I just got done watching a news conference with New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, who was giving his daily Swine Flu update. He struck a nice balance by calling on people to be cautious and responsible by washing hands more than ever, telling them to stay out of work or school if they suspect they might be ill, and reminding people that there is no need for hysteria since, “no one in New York has come into the hospital seriously ill”.
Caution- YES. Hysterics- NO.
But it could get worse, and if it does technology can come in rather handy. Here are two examples…
A. Google Maps
Google maps now shows cases of the flu in real time. It lets you see where the outbreak is and, as a result, how careful you need to be. (Although the responsible thing is to be careful no matter WHERE you are. A quick visit the the CDC website can give you some good, practical tips. )
The thing that is a bit scary is that the map has a whole lot more marks in my area than it did yesterday. We are only at the start of this thing.
B. Working Remotely
A good friend is an upper level head for one of the largest US corporations. She/They have been putting in hours developing a contingency plan (obvious hoped to never be needed) in case this thing gets worse. It is worth noting that one key element in those plans is technology. Among the key points… People who think they might be exposed are asked to tele/vid commute. And, if (god-forbid) it gets much worse, they have plan to let as many people as possible work remotely until this thing passes.
I’ve been using iChat more and more for work and friend contact but I NEVER thought it might come in handy for this.
Technology is often a mixed bag. It enables us to do more than ever but also eats into our privacy and down time. In this case, however, it may just be tremendously useful for tracking, managing and normalizing life to a great degree in ways impossible just a few years ago.