Posted by: Tony Shannon | June 30, 2020

Covid Containment Challenge = Information

As we move through the first wave of the global pandemic that the Covid 19/Coronavirus has unleashed upon the planet, it is time to quickly learn some lessons so we are better prepared for the next phase/wave/strain etc etc. As with the first wave its not a question of if but when…

If we have understood that we will need to live with this virus, then we need to find ways to contain its impact our society and economy, from both healthcare and economic dimensions.

So the issues we will be facing as we try to move forward will be how to balance the risks of reopening up our societies with the broader benefits. The most practical way we will be able to achieve that balance will be all dependent on one thing: Information.

Information on;

  • Where covid cases are
  • Who are their contacts
  • How did they contact the virus
  • Where, when, with who were they when they did
  • How are they coping
  • Whether they have symptoms
  • Whether they need hospital/ICU care
  • Whether they have longer term effects

Of course the other aspect of this will be the timeliness of this information, so rapid testing and tracing of this information will be paramount.

The good news is that all of this is essentially an information challenge.
That information challenge has people, process and technology dimensions.

To rise to that challenge people will need to think fast, work in an agile way and (while balancing genuine privacy concerns) understand that open data/information is in all our interests.

We have seen important developments in this regard with the open source release of a covid tracker app here in Ireland, based on open APIs made available by Apple & Google. Its a small but important start and the hopefully the beginning of a better way to manage information to save lives.


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