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The Week in Tech: How to Stop Coronavirus ‘Doomsurfing’

The Week in Tech: How to Stop Coronavirus ‘Doomsurfing’

Each week, we evaluation the week’s information, providing evaluation about an important developments in the tech business.

I mustn’t have learn the Imperial College coronavirus report earlier than mattress.

The now-famous report by a group of British epidemiologists, which was posted on-line this week, laid out the worst-case situation for the coronavirus, predicting that as many as 2.2 million Americans might die if the illness was left to unfold unchecked.

It’s an objectively terrifying doc — scary sufficient that it jarred the American and British governments into taking bolder motion to cease the virus’s unfold — and I lay awake for hours after studying it, making an attempt to repress visions of mass dying as phrases like “incubation period” and “gamma distribution” buzzed round in my head.

I’ve been doing a number of this sort of doomsurfing not too long ago — falling into deep, morbid rabbit holes crammed with coronavirus content material, agitating myself to the purpose of bodily discomfort, erasing any hope of a superb evening’s sleep. Maybe you’ve got, too.

There’s nothing improper with staying knowledgeable. But we want to apply self-care, and stability our consumption of grim information with gentler sorts of stimulation, for our personal well being and the sanity of these round us.

One good answer is logging off. (Isn’t it at all times?) But there are nourishing issues we will do on-line, too. As I wrote in my column, the coronavirus disaster has made the web really feel unexpectedly social. Every day, there’s an explosion of latest, artistic sorts of digital community-building occurring, as we discover new methods to use know-how to change a few of the bodily proximity we’re dropping.

Teenagers are utilizing the videoconferencing app Zoom as a makeshift social community, as my colleagues Taylor Lorenz, Erin Griffith and Mike Isaac reported. Art galleries and comedy golf equipment compelled to shut by the virus are streaming their exhibits as an alternative. Musicians are giving quarantine concert events. There’s a brand new Instagram courting present referred to as “Love Is Quarantine.”

Over the previous few days, I’ve discovered a couple of methods to keep sane on-line. I’ve muted some group chats with panic-inclined buddies, so I can keep away from being interrupted each time one in all them sees a brand new story concerning the virus. I’ve began meditating once more. (Several meditation apps, together with Calm and Headspace, have launched free meditations to assist folks deal with coronavirus-related stress.) I’ve used Freedom, a productiveness app, to lock myself out of social media throughout sure hours of the day.

I’ve additionally tried to do much less browsing and extra one-on-one connection: calling my household, establishing Zoom dates with buddies, sending Instagram direct messages. Research has discovered that utilizing social media actively makes us really feel higher than consuming it passively, and in my case, the discovering checks out.

The different day, I requested my Facebook buddies what they had been doing to keep sane whereas they sheltered in place. Their solutions included:

  • “I bought an Xbox after 13 years. Working on getting the old Halo gang together.”

  • “Reading, cleaning and organizing my house, making things more cozy since I’m spending a lot more time here. Talking on the phone and texting to maintain some connection with people.”

  • “I’m doing all the little tasks one never has time for like sharpening knives, washing the reusable shopping bags, cleaning out closets, etc., so I feel super accomplished! And keeps me from watching the pandemic coverage all day.”

  • “Get a group video chat together and play the online version of Code Names at horsepaste.com!”

  • “I’m a teacher, so I’m both planning and teaching 6th grade English and home schooling 2nd and 5th grades. So not really staying sane at all, but thanks for asking, Kevin.”

My Smarter Living colleagues additionally put collectively a listing of 10 methods to ease your coronavirus nervousness.

A number of extra items of tech information that — like all information through the week — revolved across the pandemic. (And sure, I mentioned I’m making an attempt to keep away from doomsurfing, however I promise these are value your time.)

  • A gut-wrenching report by Kate Conger, Adam Satariano and Mike Isaac on how the coronavirus has affected the livelihoods of gig employees for corporations like Uber, Lyft and TaskRabbit, who’ve few of the protections of salaried employees and no employer-sponsored well being care.

  • From Brian X. Chen, a information to fixing your work-from-home tech issues, reminiscent of “Why is my Wi-Fi connection so slow?” and “Wasn’t the fridge full of snacks yesterday?” (OK, that final one is simply my drawback.)

  • Karen Weise on how Amazon is coping with an enormous surge in demand from the virus by limiting shipments of sure items and prioritizing medical gadgets and family staples.

  • Two nice tales from China: Raymond Zhong’s report on the nation’s digital divide, which is leaving low-income households with out the flexibility to join to each day requirements like digital courses, and Paul Mozur’s take a look at China’s “internet police,” whose investigations and energy have solely intensified for the reason that coronavirus outbreak.

    Side word: Both Raymond and Paul are a part of the group of New York Times reporters that’s being ejected from China, as a part of the nation’s crackdown on American journalists. Both are phenomenally gifted reporters who’ve been working in China for years, and it’s each “irresponsible” (to borrow a phrase from a press release by Dean Baquet, the chief editor of The Times, concerning the expulsion) and really unhappy to see them being expelled from a rustic they’ve lined so effectively for therefore lengthy, at a time when good, impartial journalism is required in China greater than ever.

How are we doing?

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