Covid‐19 (a.k.a. Corona Virus) is a new infectious disease that started in China in December 2019 and spread around the world.
As on the date of this article 1,130,000 cases have been reported around the world, with over 60,100 deaths and over 233,000 recoveries.
The disease being new, the initial response by governments was hesitation, but, as the disease spread, measures were taken to prevent its spread by prevention of human contact.
Thus, in some countries all “non‐essential” business and social activities have been prohibited, with people being urged to “stay at home” and avoid all human contact outside of the family living in their house.
This is seen as a “temporary measure” (a few weeks or months) until the epidemic is stopped.
But such “lockdown” has an adverse effect on the affected persons and businesses, and fears are being expressed that it will lead to a global recession.
But the estimates of when the disease subsides and “things come back to normal” (weeks, or months) are arbitrary guesses and the epidemic can continue for years. And, if the “lockdown” continues, it will cause very serious economic damage.
To prevent such damage one needs to be able to adapt the economic and social activities to the reality of the disease, rather than stopping them until the disease is put under control.
Much of office work1 is done by use of computers, and such work can be done “from home”. Not only this diminishes human contact, but it also reduces unproductive and expensive waste of time on travelling to and from the place of work, reduces traffic and CO2 emissions, and reduces need for office space (a business expense).
The same is true for education, which can be done remotely, by use of the modern technology.
And, in those cases where work cannot be done without close human contact, infection can be prevented through use of protective clothing and hygiene aware work practices.
Such adaptation of behaviour to the reality of infectious diseases will allow economic and social activities to continue.
It is up to businesses and educational institutions to adapt their activities to make maximal use of “remote” work and education. And not only to prevent spread of infections, but to prevent waste of time and cost of travel and to reduce the expense of use of work and education space and reduce traffic and air pollution.
And it is up to governments to pass laws to enforce safe practices for use of work and public spaces to prevent spread of infectious diseases.
While it is not known when Covid‐19 is brought under control through vaccination and cure, even if and when this happens, there still will be dangers of other “new” epidemics emerging, and creating conditions for preventing their spread now will prevent situations similar to the present Covid‐19 “crisis” in the future.
1)And even manufacturing activities, which can be done without heavy industrial equipment, can be done from home.