April 4, 2020
i am fortunate to be retired in this time of pandemic. Staying home is a natural state for me.
Staying home for everyone else has been made easier by the Internet.
Work at home programs are possible because of the Internet.
Employees at medical institutions and experts in infectious diseases are the true heroes of this battle against the corona virus. Our connection to these medical experts has been made easier by the Internet.
YouTube airs reports from Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has made critical information available to the public. Fauci and the CDC are offering the best advice out there for staying uninfected.
On the other hand, conspiracy theories that discredit Fauci are shared with thousands of viewers. This kind of political misinformation can actually kill people in these critical weeks. Trust the experts and view what you see in social media with an eye to critical thinking.
Apple has released an app called the COVID-19 Screening Tool. It is available online at https://www.apple.com/covid19/. It can also be downloaded free for iPhone and iPad. The app was developed jointly with the CDC and FEMA based on real medical science. It includes an up-to-date rundown of the virus and its symptoms. There is information about social distancing and isolating from others. Included in the app is a screening tool which will help you determine if you should be tested for COVID-19 and what to do based on the results.
The first step for anyone who suspects they have COVID-19 is to contact their physician. My health care group is making online and over the telephone appointments. Your doctor is probably teleconferencing too.
US officials are using cellular GPS data to track people’s movements in order to better contain the virus. This anonymous information can reveal patterns which might indicate the spread of the disease.
Amazon via UPS is my connection to the materials i need to do projects around the house. Amazon is hiring 150,000 warehouse workers, making their service work and employing some of those whose businesses have shut down.
UPS drivers are some of the brave soldiers in the front lines of the corona battles.
Employees of manufacturing, packaging, shipping, grocery stores, gas stations, utility companies, Internet infrastructure and financial institutions all make staying at home possible. These people cannot work from home and brave the workplace so that the rest of us do not have to.
Curb side grocery services make the essential trips to resupply food safer. You order your groceries on the store’s website and pick them up outside the store. There are slots marked on the street to park in. An attendant comes out and verifies the order with you. They stay some distance from you and load your vehicle for you. Unfortunately, all my local grocery stores are booked so far ahead that they cannot take orders on the website. Walmart still manages to take and fill orders. Walmart’s web based ordering system was operational last time i checked.
One of the reasons that inventories are depleted is Just-In-Time supply chain practices. Just-In-Time dictates that manufacturers produce only enough product to fill shelves at any given time. Warehousing product in fulfillment distribution centers is limited. This policy is efficient and profitable since it cuts out much of the middle man costs, but has been disastrous in the current state of emergency.
i hope that grocery and other retailers learn a lesson from this epidemic and return to holding a reserve of product in warehouses. With automated warehouse systems, such as Amazon’s, and direct checkstand to fulfillment communications over the Internet the cost of inventory warehousing should be much lower than it used to be.
i do not have television service where i live, but everything from entertainment to COVID-19 advice to governors’s daily briefings are available on YouTube. Other Internet services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video prevent us from going stir crazy.
Paula and i exercise and walk the neighborhood every day to stay fit and healthy. To keep our minds interested and healthy we are grateful for the Internet when the day of projects, chores and physical activities ends.
Another way to stay connected is video conferencing.
Video conferencing has evolved over the years from chat room text to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to modern video conferencing.
My video conferencing app of choice is Apple’s FaceTime. FaceTime makes it simple to contact any Apple device with video and voice. FaceTime, however, only works for Apple users. Skype is a good alternative, but it can be spotty and unreliable. Also, it is not so easy to create a large video conference with Skype.
i have recently begun to use Zoom for video conference. The free Basic version allows up to 100 participants. It is easy to invite someone to a meeting via email. Zoom is available for desktop computers and mobile devices. While in the meeting participants can mute their video and/or sound. It is even easy to share your desktop screen with participants. i can use Zoom to control the cursor on someone else’s screen if necessary. Like everything on the Internet, assume that Zoom is vulnerable to hackers. Do not share secrets while in a Zoom conference. Rumors that Zoom shares data with Facebook might be true.
Wouldn’t it be good if, on the other side of this pandemic, work at home became more commonplace? Carbon emissions caused from commuting to work would be reduced, helping to clean the planet and reverse global warming.
Staying in touch is critical to our human condition. During this time when we cannot touch or hug our fellow humans we need to connect in other ways. The Internet is providing that connection.