How Using the Internet Can Protect You From Coronavirus
March 26, 2020 / Danika Miller
With widespread mandates to stay at home, the internet has never been more valuable. Online resources can help you maintain social-distancing and stay safe from COVID-19. With limitless information flows, innovative communication tools and an abundance of delivery services, you can ensure your risk for contamination is low.
Use the internet to stay informed
One of the most essential ways to stay safe from a global virus is to understand it. The internet is your best tool for staying informed about potential symptoms, prevention methods, the current status in your area and the latest government actions.
Your news source preference likely has up-to-date information on COVID-19. To get a broader scope of insight, news aggregators like Quartz will compile brief and digestible summaries of the latest news from around the web. You can also turn on notifications for crisis, emergency and public health alerts on apps and websites like Twitter, Google News, and iOS settings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is the official authority on the coronavirus and has a ton of resources to explore. For more specific insight, your local state, county and city websites or social media accounts should also contain updates and information for what’s happening near you.
Stick to telehealth services if you can
Public health officials are urging people to use digital health services for nonemergency remote medical attention. This will help alleviate the capacity constraints at hospitals, minimize your risk of catching something and help prevent spreading the virus to healthcare providers. Many clinics are offering routine checkups and prescription refills remotely via video chat, phone call or message.
Even if you suspect you might have COVID-19, there are state hotlines for determining if you should be tested, connected to a virtual visit with a physician, or seek in-person medical assistance. The exact digital capabilities vary by hospital, but nearly 80% have some level of telehealth service. Check your healthcare provider or health insurer’s website for personalized details on coverage and access to telehealth.
Take advantage of online grocery and food delivery
You can limit social interaction and potential contact with the virus by using online tools to avoid going out. Many grocery stores are offering same-day delivery, delayed shipping, and curbside pickup. Though you may experience trouble scheduling a same-day grocery delivery or find that some items are out of stock due to demand.
You can use websites like Instacart, ClickList, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Postmates to have food or groceries delivered to your home. Most of these companies are waiving delivery fees and practicing CDC recommended precautions like non-contact drop-offs.
The bottom line
The internet is an invaluable resource for keeping communities safe and connected during a pandemic. More than just an entertainment source, your internet connection can help you stay healthy, knowledgeable and maintain safe distances from potential contamination.