New Year’s celebrations were all pomp and color filled with excitement about ushering in a new decade. Resolutions had been made and plans set and yet, as they say, we plan and God laughs. Completely out of left field came Covid-19 and the world shut down.
Nothing like it has been witnessed since the Spanish flu, and many were reluctant to even believe it was real. Footage from Italian hospitals may be said to have been the turning point for many reluctant countries. The sight of overwhelmed hospitals woke many to the reality of it and soon, movement restrictions were put in place. They differ between countries but in essence, Coronavirus has forced us to live apart.
Technology has remained the ever sturdy bridge between us in more ways than we could have imagined. It has kept the world functioning and many of us sane. Here are some essential ways that tech is now running the world:
Person to person contact has been highly discouraged to prevent Coronavirus transmission. Medicine, however, is one of the most vital professions at this time and it requires contact. Some innovative technologies are being used in the medical field to help doctors and patients stay safe through:
Remote Patient Management
When movement restrictions became a reality, a quick adaptation to them was online doctor consults via online video platforms. On the other hand, there are more critical patients that require admission. The dilemma in this is that some are infected with Covid-19 and others are not. Even with isolation measures in place, there still exists a risk of cross-infection even for doctors.
In a bid to prevent the spread of the virus some countries are using robots for patient care. Inventions such as EVS robots havel been offering solutions in the field but Covid-19 has now made them a necessity. India and Rwanda are examples of nations that are leading in the use of such technology. Do not be too surprised if you come across one asking to check your temperature at your local hospital.
The main way to keep infection numbers low has been through isolation. However, you can not isolate people that you can not find. Medical guidelines also bar doctors from breaking confidence and releasing patients’ names. In response to this tracing apps have been developed.
Tracing applications work by notifying you if you were in the vicinity of someone that has been diagnosed with Coronavirus. They have raised controversy in regard to infringement of privacy because they have some access to personal data. Nevertheless, most governments are trying to win their citizenry over to prevent replication of the Patient 31 crisis.
Living room Meets Boardroom
Aside from essential service providers, most other employees have been working from home. A large number of business transactions have moved online including meetings. So great has the migration been that web conferencing companies are growing in value beyond their wildest imaginations.
As airports fell silent amid grounded flights and meetings became life-threatening, balconies and living rooms turned into the new boardrooms. The shift has been so massive that video conferencing firm ‘Zoom’ now has more than 300 million users. The massive growth was achieved in just the short span of the first quarter of the year. Businesses have become reliant on it and similar platforms like Microsoft Teams to sustain workflow.
A Virtual Education
Consider how hard it has been for you as an adult to stay sane during the stay-at-home duration. Now imagine how young children with a lesser grasp of these crazy times are coping.
Social interaction, especially for school-going kids, is an essential part of their wellness. The closure of schools in lieu of isolation can not have been easy on them.
Online classes for all ages were started as a way to keep up learning momentum and mitigate the loss of the school year. It has also served to give a sense of community that allows students time to interact and feel less alone. In some jurisdictions, it has been so successful that some high schools and colleges have even had online graduation ceremonies.
It is a natural parental instinct to protect children, therefore, it remains debatable whether schools will be re-opened anytime soon. If they are not, sustaining online classes may be the only option. For countries with low technological access, this may be a generational disruption with learners losing a whole year.
Which of the ‘quarantine’ challenges did you give in to? The panic buying, tissue battles, or the sudden worldwide interest in banana bread? Or was it the multiple social media challenges that pop up every other week? Whichever caught your fancy, they have all been ways to get through this together even in isolation.
Social media has been a source of entertainment and a useful tool in bringing people together. During the Easter weekend, for instance, Andrea Bocelli’s inimitable live performance registered about 2.8 million simultaneous viewers. His, and other live performances by artists across the globe have been used to raise funds for Covid-19 charity initiatives.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, financial stability for many people came under threat. Closure of businesses resulted in job losses and reduced purchasing power among consumers. One noticeable trend among shoppers is that necessities now take precedence. Food items are more crucial than a new outfit when you can’t go anywhere in it anyway.
Any store worth its salt has put in place an online shopping platform and delivery system as an adaptation to the times. Most experts predict that the disruption of Coronavirus may have lasting effects on the retail industry going forward.
Take a moment and imagine not having any of your communication devices and what life would like then. For starters, you would not even be here reading this and isolation would simply be a cruel and unusual punishment. Never have we needed a bridge to connect humanity like we have this year and therein lies the significance of tech.
As we wait and hope for a vaccine and a chance for some normalcy, stay connected, and stay safe.