CORONAVIRUS AND ITS IMPACT – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Preventative Measures in NYC, Courtesy of Getty Images.

As of today, there have been more than 121,000 people infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19), of which roughly 4,000 have died. Majority of those who have been infected, or have died, still remain in mainland China. However, this has become a global issue. Italy just recently closed their borders, putting some 60 million residents in a state of quarantine. In terms of the United States, there have been over 1,000 cases of infection, in which 32 died, most of which resided in Washington State. The West Coast is a hotspot for outbreaks currently, but New York is quickly catching up.

According to a The New York Times article, the first case of Coronavirus in New York was detected March 1st. Within those 9 days, the numbers have jumped to a 173. New York State has now created a containment area centered around New Rochelle, a city located in Westchester county, only 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. Some schools and universities such as Fordham University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Columbia University have moved to online classes as they close their doors for the coming weeks. Though the virus is being discussed over many platforms, there has still been some confusion on when, where, and how it originated.

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Global travelers have fashioned face protective masks out of water containers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in December of 2019 there was a “cluster of pneumonia cases in China.” At the time, the virus was unknown, but it has now been labelled as COVID-19. Human coronaviruses have been around since the 1960’s, but this specific one has not been seen before, which ultimately makes it difficult to gauge, especially in terms of predictions and vaccinations.

Coronaviruses first take place in animals. In the past, civet cats and camels have passed the virus to humans, but currently we are unaware as to which animal has caused this initial outbreak. We are aware that the passing from animal to human occurs due to mutations within the virus, or from excess handling between humans and animals. Once humans have contracted the disease, it continues to pass through contaminated items and air droplets from sneezing and coughing.

Groups at the highest risk include those who are in close contact with animals or are taking care of an infected person. COVID-19 is believed to directly link to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. Symptoms of this virus include, in most cases, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, symptoms include pneumonia, kidney failure, and death.

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Guests wearing masks at Paris Fashion Week

As a means of preventing further spread of the virus amongst people internationally, many fashion, entertainment, and cultural events have been cancelled or postponed. Below is a list of recent cancellations with more being announced daily.

– Coachella
– SXSW (South by Southwest)
– Stagecoach Festival
– Tokyo Fashion Week
– Seoul Fashion Week
– Beijing Fashion Week (Postponed)
– Shanghai Fashion Week (Postponed)
– Milan Fashion Week (Several Designers Cancelled, Including Giorgio Armani)
– Art Dubai
– NBA Season Suspended
– “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” will be taped without studio audiences

Cultural events such as Coachella and SXSW are extremely lucrative to the economies of these areas. Vendors, small businesses, and hotels depend on thousands of visitors who attend these festivals for their seasonal income. However, there are evident safety concerns, especially for places like California where numbers of people infected are 100+. As for areas like Austin, where SXSW was set to celebrate their 34th annual, are not yet heavily infected, but officials want to take extra measures in hopes to slow down the rate of spreading the virus. Museums are taking extra measures as well. The Louvre, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Art Institute of Chicago either briefly closed their doors or asked staff from travelling to areas with intense concern of infection.

Formal Announcement from Coachella and Stagecoach.

According to The New York Times, schools in Italy, Iran, China, South Korea, Japan and elsewhere have been closed because of the outbreak. In one of the most far-reaching decisions, Harvard ordered all undergraduate students to move out of their dormitories by March 15 and said it would conduct all classes online through the spring semester. New York University, the University of Florida, Ohio State University, Columbia University and Princeton University were among the schools that announced they would move to online instruction.

As for the fashion industry, they are also taking a huge hit due to COVID-19. In fact, both global fashion and high street fashion are taking major financial losses to their upcoming collections due to factories being shut down, and people being quarantined in China. A large number of factories for fashion industries are located in China, and the Chinese consumer alone makes up 38% of the global fashion industry, just 2% less than Europe and the United States combined. With China being in lockdown, employees are asked to stay home, withholding production and selling of products. Retail expert Kate Hardcastle, told BBC, to predict overall delays to fashion collectors. She estimates UK retailers could face a 4-6 week delay.

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Guests Wear Face Masks While Attending Paris Fashion Week, Courtesy of Getty Images

In regards to this, Vogue commented that, “However, for those who do not happen to look through the world via a fashion-tinted filter, this terrible and frightening health crisis is illustrating just how reliant upon- and exposed to- China the industry has recently become.”

Many predict the future of fashion to be digital if this virus continues. Due to the un-likelihood of accurately predicting the future impact and length of this disease, many fashion heads and designers predict digitalization and virtual reality of fashion shows and collections, a practice already used by designers such as Giorgio Armani for Milan Fashion Week.

It is no secret that the coronavirus is causing widespread panic. Therefore, it is important to know what measures are being put into place for the United States. On Friday, a $8.3 billion dollar emergency health bill was passed by Congress and signed into effect by Trump as a means to combat COVID-19 and reassure those who are uninsured or underinsured of receiving proper care. For those who are insured, the majority of insurance companies will cover fees corresponding with Coronavirus, but patients are encouraged to check in with each of them individually for any follow up questions. For Medicare and Medicaid patients, fees will be covered. In addition to this, some states, such as New York, have plans put into place to waive fees and general expenses, also as a means to protect the uninsured and underinsured.

Dr. James Robb, pathologist for the National Cancer Center, and a molecular virologist known for being of the first to describe and work with coronaviruses, has given a list of measures to protect yourself. We wanted to highlight a few:

– No Handshaking – use an elbow, a fist bump, etc.
– Touch objects (such as light switches) as little as possible.
– Use disinfectant wipes on anything you touch outside of the home or wear disposable pharmaceutical gloves.
– Wash hands for 10-20 seconds, or use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Masks can be used to prevent you from touching your face, but does not stop the virus from entering.
– Zinc lozenges have been seen to combat Coronavirus from multiplying in your throat.

For further information, check out the World Health Organization’s page on COVID-19.

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