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How Has The Coronavirus Affected Your Business

As of March 14th, everything in the United States has changed. Within just a few days the economy has ground to a halt and it's taken the majority of photo/video jobs with it. 

Most of my friends in real life are photographers and I have literally thousands of Facebook friends in the industry as well. Everyone is saying the same thing; all of the jobs have been postponed or canceled and no new jobs are coming in. Once the virus is under control in a few weeks/months will everything simply go back to the way it was before or are we heading into the next big recession? 

I'd like to know what you think. Below, I've come up with a few simple questions for you to answer. 

In the comment section below, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Where do you live, what is the photo/video market doing in your area? Does anyone have any new work coming in? How long can you ride this out and when do you expect this to be over? 

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135 Comments

Previous comments
Christoph .'s picture

I've had all but one future job cancel - not seeing it being very possible to get much future work either given this will probably take months of these measures to resolve and the impact on the movement of money will make purse strings very tight.

I think the worst part is not knowing how long this will take. I think a lot of people are unconcerned because they're just thinking "14 day quarantine" when in reality it could be closer to 1-3 months of heavily reduced economic activity + the very real possibility of getting this yourself and potentially being out of action for 2-3 weeks also.

At this point I think our only hope is the possibility that the case numbers are drastically under-reported (we know they are, but by orders of magnitude higher) therefore meaning death/serious case rates are more diluted and closer to regular flu. Looking at affected regions/medical systems I think it's obvious it is very nasty at least and will cause problems without some mitigation.

Patrick Hall's picture

I was arguing this a few days ago until many doctors warned me that the death numbers are severely under reported too. Apparently very few hospitals have been testing for corona virus after someone dies from what seems like a normal infection or pneumonia.

We also have several friends and family members who have been traveling the world who think they already contracted Corona virus back in Dec-Feb and didn't even know they had it. Luckily they are healthy and safe but who knows how many people they spread it to who then spread it. My family in Alabama keep saying "only 5 cases in the whole state" and I have to keep warning them that it could easily be tens of thousands of cases already.

Deleted Account's picture

Where are you getting that information? That there could be tens of thousands infected in Alabama? Sorry Patrick but if your telling people that, without any facts to back that up, then you're part of the problem with all the unwarranted panic in this country. Your expert doctors? They have better information then WHO? Can I get a link to that information or the source? You seem to be better informed and, since you run this site, I would think you have a responsibility to provide accurate information instead of hearsay or guesses.

g coll's picture

The fact is, and everyone knows this, that due to the nature of the virus it is almost impossible to tell how many cases there really is. During the incubation period the virus is transmissible. A large percentage of those who contract it wont even show symptoms and if they do they may only be mild symptoms.
With little or no symptoms you're not going to get tested but you can still be contagious. This is how it works.
Therefore the real number of cases is pretty much impossible to know. Hence why Patrick mentioned it there could be several thousand in any given area rather than just a few. He never said it was a factual number but obviously it is possible.
You need to be more cautious, Marty.

David Penner's picture

Id say anyone living in a major city that hasnt been isolating themselves most likely has it at this point. I basically havent worried about it. If I get it I get it. If its my time to go its my time to go. Not gonna let this make me miserable. I'd rather go down enjoying my life.

Jack Zigon's picture

The best rate data is coming from South Korea due to their terrific testing volume (20k/day are being tested). They are reporting .7% fatality rate. Which is close to the flu death rate.

Remember that 61 million Americans got the H1N1 virus and 12,500 died back i 2008-2009. Do you remember this level of shut down? I don't.

I've had one job cancelled, but I'll find out about another one today...

Deleted Account's picture

How do you know they are "drastically under-reported"? What proof or information do you have that you could share? Or are you just perpetuating the fear?

Lee Morris's picture

It has to be drastically under reported because we are hardly testing at all, but this could be a good thing. If everyone already has it that means the death rate is much lower.

Deleted Account's picture

OK then let's go with that. If that's the case then this is less then a typical flu and the panic is definitely unwarranted.

g coll's picture

Both the mortality rate and the transmission rate are a lot higher than the seasonal flu. This is why people are worried and/or panicking.

Lawrence S's picture

That's just really a given fact. Not every case is documented or diagnosed correctly. Lots of people are sick without symptoms but do spread it to others. Some weak people die in a couple of days and the cause is attributed to their previous condition. Calling for official proof of under reporting, is intellectually dishonest.

Please don't call it "less then a typical flu". The death rate and infectiousness are way too high.

Deleted Account's picture

What's dishonest and dangerous is creating panic where it isn't warranted. I'm gonna assume you aren't in the US because your comment isn't at all matching up with any facts. There's been 50 deaths here in the US and unless you have a fact that disputes that number then your just sharing an opinion. Your assertion that the numbers are under reported has zero basis. Period. Argue all you want but it's BS unless you share a fact. Stop projecting your own fears and stop making statements without something to back it up. You're part of the problem.

Lawrence S's picture

Are you completely daft? Your argument is the following: "because the current numbers in the USA are low, there is no problem or need to act." Don't you see the problem here?

Under reporting is a scientific fact. You can only claim it is not possible if you have tested EVERYONE. How many people don't go and get tested because a) they don't want to go to a hospital or b) can't afford to get tested. Those numbers are not.... zero.

Do you believe the stats in Italy and every other European or Asian country never had a low number? Don't you understand the concept of exponential growth and a pandemic? Italy had the excuse for being the first, so they made mistakes - like underestimating and not acting upon it. So most countries are now activating measures sooner. But there is tipping point where you lose the ability to control it. For now, only Japan had the collective motivation to slow the spreading.

Patriotism and ignorance is obviously clouding your judgement.

Bernie Bros's picture

Are you thick? There’s no way to know what the death rate is without extensive testing, since most infected experience no or mild symptoms that never require hospitalization. Only the most severe cases are being recorded, once very widespread testing is implemented, the death rate can only go down, likely very precipitously. It may even end up being lower than the rate for seasonal flu. There’s no credible evidence whatsoever to suggest a high rate.

Another leftist so desperate to make this seem worse than it is. You’re literally a panic vector, a one man hazard to the public.

Lawrence S's picture

Leftist? How on earth does politics have anything to do with it. You may think you're save and all is gonna be over soon, I live in a region with hundreds of deaths and counting. Hospitals deciding who has the right for treatment and who does not,
because all the beds and hallways are crowded. Hospitall staff breaking down out of lack of sleep and infection. This is a preview of what can happen if you underestimate. How is this not fair and smart to point out? Especially to a country with one of the more problematic health care systems in the world?

Nobody is going to ever regret pointing out dangers and facts, it's always those who ignored or minimised it and could have saved others from harm or financial problems. It all depends on how you react as a society and are willing to adapt or not.

I hope I'm wrong, but nothing is pointing that out. All our experts are saying the current measures are inadequate. Wait, they're all a bunch of lying leftists?

g coll's picture

Are you thick? The mortality rate is well documented across multiple countries. Get your trump brain out of the US for once.

Deleted Account's picture

LOL. He's thick? The death rate in ANY country is no where near the death rate for the flu. And you're calling him thick. Funny.

g coll's picture

Funny yes. You make me laugh. The mortality rate of the seasonal flu is 1/1000. Coronavirus mortality rate is generally agreed to be 2/100 i.e 20 times worse. I'll give you some credit - maybe you weren't meaning the mortality rate.

Logan Cressler's picture

Boy, Marty Jones, your comments didnt age well did they? Bet you are wishing you could delete comments on here huh?

Deleted Account's picture

You're gonna sit there and tell me the same fools buying all the toilet paper aren't going to get tested the second they have a runny nose?? funny

Lawrence S's picture

Yeah because a couple of rolls of toilet paper has the same exact price as getting a voluntarily test done in a hospital. And the majority of US citizens can afford to get tested. And there have been no reports of inadequate test capacity in the USA.

This is getting ridiculous.

Pedro Pulido's picture

lawrence, you're right, but i don't think Marty has a real perception YET of all that's happening. That will change in 2 weeks though, when the numbers in the US sky rocket.

Yes, lots of countries are under testing. In some, their public reports are also downsized to prevent panic. This is much worse than you can imagine.

And for those thinking this is even comparable with the flu, i recommend you educate yourself about this subject. Start by watching this :
"the lockdown - one month in Wuhan"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU9FVqwO4TM

Maybe watching this, you get an idea of what's coming your way.

Jeremiah Nave's picture

I am just starting my buisness as an amateur photographer. My first event was a Valentine's day booth to get my name out there. I have been approached by a few people but nothing serious as of yet.
All that said i am still working my day job as a manager of a restaurant and that is where i see the huge dip in sales. The owner of the company is worried about it being very bad. I came at him with plans for us to still work even if we have to shut down sales but thats only because i know of needed repair work in the store that cant be done when we are serving customers.
I also invest in stocks using Stashonvest.com so seeing the stock prices and how they are impacting me personally lets me see how serious this truly is. I do still think economy wise we will bounce back since the main issues now are plant closures in China and as they get back to production it will help stabilize other areas. Had 90% of production been US based like in the 40-70's it would be hurting us more.
All said though the issue if being hyped by media too much and the general public is panicking too early. Just a walk through Walmart makes it feel like someone launched nukes and we are waiting for them to land. Its more stress and less common sense out here in Kansas. And well all these events being canceled yet stores having record sales in goods tells you we are not avoiding mass contact.

Darryl Rixon's picture

I’m fortunate to be a property photographer in the UK and with the recent cut in interest rates in the uk to the lowest ever 0.25% it’s had a positive reaction to more homes coming onto the market, so currently I’m actually on par or over my usual quota for this time of the year.

However I’m not expecting to last as more people become infected, I’d expect less jobs as social distancing increases. I’ve defiantly seen a reduction in elderly owners moving as they probably are nervous about exposing themselves to the moving process and new contacts that may lead to contamination of the virus.

I always run my business with a 6-9mth finance back up, in case of any eventuality, like falling ill or breaking a leg etc. However I know many photographers who live month to month and will be in serious financial difficulties in the coming months.

A wedding photographer friend is already having clients say they are looking at postponing their wedding for 12mths as they don’t want elderly relatives exposed to possible carriers etc.

It’s definitely going to change the world over the next few months and in my opinion no country is focusing on protecting the vulnerable over 60’s with underlying heath conditions. For 95% of the population it will be a nasty flu. But what if the virus then changes and starts to kill under 60’s without any health issues. Why isn’t the WHO have all the top scientists working together on a vaccine and expedited testing to final release...

It will all be too little too late. I mean look at Trump, the Coronor Virus is nothing to worry about, now it’s suddenly a national emergency!!!

Gregory Goodenough's picture

I live in silicon valley in California. For my day job, I work as a scientist/subject matter expert for a biotech company that uses real time PCR for virus detection. And by night, well since I'm here, I'm also a photographer. I had a photo shoot today for headshots for persons in the area, and in 2 weeks I am scheduled to have a fairly large/high paying gig taking head shots/commercial images for an A.I. company of about 30 people. I am expecting this gig to be cancelled indefinitely as my day job has been moved to a remote only job for the next few weeks.

In regards to Covid-19, the next month will be very interesting in regards to what detection/treatment looks like. 1, more people will of course be reported as carriers, and 2, early detection treatment is just around the corner. The issue with this virus specifically, is that covid-19 is a new virus that we were not expecting or screening for on a large scale.

As far as over reactions are concerned, there are compelling arguments either way. On 1 hand, you can argue that the mortality rate for people under 50 or 60 is extremely low, but that leaves a large portion of the population that can be affected.
And on the other hand, if the disease is able to be adopted by enough hosts, further mutations become an issue. The current defenses that we naturally have is that the virus is not heat resistant and doesn't survive that long on hard surfaces (~6 hours is the current best estimate, but further testing is still being done), so in theory, you move into summer with temperatures above 26C, and everyone goes home for the night and bam, the area will theoretically be sterilized by morning. But if (and take this with a grain of salt as we are talking about theories, but mutations occur in viruses frequently and rapidly) the virus adapts to be something closer to say, hepatitis with a 3 week shelf life, now you have an aerosolized virus that can't be managed. The target group of those over 50 will stay the same due the ACE II (angiotensin converting enzyme II) pathway it uses to affect the lungs/heart/kidneys, but the issue will be prevalent much longer and re-infection will also come into play.

Thomas H's picture

I am also in the Silicon Valley, and I wish I could share your optimism. But, since you are at the biotech company, you might indeed have a more scientifically founded facts, compared to us, "ordinary" math and algorithm specialists. As you know, we have in the Valley a huge contingent of specialists from India and China, and many other countries.

Our business is not very impacted so far, and we can work from home. We make meetings per teleconference and I avoid public transport, restaurants. All this breakdown in business will have a serious fallout, when the epidemic will run its course.

The chairman of Robert Koch Institute predicts that the epidemic with such infection rate and mild to invisible symptoms in incubation period is not to be stopped in dense populated areas. It will run its course, 1 in 5 will develop severe symptoms and a few percent of these will die. Do your math. Here in the US this situation might be better than in Europe, due to distances between urban areas and... wide spread poverty in rural areas. People cannot travel and stay among themselves in close proximity. This circumstance might slow down the expansion of the epidemic.

Bernie Bros's picture

“Wide spread poverty”. What?

Thomas H's picture

I fly, I am a pilot, and I landed many times in rural areas. The level of dereliction is sometimes stunning, US is a country of contrasts. From super rich, flamboyant, to the "dollar store" customers living in trailers. I was for example pickup up from airport to hotel by veterans, some without teeth, one with broken glasses, kept by a scotch tape. Always friendly, nice, carrying the fate with certain level of stoic acceptance. The youtuber Matt Granger drove recently the route 66, and presented his images from the adventure. They all documented dereliction: wrecks of vehicles, falling apart barns and abandoned houses. This is how I see rural Midwest as well.

Jonah Lorsung's picture

Here in Brooklyn, NY. I primarily photograph and film touring musicians, even booked my first west coast tour! And yeah, the virus has cancelled nearly every show in the New York area including that tour. The music world already doesn’t pay well and New York is slowly crushing me anyway. I’m scrambling for other work, trying to find remote video editing gigs, or anything really.

David Love's picture

Blame the news. They live for ratings like this and they make a killing off fear mongering between commercials. Scaring the money out of people. Now get out there and photograph the empty toilet paper shelves.

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