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Coronavirus updates: Tech companies urge full-time staff to work remotely


Coronavirus updates

Coronavirus updatesSource: Johns Hopkins

COVID-19 has spread to 108 countries around the world, and the coronavirus shows no signs of abating. The virus is proving particularly devastative in Italy, with the country seeing 366 deaths from over 7,000 cases, second only to China. COVID-19 has effectively shut down the airline industry, with most countries screening international passengers for signs of infections.

The coronavirus has had a huge impact on the tech industry, affecting the global supply chain and causing interminable product delays. Here's the latest on COVID-19 and how it's affecting the tech industry.

March 9, 2020: Tech companies recommend remote work as COVID-19 spreads in the U.S.

  • The U.S. now has over 500 cases of COVID-19, with 21 confirmed deaths. Major tech companies — including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook — are encouraging their employees to work from home to limit the spread of the outbreak.
  • Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have also committed to paying hourly wage workers during the outbreak. With these companies switching to remote work for full-time staff, hourly workers like security guards and janitors will be paid in full even if they're asked to stay home.
  • Stanford University, University of Washington, Seattle University and Northeastern University's Seattle campus have all switched to online-only classes for the rest of the semester.

Get real-time global data on COVID-19

Coronavirus updates

Coronavirus updatesSource: Johns Hopkins

The best resource for real-time information on COVID-19 infection rates globally is the dashboard maintained by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins. It provides a real-time view of the virus' spread around the globe, and has a country-wise breakdown of infection rates and total deaths/recoveries.

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You also get a city-wise breakdown of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The dashboard plugs into several data sources, including the World Health Organisation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China's National Health Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and local government data. You can also head to the WHO and CDC to know more about the virus and how you can stay safe:

List of cancellations/online-only events because of COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused several cancellations, including Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile-related event in the world. With the rising risk of infection and restrictions on global travel, most brands are rescheduling, canceling, or switching to virtual events to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

  • SXSW 2020 (March 13 – March 22):: SXSW 2020 has been canceled a week before its scheduled start. This is the first time the event has been canceled, and its fate was sealed when tech companies — including Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and Intel — pulled out along with major record labels.
  • Game Developers Conference (GDC): Originally scheduled to run from March 16 to 20, the event has been postponed to a date later in the summer. We don't have details on dates just yet, but will update once we hear more.
  • Mobile World Congress (February 24 – 27): The biggest mobile-related event of the year was one of the first to be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. With major brands like Intel, LG, Ericsson, Vivo, and others pulling out, GSMA had to pull the plug on this year's installment of MWC.

A lot of tech events are still going on as planned, but will now be held online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That includes Google's annual I/O, where the tech giant usually showcases its latest software efforts. These are the events that will now be conducted over the internet:

  • Microsoft MVP Global Summit (March 16 – 19): Microsoft's yearly summit gives the company's MVPs the ability to connect and take part in technical discussions at Microsoft's Redmond campus. This year's event will be virtual-only, with Microsoft noting that it is working to set up a "globally inclusive set of virtual sessions" to accommodate different time zones.
  • NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC): NVIDIA is all set to serve up details on its next-gen video cards, so there's a lot of excitement around GTC 2020. NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang's keynote and all the sessions from the event will now be broadcast online, with the event set to kick off on March 26.
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  • Adobe Summit: Every year, Adobe brings its customers and partners to Las Vegas and shares insights on its latest products. This year's installment of Adobe Summit will be held online, with Adobe set to kick things off on March 29.
  • Google Cloud Next (April 6 – 8):Google is "transforming" its Cloud Next '20 event into a "free, global, digital-first, multi-day event" with hundreds of sessions broadcast digitally. Google is refunding paid tickets, and automatically enrolling everyone that paid to its virtual event. With the event now held online, anyone can register and tune in to all the sessions.
  • Facebook F8 (May 5 – 6): Facebook pulled the plug on its annual developer event, and the company says it will instead rely on a combination of "locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content." More details will be forthcoming leading up to the event date.
  • Google I/O (May 12 – 14): Google's annual I/O event is where the search giant shows off its latest developments. This year's event has been pushed online, and anyone that has purchased a ticket will get a full refund and an automatic entry into I/O 2021. Google says it will "explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with our developer community" over the coming weeks.

Other major events like E3, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Computex, and Gamescom are still scheduled for now, but we will have to wait and see if that changes in the coming weeks. E3 in particular may be affected as Los Angeles is currently in a state of emergency.


Product delays due to the coronavirus

The coronavirus effectively shut down China's manufacturing industry for several weeks, and that will have long-term effects for tech brands. It's business as usual for the industry for now as most manufacturers stockpile products months in advance, but we're already seeing the likes of Apple and Microsoft slashing their earnings forecast for Q1 2020.

The real effect of the coronavirus will be felt in the coming weeks as components run into shortages. Although companies like Samsung don't rely on China for manufacturing anymore, the individual components that go into your phone are still manufactured predominantly in the country. We'll be monitoring the situation closely, but for now there have not been any major product delays because of the virus.

COVID-19's effect on the tech industry

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