Ask Hackaday: What’s Your Coronavirus Supply Chain Exposure?

In whichever hemisphere you dwell, winter is the time of year when viruses come into their own. Cold weather forces people indoors, crowding them together in buildings and creating a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of viruses. Everything from the common cold to influenza spread quickly during the cold months, spreading misery and debilitation far and wide.

In addition to the usual cocktail of bugs making their annual appearance, this year a new virus appeared. Novel coronavirus 2019, or 2019-nCoV, cropped up first in the city of Wuhan in east-central China. From a family of viruses known to cause everything from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in humans, 2019-nCoV tends toward the more virulent side of the spectrum, causing 600 deaths out of 28,000 infections reported so far, according to official numbers at the time of this writing.

(For scale: the influenzas hit tens of millions of people, resulting in around four million severe illnesses and 500,000 deaths per season, worldwide.)

With China’s unique position in the global economy, 2019-nCoV has the potential to seriously disrupt manufacturing. It may seem crass to worry about something as trivial as this when people are suffering, and of course our hearts go out to the people who are directly affected by this virus and its aftermath. But just like businesses have plans for contingencies such as this, so too should the hacking community know what impact something like 2019-nCoV will have on supply chains that we’ve come to depend on.

Unhappy New Year

The 2019-nCoV outbreak could not have come at a worse time in China’s calendar. Although there is some dispute about whether the virus really first appeared at the end of December or if it cropped up earlier in the month, it’s the fact that it bumped into the annual Chinese lunar new year holiday that counts. And the cultural elements surrounding this time of year are key to understanding what effect the outbreak will have on supply chains, and the degree to which the hacker community will be impacted.

The Chinese New Year starts on the day of the new moon that occurs between January 21 and February 20; this year the holiday began on January 25. It kicks off the Spring Festival, with most people getting a full week off from work to visit relatives and celebrate. The resulting travel period dwarfs every other periodic human migration, with up to 385,000,000 people on the move, mostly on the country’s extensive rail system. The travel season generally starts two weeks before the lunar new year and lasts for about 40 days.

Since much of the Chinese labor force is made up of workers who come from rural areas to large cities where jobs are more readily available, the annual New Year migration is mostly in the opposite direction – from the cities to the countryside. Aside from travel headaches, the lunar new year holiday doesn’t cause much disruption in a normal year because everyone has more or less the same time off from work. Factories traditionally shut down for the week, markets like those in Shenzhen board up, and business returns to normal after everyone returns to work well-fed and rested. This year, though, is anything but normal.

In response to the increasing death toll of the novel virus, Chinese officials imposed a de facto quarantine on Wuhan, the city at its epicenter, by cutting all rail and air service to the city of 11 million on January 23. Other cities followed with equally draconian lockdowns until eventually more than 50 million people were isolated. The lunar new year festivities were officially extended by three days, and things were supposed to get back to normal work-wise by February 3, but many factories are still shut down. This is partly due to the continuing increase in new cases of the infection, but also due to travel restrictions keeping workers who made it out of the cities before the quarantine from returning.

Your Turn

With businesses understaffed, there’s a good chance that the normal Chinese New Year supply chain disruptions will not only continue well past the end of the holiday, but possibly worsen. The financial news is filled with stories of potential disaster for manufacturers like Apple, who have outstanding orders for 45 million AirPods with Chinese contract manufacturers. Similar tales of financial woe abound for every industry whose supply chain passes through China, from automobiles to pharmaceuticals.

But what impact will any of this have on us? The hacking community’s slice of the global market from electronics may be small compared to the needs of an Apple or a Foxconn, but we source a lot of stuff from the currently shuttered markets of Shenzhen. Lots of those modules and boards we so love to include in our projects come from China. What happens if nobody shows up to work, either by necessity or by choice, to fulfill those orders?

With all that in mind, we’d like to turn the question over to the readers. Have you noticed any problems getting parts and supplies from China since the start of the coronavirus outbreak? Any delays in fulfilling or shipping orders? Have any suppliers contacted you to warn you of possible disruptions? What about those of you who place larger orders, perhaps as part of your jobs? Are your companies giving you any guidance on supply chain disruptions? We’d also love to hear from our friends in China, both to wish them well and for a boots-on-the-ground report. Please sound off in the comments below, with all due respect and sensitivity for the seriousness of the situation.

128 thoughts on “Ask Hackaday: What’s Your Coronavirus Supply Chain Exposure?

  1. I have several small production batches (PCBA, machining…) that were about to be finished before CNY which are now blocked, likely until the end of the month.
    My logistics center isn’t opened, my flight to HK to visit my partners is canceled… so yeah I’d say I’m quite impacted :)

        1. The thing is, a hospital or university most likely was paying the author’s wage with tax payer dollars when they wrote the manuscript, yet Elsevier, and the same applies to manuscripts published in most other journals, get to charge for subsequent access to it, having only reviewed it and then published it.

          The publisher, in essence, gets to fence off the public IP commons and charge for access to it in perpetuity.

          Thankfully, open access to published research is becoming a requirement more often now with research funding.

  2. I received this from DF Robot:
    Notice about Coronavirus from DFRobot
    Dear Sir / Madam,

    Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China, DFRobot (the Company) has been closely monitoring potential risks so as to take clients’ health as the top priority. This notice provides you with information about the Wuhan coronavirus infection that concerns the Company and clients.

    1. The Company’s business are now operated in two entities based in Shanghai, the headquarter, and the factory and warehouse in Chengdu, Sichuan. Both entities are located more than 600 km from Wuhan. More importantly, none of our products is manufactured nor shipped from Wuhan.

    The company has been following instructions from the Chinese government to postpone the Spring Festival holiday to Feb. 9th, 2020 if not any further postpone. But, we believe most of our services should be provided as usual since then.

    3. For overseas shipment, however, the Chengdu factory is seeking advice from the local authority on whether it is possible to start shipping good to overseas customers on Feb. 10th, 2020. Once any further information was available, we will inform you as soon as possible. If in any case that your delivery be delayed or cancelled due to the coronavirus infection, DFRobot is ready to provide necessary documents and supports upon requests.

    4. The Company also cares about the health of our employees. The management has established a system to collect health information of each employee on a daily basis. The employee who have travelled outside of Shanghai or Chengdu during the holidays is advised to work from home for a quarantine period of 14 days. By the time this notice is issued, none of our staff has been diagnosed with coronavirus or identified as suspected patients by hospitals. And we will continue to do so in the next several months.

    5. We also would like your attention that there’s yet no evidence or cases to support the transmission of the novel coronavirus through packages or imported goods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. The National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China advises that coronavirus is spread most often by respiratory droplets from one person to another, regular packages from Wuhan can be received as usual. Reference links are attached as the footnote below for your references.[1]

    6. The Company will take proactive measures like ultraviolet light to ensure a safe and healthy environment of its warehouse. Disinfection work will be conducted before each delivery.

    DFRobot will continue monitoring this situation and take any additional precautions, if necessary. Please be on the lookout for future communications from DFRobot regarding the situation.

  3. Just-in-time manufacturing might be the most efficient way of doing it these days, but I’m guessing that people managing factories all over the world are now wishing that they had a few days worth of parts in a warehouse somewhere.

    1. Since it sort of falls in similar time frame as Chinese New Year, anyone that have to deal with Chinese suppliers before would have ordered extra parts ahead of it already. The question is if/when things are going back to “normal”.

      Right now there is no vaccine for it and the cure rate is very low with experimental drugs. I have a feeling that this is going to be very disruptive for people and the flow of goods for a while may be extending to middle of the year at least.

    2. I think peak “Just in Time” was about 2008-2010. I saw a significant shift in the automotive industry after the Fukushima earthquake. Just In Time means “One hiccup and your shutdown”

      Most automakers require / request suppliers to have a week or so stock near their factory, manufacturing of sub-components in the same region as the plants supplied and as many components as possible have multiple suppliers.

      1. My cousin, while building up his flying hours to finally become an airline pilot, was employed as a DC-3 pilot doing cargo runs for the big automakers. It was cheaper to have a dedicated plane and team fly two boxes of washers to factory X than idle the plant while the washers arrived by truck.

        Best wishes to all the folks genuinely affected by the virus situation, and by that I don’t mean a few hackers waiting on some new toys.

      2. Good thing my employer switched a few years ago from “just in time” to “we’ve been out for a few weeks, maybe we should buy some more” logistics. It provides a lot of entertainment, at least.

    3. Capitalist would rather pay Chinese worker $2 per hour, than American worker $20 per hour. And this is the problem … not China. If China falters, they will move to India, or …

      Look in the mirror, West, and cure yourself from greed at all costs.

      Will this ever happen? Unlikely, as long as big corporations are governing the government.

      1. Interesting interpretation. Big corporations in the West are responsible for human rights abuses by government in Asia? I don’t see the connection.

        Let me ask you: if Big Corporations choose to move manufacturing to western countries and the Chinese workers now have no job, who has benefited? Certainly not the Chinese worker.

        I’ll also ask you this: if the average worker in the West has greater working conditions, greater pay, and greater quality of life, as compared to one in China, then how do you accuse the West of “greed at all costs”? It would seem that maybe China is guilty of just that, and fails to secure liberty and prosperity for its citizens.

        1. I don’t claim anywhere that West is guillty for rights abuses in China.

          Chinese might benefit from move of manufacturing back to West. Because they will now have to pay their workers more – to be consumers of produced goods as well. It’s a possible win-win for everyone.

          I’m not accusing Joe Sixpack factory worker of greed. I’m accusing corporations that are stealing billions while masses can’t pay for hospital stay – or else they are bankrupt. Corporations are greedy.

          Did you know that taxes on US corporations have been steadily decreasing for many years? Which went hand-in-hand with erosion of middle class in the West.

          There is an optimum amount of taxation for the rich – and this ain’t it. China transformed itself and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Meanwhile, West is going down, due to greed at the highest levels.

        2. “f Big Corporations choose to move manufacturing to western countries and the Chinese workers now have no job, who has benefited?”

          The big company.
          The only reason they do anything is for their own benefit.
          So in order to move manufacuring back to the west they must gain from it, either politically or more importantly financially.
          They are driven by profit. it’s the only motive.

          So if you want to force a big company to keep jobs in their country of origin, you must have tariffs or other means to control their activity, or, wages and standard of living must be set at a global level.

          “if the average worker in the West has greater working conditions, greater pay, and greater quality of life, as compared to one in China, then how do you accuse the West of “greed at all costs”?”

          Some western countries have welfare.
          Minimum wages.
          Working benefit top ups.
          All things which increase the standard of living.
          China has no such thing.
          But none of these services are paid for by the companies in the west directly. They come from taxes.
          And most western companies especially those lke Apple and Facebook which earn the most are seeking to avoid paying tax at all costs.
          Because….. it eats into profits.

          Do you find that with time benefits that go with working have increased or decreased ?
          Medical insurance, car payments, dental, etc.
          There seems to be a trend away from benefits on the whole in the west.

      2. Capitalism relies on slavery.
        Either you have your own slaves or just make use of someone else’s.
        America abolished slavery on its on shores and replaced it with slaves in Asia.

      3. 99% of companies are run as essentially communist organisations.
        Perhaps it’s not communist, it’s maybe another “ist” but they are certainly not bastiens of free speech and demoracy.

        You do as you’re told or you’re cast aside.
        At least in the west you can go work for another communist organisation.
        Social credit score isn’t quite here yet.

        Is it any wonder such organisations are compatible with the China model ?

        China wasn’t the problem. Originally. They were the perfect storm which by using free trade allowed them to take over.
        Now China is the problem as they are too big and control too much.

        But China finnd themselves having to outsource now too to make things cheaper. Someone mentioned Vietnam, it’s already been happening for a few years. Curiously they too are communist-ish.

      4. “Look in the mirror, West, and cure yourself from greed at all costs.”

        Well. We have managed to cultivate quite a large population in quite a small space. This population is there now, can’t change that anymore. So now we have no choice than to continue down the road, or create a humanitarian disaster ourselves. It’s not greed, it’s necessity. Even if it was greed before it became necessity. Are you prepared to live through yet another humanitarian disaster (I am talking about another war, culling the population)?

        I am talking from the perspective of Europe, let that be clear. In that sense, the US might be doing it better. They let a bigger part of their population suffer than we do, courtesy of Capitalism. So they have a partial humanitarian disaster going on all the time. And maybe that actually prevents a full humanitarian disaster. Who knows, time will tell.

        If the EU breaks apart, for sure we will have a new war and humanitarian disaster. This is one of the problems with spreading wealth over all the population, and not just a fortunate few. The only thing that makes it work is government. And if government fails, war gets closer.

        The same thing goes for China, but to an even much bigger extent than the EU.

    4. Why not find some other country somewhere that has a big labor pool and is willing to let you make stuff in their country and pay the workers the same low wages as China but doesn’t have some of the problems China has. There must be countries out there with really cheap labor that could be an alternative to China for making all this crap but that wont steal the plans for your latest widget and sell knock-offs at half the price…

      1. It is a lot more than labor these days. It is the machinery and the ability to very rapidly change manufacturing systems or throw one together.

        In China you can get a business permits, bank accounts, internet and power, and rent space in 24 hours. There are people selling the computers and tables and wiring and assembly equipment and everything you need who will have most of it ready in 48 hours. That is what all those people in crowded streets and sidewalks are up to – the ones carrying equipment and shoving carts. There is no regulatory burden that includes delays. Impossible in the USA, nor the red-taped India. This is months versus a couple days and time is money. Everyone in China is hustling. The culture doesn’t have hobbies. They have work.

        Maybe try Vietnam.

    5. Just in time with networks of distributed suppliers would be more robust but your QA people need to work a lot harder to have every supplier meeting specs and the process be coherent otherwise tracking down the source of manufacturing variance induced problems is a nightmare.

  4. I ordered a stuffed animal Jan 23th 7-10 days promised delivery, I found out later it was coming from china. Now it has been over 18 days with tracking showing it has been stuck in china since Feb 3rd, I suspect the coronavirus has caused it to be stopped in its tracks. The animal was critical for our project but not life or death. I do feel sorry for the Chinese people but suspect the government is not telling the truth on the true extent of the virus.

      1. exactly, also it is very important to not to cause any panic, as for the flu, you need to be vaccinated, wash your hands frequently, try not to touch your face (i know is hard) with your hands/fingers, try to avoid the vicinity of small children (because they have very low immune system and any small infection can grow much bigger inside them, also they hygiene is lacking) do some intake on vitamin d (because the lack of sunshine) so basically the common sense

          1. True, I’m sure that being in a healthy condition over all would increase your resilience though, both in terms of catching the new flu, and fighting it off if you were to get it.

      2. “holiday”. If you know someone with active Wechat account ask them to show you videos from Hubei. Whole apartment buildings are being welded shut with people inside in the name of quarantine. Half a billion people are locked up in homes right now.

        1. Quarantine stops the disease spreading to uninfected people. Sadly there isn’t enough medical personals, test kits, protective gears, equipment for everyone. So once the hospitals are over run with intensive care patients, you can’t do anything anyway.

          The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…- Spock (also Charles Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” )

  5. The USPS website now warns:

    Alert: USPS will be temporarily suspending the guarantee on Priority Mail Express International destined for China and Hong Kong, effective Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, due to widespread airline cancellations and restrictions into this area.

    The whole lean manufacturing / just in time manufacturing thing means there is not much slack to absorb any sort of supply chain glitch which is one more instance of short-term profit over long term social and economic well-being…

    1. Don’t contextualize lean manufacturing as putting social and economic well being at risk. It tends to reduce waste (better for the bottom line and for the environment), it allows greater degrees of customization (improves choices in the marketplace, at a lower degree of waste), and often does reduce lead-times for getting stuff made.

      An event like the Coronavirus would impact lots of different industries, especially if the shipping companies are also affected by the infection.

      If there needs to be a disaster stockpile for something, then set up a properly sized disaster-stockpile. If it is not a mission critical issue to have this stockpile, then avoid investing the money and shop-space in storing a block of inventory that you do not use, and may not need (especially if it can be rendered obsolete over time).

      If you feel the need to criticize something, say that this emergency highlights the need to have some more local suppliers who can provide essential services/products if needed. This would then be a viable strategic hedge against a disaster that can interfere with supply chains dependent on this single supplier (in this case China).

    1. Easier just to leave them somewhere for a few weeks before handling, as far as we know the virus won’t survive more than a few days on any surface. For metallic surfaces like electronic parts and anti-ststic bags the survival time of the pathogen is probably shorter.

        1. The “not alive” virus can still denature over time when left on a surface and become even less alive. I used the wrong terminology for when discussing a piece of RNA code dependent on host cells to reproduce, but my point still stands. Given enough time a virus left on a surface is no lonegr a working virus.

          1. A report on other coronaviruses, not the new one, says that they can potentially survive on surfaces for up to 9 days.

            I haven’t yet seen anything specific to the new one, but there’s little reason to suggest that it would have a different ‘life’ on surfaces.

            So no, it won’t survive ‘weeks’ on surfaces.

    2. That would be… paranoid. Unpack gently, don’t touch your face. Wash your hands. If you’re still concerned, put some Purell on a soft cloth and give the mouse a wipe. Done. Did I mention washing your hands?

      1. A friend works at our local Postal Distribution Facility, I asked her to intercept it (gowned with gloves/face shield) and have the fork drivers run over it (a LOT) and then I will just file an insurance claim for it. Problem solved.

    1. Yes but you dont depend on your enemy to be your number one trading partner

      An enemy which dumps product to take our the competition and become the global leader in that segment – and keeps running the same play over and over and no one seems to notice (or plays ostrich)

      That games the global postal system to make the receiving country postal service pay to ship goods from China into country, effectively giving Chinese companies free worldwide shipping

      A reasonable person would expect them to play on equal terms.
      But we’ve left it too late, let them become too powerful and now one one wants to upset them in case they use social media against that company/organisation and financially hurt them – pretty much all of 2019

      Trump is a cluster fuck. But at least finally someone in the USA stood up to China and took a stand.
      He’s caved waaay too soon. But you guys are screwed too unless you do something about China.

      The rest of the “free world” is waiting, but our govts are already fully owned by Chinese money.

  6. I realize China is not Japan BUT at the turn of the 19th Century, Japan was what China is to the 21st Century. Look what happened, Russo-Japanese war, Manchuria, Pearl Harbor leading to WWII. Will History repeat itself? Maybe or hopefully not. China today is the equivalent of the Qing Dynasty of the 19th Century but in the colors of the Communist Party. Not much has changed in the political sense.

  7. Would be a bit crass for Mr.Trump to say as much? People who think already know as much, have known for some time already. This isn’t the issue, issue is greed and the ever present quest to be ‘crafty’ under the guise of cheap Chinese products. As long as people want to feel thrifty spending $50 less for a cell phone, while ignoring all other aspects of the impact to get that cheap technology, sad events like this will be but a speed bump in the manufacturing of goods chain. Sad really, but unlikely to change.

  8. Stop eating pangolins. Stop harming our world wildlife for your ‘fix’. We have a good idea about the origin of the virus. There is no excuse for it. No excuse for putting the rest of the world in danger for superstition. Close down the wet markets. For good.

      1. Soup should be safe as it is generally boiled long enough for al ingredients to reach high enough temperatures on the inside. Short frying, roasting or baking is more dangerous, especially if starting from (partially) frozen ingredients. (and I’d stick to chicken, which probably tastes the same anyway)

    1. Why are Chinese superstitions any worse than American superstitions? Why is eating pengolins any worse than eating any other animals? If you are worried about diseases getting rid of pigs is probably a higher priority. Many many many more people have been killed by salmonila and ecoli in beef, fish, vegetables, mayonaise etc.

      1. The problem is that they are wild animals, so you really have no idea what diseases or parasites they might be carrying. Pigs are domesticated for food, so at least the farmers would know if their herds are healthy. Most of what you mentioned ( salmonila and ecoli) are mostly in how the animals are kept/handled. They are avoidable and we should improve the hygiene at food industry.

        China has culled probably 1/2 of their population of pigs as African swine fever virus was/is spreading. There are also news of new avian virus in Western Xinjiang which we won’t hear too much about because of political reasons.

        It starts looking like end of days. Fire (Australia), plagues, flooding (ice cap melting) etc also trying to kill us.

          1. I think 20%… I work it out from the “cases recovered” and “total death” numbers. If you aren’t recovered then you could still die. The death curve lags the total cases curve by about 5 days.

        1. Cold is a Coronavirus, but not all Coronavirus are really harmless as cold. We have exposed to and live through cold for some time, so our body know how to defense against it. What is dangerous is that there are new Coronavirus that we haven’t been exposed to.

          SAR is also a coronavirus. SAR was new to humans as it comes from bats. Thankfully it dies out.
          >As of 2020, there is no cure or protective vaccine for SARS that has been shown to be both safe and effective in humans.

          There is MERS-coronavirus (from camels) which is also new to human.

          1. Well there’s over a dozen basic varieties of coronavirii getting lumped in with the common cold, not counting the year by year mutations. I figure that everyone north of the 40th parallel or thereabouts gets enough of these over their lifetime that their immune systems are adept at fighting them off. I think therefore that effects will be less severe in these populations, native or naturalised. I think that effects will be worse in industrial areas where air quality is a problem, because the people there will have compromised pulmonary systems already. Therefore it could be very nasty in Chinese industrial areas, and areas of India will be significantly at risk also. Seeing rural areas not so badly affected, people will think it’s like the plague and may panic flee out of the cities, but it won’t help them much, as it’s their history in the polluted areas that make them vulnerable.

  9. Disastrous first quarter for China and anyone dependent on China for inventory. I don’t expect any good news yet. The cities are now quarantined and the streets are empty. Food supplies are getting low. Air traffic has virtually stopped.

    I’m in touch daily with people in Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Nanjing. Aside from being bored stiff from being house-bound, they are on VPN’s to penetrate the Great Firewall and try to get past the CPC lies and find out what is happening. They don’t see it ending soon. Engineers and graphics and administrative people are working from home on whatever they can to get a running start when they can go back to work.

    Death rates right now if extrapolated are the equivalent to the US loosing 15 million people.

    1. Arguably the chinese communist party, or atleast the idelogy thyey instill into local officials and police, are responsible for why the outbreak is as severe as it is. When a local doctor noticed, weeks before the main outbreak, “7 cases of an unknown viral illness linked to a live animal market” and he advised to close that market for a while, the local officials had him arrested and threatened for sharing it with his professional colleagues. If they’d listened to such vital observations instead of falling back on typical authoritarian dogma then the outbreak might have eben contaiend muchy earlier.

      ALSO: we keep hearing estimates of what percentage of infected people die from the virus, have we had enough time to be able to get those figures yet? Ratios between those infected and thsoe dead surely haven’t yet had enough time to reach any kind of steady state (and lets hope the virus can be stopepd before it does get chance to), the only reason (am I right to assume??? I have statistical training but its a bit rusty and I’ve not got not much info on what the exact situation is at present) for the infected number to be so much higher than the deaths is those infected haven’t had time to develop lethal symptoms, or manage to recover, yet. Most of the infection cases are recent, most of the deaths or recoveries are old. While the virus is spreading outwards fast this will continue to be the cases, hence why the estimates of the percentage deatsh keep fluctuating. Surely we’ll only know the percentage deaths when we have a large number of people,m for whom infection date is pretty well known, all of whom have either recovered or died?

      1. True, not enough info yet to know mortality, but it looks like maybe 4%. When you hear they are incinerating X bodies a day in Wuhan, you have to figure that you loose about 1/70 of the population every year in ideal circumstances. That is around 450 a day for Wuhan. Subtract 450 from the reported deaths.

        Right now, the reported cremations give a difference that is about 1500 a day, which is twice the CPC reported total for the whole country.

        1. Latest reports still say a 2% death rate…

          … and running the math whenever the stats are updated also produces around 2%.

          I’m reassured that since the virus produces mild symptoms in most people, who make a full recovery, the number of those infected is likely higher than the official count, which would mean that the death rate is below 2%

          Eat your veggies, go out and get some exercise already, and get 8 hours of sleep. And get your flu shot.

          1. The number changed a bit now. But for quite a while the 2.x% is so exact that it is the same c number for many days, down to quite a few decimal places.

            Also the death rate should have to wait for recovery as death over infected is not the death rate. There is a lag. Even though for awhile someone missed that abd give us the same number.

          1. Since coal is what they’ve got a lot of, why wouldn’t they be using a huge amount of that to cremate even a few bodies? Plus probably clothes, hospital and bed linens, plus all the produce from that market. So I’d suggest that even with bodies in there, it’d probably be a fraction of the total amount of observed sulphur.

            However, I’d also say to them. Stop you idiots, sulphurous smog alone killed 4000 people by induced respiratory difficulties in the 1952 Great London Smog. This can only increase the death toll if fighting a respiratory disease, directly by smog of vulnerable people who have yet to get the virus, weakening those who have and making more of those die, and making people more likely to catch it in the future.

  10. Don’t “it’s just the sniffles”. Influenza doesn’t hospitalize 25% of people, require Oxygen tanks, Pnenomia treatment and have a incubation and gestation of 2 weeks with little or no symptoms until too late.

    Honestly Lysol, Gloves and UV light would be a very good thing for any packages you receive and open from China.

    It is an enveloped virus it can sit unharmed for up to 2 weeks on common surfaces. (Silver coatings does wonders against envelopes).

      1. (gently) crack open the outer casing of a mercury arc lamp, keep the arc tube itself… not only does it fry things with shortwave UV, it also causes ozone generation, making it a very good destroyer of anything that’s made up of fragile amino-acids…just don’t look at the pretty light with your bare eyes ;-)

    1. 2019-nCov lasts on average 4-5 days on surfaces at room temperature, not 2 weeks. Most packages go through significant temperature extremes during shipping, so expect the low end of viability, not the high end.

      Influenza has killed 50x as many people as nCov this year alone. You almost certainly won’t contract nCov, but chances are pretty good that you’ll contract the flu at some point in your life.

      Please be less cavalier with your claims.

      1. 24 day incubation period. You are way over your head. It is a logarithmic growth pattern. 25% of all infected require oxygen and hospital care. 25% of those don’t check out.

        You are shilling at this point and I would like you to be so kind and chase it down for us and prove me wrong.

        Cavalier nothing. I’m open minded about being wrong. In fact in this very case; I very much want to look like an utter fool and idiot.

        Good luck to you.

      2. So far the official stats (China which has a very high weight on the total and likely not too honest. so don’t know the exact figure)

        Total: 44,794
        Death: 1,112 – 2.48%
        Recovered: 4,657 – 10.3%

        The biggest problem seems to be the low recovery rate. For those with heavy symptoms that needs intensive care, that means quite a bit of resources are tied up. Until they can get the recovery rate much higher, it would be a major disaster in making.

      3. From the paper linked above: “The analysis of 22 studies reveals that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute. Other biocidal agents such as 0.05-0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate are less effective.”

        Lets not just make up numbers and call them averages, lets be better at math.

        “On different types of materials it can remain infectious for from 2 hours up to 9 days. A higher temperature such as 30°C or 40°C reduced the duration of persistence of highly pathogenic MERS-CoV, TGEV and MHV. However, at 4°C persistence of TGEV and MHV can be increased to ≥ 28 days. Few comparative data obtained with SARS-CoV indicate that persistence was longer with higher inocula (Table I). In additionit was shown at room temperature that HCoV-229E persists better at 50% compared to 30% relative humidity”

        So it could persist for over a month, and it could easily persist for longer than shipping times in an enclosed package on a favorable surface material that was packaged in a humid climate.

        While this virus isn’t the end of the world, there is substantial cause to be very caution in proclamations about safety, or downplaying risk factors that are not yet even well established.

  11. If your project is something life saving say finding a cure for something or unlimited energy. Keep pushing and don’t give up.

    Litterally ask yourself what is more important to you? Your life and that or friends and family? Or your job or project.

    I’ve been exposed to sick co-workers that show up with a fever and a cough. “Great you show up to infect the rest of us.”

    1. It is the responsibility of the boss/supervisor/manager to send them home, but unfortunately HR don’t support the rationale that it is a WHS (work *health* and safety) issue.

      Beancounter logic. The company pays in the long run: one person off for a fortnight, or, one person off for a week… plus ten more to follow up in the following week.

      When will companies learn that beancounters logic is not.

      1. There’s often a huge disconnect between official head office policy and lower level management who are narrowly focused on their day to day, even hour to hour labor requirements.

        I think a big company, if it was smart, should have a closely coupled to HQ central sick reporting system, so employees were not phone bullied into coming in sick, then they just inform their manager they’re not coming in, manage, that’s why we pay you.

      2. The employer is effectively underwriting a sick day policy for the worker which is provided along with salary and other benefits.

        Like most insurers, the employer then has trouble sleeping at night in case the policy holder engages in claims made moral hazard (aka profiting/shirking at the expense of someone else) and avails themself of a sick day when they do not actually need it.

        The result of this concern about shirking is many employers will require the sick worker to see their general practitioner (GP) for a sick note, to police claims made moral hazard and create a cost, both monetary and inconvenience, for the worker availing themself of their bundled entitlement.

        The net result of this is the worker may then spread the virus to others at the clinic, and likely be out of pocket, which is assuming they can get an appointment on the same day, or the worker will drag themself into work to avoid the hassle.

        Such is the concern about claims made moral hazard wrt sick days, Dame Carol Black in the UK recommended that GPs issue “fit notes”, rather than “sick notes”, particularly after more than seven days off, telling the employer what the worker can do.

        One wonders how this will work in an epidemic.

        One also wonders why employers bother including sick day entitlements at all, when they are so hell bent on preventing workers from using them.

  12. I work at a bus company in the Netherlands and end of january (when much less was known about the virus), it became clear that the one infected person in Germany was an employee of Webasto, a bus heating system manufacturer, which we use in our buses.
    We also have BYD buses, with Chinese representatives of BYD getting on-site on a weekly basis.
    I know both subjects have been talked about at management level, but both deemed to be too insignificant a threat to take any action.

  13. The company I work with in china is closed so I’m not getting any review tech and customers cant get product support.
    I can’t order parts and PCBs for my book, so can provide customer support.
    On the plus side, the CEO has been busy creating so when they go back to work his staff will be busy turning designs into products.
    No to mention that I was supposed to go on holiday soon but the cruse ship I was supposed to join is under quarantine.

  14. I have repair parts for a laser cutter in limbo, with the machine only limping along thanks to some bodged circuitry, some 3d printed parts, and a bit of rtv. I can get crummy clones of the parts on Amazon for twice the price, or I can pay like 50x more for usa made equipment that would need to be adapted to work…so I’ll keep waiting for China I guess. If my parts being delayed means fewer people getting sick by coming back to work too early thats fine by me, but I am a little annoyed that they didn’t ship before cny. I paid extra for fast shipping and ordered over a week before cny started but still hasn’t shipped and no estimate, so good thing I am a hacker.

  15. I ordered some stuff literally the day before the Kung-Flu news broke. It’s on a slow boat but it still has me concerned enough to effect some sort of cleansing upon arrival…. The ultimate irony? The stuff I’m getting is a batch of UV lights.

    1. Nice.

      I ordered a microscope and a few other things a couple of days before the news broke. Most of the smaller items arrived, but I’m starting to wonder if that scope is ever going to show up…

      At work they’re starting to make component and supplier decisions based on where the parts are coming from.

    2. Are they germicidal UV lights or just decorative blacklights? If germicidal, then you could put on gloves and a mask, and bring the lights to work (mutually irradiating each other) for some time. :-)
      Otherwise I would just rely on the long shipping time.

      1. Unfortunately no, I don’t think they would be any good for that…. too high of a wavelength, 325nm monochromatic, I think. I would like to get a hard-UV Standard(as in accurately calibrated for frequency) with a smaller wavelength, but they begin to rise out of my comfortable price range.

  16. If it gets as bad as in 1/3 of China right now what you will need is not soldering supplies, but food to last ~30 days cut out from civilization.
    Its fun and games until you go on Twitter and watch some of the Wechat leaked videos with military checkpoints (fully geared up chemical unit with cute skull logos on uniforms), people kidnapped/forcefully herded into provisional “hospitals” with no medicine or medical staff, whole apartment blocks welded shut to quarantine ala REC, and empty supermarkets in Singapore.

    Chinese scientist publish paper claiming incubation period up to at least 24 days, meanwhile UK and US quarantines for 14 days.
    UK already authorized use of force for quarantine purposes “Police given unprecedented powers to force people into quarantine as action on coronavirus goes up a gear” ~10 hours ago.

    Preppers must finally feel validated. Screw parts, I got myself 30kg of dry foodstuff (rice, beans, cans) just in case today.

    1. I can’t find any legitimate websites reporting that apartments are being welded shut (since rather than taking your extraordinary claims at face value I checked). Can you provide any evidence? Thanks so much.

      Oh, and I hope you enjoy them dry foodstuffs.

        1. Really?

          I know what the text claims the video shows, and the video does show some welding going on, but is that actually what’s happening?

          The only British news sources reporting this are the Daily Mail and the Sun, both of which are entertainment for retards, not actual news.

          Wake me up when it’s on the BBC or Deutche Welle.

    2. A colleague who did some management training at a large supermarket chain tells me the toilet paper runs out quickly when logistics have hiccups, due to just in time supply chains for bulkier items, and the fresh foods disappear almost immediately as well, even though the non perishables are the more logical things to grab.

      A video with footage of a Wuhan supermarket with empty shelves made for very sobering viewing.

    3. Not a prepper, but I can easily go 3 +weeks. I stock more during harsh winter as extreme cold can last a couple of weeks.

      I tend to stock up on food when they are on sales because of cost of grocery is way above inflation here. Dry food keeps a long time and is cheaper in bulk, so I buy as much as I can carry. Certain vegetables e.g. cabbages last a long time and their prices don’t go up 3X in winter. Meat is expensive since 2007-ish, so I buy enough until the next sales – usually 3 week or so cycles.

  17. The tone about the dec part is not right. The doctor who reported it with the Supreme Court cleared his name. It is end dec he reported cases earlier. Why this site need to be so careful … it is not run inside china and hope no censorship is done.

    The break is sort of a surprise break everything here in Hong Kong. Nothing ordered from china worked. As I just started my FPGA (based on the material here) I ordered it from digi-key and fly in from USA. So far ok.

    For the longer time I think one should not have a system that is too large to fail. Second sourcing is common. Also chinese population due to single child policy would not have the “red interest” any more. In case this site is political self censored I would not further those concern on censorship, totalitarianism, freedom of speech, whether they have made the virus (not for bio-waterfare but as a fight against sars and accidental release). I just want to note the patent of an IP by an American firm who donate its invention to fight this disease but was stolen. The cheap come a price. Good luck.

  18. “For scale: the influenzas hit tens of millions of people, resulting in around four million severe illnesses and 500,000 deaths per season, worldwide.”

    Which have an Ro ~ 1.28. 2019-nCoV is estimated to have an Ro ~ 3, nearly 3 times as infectious. It is transmitted asymptomatically, symptomatically, suspected post-symptomatically (the reason for China’s cremation order), vertically (mother to fetus), and via feces… which is why China is willing to quarantine entire cities larger than NYC to try to stop it. They and we do not want 2019-nCoV to become the common flu… but it probably will regardless. It must be stopped until a vaccine is developed.

    1. As far as surface survival time of the virus, that is not yet known. However, with other coronaviruses cold and low humidity can greatly extend that time to many days which is why flu is a cold weather problem when much of the transfer of the flu virus is via hand contamination from contaminated surfaces like that handle you touched to enter the school or store or the handle on that shopping cart. Make it a HABIT to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds EVERY time you come home and do not touch your face while out. Also, sneeze into the inside of your arm’s elbow, not into your hands.

      1. There is a certain group of people that have a terrible habit of both sneezing openly as well as not blowing thier noses clean.

        Handkerchiefs need to make a come back.

        Sneezing in the inside crook of arm next to elbow is a common sense thing that most uneducated people do.

        I would make an argument that ozone and UV and disinfectant sprays like Lysol are also very good.

  19. My JLCPCB order has been at the “Electrical Test” step since 02-08, 6 days at the date of this writing. The boards are for a hobby project so I can wait. I’d rather see them get the epidemic under control first.

  20. In China, on February 10, enterprises began to resume production, but the control of population flow led to low production capacity. The express industry has just returned to work, also at a very low level. I didn’t try to buy any parts from Guangdong or order PCB. I’m working at home now. I won’t go out except for food. By the way, the goods I ordered before the Spring Festival have not yet been delivered.

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