Sun. Jan 22nd, 2023

If there’s one thing that 2020 has brought, it is a seemingly endless trail of disasters.

Right now, billions of people across the world are at risk from a new viral infection with no vaccine and no cure. Our ability to meet with people, go to work or school and socialise have, for most, been restricted more than we have ever experienced in our lives.

Shops have shut, services have closed down, and we are restricted to our homes, if we are fortunate enough to have somewhere to live.

The last time humanity faced a threat of this nature was in 1918, during the Spanish Flu pandemic. In excess of 20,000,000 people lost their lives – and unusually, it was the young and healthy who fared worst.

This time, the world is connected digitally, meaning information can be shared in real time across the globe, with hundreds of thousands of people contributing research to help develop a vaccine or cure, and to map the spread of this pathogen.

For example, the NextStrain website allows researchers across the globe to track the spread of the virus in almost real time:

We can socialise digitally – through text, video calls, audio calls and on social media. We can continue to shop online and have good delivered to us. Money can be exchanged digitally without ever having to leave our seats. Entertainment-on-demand is delivered digitally through our broadband connections.

So, when you think it’s a bit “boring” having to stay home for a while, think about the amazing things you can do with the technology available to you, that wouldn’t have been available 100 years ago during the last pandemic. Perhaps you won’t feel quite so hard done by then.