Expert Pitch
Virginia Tech

Coronavirus disrupts global supply chain and production of U.S. consumer goods, says expert

26-Feb-2020 2:30 PM EST, by Virginia Tech

Newswise — The spread of the coronavirus has been a wake-up call for many companies worldwide and a test for supply chain resilience, says Virginia Tech expert Barbara Hoopes.

“The more widespread the viral impact, the more uncertainty there will continue to be for multinational companies. Companies that rely on a narrow geographical area for production of goods are understandably considering strategic changes such as alternate sources of supply and building up higher inventory levels to guard against future stock-outs,” says Hoopes.

Hoopes predicts the tech sector will be the first to be affected. “The cancellation of commercial flights will impact smaller, higher-margin goods such as electronics as these types of products are commonly flown as cargo on passenger flights.”

“Smart watches, phones, video game consoles, computers, and embedded electronic components in larger goods may see the earliest impact. These physically smaller, but higher-value goods are often handled on a just-in-time inventory basis due to shorter transit times. These are the components that will likely be missed first in both retail and production assembly operations in the U.S.” 

“Due to the geographic distance from the epicenter of this crisis, consumers should expect that noticeable disruptions to the supply chain will hit the U.S. later than breaking news might indicate. For example, tangible delays and disruptions may affect shipments of Halloween or Christmas merchandise,” says Hoopes.

Hoopes emphasizes that impacts won’t be limited to manufacturing-based businesses.

“Hospitality and service businesses such as hotels and restaurants are not likely to make up sales like manufacturers as the economy rights itself.  Goods-based companies can use inventory to absorb the impact of the disruption, and most consumer products will likely bounce back by adjustments made in production levels as the year progresses, but services are perishable – lost seats on flights, restaurant meals, and hotel stays will likely just stay lost.”

Hoopes says the slowdown will undoubtedly have secondary effects. “When people and goods don’t move, the demand for fuel is clearly impacted by cancelled flights, quarantined population centers, and maritime shipping delays. This reduced demand can clearly affect commodities markets and prices.”

About Hoopes

Barbara Hoopes is the academic director of Virginia Tech MBA Programs and associate professor of Business Information Technology. She teaches for the Virginia Tech MBA programs in the greater Washington, D.C., metro region in the areas of operations management, global supply chain management, and business analytics. She has led supply-chain-focused study abroad trips with groups of MBA students since 2003.


To secure an interview with Hoopes, contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at or 703-399-9494.


Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2454
Released: 3-Jul-2020 10:25 AM EDT
Lack of lockdown increased COVID-19 deaths in Sweden
University of Virginia Health System

Sweden’s controversial decision not to lock down during COVID-19 produced more deaths and greater healthcare demand than seen in countries with earlier, more stringent interventions, a new analysis finds.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 3:10 PM EDT
Researchers outline adapted health communications principles for the COVID-19 pandemic
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unique challenges for public health practitioners and health communicators that warrant an expansion of existing health communication principles to take into consideration.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 1:40 PM EDT
Collectivism drives efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19
University of Kent

Research from the University of Kent has found that people who adopt a collectivist mindset are more likely to comply with social distancing and hygiene practices to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:30 PM EDT
Tiny mineral particles are better vehicles for promising gene therapy
University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers have developed a safer and more efficient way to deliver a promising new method for treating cancer and liver disorders and for vaccination — including a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Therapeutics that has advanced to clinical trials with humans.

Newswise: Newer variant of COVID-19–causing virus dominates global infections
Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:10 PM EDT
Newer variant of COVID-19–causing virus dominates global infections
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Research out today in the journal Cell shows that a specific change in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus genome, previously associated with increased viral transmission and the spread of COVID-19, is more infectious in cell culture.

Newswise: From Wuhan to San Diego—How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:05 PM EDT
From Wuhan to San Diego—How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Two variants of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), called G614 and D614, were circulating in mid-March. A new study shows that the G version of the virus has come to dominate cases around the world. They report that this mutation does not make the virus more deadly, but it does help the virus copy itself, resulting in a higher viral load, or "titer," in patients.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 11:50 AM EDT
New Study Explains Potential Causes for “Happy Hypoxia” Condition in COVID-19 Patients
Loyola Medicine

A new research study provides possible explanations for COVID-19 patients who present with extremely low, otherwise life-threatening levels of oxygen, but no signs of dyspnea (difficulty breathing). This new understanding of the condition, known as silent hypoxemia or “happy hypoxia,” could prevent unnecessary intubation and ventilation in patients during the current and expected second wave of coronavirus.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 10:15 AM EDT
Stemming the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media
Association for Psychological Science

New research reported in the journal Psychological Science finds that priming people to think about accuracy could make them more discerning in what they subsequently share on social media.

29-Jun-2020 9:00 AM EDT
Coronavirus damages the endocrine system
Endocrine Society

People with endocrine disorders may see their condition worsen as a result of COVID-19, according to a new review published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Showing results

110 of 2454