CLEVELAND, Ohio — China is the biggest U.S. trade partner for goods, shipping $539.5 billion in products in 2018, according to the federal government. So what happens to that trade during an epidemic of China coronavirus?
Could the coronavirus travel from Chinese factories to goods to packages from Amazon that arrive at your door? Could that new iPhone you’re dying for, actually kill you?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t think so, based on evidence from similar viruses, MERS and SARS, which are in the same family of viruses.
These coronaviruses generally do not survive well on surfaces, and the risk of those virus being spread from packages shipped over days and weeks is low. Still, there are a lot of unknowns about this new coronavirus, and how it spreads, the CDC said. Officials believe the disease is transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets, such as from sneezing or coughing.
“While we don’t know for sure that this virus will behave the same way as SARS and MERS, we can use the information from both of these earlier coronaviruses to guide us,” the CDC said.
The CDC calls coronavirus an “emerging, rapidly evolving situation.” Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, which may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure, according to the CDC.
Just how pervasive are Chinese products? Apple assembled its latest iPhone and MacBook Pro in China, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company has suppliers in the Wuhan region of China, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak that’s so far killed more than 130 people, Bloomberg reports. Chinese factories produce shoes for brands like Steve Madden, Dr. Scholl’s and J.C. Penney’s, according to Marketplace.
The five confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States Wednesday all included travel to China.
As for the effect of the epidemic on U.S. goods sold to China? That’s yet to be seen.