Panic and isolation have struck across the world as an incurable virus tears through each town leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands sick.
Its effects on the population and businesses are something that is affecting everyone, so it is important to know where it all started and how to help.
Where It All Began
Late last year, in Wuhan, China, dozens of people were getting treated for pneumonia from an unknown cause. Days later, it was identified at a new virus called Coronavirus or COVID-19 for short. From what officials could gather, the virus surfaced in a Chinese seafood and poultry market where they kept both live and dead animals. According to the New York Times, “At the time, there was no evidence that the virus was readily spread by humans. Health officials in China said they were monitoring it to prevent the outbreak from developing into something more severe.”
What Is A Coronavirus?
“Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans, but most just cause cold-like symptoms…The new virus, officially called COVID-19, is also dangerous – so far, around 20 percent of confirmed cases have been classed as severe or critical.
[Around] 15 to 20 percent of hospital cases have been classed as ‘severe’ and the current death rate varies between 0.7 percent and 3.4 percent depending on the location and, crucially, access to good hospital care,” according to The Telegraph. They reported that “Scientists in China believe that COVID-19 has mutated into two strains, one more aggressive than the other, which could make developing a vaccine more complicated.”
How is the Pandemic Affecting Businesses?
Travel is restricted, businesses are shut down, and the virus continues to spread through over 100 countries infecting more and more people by the day. As of last week, most businesses in the St. Louis area were suggested to practice social distancing for two weeks to help prevent the spread of the virus. So, workers packed up their desks and headed home to set up their new office.
But not all companies have had the luxury of working from home. Restaurants have had to send their employees home in order to comply with presidential orders of gatherings smaller than ten people, no one was allowed to enter the businesses, and carry out or pick up orders became the new norm. Some restaurants have even started reducing prices or giving discounts in order to keep customers interested in their products when they can’t dine in.
Grocery stores have turned into madhouses with empty shelves as frantic shoppers panic-buy supplies. Now with limited hours and special times for the elderly, stores are working on keeping shelves stocked as people continue to come in and re-provision. Toilet paper has become scarce and there are even guards watching the shelves to make sure that shoppers are only taking what is needed. But while their business continues to thrive, other businesses struggle to figure out how to deal with the pandemic at hand.
For the businesses that charge their workers hourly wages, many are having to lay off employees because they don’t have enough work nor could they fund their salaries. Although some of them are temporary layoffs, many companies are encouraging their employees to apply for unemployment in order for them to continue to gain money without having to search for a job on a daily basis during times like this.
Up next, read about the companies that are thriving despite the pandemic.