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Daily COVID-19 Updates: April 20

April 20, 2020
Resilient Manufacturing, Post-COVID; Food Supply Chains in Flux; What Happens When a Crucial Supply Chain Fails?

The push to reopen the country now revolves around tests for COVID-19. According to state governors of both parties, there are currently not enough tests for states to practically evaluate enough people for their states to begin implementing reopening plans. At the same time, local officials are pleading with groups protesting quarantine efforts. The protesters call sustained stay-at-home efforts tyrannical, but those who support the measures caution that lifting lockdowns early could cause a devastating “second wave” of coronavirus transmission and deaths.

On the economic side, amid slumping demand, U.S. crude oil futures fell beneath $0 at the end of trading April 20. Sellers of oil futures must pay buyers $37.63 a barrel for the shares. Economists cited by Reuters said that, under ordinary circumstances, the cheap cost of oil at the pump would provide an economic boost: As it is, though, it’s indicative of negative factors, including that refinery storages are full while refineries themselves are running at low levels thanks to stay-at-home orders in most states.

How COVID-19 Will Affect Reshoring

It’s common knowledge by now, even to those who aren’t used to thinking about supply chains, that the coronavirus has forced manufacturers and nations to re-think their approach towards sourcing material for production. But what will that new system of supply chains look like?

Keith Belton, director of the Manufacturing Policy Initiative, suggests that the answer to future crises is for manufacturers and nations together to reinvest in resilient manufacturing, which will implement strategic reshoring and futuristic technology to make manufacturing of the future more resistant to disasters. Read the full story here.

Food Processors Reopen, Suspend Production to Keep Running Through Virus

When the stay-at-home orders in the United States first came through, they included a caveat for “essential” businesses necessary to keep critical infrastructure moving smoothly as most of the population quarantined themselves. That’s proven a challenge for the essential businesses as they attempt to keep running in an environment when doing so is dangerous, and the food processing industry has been particularly hard-hit.

The latest food processor to announce moves is JBS USA, which announced April 20 that they would suspend production at their Worthington, Minnesota plant after two days production to clear existing inventory. The suspension came on the same day as JBS USA’s Souderton, Pennsylvania beef processing plant came online. Read the full story here.

Innovators Step Up to Fill Supply Chain Gap

Medical professionals in New York city had more than enough problems on their hands when a shortage of a single, $8 sensor made their ventilator shortage problem a lot more difficult. Thankfully, manufacturing innovators were capable enough to collaborate on a solution. New Lab, a coworking space in Brooklyn, organized an innovation team that combined their engineers, MIT researchers, and New York clinicians remade the part based on MIT designs. The new replacement units are being produced by Boyce Technologies, and will soon scale to $500 units a day. Read the full story here.

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