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Uber CEO Expects Ride Slowdown, Delivery Uptick From Virus

Add Uber to the list of companies that have been affected by the coronavirus’ spread across the globe.

Uber said on Wednesday that it expected revenues for its ride-hailing business to take a minor hit, according to Reuters.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley 2020 Technology, Media & Telecom conference in San Francisco, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company’s airport business has slowed down a little bit but it was “nothing [they] couldn’t recover from.”

However, Uber’s food delivery services actually stand to benefit from the virus, according to Reuters.

The coronavirus hit the U.S. last week after initially spreading in China and East Asia. It has killed thousands and infected tens of thousands more.

And in addition, the world economy has been thrown into flux, with industries and suppliers feeling the burn as the virus disrupted work in a multitude of industries, and tourism taking a hit as people were advised to travel as little as possible.

Wall Street did not have a fun time of it last week, with the Dow dropping 3,500 points over the whole week. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all dropped more than 10 percent and entered “concern” territory. The S&P had the biggest single day of losses ever.

In terms of Uber, Uber Eats has a new leader in Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, who is taking over for departing leader Jason Droege. Gore-Coty is head of international rides with Uber already.

The coronavirus has also affected Uber and other ride-sharing utilities in another, more unfortunate way. In New York City, some drivers, spurred by fears of the coronavirus, are avoiding Chinese passengers due to a misguided association with the virus’s origin in that country.

The avoidance includes anyone who looks like they could be Chinese, not just Chinese nationals. Drivers have also started to avoid Chinatown, according to reports.

Allan Fromberg, deputy commissioner for public affairs of the Taxi & Limousine Commission, said there were no confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City as of mid-February and that bigotry was a more insidious concern to look out for.

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