The scale of our current challenge is sobering. We are currently on lockdown, and existing in a State of Emergency to fight the spread of the coronavirus in our country during a pandemic. Even our calm and respected medical practitioners who are trained to make life and death decisions, have a disquieting undertone which accompanies their sage advice.
Beyond the disruption to most sectors of our economy and society, there is an unforgiving reality of shared responsibility, since any of us may cause the death of many among us. One mistake or oversight, including grossly misplaced defiance of authority in a false show of individuality, can have dire consequences.
Now, perhaps more than ever, we may recognise the beneficial impact of information and communication technologies on our safety and wellbeing. It allows the safe exchange of information, a mechanism to deliver work from home, and facilitates our students enjoying some continuity of education despite being out of the classroom.
Assistance has already arrived from ICT firms and vendors of eBooks, online course content, and even media delivery organisations. They have provided a part of the solution that we benefit from. You may also be aware of the heroic responses from our own supermarkets, manufacturers and other suppliers. What has been your response during these testing times? How have you been able to help, even if only your neighbour?
Something notable has been observed from international news reports. Beyond the conversion of conference facilities into hospital wards, there exists a mobilisation of the knowledge and industrial sectors to tackle the problem from a fresh perspective. This application of knowledge is what leads to improvements in respirator design, or switching the output of a distillery into hand sanitiser.
Worldwide, the application of knowledge gained from STEM-related subjects underpins our best hope for a solution. For those of us fortunate not to be working at the front line of caring for the sick, our role is as simple as it is powerful. Staying at home, covering our noses and mouths to prevent droplet infection, and washing our hands is required of us. Let’s not fail to do so.
To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The Voice.
About the Author
Dr Lyndell St Ville is an ICT Consultant with a background in environmental and resource science. His expertise includes systems analysis, planning, and capacity building.