March 27, 2020

COVID-19: Resources

Pivoting to Remote Work — COVID-19 Response Course Track for Nonprofits
Find a track of courses to provide information and tools for nonprofit employees and volunteers to seamlessly and quickly transition to remote work.

#BuildforCOVID19 Global Online Hackathon
Microsoft has partnered with the World Health Organization, Facebook, and other tech companies on #BuildforCOVID19 hackathon. The global hackathon will be an opportunity for developers to build software solutions that drive social impact, with the aim of tackling some of the challenges related to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

U.S. Digital Response for COVID-19
The U.S. Digital Response Team was started by three former U.S. Deputy CTOs (one who was a leader on the rescue effort, one who founded Code for America, and one who leads the Digital Service Collaborative at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center) and a technical executive formerly from Facebook and Stripe. They are now gathering volunteers to make available to government for a digital response to the pandemic.

More resources and tips from Microsoft and VFI are available in our latest blog post, COVID-19 Work from Home Resources.

COVID-19: Industry News & Response

Forbes A List Of Fintech Firms Providing Free Technology During The Coronavirus Crisis
To help banks help their customers through these trying times, many fintech providers are extending free, discounted, or accelerated deployment offers to financial institutions.

New York Times Big Tech Could Emerge From Coronavirus Crisis Stronger Than Ever
While the rest of the economy is tanking from the crippling impact of the coronavirus, business at the biggest technology companies is holding steady — even thriving.

Wall Street Journal Tech’s Next Disruption Target: The Coronavirus
Silicon Valley’s technology whizzes are mobilized to fight the coronavirus, trying to hack everything from disease modeling to elder care and medical-device manufacturing.

Wall Street Journal Coronavirus Cybersecurity Fallout Might Not Be Felt for Weeks or Longer
As millions of U.S. workers frantically pivoted to remote work last week, putting new strains on their computer networks, federal officials warned that hackers smelled blood. But the fallout from coronavirus-related breaches may not become clear for weeks, months or even longer, experts say. The expected delay highlights how confusion from the pandemic has created long-term security risks that could eat up precious resources as the economy hurtles toward a recession.

Tech Crunch IBM, Amazon, Google and Microsoft partner with White House to provide compute resources for COVID-19 research
During today’s White House coronavirus task force press conference, President Trump announced the launch of a new public/private consortium to “unleash the power of American supercomputing resources.” The members of this consortium are the White House, the Department of Energy and IBM . Other companies, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as a number of academic institutions, are also “contributing lots of different things,” the president said. While Trump’s comments were characteristically unclear, IBM provided more details, noting that it is working with a number of national labs and other institutions to offer a total of 330 petaflops of compute to various projects in epidemiology, bioinformatics and molecular modeling. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are also part of the consortium, which is being led by IBM, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Department of Energy.

Seattle Times Microsoft push brings medical supplies from overseas to aid in state’s coronavirus fight
There wasn’t much left in Microsoft President Brad Smith’s bag of tricks by the time he picked up a phone late last Saturday and called the White House. Smith already had spent the prior week helping his overseas teams negotiate the release of 240,000 desperately needed N-95 surgical masks from an undisclosed foreign government so they could be shipped to the United States in anticipation of an onslaught of hospitalizations caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. But after subsequently being flown overseas by Federal Express to a distribution center in Memphis, the masks sat untouched for 48 hours awaiting a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspector to arrive and sign them onward.

WJLA A new perspective: Virtual reality shows exactly how COVID-19 can damage the lungs
High-tech imaging is now providing a first-of-its-kind look at the damage COVID-19 can inflict on a patient’s lungs. Dr. Keith Mortman, the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at George Washington University Hospital, used a CAT scan from an actual coronavirus patient to create the virtual reality rendering.

CBSN Denver Coronavirus In Colorado: DPS To Hand Out In-Home Learning Technology To Families
Denver Public Schools announced its plan to distribute thousands of laptops and tablets to students and their families. The students are learning from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.


The Hill America has an election access problem — tech can’t solve it
Long lines, confusion and malfunctioning machines plagued the Super Tuesday vote earlier this week, as thousands of Americans voted – or attempted to vote – in the presidential primaries.

GCN States begin prep for mail-in voting in presidential election
Election officials in states with restrictive absentee requirements are looking for ways to allow as many voters as possible to use absentee ballots, a safer alternative to in-person voting in a global pandemic.


CNBC House passes $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, sends it to Trump
The House passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, sending the unprecedented measure to President Donald Trump’s desk after a scramble to block an effort to delay its passage. The plan, which includes one-time payments to individuals, strengthened unemployment insurance, additional health-care funding and loans and grants to businesses to deter layoffs, got through the Senate unanimously on Wednesday night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described the bill “as mitigation” of the pandemic’s destruction, predicting Congress will draft more plans to aid “recovery.”

Geekwire How the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package impacts startups
The legislation carves out $350 billion for small business loans to cover expenses for up to eight weeks, covering companies with fewer than 500 employees.

FedScoop White House tells agencies to use technology to the ‘greatest extent practicable’ during coronavirus
The White House issued a memo Sunday urging agencies to maximize the use of technology during the coronavirus pandemic to best continue normal operations.

FCW Congress faces the prospect of tele-legislating
The legislative branch may soon have to follow the rest of the federal government and corporate America and begin working remotely to reduce risk of coronavirus transmission, but there are serious questions about whether Congress has the legal and technological infrastructure in place to make it practicable for very long.

Multichannel News Sen. Klobuchar Helms Rural Broadband Bill
A bipartisan rural broadband bill has been introduced by more than two dozen senators led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The Keeping Critical Connections Act is meant to make sure small broadband providers can ensure that students and their families can stay connected to broadband during the pandemic via continuing to offer free or discounted broadband.

CNet Trump signs laws to boost 5G security, broadband availability
President Trump on Monday signed into law a pair of bills designed to boost wireless and broadband networks: the Secure 5G and Beyond Act and the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act. The first requires the president to develop a strategy to secure and protect 5G technology, while the second is meant to improve the accuracy of maps detailing where broadband is and isn’t available in the US.


CNBC How wearable robots are helping people with paralysis walk again
Wearable robots are helping people with paralysis walk again. Over the last few years, there have been major developments in this field, giving hope to people with spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders and strokes.

KNSI Groups Calling for Better Rural Broadband Access for Parents, Students
Schools across the state are closed, forcing districts to do what is called distance learning. Districts in rural areas are getting creative with how the students get their instruction, including sending home worksheet packets and allowing students to come to the school parking lot to hook into district wi-fi.


The Brookings Institution

  • Blog on Robots and COVID-19
    As if American workers don’t have enough to worry about right now, the COVID-19 pandemic is resurfacing concerns about technology’s impact on the future of work. Put simply, any coronavirus-related recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation. What’s the connection between recessions and automation? On its face, the transition to automation may appear to be a steady, long-term trend. At the same time, it might seem intuitive that any rise in unemployment in the coming months will make human labor relatively cheaper, thus slowing companies’ move to technology. Unfortunately for the workers poised to be affected by automation, this is not the case. (The Avenue – The Robots are ready as the COVID-19 recession spreads, March 24, 2020)

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