Category Archives: Explainer

Five corporations that are benefiting most due to coronavirus outbreak

The Coronavirus outbreak has had a massive impact on businesses. While many businesses have suffered tremendously due to the outbreak, with more than half a million companies reported to be in ‘significant distress’ within the UK alone, certain international corporations happen to be benefitting from the circumstances which the virus has brought. Here are five corporations which have particularly benefited from the lockdown:

Netflix

netflix
Image from Pexels.com

With the lockdown forcing many to stay home, digital streaming services such as Netflix has seen an increase in sign-ups.

Netflix has told the BBC that almost 16 million people created accounts during the first three months of the year, which is almost double the new sign-ups the firm saw in the last months of 2019.

It was reported that Europe, the Middle East and Africa were recorded to have the largest of new members with nearly 7 million new subscribers. The US and Canada were also known to jump with 2.3 million new members streaming the service, compared to only 550,000 within the last few months of 2019.

netflix graph
Data Source: Statista Netflix growth in the result of Covid-19 outbreak

Amazon

amazon 2
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Another corporation which is known to be doing pretty well despite the pandemic is Amazon.

Due to people having to remain inside more often, this has led to a boost in sales from the business.

According to The Guardian, the online retailer has been defined as a “clear winner” from the coronavirus predicament, with its share price rising by more than a third within a month, its clients are reported to be spending nearly $11,000 (£8,841) a second on its products and services and holder Jeff Bezos strengthening his position as the world’s wealthiest person owning $138 billion (£110 billion).

Uber Eats 

Uber_Eats
Image from Wikimedia Commons 

One thing that everybody is surely doing during lockdown is eating more, which leads to our next benefitted corporation being Uber Eats.

During the pandemic, people find themselves ordering takeout more often, and Uber Eats appears to be one of the winners from benefitting from the circumstances.

According to The Telegraph, data has shown that Uber’s food delivery business has exceeded its original car-booking service within the US for the first time ever.

An article by Forbes reports that Uber Eats has seen a 30% surge in clients who are registering to the service, as well as has received an arrival of new drivers.

uber-eats-overtakes-uber
Data Source: The Telegraph graph – Uber Eats overtakes Uber Rides in the US

Apple

apple 3
Image from unsplash.com by Michał Kubalczyk

Next on our list is Apple, which despite the lockdown causing its stores to close down, it still saw growth during the first three months of 2020.

According to the BBC, sales by the corporation boosted up to $58.3 billion (£46.2 billion), up from $58 billion within the same time in 2019, and overthrowing expectations of $54.5 billion.

The boss of Apple, Tim Cook, said that the business saw a “record for streaming” as well as “phenomenal” growth in its online store.

Despite the lockdown affecting the supply of iPhone due to Chinese factories shutting, as well as a drop in demand for devices within China – a leading market for Apple – during the months of February and March, the firm’s boss told investors during a call: “I don’t think I can remember a quarter where I’ve been prouder of Apple.”

Apple’s wearables, home and accessories department, which produces the Apple Watch and AirPods, rose 22.5% to $6.3 billion (£5 billion), while subscription services such as Apple Music and Apple TV jumped 16.6% to $13.3 billion (£10.6 billion) equivalent.

Zoom

zoom
Image from Wikimedia Commons

As most people find themselves social distancing and working from home, this has led to video call services such as Zoom to increase in the number of users signing up.

According to The Guardian, there has been an increase in the demand for video-conferencing and downloads of video conferencing apps, as the lockdown has led a number of things including UK cabinet meeting to be moved online.

Zoom, which enables users to communicate to up to 99 other people at the same time has become one of the most popular apps being used during the lockdown, often being at the top of the download charts in Apple’s app store.

Although the company does not share daily download figures, app tracking company Apptosia stated that Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world on 23rdof March – the day lockdown was announced within the UK – up from 56,000 a day two months before.

By Gabriela Jimenez

Featured image source: Pexels.com

Update from Germany

Yesterday May 6th 2020, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had a crisis meeting with the Minister Presidents of the 16 federal states in Germany about easing lockdown restrictions and how individual states should deal with it.

In the following press conference, the Federal Chancellor announced, that the following easing measures had been adopted by the government: 

1. All shops are allowed to open again from next week under strict hygiene conditions and social distancing. Until now, only shops with a floor space of less than 800 square metres had been allowed to do so.

2. The ban against social contact will remain until the 5th of June at the least, to prevent the meeting of groups in a private area. 

3. Outdoor sports, such as tennis or football should be possible from next week under strict condition. It is still unclear when gyms and other sports clubs that offer indoor sports can reopen. According to Merkel “the risk is too high.”

4. Restaurants and bars can look forward to open their doors again. But there are also conditions here. Only half of the tables may be occupied due to social distancing and mask obligation applies. In order to be prepared in the event of a second wave, costumers are required to provide their contact details, so that the government are able to trace an infection chain. 

5. Restrictions have also been eased in the area of culture. Galleries and museums can now show their exhibitions again. Zoos and playgrounds can also rejoice life. 

6. Social contacts are also being considered. From now on you can meet with people from a second household 

7. The responsibility for new easing and how to proceed with the pandemic will now be in the hands of the federal states. 

Merkel named the positive development but on the same time warned for caution.

She furthermore assured if Germany is close to a second wave, the easing would be withdrawn again.  

sources: BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52557718

OWL 24: https://www.owl24.de/owl/angela-merkel-per30389/coronavirus-nrw-obergrenze-lockerungen-deutschland-nrw-armin-laschet-covid-19-zr-13748828.html

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrywGkMRbSU

feature image: private

WNOL reveals what the millennials want and it is not a return to normality

Boris Johnson announced that an easing of the lockdown will happen next Monday. He will set out his exit strategy at the weekend.

His plan for the ‘second phase’ to fight against the coronavirus will be televised on Sunday, where more information of an easing of the lockdown will be explained.

The UK has been in lockdown since 23rd March and is now in the middle of the seventh week. While other countries such as France will see some businesses opening back on the 11th May, the British position remains uncertain.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson from Flickr.com

Approaching the easing of the lockdown, we created a poll to find out how many people wish to return to what we used to know and call it a normal life, or whether they would rather keep some elements of the lockdown.

We, therefore, conducted the same poll on two different platforms, Twitter and Instagram.

Twitter Results. Graph by Sam Tabahriti
Instagram Results. Graph by Sam Tabahriti

Results show a large desire to keep some elements of the lockdown.

To find out more in regards to why they would wish to keep some of the elements, we conducted a survey and targeted a rather young adult audience, whom most are students in their first or second year of university.

The survey showed that 87.8% are aged between 17-24 and most responders were women (87.8%).

To the question: “how do you feel about the future?”, most of the answers were about uncertainty and worries about what will happen next.

Unsurprisingly, every single response to: “What is the first thing you want to do once lockdown is lifted?”, was going out to meet friends and socialise as we normally do.

Photograph by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Students show optimism about the nearest future, where 41.5% of the responses show they are confident to find a new job in the next three months, 22% in the next six months, 17.1% in the next 9 months, however, 19.5% responded they may find a job in the next 12 months.

Queues in supermarkets have become a socialising way to meet new people and have a laugh with others than the people you live with, giving you a good escape moment.

The survey responses show that many people actually enjoyed the queuing system put into place and would like to keep a similar system.

Image source: Chris Spiegl on Unsplash

Coronavirus: Summer 2020 holidays

By Deborah Melchiorre

Our holidays will certainly be unusual, we know it by now. We will tend to favour proximity tourism, both to rediscover our country and because long journeys could be complicated. The keyword will probably continue to be “social distancing”. But how are we going to go on vacation? How will our health be protected? Will we be able to go on holidays? 

Here are some possible scenarios to date, taking into account that the situation is constantly evolving:

Can we go abroad?

As of now, international travel is not permitted. It is difficult to foresee any future summer travels. With what we know, bearing in mind that the situation evolves, this year summer holidays will have to be close to home, fewer trains and no flights planned. One would believe that it is crucial to contribute to the economy of our country.

 

pexels-photo

Image source: Pexels

 

But how will access to the beaches be?

The virus has been proven to be diluted by water. The point, however, is how the beaches will be managed. In the bathing establishments, in fact, the entrances will be limited and the safety distance of at least two to three meters between the umbrellas must be respected, the access to the water will probably be timed. However, the presence of plexiglass seems to have been excluded.

The opening hours will be extended and allowed the delivery of takeaway food under the umbrellas, while in Sardinia it is even been thought to allow the arrival on the island only to tourists with a health passport, or a negative swab test certificate issued from any approved laboratory no later than seven days before the departure date. Apps are also being studied to monitor the entrances to the various facilities.

 

pexels-photo-871060

Image source: Pexels

 

Summer camps: the experts say “no”. Summer centres can be compared, in terms of the danger of contagion, to schools, so reopening them, for infectious disease specialists and virologists, could be risky.

Image source: Vecteezy

How Covid-19 affects mental health during lockdown

Having been in lockdown for just over a month in the UK has had an effect on our health.

Being quarantined at home gives many positive traits such as time to relax and focus on ourselves. However, all this free time can start to affect one’s mental well-being no matter the age.

For some individuals, quarantine is an opportunity to bring families closer, however, for some living alone can be a challenge. Having that form of interaction and knowing that there is someone physically there, gives a sense of relief.

For those isolating alone the only form of communication is through social media or a stroll to your local grocery store.

What about the elderly?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government have regulated that people over the age of 65 are at high risk of illness from the Coronavirus and are advised to seek isolation through this lockdown.

As the elderly are at most vulnerable due to this outbreak, staying indoors means no contact with family, friends and neighbours. This can gradually develop mental health issues such as depression and anxiousness.

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

Interviewing Winifred Curtis, aged 89 on living alone in lockdown.

How does it feel to isolate alone?

How can isolation differ for someone who is used to living alone?

Curtis explains, that being elderly and living alone during lockdown can be tough at times, as there is no one to communicate with. Although people are just a call away, she misses psychical interaction. This pandemic has had an increasing effect on her day to day life. As she is used to living alone, she feels restricted. She exclaims that the only form of communication is through her TV.

Stay Connected

Communication is a key in surviving the lockdown. Staying connected with your loved ones will make a drastic change to their day, especially for people isolating alone. For the majority, a little phone call goes a long way. If you feel low, stressed or anxious reach out to a friend, in times like this support is needed.

Helplines

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

If you are in a need to speak to someone who is not aware of your mental well-being the use of helplines and listening services are a good way to communicate your feelings.

Samaritans – Support for distress and despair.

Call 116 123 or email jo@samartains.org


https://www.samaritans.org/

The Mix – Support for under 25s.

Call 0808 808 4994


https://www.themix.org.uk/

Anxiety UK – Support for individuals that are diagnosed with anxiety.

Call 03444 775 774

www.anxietyuk.org.uk

SANE – Emotional support, guidance and information for people affected by mental illness.

Call 0300 304 7000

www.sane.org.uk/support

Our mental health is important.

(Image source: Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com)

Domestic abuse, the other deadly killer

The prospect of isolation for several months is daunting, but abuse support workers say isolation with an abuser is like a “pressure cooker”.

As Covid-19 works its way through the UK and the rest of the world it would seem that the measures put in place by governments are the right thing to do to protect people’s health. For some health is the least of their concern. Experts have already warned that the isolation instructions set out by the government are likely to cause an increase in domestic abuse cases. Read more

COVID-19: The urgency to ‘flatten the curve’

What do we mean by ‘flatten the curve’?

When dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19, the ultimate goal is to stop the overall spread of the virus. In order to do so, the slowing down of the spread is a critical phase in achieving this. Hence, the social distancing measures in place across the world.

To ‘flatten the curve’ means to reduce the growth in the number of cases – giving medical professionals, institutional bodies and government officials more time to prepare and respond. As well as this, it accommodates for effective planning in a stressful situation as such.

For hospitals to function – doctors must be readily available to treat patients. However, with an influx of patients they must quickly adapt to the escalation of cases. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 cases through measures such as social distancing will not only save lives but ensure that we continue to progress ahead.

What do the curves on the graph represent?

‘Flatten the curve’

The curves represent the number of cases and how they are increasing/decreasing over time. A steep, higher curve signifies that cases are increasing fast. The lower curve indicates that cases are emerging slower, and that the virus is not spreading as faster.

By keeping the curve low, it allows for added time and preparation in controlling the spread of the virus.

How will social distancing determine the outcome of this pandemic?

The spread of the virus depends on how contagious it is, who is more vulnerable to it and how fast it impacts our immune systems. According to the World Health Organisations (WHO) COVID-19 is an ‘infectious disease’ primarily spreads through ‘droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose’ when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Seasonal flu has a lower fatality rate because people have been vaccinated against the virus or developed immunity. Coronavirus, on the other hand, does not have a vaccine and is known to have vigorous symptoms. As a result, people are more vulnerable to it.

Social distancing measures such as self-isolation and quarantine will decrease chances of transmission and consequently the spread of the virus.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that prior to the lockdown – one positive person would infect 2.6 other people. However, after social distancing measures were implemented – the figure reduced to 0.62. This means that the virus is being detained and should eventually burn out given the measures in place are strictly followed.

How should we go about this situation as individuals?

NHS guideline

In these uncertain times, it is natural to be overcome with anxiousness and self-awareness. Essential workers, doctors and patients are battling a wide-scale pandemic that is challenging day-to-day routines. As individuals of society, we have the duty to protect the most vulnerable of people amid this pandemic. By staying home, maintaining our hygiene and social distancing – we can encourage a safer, less disastrous outcome.

Why does toilet paper take so long to get to grocery stores?

Since the coronavirus ramped up and became a pandemic one essential hygiene product is flying off the shelves in grocery stores all over the world: toilet paper.  But why does it take so long to restock? 

Toilet paper can be made by recycled paper’s pulp or through tree pulp that is then dyed with chemicals to give it the white appearance.  The treated pulp is then sent to paper mills where it is converted into large sheets of paper and then cut into napkins, toilet paper, and paper towels in different sizes.  

Last year, the UK used around 1.25 million tonnes of hygiene paper of which over half were in the form of toilet paper, according to a statement by The Confederation of Paper Industries and The Paper Industry Technical Association.  

An unusually full stock of toilet paper sold 2 for 1 and limited to 4 single rolls per family. source: Natalia Jaramillo

Toilet paper mills, pre-pandemic, were already running 24 hours a day seven days a week and now with COVID-19 impacting worker’s schedules and increasing demand, the industry is having a tough time catching up. 

Kimberly Clarke, producer of popular toilet paper brands such as Andrex and Cottonelle said in a statement: 

“We have plans in place to address the increased demand for our products to the extent possible, including accelerating the production of essential products and reallocating inventory to help. Our teams continue to monitor demand and we will make adjustments to our plans accordingly.” 

Kimberly Clarke’s plans to ramp up production of essential products like toilet paper means slowing production of non essential products all meanwhile implementing worker safety protocols that may slow down production.  

“Some of the additional measures include regular cleaning of work areas, shift rotations, distancing reminders where people queue, and temperature scans at entry points. We’re also encouraging our employees to stay at home if they feel unwell,” read a Kimberly Clarke statement for the company’s COVID-19 response. 

In order to get toilet paper into grocery store shelves,  trucks have to be packed at paper mills driven to grocery stores and then unpacked and restocked onto the shelves. 

“I asked when the next shipment of toilet paper was coming and the cashier said to come early morning on Saturday,” said Viviana Riveros, a grocery store customer. 

When she arrived at 9 am, one hour after opening, the store was sold out of its supply of toilet paper.  

Grocery store shelves where there should be toilet paper are left empty due to COVID-1. Source: Natalia Jaramillo

Another popular toilet paper maker Essity, who makes Cushelle, already increased net sales in 2019 by 10.6% and is now further increasing due to the pandemic response to panic buy. 

“As a leading global hygiene and health company, we are currently also doing our utmost to continue to manufacture and deliver essential products such as hand paper towels, soap and sanitizers, toilet paper, handkerchiefs and diapers to consumers and customers around the world,” said Magnus Groth, CEO and President of Essity. 

The shortage of toilet paper comes after the UK government issues statements advising people not to panic buy. 

Cannabis across borders

The use of cannabis has always been a great concern across the globe. There has been a vast majority of countries against the recreational use of cannabis. However, some have legalised it with restrictions to monitor its use; others have legalised it for medicinal purposes.

United Kingdom

  • Medical Purposes: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal

Although cannabis can be viewed as an issue to some, others view it as an advantage of its medical purpose. According to the NHS, the use of cannabis (also known as marijuana) can be used for medical issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, fibromyalgia and many more. Only General Practitioners who are on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council are granted access to prescribe this product. For more information concerning medicinal cannabis visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/cannabis-the-facts/

The legalisation of medical marijuana was set in 2018 by the UK government.

In the United Kingdom, cannabis is classified as a Class B drug, whereby if in possession of the substance the individual can be sentenced up to five years in prison. If caught dealing, the individual can receive a sentence up to 15 years or an initial fine. It can be viewed that the majority of possession of drugs found on an individual is from ‘stop and searches’ by the police. The police have the right to stop any individual under reasonable suspicion that they might take part in illegal activities.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in the UK. The product should not hold any controlled compounds. There should be no trace of THC and CBN levels in any product wishing to be legalised by the UK. It is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. For more information visit https://www.theextract.co.uk/is-cbd-legal-uk/.

Cannabis is the most commonly seized Class B drug, with 94% of all Class B seizures involving this substance in 2018/19.

Seizures of drugs England and Wales Financial Year Ending 2019 second edition – Home Office

According to the NHS, 10% of regular users of cannabis become more dependant on it. The more dependant an individual is on any form of the drug, the more chances are they could end up homeless due to these circumstances, this could also affect one’s mental health. Initially, the risk of using is higher when you start at a young age.

Canada legalised weed in 2018 – should Britain do it? | Newsbeat Documentaries

At present, there are many European countries looking to alter their laws on the use of marijuana.

Netherlands

Photographer: Paul Stafford for www.travelmag.com
  • Medical Purposes: Legal
  • Recreational: Decriminalised

Although being a popular hotspot for the use of cannabis, it is illegal. The use of recreational cannabis is tolerated in the Netherlands, only if bought in licensed shops; they can be found in most coffee shops. To purchase marijuana in the Netherlands, you must be 18 or over to do so. Additionally, an individual is only granted access up to five grams of the substance. The government have recognised that it is impossible to stop individuals from buying and using. Therefore with restrictions, the authorities can centre the attention on larger criminal activities such as someone who supplies and profits from marijuana. Ultimately, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal in the Netherlands.

France

  • Medical Purposes: Illegal
  • Recreational: Illegal

The laws in France are viewed as conservative when concerning cannabis. The French law distinguishes that if an individual supplies or is in the possession of cannabis they can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison with additional fines. France can be viewed as one of the stricter countries when it comes to marijuana. With the majority of their neighbour countries legalising medicinal marijuana, France however, is still against the use of both medical and recreational use.

For more information about France’s cannabis laws https://straininsider.com/legal-situation-cannabis-france/

Canada

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

The first country to legalise cannabis completely was Uruguay, followed by Canada in 2018. Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minster believed that legalising cannabis trade would help regulate its use and shift coinage out of the criminal domain.

United States

The use of cannabis is legal in 11 states. To purchase, an individual has to be over the age of 21. However, the use of marijuana can be used medically in 33 states.

California: Medicinal use in California became legal in 1996. However, the recreational use became legalised in January, 2018.

New York: In ‘The Big Apple’, the possession of marijuana was decriminalised for recreational purposes if the individual held up to two ounces as of 2019. At present, if in possession of the substance a fine could be given between $50-$200 according to The Cannigma. The use of medical marijuana was approved in 2014.

For more information concerning the legalisation of Cannabis across the states visit https://cannigma.com/us-regulation/cannabis-in-the-united-states/

Photo by Yash Lucid on Pexels.com

Although some countries are open to the use of marijuana. It can be seen that the substance can open new gateways for the governments across the globe to control and even minimise criminal activities if monitored.

10 tipps how to survive during the Corona crisis

Since its outbreak in Wuhan (China) in December 2019 the Corona virus or Corvid 19 has set the world in fear. Nearly every country is affected and has cases. The number is extremely rising.

According to Channel 4 news, 563 people have died in the UK from the 1st to the 2nd of April 2020. That’s why countries are under lock down and public life is set onto zero.

The most important thing is to contain the virus, so that the health care system does not collapse, and the care of all sick people in hospitals is guaranteed.

The question is how to behave and what rules and advices are given by the governments across Europe? Through a press release, the Robert-Koch institute, has given 10 rules for  people to follow:

1:STAY AT HOME:
This is the most important rule! People are advised not to leave their home if they do not need to buy food, go to work or to the doctor. Especially elderly people or people with health problems are asked not to leave their house at all. They can ask family or friends to do the shopping for them. If this is not possible, they can use delivery service

2:DO NOT HAVE ANY SOCIAL CONTACT APART FROM PEOPLE YOU ARE LIVING WITH
The next very important thing is to reduce your social contact. The governments across Europe advised people not to meet friends, work colleges or other people you are not living with. They also warned that grandparents shouldn’t have any personal contact to their grandchildren, as elderly people are mostly in danger.

3: HOMEOFFICE
If you have the possibility to work from home, you should do it. It will keep you safe.

4: AVOID LARGE CROWDS
In these times you should not go into parks or other public places. Most of the governments have already closed public places likes parks, restaurants or hotels.

5: DO NOT BUY TOO MANY GROCERIES
This is a very big  problem in Germany. People are buying too much food for themselves. The governments said that the supply of food is guaranteed at all times. Panic shopping is unnecessary and lacks solidarity towards your fellow men.

6: SNEEZ AND COUGH INTO THE CROOK OF ONES ARM AND ALWAYS WEAR A MASK
This is important not to infect anyone. No one can know if the others are not carrying the virus.

7: ONLY GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF IT IS A REAL EMERGENCY
The resources in the hospital are now used up to the point of exhaustion. Doctors and nurses are now working tirelessly. In order not to burden these people even more you should only go to hospital, if there is no other way.

8: KEEP DISTANCE
Keep at least two meter distance if you do not want to get infected or infect somebody.

9: WASH YOU HANDS AND DISINFECT YOUR HANDS REGULARLY
The government advices people to wash your hands at least 20 seconds and as often as you can. Furthermore, you should disinfect your hands if you touch something that somebody might have touched before you.

10: KEEP CALM
The last advice the government has given is to stay calm. The situation will only get worse, if everybody is freaking out. Take a breath and relax, go for a walk in the forest or watch a movie to think about something else. If everybody is taking the virus  seriously and listens to the advices, the situation will get normal as soon as possible.

Source: Robert-Koch Institue (Berlin, Germany): https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/nCoV.html

Channel 4 News: https://www.channel4.com/news/uk-coronavirus-hospital-deaths-rise-by-563-in-a-day-as-government-urged-to-increase-testing

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