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Icon Sportswire / Contributor

Consumers are stocking up on goods as the novel coronavirus spreads, but COVID-19 itself is already testing America's supply chains and could bring possible labor shortages, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: There is enough nonperishable food in warehouses and production lines to last months, but the "challenge could soon be getting that food to the right places once local distribution centers are wiped out," the Post writes. Some food producers could find themselves without enough employees to manufacture, deliver and unpack groceries.

  • Retailers have aggressively worked to increase efficiencies by cutting down inventory rather than stockpiling, per the Post.

The state of play: Some grocery chains are rationing goods, like toilet paper and bottled water.

  • Amazon is mostly sold of toilet paper.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays have been sold out for weeks nationwide.
  • Peanut butter and canned tomatoes are sold out on Costco's website, which has also taken down the listing for its own Kirkland brand of baby wipes.
  • Instacart and other delivery services now offer "contact-free" drop-offs to customers.
  • Walmart and Target are doubling down on in store-pickup and same-day delivery.
"The replenishment cycle is going to be a real test here. Manufacturers don't sit on a lot of extra inventory, so what do you do when everything you need is depleted?"
— Sean Maharaj, managing director at consulting firm AArete, told the Post

What to watch: The U.S. imports a lot of food from China, where factories are currently closed — meaning a possible supply chain challenge. Phil Lempert, a California-based food industry analyst, told the Post "“We’re going to have two-, three-, four-month lag time until those factories get back up to speed.”

Go deeper: The emerging coronavirus economy

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.