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Fun and profit from pandemics

29 April 2009

The short-term economic impact of the pandemic is devastating, obviously.  In Mexico City, even restaurants are closed (except for take out), which is going to be a hardship especially on those who don’t have kitchen facilities (a surprisingly large number of people live in rooms or hotels and eat at cocinas economicas, and eat their main meal out every day), which also is putting huge numbers of workers out of a job for a week or so.  With schools and day care centers also closed, office workers are having to stay home to take care of their children, which is forcing some businesses not affected directly by the pandemic, nor related to the retail industry to also curtail activity.  Throughout the rest of the country, there is also a slow-down.

Jennifer Rose, in a comment in my “Flu Fear Factor” post talked about a major legal conference looking at cancellation of a meeting n Cabo San Lucas (which isn’t affected by the flu) even though by the time the conference is held, the disease will have run its course.  She’s not the only one to notice a plunge in tourism.

Long term, there was already a projected drop in economic activity of between 2.8 and 3.7 percent, to which to pandemic should add another 1.5 percent.  But, Diego Cevellos (Inter Press Service) found a few economic bright spots:

By contrast with the blows received by many sectors of the economy, pharmacies around the country have done brisk business selling surgical-style face masks – the use of which has been recommended by health authorities – vitamins, anti-flu medication and disinfectants.

Pharmacies and their suppliers have reported higher-than-average earnings.

The high demand for face masks, which most businesses have run out of, has led some street vendors to start selling them at prices up to four times what they fetch on the formal market.

Also benefiting are doctors and private clinics, which have been overrun with people worried that they have flu symptoms.

Many people continue to turn to the private health sector even though public health centres have been instructed by the government to treat any person with influenza symptoms for free. The order also applies to clinics and hospitals that usually treat only members of the military or the social security system.

Higher-than-usual profits have also been reported by video and DVD rental stores, as more than 33 million students have found themselves without classes, and the government has recommended that people stay home as much as possible.

And pork is on sale!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. elgaviero123 permalink
    29 April 2009 7:39 pm

    The border of Peru and Bolivia is being manned by masked guards. El Alto airport–everyone who works there has a mask–and Santa Cruz is almost the same (less masks, but they’re there).
    Even my cab driver had one (on the dashboard, at least).

    I had a cold last week (picked up in L.A.–it used to be Mexico. OMG!!!!), and I still have a small cough, which I desperately tried to stifle in the airport. Lucky I did, because I just read in the news (La Prensa? No sé….) that the authorities bundled up some poor guy at the El Alto airport who had “symptoms” of the pig flu–hours after I was there! You know, a symptom like coughing from the pollution from a city that sits in a canyon. (Like the DF, too–but I think those El Faro filterless cigarettes cause more coughing than the pollution.)


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