It has been a year since several world governments implemented lockdowns. When 2020 started, nobody expected it to escalate into a dire situation where millions of lives would be in peril. Most of us around the world had to cancel our plans. And for those who could roam outside became front-liners who helped combat the COVID pandemic.
Even worse are cases in third-world countries that have limited access to medical equipment and good staff. How is technology helping the world fight such a frightening disease? Let us look at yesteryear’s events to find out.
By now, we would probably know the direness of the situation. But in January last year, even when discovered earlier, we were in shock at the sudden escalation of the viral pandemic. As of right now, COVID-19 has affected 16.5 million people worldwide. The sad thing is that 650,000 of these victims died because of the virus. It is a devastating event that left scars on families, businesses, and our future.
By February 2020, the World Health organization published several guidelines to determine infected individuals. Also included in the report were the minimum conditions needed to conduct a quarantine. By March, a call to arms to combat the disease had been formally pushed by WHO, as several plan-of-action responses were put into action.
Technology is divided into several parts, and each of these classifications did its part in fighting off the pandemic.
One of the best responses against the pandemic was made using Information Technology (IT). Using technology to disseminate correct and helpful information to the populace. The healthcare system is also the product of technology.
With virtual care, we can communicate with patients infected with coronavirus, and they can be monitored 24/7 without physical contact. Hospitals also have networks that enable professionals from any medical institution to access clinical data on any patient. These include patient and family histories, test results, medication, and other health information.
With proper access to information, professionals can even study simulation models that can be used to determine which course of action should be taken if the pandemic takes a turn for the unexpected.
Besides hospitals, we also benefited from information technology as news and advisories are shown through the internet or television. Thanks to news sites and streaming services, the government officials and we alike are up to date on the latest information related to the pandemic. It cannot be helped that misinformation can spread because of hysteria, but in that regard, medical and journalism professionals go hand-in-hand in keeping us adequately informed.
Technology has also helped keep our children educated in these challenging times. Online classes and meetings are held so our children can learn more despite the lack of actual physical contact.
It has also been instrumental in keeping businesses intact, despite difficulties in bringing excellent customer service. Delivery companies that work together with online shopping websites have greatly benefitted both small and large companies. These delivery services have been essential in supplying us with necessary amenities such as groceries, fine dining, fast food, and several others.
Due to the quarantine status, it has been difficult, if not impossible, to ride public transit. This has caused many companies to close or even lay off employees. Thankfully, as 2020 reached the end of its tenure, more and more companies have offered positions that enable us to work from home. Many of us strive to earn money again despite reality’s harshness with just laptops and internet connections.
Another issue that is prominent but not obvious at first is mental health. Anxiety and depression levels are at an all-time high due to always being indoors. Personalities do not even matter much as both introverts and extroverts suffer from a lack of social activities. Several studies have also reported that suicide rates have risen to as high as 145%. Luckily for some, there is help on the way as many psychologists and private groups now offer online therapy sessions to those in need.
If we know someone who needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255.
Games and several other pastimes that exist because of technology can also help in alleviating boredom and loneliness.
Technology serves not only to make things convenient for humanity. It exists to save lives as well. As a testament to this, several vaccines have been developed and are now available. Many countries are working to make these vaccines available to the government to save lives. If medical technology did not exist, then this vaccine would never have existed too. Thanks to technology, we could cope despite all odds.