When the news of a viral outbreak emanating from China first broke on December 31, 2019, the world was quick to jump on the gun with memes, finger-pointing, and a general disregard for the gravity of the situation.
Fast forward a couple of months and the World Health Organization have as of March 11, 2020, declared coronavirus a global pandemic. To date, there have been 134,000 confirmed cases across 120 countries with a death toll of over 5,000 and rising.
But alas, such is the world we live in - a global community of billions that are essentially carriers for the mildly transmissible and mildly lethal infection: a perfect storm of a viral cocktail that is estimated to infect 80% of the world population by the end of the year.
The coronavirus outbreak has spelled disaster beyond the obvious reasons and the global stock market has taken a huge hit and experts fear a global economic meltdown.
Perhaps none felt the sting harder than the richest of the rich; the top 500 richest persons in the world reportedly lost a combined $139 billion to the outbreak. Leading the race were the French business magnate Bernard Arnault and Amazon godfather Jeff Bezos.
Global Economic Disaster Following Coronavirus Outbreak
On February 24, it was reported that the world's 500 richest people lost a combined $139 billion. Leading the pack were Bernard Arnault and Jeff Bezos, both of whom have at one point or another, held the crown of "the richest man in the world".
As world economies continue to be in freefall, none felt the blow as severely as Bernard Arnault, who reportedly lost close to $6 billion when all was said and done. Along with the billions he lost, Arnault also lost the title of "Richest Person in the World".
Arnault is a French entrepreneur and CEO of the French luxury brand, LVMH (LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE). He also oversees over 70 luxury brands. Among them are such brands as Louis Vuitton, Moet Chandon, Sephora, Dior and, Tiffany & Co.
Arnault officially dethroned Amancio Ortega as the richest man in fashion and as of yet is the richest man in Europe. Coming off of a record 2019, Arnault ended the year as the richest man in the world with $109.6 billion, a feat he accomplished by edging out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
French Business Tycoon Bernard Arnault Loses $6 Billion Overnight, Dethroned As "Richest Person in the World" After Coronavirus Outbreak
According to Forbes, Bernard Arnault currently sits at #4 in the "richest persons" list ending up with $92.6 billion to his name, firmly behind Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.
Arnault lost a record $6 billion overnight and his LVMH shares tanked a whopping 24% since January - this coming after Arnault made record profits in 2018 by capitalizing on the lucrative Chinese market.
As ground zero, China has been the worst off since the Coronavirus outbreak and as people are held in mass quarantine, the last thing on their minds is buying designer products.
Jeff Bezos himself endured a loss close to $7 billion, but regardless, he still sits atop the throne with a whopping $104.4 billion.
What Is COVID-19?
For those blissfully unaware or plain arrogant, COVID-19 is the name given to the global pandemic caused by a novel strand of the coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Patients see symptoms, not unlike regular flu: cold, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, only much worse and in the most extreme cases, death is imminent. The most at-risk are those whose immune system had already been compromised when contracting the virus, like the elderly or people with grave illnesses. The virus is also contagious and can be transmitted via respiratory droplets.