(TMU) — We’ve all seen the jokes on social media about how nine months from now a new generation will be born that will eventually be dubbed “Coronials”—and once they come of age, “quaranteens.”
After all, if we’re stuck working from home or self-isolating along with our partner or significant other, it’s only natural and healthy for us to seek solace through sexual activity—and the increase in baby-making activities can naturally result in a miniature “baby boom.”
But as it turns out, the joke may have some basis after all—especially because a global shortage of condoms could deprive couples staying at home from one of the more popular birth control methods.
Reuters reports that Malaysia’s Karex Bhd, a company that is responsible for producing one out of every five condoms globally, spent over a week without producing a single condom at its three factories after the government imposed a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
This has resulted in a shortfall of 100 million condoms which normally would be marketed worldwide under such brands as Durex, distributed through aid programs like the United Nations Population Fund, and the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).
On Friday, the company was granted permission to resume production under a special exemption for critical industries but with only half of its workforce.
Chief Executive Goh Miah Kiat said:
“It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity.
We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary.
My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”
The news comes as condoms rank among toilet paper and hand sanitizer as one of the most sought-after items during the CoViD-19 crisis, reports Highsnobiety.
Earlier this month, sex product retailer Promescent’s CEO Jeff Abraham confirmed that the company saw surging condom sales all month.
Speaking to Business Wire, the executive said:
“In fact, we’ve seen a 54 percent increase in our online sales since the beginning of the pandemic.
With the tremendous effort put forth by so many government and local organizations, we want to do our part to ensure people are continuing to practice safe sex and have adequate access to birth control in a time of social distancing and self-isolation.”
In times of uncertainty and isolation, it’s natural to seek physical and emotional intimacy https://t.co/ybAyWkzgF6
— Jeff Abraham (@JeffAbraham111) March 19, 2020
Condom factories in China, India, and Thailand have also faced disruptions in their operations. Similar problems have also been faced by regional manufacturers of critical protective gear like medical gloves in Malaysia.
A Durex spokesman reassured Reuters that operations would continue as normal, and no supply shortages are anticipated. They added:
“For our consumers, many of whom will be unable to access shops, our Durex online stores remain open for business.”
Goh added that while condom production may face interruptions, the demand for the contraceptive remains stronger than ever. He said:
“The good thing is that the demand for condoms is still very strong because like it or not, it’s still an essential to have.
Given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children. It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty.”