Coronavirus Concerns


Chinese officials say 170 people have died from coronavirus. At this writing, more than a thousand people are trapped on a cruise ship off the Italian coast, prevented from leaving because of possible coronavirus cases aboard.

I had dinner last night with the CFO of one of our global clients. He was telling me about the potential impact the coronavirus may have on their business in China. He is worried about systemic issues. Will all of his employees be able to return to work after the Chinese New Year? Will his vendors and suppliers be fully staffed? Will shipments from factories be able to get to the ports? Will the ports be open? His list of concerns was very long.

The World Health Organization will decide today whether to declare the epidemic an international public health emergency. I called a friend at the CDC this morning and learned that coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause symptoms similar to a common cold. They are transmitted person-to-person, and the CDC has some protection guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. An alcohol-based sanitizer can work in the absence of soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

I was also told that the CDC suggests that healthcare workers interacting with coronavirus patients wear a heavy-duty N95 respirator mask (but, by itself, the mask is not adequate protection). I was also told that if you use a hand sanitizer, make sure it is at least 60 percent alcohol-based. (However, it, too, is not full protection.)

If you’re traveling, I’ll state the obvious: reach out to the appropriate organizations and individuals in your network for guidance.


Take the Survey

If the survey is not visible, click here.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



PreviousDemand Reality, Not A Reality Show NextWhen is a taco not a taco?

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to my daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.