How the Global Chip Shortage Destroyed a Family Amid Covid-19

Subscribe to The Global Herald in Google News

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “How the Global Chip Shortage Destroyed a Family Amid Covid-19” – below is their description.

As the global chip shortage impacts everything from cars to computers, here’s a look at how it destroyed one family in Malaysia. Nancy Endi’s husband Hani died of Covid-19 after a cluster was confirmed at STMicroelectronics’s plant in the district of Muar.

Hani spent more than two decades rising through the ranks at STMicro’s facility. He prided himself on working hard to provide for his wife and four children. So when the chip plant remained open through a spike in Covid-19 infections this year, he kept doing his job.

Then one July morning, the 43-year-old woke up with a fever. Nancy took him to a local clinic, requesting a coronavirus test because of infections at the plant. The results came back positive. Hani was soon quarantined in a hospital. He lost so much weight he started avoiding video calls so he wouldn’t alarm his family. When the couple spoke by phone later, Hani was out of breath and she urged him to rest. It was their last conversation.

“My four-year-old son keeps asking, ‘Where is ayah? Where is ayah?’” Nancy, 41, said in an interview, using a Malay word for dad.

Hani was one of at least 20 workers at STMicro’s facility who died from Covid-19 after the delta variant raged through the country this year. The company kept its chip assembly and testing plant running while the virus was killing workers, as the company raced to meet surging demand from automakers and other customers. Authorities in Malaysia, like in many other countries, were concerned about keeping their economy on track during the pandemic and they granted chipmakers exemptions while much of the country locked down.

“I’m really upset because if ST shut down the plant when people were getting infected in June, I don’t think my husband would have died,” said Nancy.

While Covid-19 killed millions of people around the globe, deaths at the Muar facility were substantially higher than averages in the rest of the country and the world. One in 1,100 people in Malaysia died from the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, while it was at least one in 210 at the plant, according to Bloomberg News reporting. STMicro declined to comment on the specific number of workers who died at the Muar location.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020, ST’s actions and strategy have been driven first and utmost by the will to maximize the prevention of infection and supporting our employees and their families,” the company said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “To do so, the company deployed a broad range of measures in close collaboration with the relevant public health authorities in every country it operates, and also relied on expert third-party guidance.”

Before this year, no one worried too much about the global supply chain, beyond specialists in the field. The role of developing nations like Malaysia or the Philippines warranted little attention. But the coronavirus outbreak has been a wake-up call for chief executives, prime ministers and consumers around the world, as shortages disrupted production of everything from iPhones and F-150 pickups to Nike sneakers.

The tragedy in Muar shows the little-understood human cost of keeping supply chains running in a pandemic. While politicians in Washington and Paris urge suppliers to step up production of semiconductors and government officials in countries like Malaysia give special exemptions to powerful corporations, employees like Hani put their lives at risk.

“The duty of the government is to look after the workers’ interest more than the country’s or the companies’ interest,” said Zaid Ibrahim, a former law minister in Malaysia. “Of the three – the government, companies and workers – the most vulnerable are the workers. I wish we could have avoided these tragedies.”

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now YouTube Channel

Got a comment? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, below. Please note comments are moderated before publication.


Subscribe to The Global Herald in Google News

Similar Content

About This Source - Bloomberg QuickTake: Now

Bloomberg L.P. is a privately held financial, software, data, and media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

It was founded by Michael Bloomberg in 1981, with the help of Thomas Secunda, Duncan MacMillan, Charles Zegar, and a 12% ownership investment by Merrill Lynch.

Recent from Bloomberg QuickTake: Now:

  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Faces Calls to Resign Over ‘Partygate’
  • Scientists Race to Save Submerged Roman City From Rock-Eating Bacteria
  • Boosters Effectively Fend Off Delta, Omicron Variants in Studies
  • In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

    Latest News about Covid-19

    Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

    5 Recent Items: COVID-19

  • Omicron peak reached: South Australia reports 2,193 new COVID cases and three deaths | 7NEWS
  • Melbourne respiratory clinic helps ease pressure on hospitals | 7NEWS
  • Victoria’s retired teachers being asked to return to school | 7NEWS
  • Promising signs as Victoria’s COVID cases stabilise | 7NEWS
  • Adele postpones Las Vegas residency on short notice due to Covid
  • In This Story: Malaysia

    Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It’s known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers. 

    2 Recent Items: Malaysia

  • Hong Kong’s Fenwick Pier to be demolished after serving foreign navy sailors for decades
  • Canada terminates $222M PPE contract after forced labour investigation
  • In This Story: Paris

    Paris, France‘s capital, is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Major landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées.

    3 Recent Items: Paris

  • Losing faith in democracy: France’s abstention problem • FRANCE 24 English
  • French teachers march a second time against handling of Covid-19 crisis • FRANCE 24 English
  • Coronavirus pandemic: France teachers’ unions call for second round of strikes • FRANCE 24 English
  • In This Story: Philippines

    The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. Manila is the capital.

    2 Recent Items: Philippines

  • Philippines Typhoon Rai: UN appeals for financial help to re-build
  • Philippine Conglomerate Ayala Has Aggressive Capital Expenditure Plans, CEO Says
  • Leave a Comment

    We don't require your email address, or your name, for anyone to leave a comment. If you do add an email address, you may be notified if there are replies to your comment - we won't use it for any other purpose. Please make respectful comments, which add value, and avoid personal attacks on others. Links are not allowed in comments - 99% of spam comments, attempt to post links. Please describe where people may find additional information - for example "visit the UN website" or "search Google for..." rather than posting a link. Comments failing to adhere to these guidelines will not be published.

    Posting....