Some of the worst epidemics and pandemics in history have given us some of the most important and life-saving innovations ever. If not for epidemics, we wouldn’t have vaccines, public health initiatives, and even calculus. That’s right, when Newton was quarantined because of the Plague, he fled to the countryside and developed his theories of optics, gravity, the laws of motion, and calculus. This isn’t some terrible exercise designed to make you feel guilty for still being in your pajamas, it’s an exercise in hope. Right now there are people out there innovating and engineering the things that are going to get us all through this.
Numerous engineers have solved problems like 3D printing $10,000 ventilator valves for $1 and turning CPAP machines into oxygen delivery systems with the help of snorkeling equipment. Still more companies are retooling their production facilities to pump out newer, simpler ventilators at a quicker pace so more people can be saved by them.
Distilleries are changing from producing whiskey to producing hand sanitizer. People are making masks at home for healthcare workers, who are facing the threat of a serious shortage.
The Internet of Things and smart devices are helping to track the spread of Covid-19, as well. Cell phone data shows us which populations are following the shelter at home directives most closely, while smart thermometers are tracking the spread through the incidence of fevers in users.
Learn more about how epidemics and pandemics spur innovation and lead to better public health below!