York Times, 68 new cases in the U.S. were announced Thu. 3/5. 

With the increasing number of deaths in the U.S. due to COVID-19 (better known as the coronavirus), people around the world have been sent into a panic, buying masks in the hopes they’ll avoid getting sick and stocking up their homes in preparation for a quarantine. However, the coronavirus is more than just a health crisis. Here are some things that have been affected by this virus:

Westfield Public Schools

On Feb. 28, Superintendent Margaret Dolan sent out an email detailing the WPS’ efforts to combat the risks posed by the coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases in New Jersey as of March 4, so no immediate cancellation of school is necessary, but Dr. Dolan did note that “The NJDOE reiterated that the law does not allow distance learning in NJ schools to count as a school day.” This means that in the event of a quarantine, as of now, students wouldn’t be able to complete assignments online for credit that would count as a school day.

This email also includes a link to a new tab on the WHS website under “Health Services.” The tab is labeled “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)’’ and has resources with information about the outbreak, including two PDF files from the government that detail basic preventative measures.

The main effect [of the virus on WHS] is parents being concerned and asking a lot of questions,” said WHS Principal Mary Asfendis. “We’ve tried to have communication available and I think the information on the website provides that.”

Universities

According to CNN, as of Feb. 28, seven universities have canceled, postponed or rerouted study abroad programs in Italy, and others have done the same for programs in South Korea and China. The virus is also inciting action on campuses within the country; a petition to suspend classes at UC Santa Barbara collected over 1,100 signatures.

Further, the virus has incited xenophobic and anti-Chinese sentiments on some campuses. Students at the University of Albany are demanding that an off-campus “coronavirus-themed party,” which reportedly included attendees in surgical masks with a bucket of Corona beer, be declared a hate crime. Also, a now-deleted post on the UC Berkeley health center’s Instagram declared xenophobia against Asian people a “normal reaction” to the virus.

Travel

The number of Chinese tourists has skyrocketed in recent years, totaling 150 million trips in 2018, according to CNN. Tourism Economics downgraded its 2020 forecast for Chinese departures and estimated that if the outbreak continues, it could lead to 25 million fewer travelers from China this year, wiping out as much as $73 billion in revenue.

Additionally, the global airline industry is facing its first traffic decline in over a decade. Dozens of international carriers have reduced or canceled flights and the International Air Transport Authority warned that this could cost airlines more than $29 billion. The virus is also harming the hotel industry, as Hilton has closed 150 hotels in China as a result of the virus and CEO Chris Nassetta estimates that the virus will carve $25 to $50 million from their full-year earnings.

Businesses

We predict that the peak of the impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains will occur in mid-March, forcing thousands of companies to throttle down or temporarily shut assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe,” estimates the Harvard Business Review.

Many companies are already facing these effects. Microsoft cut their sales forecast this week,  scrapping the projection made just a few weeks earlier. Mastercard has cut its growth forecast as well, largely because of the decline in travel. The effects are also seen hindering American homebuilders, as an executive at Toll Brothers announced that the virus has delayed the supply of lighting parts.

Anti-Chinese sentiment also affects businesses. Chinese restaurants around the U.S. have seen a decline in sales; according to CNN, NYC’s 3 Chinatowns have all seen a business drop from 50 to 70 percent this month and restaurant owners describe the streets as a “ghost-town.”

Events

The National College Players Association put out a statement that reads, “In regard to the NCAA’s March Madness Tournament and other athletic events, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present.”

Additionally, there has been talk about changing the plans for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. According to NPR, Olympic officials in Japan have stated that “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations.” So far, there have been no actual changes made regarding the 2020 Games.

Events outside of sports have been affected as well. As of Hi’s Eye’s deadline, the London Book Fair is still scheduled to take place, but many major U.S. publishing companies, including Macmillan and HarperCollins, have announced they won’t be attending. Additionally, many music artists, including BTS, Green Day and Khalid, have cancelled or postponed their concerts in Europe and Asia.