Beyond the catastrophic results for the tourism and hospitality industry, some side-effects of the measures to fight the pandemic could be expected, including a decrease in environmental pollution and an increase in domestic violence.
However, there are many other unforeseen consequences. For instance, seismologists around the world are observing a strong decrease in ambient seismic noise, vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses, trucks and people going about their daily lives. In the absence of that noise, Earth’s upper crust is moving a little less.
Especially in the many cities currently experiencing school and business closures and other social distancing measures, the ambient seismic noise has halved. Small movements of the crust, „mini earthquakes“, which were drowned out by human activities before, can now be detected and analysed by the scientists.
A very different change has been observed by German experts. Gaming arcades, which were losing out to online gaming already before corona, may not survive the current closure orders in many countries. Those gamers who stayed offline as they are craving for the accolades for a winning streak from fellow gamers find themselves pushed into a cold turkey rehabilitation and are either starting online gaming or finding a way out of their addiction.
Online shopping is obviously profiting from the quarantine situation in many industrialised countries. Beside the much-discussed masks and other PPEs a humble product is experiencing a comeback: DIY hair trimmers are in high demand in all the countries which have closed their barber shops and coiffeurs.
One restriction which could not be uphold has been the production stop for the factories of Karex Bhd, the Malaysian company which makes one in every five condoms globally. They were forced to shut down production after the government imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. However, after one week they were given a special permit to recommence production on March 27 to cater especially for many international aid projects in Less Developed Countries relying on their shipments.
We at COTRI have been moving – without any relation to SARS-CoV-2 – to our new office in Hamburg. The new address is Luisenweg 109, 20537 Hamburg, Germany. If you happen to be in the area, you are welcome to visit us (no handshake or hug though, sorry!), the meeting room and the coffee machine are already in working order.
With best wishes for all our readers, friends and colleagues,
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team
PS: Easter Monday will be a public holiday in Germany, therefore no COTRI WEEKLY will be published next week. If you have run out of reading material: In recent blogs on my LinkedIn profile I recommended some reading tips: Friedrich Hoelderlin: Hyperion and Baruch Spinoza: Ethics might provide some new, or rather: forgotten, perspectives on the current mess we are all in.