The coronavirus could have wide-reaching effects on technology, air travel and the economy as a whole, while some areas, such as product development, may not be affected. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.
The coronavirus outbreak is reportedly not impacting research and development for Apple products that use a new mini LED technology, per an analyst, CNBC reported. Mini LED has some advantages when compared to the OLED and LCD screens on many devices as of now. But, in the past, Apple had cautioned that it would fall short of its aim for March quarterly sales with lower demand in China and the potential for the iPhone supply to be constricted with contracted factories running below their maximum volume.
Meanwhile, a supplier of radio chips for iPhones, Qorvo, reduced its expectations for Q4 revenue from its forecasted band of $800 million to $840 million down to $770 million, CNBC reported. The company’s Q4 results are forecasted to come out on May 5. Qorvo said the coronavirus “has impacted the smartphone supply chain and customer demand more than anticipated.” However, it noted it is still challenging to forecast the virus’s complete effects with “the magnitude, duration and geographic reach of the outbreak.”
On another note, the biggest flight attendants union in the country is asking for steps to fight the coronavirus’s spread and make sure that staff possess benefits as well as pay protections in the event they fall ill, CNBC reported. The Association of Flight Attendants said, “In general, the industry has far exceeded government instruction, but a coordinated, thorough response from our government is what is needed.” The group represents about 50,000 flight attendants, including those at Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.
In other news, FedEx and UPS cautioned that the coronavirus might affect the shipment of products and potentially impact their Q1 results, Reuters reported. FedEx said it keeps running flights in and out of impacted countries, however, limitations on travel could hold up some shipments. And UPS Chief Financial Officer Brian Newman said at a conference that “the business obviously slowed.” While he noted it was premature for the firm to measure the disruptions’ impact, the firm was seeing demand bounce back this week.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is requesting that thousands of employees in the United States work from their homes as it aims to put its contingency plan for shuttering domestic offices for a dry run in the event of the coronavirus spreading, Bloomberg reported. The consumer bank of JPMorgan has 127,137 employees and mainly operates in the United States. Managers asked that roughly 10 percent of staff throughout the consumer bank telecommute. In addition, JPMorgan has been experimenting with systems at backup trading sites in the event staffers have to be relocated from the main London and New York trading floors.
On another note, consumers are reducing their visits to U.S. retail shops for the fourth week in a row, with confirmed coronavirus cases spreading throughout the nation, Bloomberg reported. Foot traffic fell 3.3 percent in the week ending Feb. 28. Best Buy and Walmart have cautioned already that the virus could muddy their forecasts for the complete year. It was also noted that consumer sentiment dropped on Monday to its lowest point as of the middle of December.
In other news, Chinese tech platforms censored coronavirus-related search terms going back as far as December, the Financial Times reported. WeChat reportedly censored over 500 mixtures of search terms during a time frame of six weeks. Chinese live-streaming platform YY, on the other hand, started to censor coronavirus-related search terms a day after doctors attempted to let the public know about a virus that was like the flu. Public grief in regard to the outbreak has been aimed at local government officials for the most part.
Meanwhile, to compensate doctors as well as hospitals for the cost of caring for uninsured coronavirus patients, the President Donald Trump administration is mulling using a national disaster program for payment, The Wall Street Journal reported. With a federal program, medical facilities in addition to hospitals can be paid approximately 110 percent of Medicare rates in natural disasters like hurricanes. There are over 100 coronavirus cases in the United States, and, in 2018, 8.5 percent of people lacked health insurance at any time over the year.
And, Alphabet said it has called off its yearly Google I/O developer event amid coronavirus-related worries, Reuters reported. The gathering was set for May 12-14. The company said, “Over the coming weeks, we will explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with and continue to build our developer community.” As it stands, additional new instances of the virus are surfacing beyond China.