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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Products from major American companies including Apple, GM, Coca-Cola and even Facebook may soon become unavailable, as the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak backs up and shuts down global supply chains.

Why it matters: Consumers should brace themselves for products to go missing in the coming weeks and months — and it may not be the ones they expect.

For example: Facebook is already short on Oculus VR headsets, and Apple has reportedly told support staff that replacement iPhones for some devices will be in short supply for two to four weeks, our colleague Ina Fried notes.

  • Coca-Cola warned in late February that products in artificial sweeteners used in Diet Coke have been delayed.

Other day-to-day essentials could be in short supply, too.

Procter & Gamble, which makes everything from toilet paper to laundry detergent, has more than 300 suppliers in China that provide 9,000 different materials for its products.

  • “Each of these suppliers faces their own challenges in resuming operations," Jon Moeller, P&G’s CFO. told analysts last month. "The challenges change with the hour."

Go deeper: The coronavirus hasn't upended the pharmaceutical supply yet, but the federal government is acutely aware that dozens of prescription drugs are at risk of shortage.

  • The FDA is working with 180 drug companies and 63 medical device manufacturers to evaluate whether their products and components are at risk.
  • However, it has suspended most inspections of foreign manufacturing sites through April.

The big picture: The supply shortage will likely expand significantly, experts say.

  • "As East Asia starts to recover, the focus turns to Europe and then to North America," Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at tax and consulting firm RSM, tells Axios.
  • He expects a cascade of shocks to continue, "with the worst impact for businesses to come in April and May."

Chinese supply chains may be lumbering back, but there will likely be rolling auto parts shortages in other regions of the world, mirroring the spread of the virus, throughout 2020, Andrew Chien, a partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, tells Axios.

  • The next risk will likely come from Korea, where most of the world’s memory chips are made. Carmakers have a few weeks’ buffer of supply, but Chien expects to see shortages within a month.
  • Other potential shortages could include components imported from Italy: Brembo brakes, Pirelli tires, and FiatChrysler engines and transmissions.

By the numbers: A survey released Wednesday by data provider ISM shows the virus outbreak has caused supply chain disruptions for nearly three-quarters of U.S. companies, and many are already pricing in revenue losses this year as a result.

What's next: Companies in multiple industries tell Axios that the situation remains fluid, with teams of people monitoring supply chain issues around the clock.

  • Shipping and delivery could become a new operational chokepoint, especially if more regions end up in lockdown like Italy.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.