Our society continues to face a wide arrange of pandemic problems, and yet our resilience, innovation and care for each other have enabled us to navigate such challenges with compassion and determination.
A partnership of authors with expertise in technology, medicine, cognitive science, and financial planning have authored a relevant eBook, called The COVID-19 Solutions Guide: Health, Wealth, Technology, and the Human Spirit, now in its Second Edition.
I asked U of T Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Ron Baecker, one of the authors, about The COVID-19 Solutions Guide, and the advice it offers for living in the COVID era.
Dr. Baecker began by sharing that he and his colleagues, “wrote the book to contribute and describe solutions that can help people in the time of COVID-19. Despite vaccinations, our 100 tips are critical now as we endure the winter’s raging infections.”
Added Dr. Baecker, “The book provides reliable medical information; sage advice for managing your money, both personally and as a business; links to useful apps and internet resources; and stories of hope, of the indomitable human spirit. Our website also hosts a free weekly blog and a monthly newsletter, which allow readers to keep current on the latest news.”
How is technology playing a role during the pandemic?
Dr. Baecker responded, “[It has] in many ways:
1) Medical support technologies such as contact tracing apps, which unfortunately have not been widely adopted in democratic countries;
2) Links to apps and websites, for uses such as accessing medical care, mental health support, entertainment, and government financial aid for individuals and businesses;
3) Tools to support virtual learning by students at elementary, secondary, and university levels from their homes, supported as best possible by technology-connected teachers and parents.
4) Videoconferencing technologies such as Zoom to allow employees to work from their homes; to support virtual learning; to provide access to cultural resources such as concerts and movies; and, critical in this time of isolation and loneliness, to keep families close despite physical separation, including linking isolated seniors to their children and grandchildren.”
I asked Dr. Baecker to elaborate on how technology has helped or hindered daily life during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“All these technologies have helped,” Baecker responded. “But hindrances have come because much software is hard to learn and use, with inscrutable interfaces and poor or non-existent technical support, and because people need guidance in how to use systems effectively, especially tools for virtual learning.”
Dr. Baecker added, “We are engaged in the world’s biggest experiment in virtual learning, thrust upon us when we were ill prepared. There clearly have been bumps in the road, with many students now learning little, experiencing stress, or even dropping out of the educational system.
What advice do you have for Canadians right now?
“Grit your teeth and obey lockdowns; give them your political support,” stated Dr. Braecker.
“The experience of countries like New Zealand and Australia shows that tough fences, restricting travel to and from a country, and fierce hammers, keeping people inside, are the only possible ways to contain the pandemic until herd immunity is achieved through almost universal vaccination.”
“Also, be aware that technology’s impact will persist long after COVID-19 is gone,” remarked Dr. Braecker. “Life will mostly return to normal, but many aspects will be improved via tech….”
Dr. Braecker suggested that technology will become further entrenched into our daily lives, and he remarked on the following examples:
1) Telework will be much more expected and more prevalent than pre-COVID; firms will need far less office space then previously.
2) Virtual learning will be somewhat more used than pre-COVID, and it will be used more knowledgeably.
3) Individuals will be more internet-literate and resourceful than pre-COVID.
4) Cities, buildings, offices, schools, and senior care homes will be designed differently in the future.
Readers can purchase a digital copy of The Covid-19 Solutions Guide e-book at TheCovidGuide.com. It is also available for Kobo, Amazon and other leading e-book sites.