COVID-19 might not be in your neighborhood yet but it’s almost certain you’ve been affected in some way. Maybe you’ve put off leisure travel. Maybe a conference you were going to was canceled. Maybe you’re starting to work from home more.
Important big changes that we saw factor:
- Realme, a Chinese brand, told my Android Authority colleagues in response to a question that production wouldn’t be impacted for 3-4 months, with components sufficiently stockpiled.
- Low sales of the Samsung Galaxy S20, blamed on virus impacts, indicates that perhaps keeping up supply won’t be hard, given falls in demand.
- First-day sales were 50 percent down, in a blow to Samsung.
- Lufthansa in Germany is cutting 25% of flights.
- Emirates Airlines asked their staff to take voluntary and unpaid vacations.
- Events in the MENA region have been cancelled up & down.
- SXSW gets cancelled, adding to the list.
- Facebook has just canceled its F8 developer conference in San Jose, set for May 2020, which last year attracted over 5,000 developers.
- (I saw a tweet that said Facebook should send out Oculus VR headsets for free and people can experience the conference from home.)
- And the Game Developer Conference (GDC), still set to start on March 16 in San Francisco seems like it’s on the brink.
- With Microsoft and Epic Games (Unreal Engine + Fortnite) now pulling out, the conference for gamers and game developers is now without Microsoft, Sony, Epic, Unity, Facebook (Oculus), Electronic Arts, PUBG Corp, 10 Chinese firms and many others that have pulled out due to COVID-19.
- Notable companies still attending include Nvidia, Google Stadia and, er, Amazon.
- To be clear, companies will still announce new games, Facebook will hold F8 online streaming and “local events”. But people will stay home.
It’s a touch cynical of me to say this but you know the COVID-19 situation is now a big deal because tech companies have decided to follow morals over money.
At last count, more than 95,000 people are confirmed to have been infected with the disease, and over 3,750 have died, with new cases across the US and Europe.
Now Facebook is banning ads touting cures for coronavirus:
- Per Business Insider, Facebook says it is tightening up its rules on ads that reference the coronavirus outbreak: “We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,” said Facebook to BI.
- “We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior.”
- As @Sarah_Mojarad points out, Facebook is still loaded with utter nonsense and really should be cracking down on anything being advertised as a blanket “cure”.
Meanwhile, Amazon is trying to stop mask price gouging:
- A nice scoop from Wired details moves Amazon is making to limit price hikes on masks (which, by the way, aren’t said to be as effective as performing regular hand hygiene): “Amazon has alerted merchants about face masks that are ‘not in compliance’ with its pricing policies, according to an email provided to Wired.”
- Note that Amazon already requires sellers to abide by its Fair Pricing Policy, noting that this includes not “setting a price on a product or service that is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon.”
- Some sellers and advocates argue that supply and demand shifts are natural reasons for price rises – “sellers should be able to charge more if they pay more and demand is high”.
- Which is an argument to be made, except when masks may help prevent sickness and deaths.
- Counterfeits and low-quality products are the other problems Amazon and others have to face.
- And with COVID-19 now spreading dramatically outside of China, the issue is likely only going to get worse.
Meanwhile, in China:
- “China’s use of technology to ratchet up surveillance and censorship may have made things worse: China’s use of surveillance and censorship makes it harder for Xi Jinping to know what’s going on in his own country.” (The Atlantic).
- Ex-Apple employees and supply chain experts agree preparation for new iPhone production may see delays due to COVID-19 (Reuters).
It’s hard to know what to know may or may not happen next.
James Hamblin, MD, a lecturer at Yale School of Public Health, wrote in The Atlantic: “You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus”. Carl Goldman, suffering from COVID-19 told Washington Post editor Sophia Nguyen exactly what’s like having the virus, although this account I read from China in The Guardian was much, much worse: “To Hell And Back.” The degree in which it affects you varies wildly.
In any case, people staying home and taking fewer flights is positive for the environment, but not the economy.
Here’s how China’s been affected: NASA images show China pollution clear as coronavirus shuts factories.