The impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is widespread and dramatic. On March 12, 2020, the S&P 500 fell almost 10%, the second biggest drop since World War II. In fact, a lot of things about our country and economy right now resemble a state of war –– particularly that of World War II –– not just the stock market.
- Grocery store shelves are empty.
- Schools are closed.
- The streets are eerily quiet.
Citizens are remembering and honoring the hard work of medical professionals, delivery drivers, and entrepreneurs to keep us healthy, stocked, and employed.
The business supply chain is changing quickly, too. During WWII, auto manufacturers converted to military-only production enabling aircrafts to get mass produced.
Today, a variety of businesses are putting a halt to business-as-usual and making necessary items for the times, as a call to arms to help their fellow country men and women.
Multiple companies around the world are turning their typical perfume or alcohol brands, and the supply chain that enables the production of those goods, into brands that are now making and giving out hand sanitizer.
Washing your hands is one of the top things you can do to help prevent the spread of the virus. And, you need to wash them for 20 seconds.
Don’t have soap? Not near clean water? On the go somewhere, for some reason, and want to make sure you are protecting yourself and others?
Hand sanitizer can help. The CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
Great! The only problem? Most of the hand sanitizer is the US, and around the world, is sold out.
To help solve the problem, perfumeries and distilleries around the world are shifting production practices to ramp up on the sanitizer for a worried public. LVMH, owners of luxury perfume brands such as Guerlain, Christian Dior and Givenchy were the first such company to report that they were halting perfume production to produce hand sanitizer for French hospitals, for free.
Soon, the rest of the world followed suit. Now, your local distillery is also likely working on producing hand sanitizer for your community.
In Austin, Texas, sotol distillery Desert Door is one such business. They are producing hand sanitizer to the WHO specifications of at least 80% alcohol.
“We will be providing 8 oz bottles free of charge to the public and will continue to do so as long as necessary,” says co-founder Ryan Campbell. “It is our social and moral responsibility to do so.”
In Los Angeles, one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus in the US, local perfumer Sarah Horowitz introduced a Stay Safe Sanitizing Spray, according to the LATimes. She is selling it for $10 for a 1-ounce bottle or a free 0.34-ounce bottle with every online order over $75. The spray consists of an 80% concentrate of organic alcohol mixed with essential oils known for their antibacterial properties: clove, lemongrass, lavender maillette and patchouli.
And she isn’t the only one. There are at least a handful of others in the area doing the same –– and hundreds across the country.
“At the scale of my operation, there’s no real way to make any money off a hand sanitizer made the right way, with organic ingredients that conditions the hands as it disinfects,” says Michael Carbaugh, owners of Sandoval. “But profit isn’t everything. Providing a service to the community is what’s important. My big thing with all of this is bringing people joy and a safe feeling.”
Droplet Masks & Ventilators
Hospitals are running out of masks to protect their medical workers from contracting the virus and needing to be quarantined themselves. This could mean fewer medical workers at a time when more and more people need their help.
Hospitals are asking for donations –– and in some cities like Dallas, Texas, they are asking the community to make them for them, with some hospitals even providing patterns online for masks.
“So maybe it’s not meant to be the mask, the N95 mask, but at this point anything helps and all of the nurses are inboxing me saying please, I need a mask,” says Amy Bearden.
Some companies are even stopping regular production altogether to mass produce masks –– like Rogue Fitness.
The company announced the move on Instagram, to their 2.1 million followers, saying:
- Product Development Team is working solely on medical supplies – Masks, Gowns, Shields and Ventilators.
- Manufacturing: We have begun sewing masks and will kick into full production Monday. Next items we are going to make are gowns, shields and ventilators. We have purchased three Industrial 3D printing machines to help make parts.
- Supply Chain: We are prioritizing raw materials and components for these as well. — Per earlier post we are also seeing very strong demand for our products and will do our best to get those items to you in an expeditious manner.”
Tesla, Ford, and GM are also stepping up, stopping auto production to focus on ventilator production.
H&M also announced this week that it would immediately switch production with its suppliers to manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers. And Zara owner Inditex has announced that it will use its factories to make hospital scrubs, masks and goggles for healthcare workers in Spain. It said it had already donated 10,000 masks and another 300,000 were due to be sent.
Perhaps one of the most concerning aspects of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has been a lack of testing. This has likely led to an increase in community spread, and underreporting of how many people actually have contracted the virus.
There have been a lot of reasons given for the lack of testing, but many American companies are stepping up to get kits produced and out as soon as possible. One such company is EverlyWell, an at-home testing company that, since the outbreak, has been focused on producing a test for everyone.
“We’re working hard to ramp up weekly capacity to test 250,000 Americans,” says CEO and founder Julia Cheek. “Our goal is to continue to refresh capacity but with the global swab shortage we don’t have a confirmed timeline for that yet. Ultimately, she says, the testing kits could be designed for a household so everyone in a family could be tested and know what protective measure they might need to take.
Transportation and Supply of Goods
Despite the well publicized examples of empty shelves in the supermarkets during some episodes of panic buying, overall, global supply chains have held up during the onset of this crisis. We’ve seen how the supermarkets in hotspots such as Italy and Spain continued to be restocked and serve a population that is in lockdown.
Half of the worlds air freight is carried in passenger planes and it vital to maintain supplies of perishable goods. With passenger traffic for airlines globally down 90% since the start of this crisis, freight capacity has been quickly impacted.
Added to that, Europe and the US are going into lockdown just as China’s factories are starting up again. Companies across the world are desperate to restock their goods which are in low supply. Rather than wait longer for slower transit by sea, they are opting for air freight.
With airlines suffering the loss of passenger traffic many of them are helping to meet the increased demand by adding cargo only routes using their passenger planes. Filling the passenger cabin with relatively lightweight cargo such as medical supplies enables much needed supplies to get to where they are needed and helps airlines stem some of their losses.
In a statement issued by Delta “We’re here to help keep global commerce moving and supply lines open,” said Shawn Cole, Vice President – Delta Cargo. “Transforming our operation to provide cargo-only charter flights allows us to diversify our business at a time where the global need to move critical supplies is significant. It’s also core to what we do and who we are—ensuring we connect the world, even in challenging times.”
Lufthansa tweeted that its focus was now on bringing people home, delivering humanitarian goods wherever they are needed and helping rebook passenger’s flights.
Other airlines are following suit. American Airlines operated its first cargo only flight in 36 years last weekend. United Airlines are also running cargo only routes and Air Canada made a similar announcement launching cargo only routes to transport medical supplies and sensitive goods to Europe, with more regions to follow.
A Call to Arms for Us All
Wars like this, where everyone is impacted, can unite us.
- This is a war
- This is a war to win back our freedom to go to restaurants and bars, to be entertained, to have group gatherings, and to be close to everyone – specially friends and family.
- This is a war for our children to return to school and for adults to get back to their places of work.
- This is a war to win back our economy, and our global health.
With every challenge comes opportunity. New and better ways of re-inventing ourselves. Together, we can win. This is a call to arms.