This story was originally published here.
News about the coronavirus and its spread into the U.S. is on almost every American’s mind. It’s hitting too close to home for a lot of people, and with new cases popping up every day, it’s hard not to get a little worried. Everywhere you turn, there is someone talking about the virus — I guess this article isn’t any different.
At this point, there’s not much you can do to escape hearing about coronavirus. It’s having a massive effect on people, businesses, and the stock market. And I don’t think that’s going to end until there’s a vaccination or an announcement that the spread of the virus has been contained.
As I write this, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering, there are a total of 86 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. There have been two deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. — both in Washington State. Worldwide, there are 89,197 cases of COVID-19 and at least 3,048 deaths. Most of those deaths have taken place in Mainland China, which has reported 80,026 cases and 2,912 deaths. Hopefully, the U.S. doesn’t reach those types of numbers, but it is a matter of whether the media and public spread facts as opposed to fiction.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, “While we still hope for the best, we continue to prepare for the virus to become widespread in the United States.” Health officials want the public to start facing the reality that there might come a time when they are quarantined in their homes for their own safety and to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Health officials are encouraging people to seek medical attention as soon as they show signs of illness so that they can be treated before their condition worsens. They are also suggesting that people remain home and not go to work if they feel sick.
If you work in an office, you know it's where illnesses spread. When someone in my office gets sick, you better believe that more people are to follow. I wouldn’t call myself a germophobe, but not everyone washes their hands or covers their mouth when they cough or sneeze.
The spread of disease is inevitable when you work in a close environment with other people, so I understand why health officials are encouraging people to stay home from work if they aren’t feeling well. While a lot of people don’t have that luxury, those who do are finding other ways to work from their homes.
Working from home is a relatively new concept in the workforce and still somewhat taboo, though some employers encourage it. Some workers won’t have any choice but to work from home and that has one video-conferencing tech company prospering from the spread of COVID-19.
Zoom Video (NASDAQ: ZM) and the Coronavirus
Tech company Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) went public last year and has been a valuable asset to workplaces that need to connect with their employees while coronavirus spreads. The company has brought in more active users this year than it did in 2019, adding 2.22 million monthly active users so far. In 2019, it added 1.99 million.
Video-conferencing has helped many people continue to be productive at work and not be significantly affected by coronavirus. This is one of the benefits of living in such a tech-heavy society.
Zoom's CEO Eric Yuan wrote in a blog post:
We believe every business has the social responsibility to contribute back to the community and to society, and it's critically important during times of crisis. With this tenet in mind, Zoom is doing everything we can to provide resources and support to those navigating the coronavirus outbreak.
Zoom will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter results this Wednesday afternoon. The company is estimating that revenue grew 66% year over year to around $175.5 million for the fourth quarter. Analysts are forecasting that Zoom will have at least 42% growth for its current fiscal year, which will end next January. According to data from Apptopia, recent downloads of Zoom’s app have increased — up 90% in the past 30 days from the prior 30-day session. More users and more downloads are great news for the company and will keep it successful.
Though the option to telecommute isn’t available to everyone, I'm sure people who work in offices are contemplating adopting platforms like Zoom's to keep business up and running and efficient. It's no surprise Zoom’s stock was up by 40% in February — and that was before we started to see an increase in the U.S.’s COVID-19 cases. Zoom could see more monthly and daily active users increase in March as more companies tell employees to work from home and use Zoom’s software as a way to communicate and collaborate with colleagues.
As of market close on Monday, March 2, Zoom’s shares were at $113.02 — up 29% from just a month ago.
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