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Connectivity And Collaboration: Enabling Rapid Response To Pandemics Like The Coronavirus

Coronavirus1

The sudden emergence of Coronavirus has badly shaken the world. The speed at which it has spread across the globe has left countries gasping for air. The pictures of lockdowns around the world, ghost cities, empty airports, and malls are unprecedented.

Before countries could even realize and make contingency plans to curb the outbreak, it swept most of the world, including Europe and the USA. At the time of writing this article, there are 367,457 confirmed cases and 16,113 deaths across the globe. (source: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html)

This pandemic has woken us to a horrid reality that contagious diseases are here to stay. COVID-19 also brings back the memories of the other virulent pandemics that the world had witnessed in recent years like MERS, SARS, and Ebola. Thankfully, the mortality rate is about 4%, which was much more in earlier pandemics.

There is yet another significant difference - when SARS first broke out in late 2002, scientists could sequence the genome in about a year's time, while this time around, the genome of COVID-19 was sequenced within a month they detected the first case. This has increased the hopes of an early vaccine and cure. Rapid communication and information sharing have been a major driver of the global response.

Real-time Information Sharing

The panel created by Johns Hopkins University is pulling data from multiple sources like websites of WHO, Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and National Health Commission (NHC).

When diseases like COVID-19 spreads so dangerously fast, administrations around the world should do well to move more quickly. Such dashboards, like the one created by Johns Hopkins University, is helping people with the latest updates and actual figures from across the world. 

Telecommuting to Work

Offices, where hundreds and thousands of people work, are hotspots for spreading this pandemic. Since COVID-19 is highly contagious, one infected staff member can affect others within no time. Probably, that is what has happened in countries like Italy, Spain and other nations which have reported a high number of confirmed cases.

While specific jobs need a physical presence, there are plenty of jobs that are feasible through telecommuting. Most technology companies already allow a few days of work-from-home options to their employees. This trend is going to increase manifold as the world is moving towards sustainability. Telecommuting helps employees avoid traffic woes, helps lower the carbon footprint, and keeps the employees happy. Pandemics like COVID-19 will prove to be a catalyst in advancing the telecommuting age.

The time is ripe for all the stakeholders to up the ante and revisit their investment plans in new technologies and faster rollout of 5G, having future-ready connectivity buildings and increasing the capacities of current wireless infrastructure.

Communication is Helping Students

We have heard a plethora of students being evacuated from countries like China, Iran, among others. These are the worst affected as they were in the middle of their academic year. Elsewhere around the world, the schools and universities have been shut down till further notices. As a response, many colleges and universities have started to offer online classes to their students to lessen the impact of lost time.

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of interest in online courses in the student community. These online courses have also been popular among working professionals to enhance or add a new skill.

As the world moves online faster than ever, the classes will be increasingly delivered online. Just like working people, the students will increasingly adopt telecommuting for their courses. That is the future of education, which again offers an excellent opportunity to all the stakeholders to step-up the investments in wireless infrastructure.

More Drones Everywhere

Drones have already proven themselves before in times of multiple natural calamities. They can deliver medical and other essential supplies like masks, sanitizers, essential food commodities, among others, to the areas that have been quarantined. They can also reach remote or hazardous places within minutes.

During the current Coronavirus crisis, China has been using drones widely to disinfect public places, send blood samples to pathology labs, and deliver essential food commodities to the worst-hit areas.

The future is unfolding in front of our eyes. Expect more rampant use of these little flying machines that are controlled by wireless communication technologies.

Autonomous Vehicles Will Play a Big Role

The writing is on the wall. The Coronavirus outbreak is not the first or the last pandemic affecting the communities the world over. Autonomous vehicles will help a great deal where the pandemic is exceptionally contagious and spreads through people to people contacts. We have seen how, within days, Coronavirus engulfed the countries resulting in many casualties.

Autonomous vehicles will come handy to deliver the essentials, samples, and medical equipment and will form the basis for connecting patients with healthcare providers while reducing their risk of contracting the infection. But such capabilities will require an accelerated investment in the communication network so that we are ready before the next pandemic strikes.

Coronavirus is a sad reality that has virtually halted the world.  But it offers an opportunity for all the stakeholders to evaluate best practices for managing the population's health and wellness by considering new perspectives that adopt enabling technologies for everyone's general welfare.

InfraSite is all geared up to take up any challenge in building the wireless connectivity infrastructure for a better and safer world. To know more about how InfraSite can collaborate with you to develop the cutting-edge next-generation wireless communication network, please reach out to us using this form. We will respond as quickly as we can. Stay Safe!

 

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