So yeah. Things are bad. Real bad. I’m not trying to go full-on doomsday on everyone but here are (some of) the facts.
Facebook’s servers are overloaded, and their employees are overworked in battling hoaxes and false news related to the COVID-19 epidemic. Twitter is deleting and banning tweets that promote activities that could spread the coronavirus. California estimates that 56% of its population will get the virus. The Spanish government is feeling a little worse than that, at an estimation of 80% of the population of Madrid getting sick (Source).
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Several world governments, including the United States of America, are considering shelving privacy rights, and are in talks with huge tech companies in a bid to access smartphone location data to help stop the spread of this disease. The Israeli government is already tracking and texting individuals who it thinks may have been exposed. Elon Musk is saying that he will be getting his companies to manufacture ventilators, and it seems like he will have the freed up resources to do so, seeing as he is shutting down the Tesla plant on March 23rd. There are over 13,000 cases in the USA, as of the writing of this article.
Amazon has shut down its warehouse in New York after one of its workers tested positive for COVID-19, and that might be a good thing for them anyway because people are starting to get afraid to order packages. There is data that shows that this virus can live on surfaces (and be infectious) for up to 4 days. Although the tech industries (and just about every other field) is in sharp decline, the telemedicine and teleconferencing industries are actually doing pretty well right now, for obvious reasons.
Simply put, the world as we know it is over. Even if all of the cases of coronavirus suddenly disappear. Even if there is not a single additional death. Even if there is a cure that could be emailed to you. The world as we know it is finished. Before you panic, let me elaborate on that.
The way we do things, the way we communicate, the way we live, the way we work, the way we practice health and cleanliness. These things will never be the same. There is no coming back from this. There will not be a return to normal. This virus has shifted the very definition of what we thought normal was, and what we ever thought it could be.
Sure, things are different right now because this virus is on the move, that’s obvious. Right now, most of these changes are small. But some are huge. My friend, Matt, couldn’t get the burger he wanted today because Hardy’s was closed, while on my end, we have had a hard time finding milk and toilet paper. I was in a gas station yesterday, and I overheard the clerk talking to a cigarette distributor.
‘So, you’re not coming?.. Well, when are you gonna come?… What do you mean you don’t know??’
Today, for most people it’s cigarettes, hot burgers, and modern conveniences such as pasteurized milk and bathroom tissue. Tomorrow, it will be worse. In harder hit areas, people aren’t allowed to go outside. In the Philippines, the military is in the streets. Armed. There are checkpoints all over the country. For the first time in modern history, literally hundreds of millions of people are in total lockdown. Guys, things are not good. Right now, the world is in a mad rush to contain this invisible threat (Source).
I understand that this is a tech website. I understand that this article is only loosely related to tech. Instead of appealing to our normal audience, this article is a call out to everyone. Please. Take this seriously. Don’t be like the kids that are still going to spring break and are still partying it up because ‘this virus ain’t no big deal’. Let me tell you something. This virus is a big deal. Its a really, really big deal.
I’m not saying it’s a big deal because of the mortality rate. Its super low. I’m not saying its a big deal because of the total number of infections or the total number of deaths. Almost any disease you can think of dwarfs COVID’s numbers (so far) in that regard. I’m saying it’s a big deal because of the governmental response. I’m saying i’ts a big deal because of the panic in the streets. I’m saying it’s a big deal because of its effect on the economy. Look around you. Look at what’s happening. If this is not a bonafide global disaster, then I don’t know what is.
Where did coronavirus come from?
It doesn’t matter.
Who is responsible for COVID-19?
It doesn’t matter.
Was the virus intentional?
It doesn’t matter.
All we can do is learn from this. All we can do is learn how to deal with an invisible enemy. If this was intentional, it could have happened on accident. If this is just media hype, it’s still showing that we are vulnerable. Whether its a vulnerability to a new deadly virus or a vulnerability to over-reacting during a time of instantly available global information, it just doesn’t matter. At least not right at this moment. Regardless, the effects are real and will be long-lasting.
Luckily, thankfully, miraculously.. the mortality rate with this virus is low. But guys. We are looking at the real possibility of losing everyone over a certain age. We are looking at the real possibility of losing everyone we know that is already sick from unrelated illnesses.
I understand that some of this article is scary, but the last thing you need to do is panic. This is a time to be calm and sensible but also informed. This is a time where we need to take caution and pay attention. This is a time where we need to take things seriously. This is a time where we need to be kind to each other. This is a time where we need to brace for impact.