How coronavirus holds up the mirror to us

Ebola, Avian influenza, Zika virus – every few years a new virus epidemic spreads, challenging our medical capabilities. So why is an almost apocalyptic panic breaking out over corona virus, which seems to eclipse all other dangers? TITLE gives you short and concise the facts and the current state of the disease itself. In addition, we briefly examine the economic consequences using the example of the fashion industry, and then show why everything is so different with coronavirus.


Coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is a so called droplet infection, the transmission happens through any kind of body fluids, for example a sneeze is enough to spread the virus to all people in the near environment. The long incubation period of up to 14 days is also treacherous, this is associated with long quarantine periods, which are especially unpleasant for vacationers. Normally the course of the disease caused by corona is not more serious for people with a stable immune system than an ordinary flu, for elderly people or people with chronic diseases, the virus can cause pneumonia-like symptoms with high fever, which can be fatal. So far, there is no vaccine to protect against the virus. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, over 3000 people have died of the disease to date. In addition to the 2980 victims so far confirmed by the WorldHealth Organization WHO, 42 more deaths from China were added on Monday. The total number of confirmed illnesses worldwide has risen to almost 89,000.


So far, the facts. But what does this mean for us?

The worldwide effects of the virus are felt by everyone. Flights are being cancelled, stock purchase is taking place. Sometimes you can find disinfectants and face masks for horrendous sums on amazon and Ebay. “Within one day people have reserved 90 breathing masks at our place”, said Dietlind Gallin, pharmacist in germany. The pharmacy had ordered 120, which had a special filter. Because: “Simple fabric masks without filters do not offer virus protection.” Gallin said, it’s good if people are prepared for emergencies. But it is more important that the clinic staff is well equipped. “We advise people to simply wash their hands more often – that is also the recommendation of the Robert Koch Institute.

The supply bottlenecks after four months of the virus becoming known are not only noticeable in the area of hygiene articles. TITLE is particularly interested in the impacts on our favorite industry: fashion. The first effects became apparent during the Fashion Weeks. During the Fashion Week in Milan from February 18th – 24th many of the Chinese buyers were missing. Sales also stagnated more and more. One luxury label after the other is reducing its growth forecasts for the year just started. Most exclusive fashion manufacturers are now extremely dependent on China. Many make a third of their business there. In 2019, 90 percent of the industry’s growth was due to the spending spree of the Chinese. Gucci, for example. The French luxury holding company Kering, whose 15.8 billion euros in sales are mainly generated by the Florentine fashion brand, generates 34 percent of its sales in the People’s Republic. Since January 24, practically nothing has been happening there. Closed shopping centers, shortened opening hours, no customers. Even online trade is suffering because the logistics centers have also been paralyzed. In the meantime, similar effects are also being felt in Europe and the USA.


While on the one hand the demand side is breaking away, there is also a crisis on the supply side. Production in low-cost countries such as China is leading to supply bottle necks for new fast fashion collections. In China the industry is at a standstill. The effects on the environment are radical. Air pictures of China show how the country could look like under different production conditions:


The British Primark mother Associated British Foods (ABF) now warned in London at the presentation of an interim economic report on the consequences of coronavirus. More than 40 percent of Primark products come from China, according to the company. As a rule, stocks from China are well stocked for several months. According to the report, no short-term effects are to be expected from the coronavirus. However, if the delays in production in China due to the coronavirus were to increase, this would mean that the risk of supply bottlenecks would increase in the further course of the financial year. Empty shelves and coat racks would be the consequence for customers. While the effects of previous epidemics were mainly confined to the direct everyday life of the people and the pharmaceutical industry, Corona seems to permeate all areas of people’s lives and create a general panic. TITLE explains how it could come to this and why we should perhaps learn a lesson from the disease.

Neither Ebola nor avian influenza have been the subject of as many conspiracy theories and doubts about reporting as COVID-19. Besides voices that see the virus as a planned strategy to prevent further population growth or the idea that it is a secret strike planned by theUSA against its economic opponent China, a wide range of opinions on the epidemic prevails. One contributory factor is certainly the loss of confidence in politics and journalism. In times when Donald Trump posts political decisions via Twitter, directly following personal insults of political opponents without being prosecuted, the trust in the old instances decreases among the population worldwide. And with it also the trust in basic morality of the people – we brutalize and hate instead of uniting. As absurd as it sounds after the origin of a fish market in the Chinese city of Wuhan became known, people did not begin to stand up for their Chinese fellow men, instead racist comments were made, according to which Chinese people were unhygienic and themselves to blame for the epidemic.

China as the country of origin is also the explanation for the far-reaching economic consequences of the virus. China is not only a country where production can still be carried out at low cost, but also one of the most important sales markets in the world. Thus, companies all over the world are currently suffering from the industrial standstill. But is this necessary? The fact that China is a cheap production country is not due to progressive production methods, but to the low wage costs of workers. Especially fast fashion companies like Primark are only too happy to accept these bad conditions in order to keep their low prices. Is it karma that of all things this mechanism, harms them now – or long overdue revelation? It is terrible how many people fall victim to the virus. It should show us what we can do better in the future to avoid the panic rush of the last months: No Racism, no exploitation and morality over capitalism!