When the COVID-19 first hit in late 2019, most of us expected it could be one of the come-and-go viruses that wouldn’t affect much. Look where we are now. With over 13 million confirmed cases worldwide by the end of June 2020 (the number is creasing every day currently and nobody knows when it will start to drop yet), we have witnessed the global suspension of international travels, the highest unemployment rates, and economic crisis.
The world has been transformed dramatically due to the virus outbreak, so has our daily life. Let’s take a close look at how those technologies we have before help us go through the tough time during the pandemic.
Online studying, working and socializing
Factories, schools, offices, stores, restaurants, bars, cinemas, and any other enclosed places where many people will gather have been restricted. Many people start to work at home, take online classes, and practice social distancing by doing virtual socializing.
The video meeting apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and GoToMeeting play a significant role in assisting home workers and students to catch up workflow. All of those meeting platforms have upgraded their software to be able to include more people to be in a meeting. During the quarantine, it is easy for us to feel isolated, so those apps can help us stay in touch with our colleagues, friend, and families. We can share some fun out of daily routines and feel reassured to know everybody is safe.
Now many people are working remotely with flexible working hours, so it really makes information sharing a pain. Before the pandemic hit, it was easy to drop off a work document on a coworker’s desk, or just stop by his or her cubicle to check out how the project is going. Yes, we can do emails. But emails have a lot of limitations. For example, it limits the file size we can attach or will compress the large file. It takes a lot of extra work to send and download the attachments. Moreover, we can lose track if too many emails are sent back and forth on one subject, not to mention how many junk emails are received every day in our inbox.
Cloud storage fixes the problem by allowing us to sync files and granting others access to the uploaded files. It increases efficiency and productivity because team members can seamlessly exchange work schedules, ideas, and materials at any time and at any place.
People used to go to BestBuy, Apple store, or other local electronics stores to ask for technical support. With most stores closed or appointment only, getting our important data retrieved by a professional becomes difficult. And most times, we need the data badly. Free or paid data recovery software can help us out in this situation without leaving our home. It is not recommended to use freeware to scan the storage device and recover extremely important files, because freeware doesn’t have technical support in case things go wrong during the recovery process. In addition, paid data recovery programs offer more advanced capabilities such as encrypted drive data recovery and unbootable computer data recovery, regardless of disk format and type.
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Supply chain apps and services
Among all pandemic-related issues, making sure all residents have enough food, daily necessities, and health supplies is essential as well. Governments, supermarkets, and pharmaceutical enterprises have designed new apps and services (or upgraded the old ones) to guarantee the smooth production and delivery of those items. The smaller suppliers, lacking the financial and development teams to quickly have digital tools that can support customers during a crisis situation, also have collaborated with private technology companies or organizations to minimize the impact of the pandemic.
There is an obvious increase in the usage of online services. Instead of going to the store for groceries and medicine, it will be safer if we use those apps to place orders and pick up items without contacting shelves, counters, and strangers.
Innovations in tracing people
Besides a lot of apps and websites where you can find the all the COVID-19 related numbers like worldwide total confirmed cases, the total number in countries and death tolls and information about the policies and vaccines, the applications, where we can track people who have come into contact with an infected person and where those infected people have been, are of great value. With them, we can avoid those areas where many new COVID-19 positive cases were found. Or, we can check if we or people living around us have come across any confirmed cases in a mall, on a bus, on a flight, etc. Then we can keep an eye on our own health situation and, if necessary, go to get a test as soon as possible.
Governments and communities need to make full use of those apps too. After tracing the infected people, they need to send out a full-coverage notice to ask people to do self-check or warn people not to hang out in those areas of high risk.
Well, social media have been around us for decades and have had a profound influence on politics, human relationships, businesses, and other affairs. Now they still show their vitality in pandemic preparedness and response. We can find a lot of free and useful tutorial videos to teach us how to overcome the boredom in quarantine, like recipes, workout plans, crafts, and home games. With people from all over the world communicating on social media platforms, it also eases the helplessness caused by the virus spread-out.
Since everybody can be a storyteller on social media platforms, it is nearly impossible to cover up the true facts of the virus outbreak. We can get a complete view of events happening. The people who need immediate help would get helped faster if they gather enough attention. Even though there are much misinformation and chaos, nobody would deny how much social media have helped us to weather out the terrible and unprecedented times.
There is no doubt that the integration of digital technology developments is one of the main characteristic features in all countries trying to flatten the curve or eliminates the cases. However, it is worrying that some of applications, will intrude individuals’ civil liberties, privacy and data security. Hopefully we can find a balance where technology and pandemic mitigation.