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When most people think about COVID-19 their first reaction is a negative one, and justifiably so. The virus has been responsible for altering the day to day life of every one of us, whether we have been infected or not. Nevertheless, the pandemic brought about by the virus has also been responsible for many things which can be counted as a net gain. These range from simple things like people getting used to washing their hands more often, to more complex ones like a reduction in the negative impact we as a species have on the environment. One of the most impressive, however, is the rapid advance in technology that has occurred world-wide.

Humans are social beings, and as a result almost every aspect of our society is structured around shared spaces. This presents a special problem when there is a highly infectious virus among us. The common reaction when this sort of thing happens is to isolate oneself and avoid contact with other people. In the past this meant having few social interactions until the pandemic had run its course. Not in this modern age though, we have the benefit of very advanced technology working its way into almost every aspect of life. Where a human in the past would have probably not been able to speak with a loved one for months, we have created tools that allow us to digitally share meals and experiences via video from the safety of our own homes.

The development of apps and digital services to avoid crowded spaces is astonishing. Going to a grocery store to stock up on supplies is inherently dangerous in the middle of a pandemic. As a result, some companies have developed digital services where a person can simply choose which items they wish to buy, pay for them, and the company will deliver the order right to their doorstep. This effectively turns what would have been an exposure to perhaps hundreds of other people into an interaction with only the delivery person. A similar thing happens with medical appointments, instead of having to spend hours on a crowded waiting room, an online video call can substitute a routine lab results reading and consultation. For those activities that inevitably have to be carried out in person, a meeting can be scheduled online, and when the person reaches their destination an automated hand sanitizer dispenser and shoe sanitizing rug will greet them at the door and make the experience safer for everyone.

These are but a few of the different technologies that have been developed to combat the spread of the virus. These technological advancements will continue to be useful long after this pandemic has passed. They also have had other positive impacts such as helping an economy that has been devastated. Every aspect of life will be modernized, and thousands of human lives will be saved. As the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.

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