As states and regions each pursue their own strategy according to their local political leaders, the United States as a whole is walking a tightrope. If it reopens too soon, or it comes to light that the reopening strategy currently being pursued is too hasty, then lives will be lost that could have been saved, and the fear of the virus and the loss of life may cause a dreaded “second wave” of the pandemic that could rival or surpass the first.
But if the country remains closed, then the livelihood of millions will almost certainly be destroyed. That is in addition to the livelihoods which, in all likelihood, have already been destroyed, about which more information arrives each day, including today: The latest ISM report shows that manufacturing, as a sector, is currently shrinking to levels not seen since the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.
More than a full week after states began lifting quarantine orders, the state of the pandemic and the economic fallout has not changed very much. The length of time spanned by the virus will continue to make it difficult to see what is working and what isn’t.
ISM Report: Manufacturing Undergoing Sharpest Contraction Since 2009
According to the Institute for Supply Management, global business confidence in April has fallen to record lows. Its PMI fell to 41.5% in April, notching a third straight month the market has contracted. New orders fell 15.1 points to 27.1%, production fell 20.2 points to 27.5%, and employment marked a tenth straight month of contraction, falling 16.3 points to 27.5%. Read the full story here.
Back-to-Work Protocol for Post-Pandemic Manufacturers
Factories are beginning to come to life again in the United States, but employers must take operational steps to make sure their employees aren’t endangered by contamination. David Sparkman walks through the various hurdles and challenges of implementing the best guidelines for keeping employees safe and staying on the right side of regulations. Read the full story here.
Emergency Use Authorization Enables BiPAP Adapter Production
Formlabs, a 3D printing manufacturer, announced today that it received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its BiPaP adaptors. The adaptors, which convert BiPaP (bi-level positive airway pressure) machines used to treat sleep apnea into critical-care ventilators, are the first 3D-printed device to receive an EUA to treat COVID-19. Read the full story here.
Smithfield Inc.’s Sioux Falls Plant Prepares to Return to Business
The Sioux Falls, South Dakota pork processing plant ordered closed by the governor of South Dakota screened workers this morning in order to reopen. Smithfield Foods, Inc., announced they would close the plant on April 12 for two weeks of decontamination.
According to the CDC, nearly 5,000 meatpacking workers across the country have contracted the coronavirus; implementing social distancing measures inside the detailed product lines is particularly difficult, the CDC’s report noted. The reopening also comes about a week after President Trump signed an executive order using the Defense Production Act to ensure the meat plants stay open.