The novel coronavirus has killed more than 3,200 people worldwide, the vast majority in China. There are now more than 94,000 global cases in nearly 40 countries, with infections on every continent except Antarctica. Panic is becoming pervasive. Now, we can only imagine the sentiment and awareness among the people during the Plague of Justinian. We can’t really know how people dealt with a pandemic that afflicted the Byzantine Empire and killed off an estimated 25 million people, almost 13% of the world’s population.
But some four decades ago, there was a big scare about a comet hitting the Earth and ending life on the planet. Having only a few sources of information at the time, people took it for granted.
And then went on a shopping spree.
They were buying expensive cars, quitting their jobs and selling their homes for cheap to embark on a full life to the end. Nothing happened. The comet missed us by far.
As for Coronavirus, we are getting updates by the second, and many of them are inaccurate and clickbait meant to boost media traffic. All medical experts are calling citizens not to panic amid stories of store-storming to stock up for the coming apocalypse.
This time, though, the best-selling items are things like face masks, cleaning supplies, prescription drugs and nutrition bars, with U.S. sales of hand sanitizer soaring 255% year-on-year. The sale of oak milk, which is more shelf-stable than cow’s milk, is up over 440%.
At the same time, many other industries are suffering, and the auto industry is one of them.
According to a newly released report by Moody’s, global auto sales could dip by as much as 2.5% this year, with coronavirus taking the blame. In China alone, which has ordered quarantines and factory shutdowns, January auto sales fell to 18.7%. During the first two weeks of February, China’s car sales plunged a devastating 92%.
Geneva International Motor Show organizers decided to cancel the event due to coronavirus concerns--and this is usually the big showcase for some of the world's most expensive and exclusive cars.
But even without a physical venue, the show did go on.
Quite a few carmakers decided to debut their hottest new cars online, possibly hoping that end-of-the-world sentiments would prompt the wealthy to go out big ...
British carmaker Bentley revealed its new model, Bacalar, a $2-million, open-topped car with interior trim that's made out of 5,000-year-old wood.
Each Bacalar will be hand-built according to specifications from its buyer, which will be the only dozen of them since Bentley is capping production of the Bacalar at 12 cars. And they are sold out already. After all, it might be your last chance to drive one.
BMW also pulled the curtain back (online) on its new Concept i4, a stunning new EV, ostensibly hoping to position itself as a challenge to Tesla's Model 3. Porsche also joined in the action on Tuesday, with its new 911 Turbo S flagship, while Italian Alfa Romeo has unveiled its super hot Giulia GTA.
It may be the end of the world, but it’s better to go out in style for those buying into the panic.
By Michael Scott for Safehaven.com
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