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Coronavirus Impacting Tech Industry: Samsung, Foxconn Factories Closed, Travel Restricted

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The year has barely started and it looks like the Coronavirus is already starting to have a deep impact on the global industry. In tech it's also hitting hard, with various factories in China being forced to close by the government and western companies restricting travel.

For the sake of global and local health, the Chinese government has placed travel restrictions on the city of Wuhan, restricting the movement of people and goods in order to attempt to gain control over the situation. Affected individuals are more strictly quarantined, with strict rules and fines in place to prevent further spread of the disease.

Naturally, with such strict restriction of movement, an effect is bound to be felt in industries. As reported by Zerohedge, the Chinese government has decided to order the closure of the Foxconn and Samsung factories for the next one to two weeks.

In these areas of manufacturing hubs and the city of Wuhan, the local economy is also slowing due to fears of going to restaurants and bars.

Occurring directly after the Chinese new year, some analysts fear that the extended delay in production may just trigger a recession.

Nevertheless, according to MarketWatch, the downtime in China's production may be good for US-based memory producers “With the shutdown of fabs during Chinese New Year this weekend and the impact of the Coronavirus quarantine in Wuhan, any disruption or delay of semi cap equipment support/installs could be negative for equipment suppliers, while any disruption in memory output (if the epidemic worsens after the holiday break) could be positive for memory suppliers outside of China such as Micron, Western Digital and others,” Vijay Rakesh, an analyst at Mizuho, told MarketWatch.

Meanwhile, The Verge also reports that Facebook, Razer and LG are restricting employee travel to China due to the virus. Any Facebook employees returning from China, either for work or personal travel, have been asked to work from home, as reported by Bloomberg.

Exactly how far-reaching the economic effects of the virus will be remains difficult to say, but each day that goes by where more people get infected causes further economic slowdown. 

At the time of writing, the death count due to the Coronavirus is at 106 (as reported by the BBC), with the majority occurring in the city of Wuhan, where the epidemic has started. There is currently no known cure for the Coronavirus, though the first victims are said to be elderly or with pre-existing respiratory problems. Currently, there are over 4500 confirmed cases in China alone. Figures elsewhere in the world remain scarce.

  • bit_user
    I wonder how long the virus can remain viable on hard surfaces. It would be awful if the virus could spread on packaged products made in factories populated by infected workers.

    Of course, I'm sure the main concern with factories is just the risk of contagion between workers.
    Reply
  • Matt_ogu812
    Merely another exercise for the up and coming equivalent to the "Black Death" that originated in China. Or so the history books tell us.
    Real pandemics won't be known until it's at its peak which won't be known until it subsides.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Matt_ogu812 said:
    Real pandemics won't be known until it's at its peak which won't be known until it subsides.
    Huh? In fact, a pandemic can be declared while it's happening, and even before it peaks.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic#Definition_and_stages
    Reply
  • Matt_ogu812
    bit_user said:
    Huh? In fact, a pandemic can be declared while it's happening, and even before it peaks.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic#Definition_and_stages

    Huh back at ya!
    The 1918 flu was pandemic and claimed millions of lives. Not this media hype that's going on.
    Worldwide there are now more than 6,000 cases and 132 deaths, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
    While the majority of cases center in China, it has been found in the U.S. and these countries: Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Germany and United Arab Emirates. There have been no deaths outside China.
    A far cry from the millions that died during the 1918 flu.
    Like I said: "Real pandemics won't be known until it's at its peak which won't be known until it subsides"
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Matt_ogu812 said:
    Huh back at ya!
    The 1918 flu was pandemic and claimed millions of lives.
    What does that have to do with deciding whether Corona Virus is a pandemic?

    A pandemic is an epidemic occurring on a scale which crosses international boundaries, usually affecting a large number of people.

    An epidemic is the rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less. ... The declaration of an epidemic usually requires a good understanding of a baseline rate of incidence; epidemics for certain diseases, such as influenza, are defined as reaching some defined increase in incidence above this baseline.

    The definition does not involve a peak - just the rate at which the disease is spreading.

    Matt_ogu812 said:
    Like I said: "Real pandemics won't be known until it's at its peak which won't be known until it subsides"
    Epidemiology is an entire field of study devoted to modeling, estimating, and projecting the spread of diseases. Given relatively few parameters about a disease, epidemiologists can estimate the scale of an epidemic. You don't have to wait for it to peak, before having a pretty good idea of a disease's potential.

    Matt_ogu812 said:
    Not this media hype that's going on.
    Well, the media hype is driven by a couple things. First, China is taking very draconian measures to try and contain the spread of the disease. You basically have several major cities the size of New York or London that are on lock-down. Plus, major travel restrictions being enforced by foreign governments & evacuation of their personnel.

    Second, given the statistics you cited of a 2.2% fatality rate, that would be catastrophic, if it spread globally. However, that could even be an underestimate, since the disease has a long incubation period, and then takes a long time to develop into a fatal pneumonia. That said, I think it's still not clear how many asymptomatic carriers there are. So, it could actually turn out to be less fatal than that. Still, nothing to sneeze at!

    So, I wouldn't say it's over-hyped.
    Reply
  • Matt_ogu812
    By May of this year the only thing that will be remembered about the Corona virus is that it was named after a beer.
    There are more cases of people having survived it than dying from it.
    Ref: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
    World wide cases:
    Total recovered: 30k +-
    Total deaths: 2770

    If I'm wrong I'll be only to happy to say I was wrong.
    The question is will you do the same?
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Matt_ogu812 said:
    By May of this year the only thing that will be remembered about the Corona virus is that it was named after a beer.
    Yeah, a joke about that keeps stirring in the back of my mind, too.

    Matt_ogu812 said:
    There are more cases of people having survived it than dying from it.
    Ref: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
    World wide cases:
    Total recovered: 30k +-
    Total deaths: 2770
    Unfortunately, what defines a serious outbreak is not simply whether the mortality rate is at least 50%.

    The seriousness of a disease outbreak is roughly the product of its contagion rate and its mortality rate. So, if you take something like Ebola, it has a mortality rate of over 60%, but it's actually not very contagious (at least, not in societies where burial rituals don't involve families touching their dead loved ones). Still, the mortality rate is extremely high, and it's a pretty nasty way to go, so it attracts a somewhat disproportionate amount of attention (and you never know when a virus could find a mutation that makes it far more contagious).

    At the other extreme, you could look at the common cold, which is extremely contagious, but has a very low mortality rate.

    What's so worrying about Covid-19 is that it seems to be highly contagious, with not all of the mechanisms of transmission fully understood (though, there does seem to be some asymptomatic spreading), and it seems to kill about 2% of those it infects.

    So, if it manages to spread worldwide, that's 160 million people it could kill. Obviously, it won't spread to 100% of the global population, but the flip side is that the mortality rate will be higher in countries with poor healthcare infrastructure. So, the potential is there to kill way more people than died in all of the world wars and terror attacks, combined, and then some.

    If it killed 2% of the US, that would be 6.6 million people, or about 3000 times the number killed in the 9/11 terror attacks. Everyone would probably know several who died. The economy would surely plunge into recession. It wouldn't be post-apocalyptic bad, but certainly the worst we've seen since the 1918 flu pandemic.

    Matt_ogu812 said:
    If I'm wrong I'll be only to happy to say I was wrong.
    The question is will you do the same?
    Oh hell yes. I'd love to be wrong. I am not at all invested in this happening. I'm just trying to explain why it's legitimately a big deal and something worthy of attention (but not panic).

    The best case scenario I can see is that spread in the US might be limited until the warmer months, when the virus will hopefully be less active. By next winter, there will hopefully be some anti-viral mitigations that can significantly reduce the mortality rate. And, by about a year from now, there will be enough vaccine to start giving it to some of the most vulnerable populations.

    Apparently, for about 80% of those who get it, the symptoms are fairly mild. However, you might still be quarantined to prevent you from contributing to the spread and maybe giving it to someone for whom it's fatal.
    Reply