April 30, 2020 2:58PM

COVID-19 Should Make Us Grateful for Technology

In this National Review essay, I take a look at the impact of technology on health care, food supply, work, and sociality in the time of COVID-19. Here is a part of it:

Humanity lived with deadly diseases for millennia without fully knowing what they were, how they were transmitted, and how they could be cured. The fate of humanity, our ancestors thought, fluctuated under the extraneous influence of the “wheel of fortune” and there was nothing that anyone could do about it. One day you were alive and next day you were not. Contrast that glacial pace of progress, and the fatalistic acceptance of disease and death, with our response time to the current pandemic. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the existence of a cluster of cases of “pneumonia” in Wuhan on December 31. On January 7 the Chinese identified the pathogen (novel coronavirus) responsible for the outbreak. On January 11 China sequenced the genetic code of the virus, and the next day it was publicly available. That enabled the rest of the world to start making diagnostic kits to identify the disease. To take one example, the first COVID-19 infection in South Korea was identified on January 20. On February 4, the first test kit (made by Kogene Biotech) entered production. On February 7, the test kit was available at 50 locations around the country. Other countries followed suit. The World Health Organization, which declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, may have acted too late. Still, it is noteworthy that just two months expired between the first sign of trouble and the time when the entire world put measures in place to retard the spread of the disease.

Please don’t forget to check out this short Human Progress video on the treatment of contagious diseases throughout history.