The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), now amplified from an epidemic to a pandemic, appears to have originated in Wuhan, a Chinese city about 650 miles south of Beijing that has a population of more than 11 million people. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which sells fish, as well as an array of meat from other animals, including bats, snakes and pangolins (a small, scaly mammal), was implicated in the spread of the virus in early January.
With theories and some scientific evidence pointing to its origins stemming from bats and snakes, it leads to suggestions that bats carrying the virus’ single-strain were hunted and eaten by snakes. Snakes, being a common food choice for some people in the Wuhan province, were hunted, sold, and eaten. Which the human consumption of the infected snakes then transmitted the virus to other humans. Thus, COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the coronavirus is said to spread mainly from person-to-person “between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, these droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.” Knowing these facts and the ripple effects of this virus, businesses all over the world are taking drastic and immediate actions.
Major manufacturing operations in the U.S. have reportedly slowed or completely ceased operations; Closing offices, stores, and factories, with supply chains severely disrupted in many industries, and restricting travel into and out of the U.S. Although the reality and global impact of this virus will remain unknown for many months to come, digital, delivery, and video conferencing services are amongst business industries currently thriving during this pandemic. Video conferencing tycoons, the likes of Zoom, GoToMeeting, PGi, and LogMeIn are among such thriving businesses during this crisis. A spokesperson for PGi is quoted saying, “Over the past week alone, we have seen a double-digit increase in usage with our GlobalMeet platform around the world.”
From an insurance industry’s perspective, however, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has responded with the release of two optional endorsements for use with commercial property forms to provide limited business interruption coverage for circumstances related to the coronavirus. Worthy to note that they have not been filed and are not being added to the ISO portfolio of forms, nor is ISO providing loss costs or supplementary rating information. Any company interested in filing either of the two listed endorsement forms must follow all filing regulations.
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