Coronavirus: Understanding its Impact on Life and Business

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The streets are getting deserted. Public and tourist places are put under lockdown. Major cities are being turned into ghost towns. The world has entered the emergency mode.

Well, that’s not a scene from any zombie movie, but is the current scenario that is prevailing across the world due to the COVID 19, fondly known as coronavirus.

This infectious disease hasn’t only triggered social distancing but also discouraged people from being in the crowd. Curfew and lockdowns have been enforced across the world.

The fear of corona has caused big sporting events like IPL cancelled. Tokyo Olympics 2020 has been postponed. It is the fear of corona that once-crowded Disneyland is now empty as a haunted site. Such is the panic of coronavirus that tech giants like Facebook and Google have to cancel their significant events. In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dubbed the coronavirus as the “challenge Germany has faced since the Second World War’.

After all, coronavirus is a significant health threat to reckon with.

WORLD IN THE CLAWS OF CORONAVIRUS

Originating from China, Coronavirus is said to wreak havoc in over 150 nations and has claimed over 18,907 lives as of March 25, 2020.

There are currently 422,952 confirmed cases across the world.

Italy has outnumbered China is terms of total deaths caused by coronavirus—more than twice the percentage in China.

However, China still tops the chart of countries with the most coronavirus cases in the world.

CASES AND DEATH TOLLS BY COUNTRY (AS OF 25th March)

Among the cases confirmed worldwide are celebrities, sports personalities and government officials.

Daily Deaths Due to Coronavirus

(Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-toll/)

In India, the total coronavirus cases have climbed to 519 with 11 reported deaths as of 25 March, 2020. After spiking in Corona cases, the country will be in total lockdown till 14th April, 2020 while curfew has been enforced in many cities. Earlier, the PM appealed to observe the “Janta Curfew”, a voluntary curfew, for a day.

“The next one month would be crucial in determining if India can in fact “flatten the curve” and contain the exponential transmission of the virus. We must do everything in our power to make this happen…”

  • Dr P Raghu Ram, President at The Association of Surgeons of India, and a Padma Shri awardee.

(CHECK OUT HERE THE OFFICIAL ADVISORY BY GOVT. OF INDIA ON CORONAVIRUS)

Where It All Started

Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1960s. 

The earliest ones were an infectious virus in chickens and two in human patients with the common cold. SARS-CoV claimed 744 lives and infected 8098 people in 17 nations in 2002. The outbreak of another member of this virus family, MERS-COV, led to 860 deaths while infected 2,500 from 21 countries.

A “wet market” in Wuhan, China is said to be the origination point of the novel coronavirus.

The market sold both dead and live animals like birds and fishes. Such markets pose a big threat of viruses transferring from animals to humans due to the poor hygiene standards and bulk packaging of animal meat. Bats are believed to be the host of the latest coronavirus. Although, they weren’t sold at the market in Wuhan, they might have infected live animals sold there.

 

What is Coronavirus?

Did you know there are seven types of coronavirus exist?

These are 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronvirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS).

The recent one is termed as COVID-19. Most people are likely to be infected with at least one type of coronavirus in their lifetime.

The World Health Organization defines coronavirus as a “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).”

Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from individual to individual.

(Source: CNBC.Com)

You can easily catch coronavirus from the infected person.

You are also highly vulnerable to the infection if you live in or have recently been in an area with an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

The virus that causes COVID 19 was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus spreads through the air by sneezing and coughing, close personal contact, touching an object or surface infected with the virus, then touching body parts like mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.

The common symptoms are cough, fever, runny nose and sore throat.

(Source: Aljazeera.com)

The virus is said to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another within about 6 feet through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Medicine for Coronavirus: The Search Continues…

While there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID 19 yet, medical care is being given to relieve symptoms.
Scientists are trying their best to find an effective treatment for coronavirus. But the cure is desperately needed, given that the corona cases are on the rise and hospitals being crowded.

Therefore, instead of inventing the medicine from scratch that might take several years to develop and test, health agencies and researchers are trying the drugs that are already approved for other diseases and found safe.

WHO is taking chance with several medicines, such as, an antiviral drug known as remdesivir; chloroquine that is used in malaria; and the combination of two HIV medications along with the anti-inflammatory interferon beta. 

Apart from that, researchers are considering unapproved drugs that have been successful in animal studies with other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, as preventive medicine for coronavirus. However, the drug has been controversial as it is said to cause side-effects like nausea, mood swings, skin irritation, cramps, pale skin, muscle weakness and bleeding from the nose. Even worse, the overdose of this drug can lead to death. 

Later on, the ICMR has warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus without medical supervision. 

COVID 19 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Myths are spreading faster than coronavirus. Some people believe that getting coronavirus means a guaranteed death while some assume that simple gargling with bleach can treat it.

(Video of Dr. Education)

There is a lot of misleading information and panic in and around.

Here is a rundown of some coronavirus myths you shouldn’t believe:

Face Mask Provides Ultimate Virus Protection:

Standard surgical masks won’t protect you from the virus. This is because they are not designed to block out the particles and don’t lay flush to the face, as reported by Live Science. However, surgical masks can help prevent infection by preventing any respiratory droplets from being expelled from the infected person’s mouth.

Ordering or Buying Chinese Product Make You Sick:

As of this writing, researchers have found that most viruses like COVID 19 are not likely to stay alive for very long on surfaces. Therefore, getting a package from China is safe that was in transit for weeks. The disease is found to be transmitted by droplets from the sneeze or cough of an infected person. However, we should wait for more information.

 

Eating Non-Veg Makes You Vulnerable to Coronavirus:

There is no evidence so far that can show how the novel coronavirus or any virus can infect chicken, meat or seafood and make it inedible. The same thing can be said for eggs. Just because the virus is triggered by a poultry market in Wuhan, China, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on eggs. The family of coronaviruses requires a human host to thrive. The virus simply can’t grow in food. Make sure to cook your meat or poultry for at least 30 minutes to kill germs and illness-causing viruses.

(Source: https://imgflip.com/i/3nmozq)

Swallowing or Gargling with Bleach Can Help:

This remedy doesn’t work to protect you from catching or treating COVID-19. In fact, it can be dangerous. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water and avoid close contact with sick people.

Stay home if you are sick.

(Image source: https://funnyjunk.com)

A Vaccine is Available to Cure COVID—19:

As of this writing, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus. Although scientists are trying their best, developing a vaccine for humans will take time.

Corona Vaccine Report

(image source: Boredpanda.com)

Coronavirus was Made in the Lab:

No evidence indicates that the virus is man-made. This virus is identical to two other coronaviruses that were occurred in recent decades, SARS-COV and MERS-CoV. All these viruses are said to be in baths.

Kids are Safe:

Children are definitely prone to COVID—19, despite the fewer cases in kids compared with adults. According to Live Science, kids are less likely to develop a critical health condition.

How to Stay Safe

Precaution is better than cure, especially when there is no official vaccine for coronavirus yet.

The first thing you can do is to maintain a distance from others, especially from those who have visible signs like sneezing or coughing.

  • Stressing the importance of precautions, Dr P Raghu Ram opines

“There is now growing evidence from several studies conducted globally that asymptomatic people (people without symptoms) are causing significant number of infections, not only with their contact with others, but also through indirect transmission by way of contaminating common objects such as door handles, elevator button, wash room taps etc.”

  • NYU Langone Health Associate Professor Dr Roshini Rajapaksa cautions

“And really just make sure you are mindful of how you are interacting with other people. Try to stay about six feet from other people in the home. Well, you want to make sure that you are wiping all those shared surfaces. … So, a disinfectant spray with bleach, using the wipes and, of course, you want to be washing your hands every time that you are touching something.”

“And you don’t need hand sanitizers “The reality is that soap and water work just as well. You don’t need the fancy stuff.” suggested Dr Peter Gulick, an infectious disease specialist in Lansing.

 (Courtesy: Red Cross)

Even Rich and Famous are Not Immune to Corona

Legendary actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, had tested positive for the coronavirus. They are the first public figure to get open up about their diagnosis.

Even Rich

Source: https://thinkingmeme.com

French-Ukrainian actress and model Kurylenko, locked up at home after being tested positive for Coronavirus.

Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in Games of Thrones, has admitted of having Coronavirus.

Canadian PM’s Justin Trudeau’s wife has been tested positive for COVID-19. 

The athletes who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus are Kevin Durant, Daniele Rugani, Rudy Gobert, and Donovan Mitchell.

Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, who rose to fame with the tracks like Baby Doll and Chittiyan Kalayian, made headlines when she was allowed to go home despite being tested positive for COVID-19 at the Lucknow airport. Even she attended a house warming party in Kanpur where she interacted with politicians, showbiz stars and other who’s who. Luckily, the reports of these people were negative.

How is Coronavirus Affecting Businesses?

The coronavirus is also taking a toll on the global economy and financial markets.

While the full economic outcomes of the virus are still uncertain, the ripple effect can also be felt in certain businesses. Factories around the world have been closed for extended periods, leaving retailers high and dry. 

Coronavirus can affect some industries more than others, including telecoms, IT sector, digital media, payments and commerce, banking, and healthcare. As the outbreak prompts the cancellation of trips and large gatherings, economic losses are mounting across the travel industry. There could be a major delay in supplying goods to the customers.

The Covid-19 outbreak has also impacted supply chains and disrupts manufacturing operations across the world. But the worst is yet to come. Most technology companies like Google have recommended their employees that they work remotely.

“From an economic perspective, the key issue is not just the number of cases of COVID-19, but the level of disruption to economies from containment measures.,”

  • Ben May, Head Of Global Macro Research At Oxford Economics

Will the Virus Undermine IT and Telecom Sector?

The outbreak of the coronavirus has led to the shutdown of plants and factories in China, some of which were being used by big tech companies to produce their products.

Apple might force to cut down its iPhone production as its primary manufacturing partner, Foxconn, has shut down much of its units in China.

However, Foxconn is looking to resume its normal production in China by the end of March. Good thing is that half of its seasonal workforce is back at work.

Mobile World Congress or MWC was called off due to the virus which was set to be organized in Barcelona. Facebook postponed its F8 developer conference and Global Marketing summit while Google has shifted its Google Cloud Next event to online. The cancellation of major tech events has caused the loss of over $1 billion as estimated by PredictHQ.

With the ever-growing need for remote interactions, 5G has become more critical than ever.

How to Leverage Coronavirus for Your Business?

Coronavirus is a great business opportunity to capitalize on. And this is proved by the companies dealing in personal hygiene and sanitation services. For example, hand sanitizer is a hot commodity and is not readily available at general stores. Expensive sanitizers from reputed brands are hard to come by amidst panic created by the virus.

“We have ramped up production of Protekt handwash and sanitizers in our units as well as through our vendor partner units,” said Sunil Kataria, chief executive officer, India and SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products.

No wonder every cottage industry and home-based vendors have stepped in to cash this opportunity in India.

It is safe to say that venturing into hand sanitizer business can be rewarding at this time.

Developing a Health App:

However, hand sanitizer is not the only business opportunity to cash on. What about developing a health app? It is obvious as people are continuously looking for the best ways to stay protected. The outbreak of coronavirus has triggered the wave of apps and online tools for testing, guidance and diagnosis. Some apps connect a user with a virtual physician, thereby eliminating the risk of catching the virus from other patients at the clinic.

E-Commerce:

The virus could benefit online grocery shopping, as people are less likely to leave their home.

Bottom Line:

The outbreak of coronavirus on the global scale has led to many changes in our life, with malls and schools being closed, travel being postponed and sporting events being called off. The virus has also impacted the business sector.

When will coronavirus end?

Sadly, there is a sheer uncertainty over the exit of the virus as there is no official cure found yet. The good thing is that coronavirus can be avoided with simple hygiene habits like washing your hands frequently and practising social distancing.

Stay safe. Stay protected.

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