News That Matters

Why the Coronavirus Might Not be the Only Health Crisis in 2020

A lot of people are scared right now – and rightly so. The Coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – has claimed thousands of lives already. It will most likely claim tens of thousands more before it’s all said and done. But could the highly contagious virus also lead to new life?

Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest that global quarantine restrictions are causing couples to have more sex – something that, naturally, is a pretty significant precursor in a baby boom.

And while there’s nothing wrong with romantic rendezvous, some health officials in countries and regions with strained healthcare facilities are concerned that it could eventually overwhelm local health services.

What the Data and Evidence Tells Us

If you want to know what people are thinking about and concerning themselves with, you don’t have to work very hard. In most cases, it’s as simple as watching their wallets. People spend money on things they’re interested in and large buying trends across a sizeable swath of the population clearly reveal when people are on the same page. During this time of pandemic, one question that everyone is asking for is, Do Medicare plans cover Coronavirus ?

What are people spending their money on right now?

Toilet paper is certainly one product. Milk, eggs, bread, and other staple food items make the list, too. But would you be surprised to learn that condoms make the cut?

At a time when many businesses are struggling and certain products have lost all demand, it’s a good time to be in the condom business.

On March 3, the website reported that stores were seeing significant shortages in Singapore and Hong Kong. This was right around the time when the virus was reaching a crescendo in this part of the world. And as the virus has spread to the United States, so has the demand for contraceptives. 

Sex product retailer Promescent recently announced that it’s seen a significant spike in condom sales since the beginning of the pandemic – 54 percent to be exact. The company has also promised to give away 250,000 free condoms to customers through their website.

In India, local media reports that consumers are even starting to hoard condoms. Whereas the average customer used to keep two or three packs on hand, they’re now stocking up on 10 to 12 boxes at a time. This “hoarding” has led to a 25 to 50 percent jump in sales.

So while most activities, habits, and routines have been paused, delayed, or forgone over the past few weeks, sex is booming. And that can only mean one thing: babies. 

“It’s probably going to be the biggest baby boom we’ve seen,” says Dr. Kevin Kathrotia of Millennium Neonatology. “Anytime there’s the threat of a hurricane, there’s a little baby boom. Everyone’s at home. Those married with kids are less likely to have a kid. But couples without kids – there’s going to be kids in nine months, I can assure you.”

It’s not just condom manufacturers and doctors who are anticipating a boom – politicians and public officials foresee a spike as well.

During a recent report on COVID-19 data, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine indicated that we might see another spike in the birth rate nine months from now. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton agrees – stating that partners who are cooped up for weeks at a time will make plenty of time for romance.

Any way you look at it, people are making more time for love. And while that might be good for keeping spirits up, it could have unintended results come next winter.

The Problem With a Concentrated Baby Boom

There’s nothing wrong with a little spike in birth rates. An increase in baby-making can lead to numerous economic and societal benefits. However, a boom that’s too closely concentrated in a short period of time can put unnecessary strain on healthcare facilities that won’t have the resources needed to meet a sharp increase in demand.

The holiday season – particularly Christmas through New Year’s – is already a busy time for hospitals and labor wards. In small towns, rural regions, and countries with strained healthcare systems, a sizeable boom could lead to additional pressure.

The thing about maternity services is that they’re all “emergency services.” You can’t put a time limit on them or reschedule like you can with elective procedures. When a baby is ready to come, it’s happening.

Lowering the Risk of Pregnancy

If you’re looking to get pregnant, then now is the perfect time to give it a shot. But when you consider that roughly 50 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, it’s important that we stress smart family planning. Here are a few practical ways to lower your risk of making a baby:

  • Better birth control. Are you worried about running out of the pill? While there are no indications of shortages at any major pharmacies, it’s something to think about. Perhaps this would be a wise time to switch over to a birth control shot, which provides three months of protection with a single injection.
  • Strict condom use. We don’t recommend stockpiling or hoarding condoms, but it’s probably a good idea to buy more than your usual allotment. If birth control isn’t being used, condom usage needs to be strict and serious. 
  • True quarantine. The easiest way to prevent pregnancy is to avoid sexual relations. A true quarantine – one where you and your partner are isolated – is the safest option. (Though you’ll have to invest in some quality communication if you want to keep the relationship alive.)

Using Quarantine Time Wisely

It’ll be interesting to see what the data reflects in eight to ten months from now. Will there be an actual boom, or will people have practiced enough safe sex to keep the averages happy? Either way, this focus on quarantine-induced sex and conception is an interesting one to follow. 

As blogger Kayla Kibbe writes, “The idea of children and childbirth presents some hope for the future at a time when our own seems increasingly bleak. Through the eyes of an imagined future generation, we can recapture an image of the radically transformed life we knew mere weeks ago and project it over the grim reality that seems to be rapidly swallowing up the foreseeable weeks, months and beyond.”

So whether you’re single, dating, married with kids, or in a relationship without kids, let’s remember that there are still things to be hopeful about. And regardless of whether you plan to play a direct role in it or not, future babies give us reason to believe that the world will be a better place nine months from now.