Views: The President's Greatest Test


The global COVID-19 pandemic is now center stage, and everything else — tech policy, cybersecurity, even to a certain extent, electoral politics — have been pushed to the back burner.

We’re all becoming experts in epidemiology, infection rates, and flattening the curve. We know which countries have had an effective approach to mitigation, and which, let’s just say, not so much.

In America, however, moments of crisis are leadership tests. We all remember George W. Bush standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center. President Clinton channeling our pain after the Oklahoma City bombing. And Barack Obama’s steady hand during the great recession.

This is President Trump’s greatest test in his four years in office. So far, it’s been business as usual for the President, which has shaken markets and drawn criticism from public health experts.

Can he turn it around and lead a strong, decisive national response? Only time will tell, and there’s a lot riding on it.

Tech Responds to COVID-19

If there’s one saving grace in the midst of this crisis, it’s that our ability to communicate from wherever we are is better than ever. Schools, businesses, and other organizations are using collaboration tools such as Zoom and WebEx to keep things going, while we all perfect “social distancing.” Perhaps that’s why Zoom’s stock is basically even, while everything else is down 25-30%.

Our friends at Code For America hosted an informative virtual event entitled Successful Remote and Distributed Work in Uncertain Times, where they spoke to leaders and innovators in the telework space.

Meanwhile, Facebook announced this week a $20 million fund to help with coronavirus response. Funds will go to the WHO and United Nations Foundation.

Airbnb also announced this week that it would offer refunds at no charge to guests who decide to cancel as a result of coronavirus.

During a Rose Garden press conference, the president announced that Google is becoming a key technology partner, creating a website dedicated to raising awareness and spreading information about COVID-19. The website will contain a tool that tells people whether they should be tested for the virus or not.

Cyber Corner

Courtesy of Josh Zecher

Cybersecurity – More Important Now Than Ever …

While many of us and our colleagues are working from home to stay safe, cybersecurity becomes more important now than ever. All of us will be exposed to cyber risks from phishing attacks to ransomware. Help yourselves, your company and your friends by following some simple cyber rules of the road as we all hunker down for the next several weeks.

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