How we can redesign cities to fight future pandemics


Throughout history, disease outbreaks have forced new innovations in urban design: Fighting cholera epidemics in the 1800s, for example, necessitated the building of new plumbing and sewer systems and the devising of new zoning laws to prevent overcrowding. As the new coronavirus lays bare the need for broader changes across our economy, such as widespread paid sick leave, it might also influence how cities and buildings are built.

“There’s an interesting nexus that’s happening with the increase in thinking about chronic health in cities and the health districts that we’re designing . . . and this particular epidemic,” says David Green, a principal at Perkins and Will, a design firm that has worked on “health districts” that address wider health issues such as walkability as a tool to reduce obesity and diabetes. “I think that the next couple of months, especially, and the next year, is going to fundamentally change the way we think about the design of cities.”

Source: How we can redesign cities to fight future pandemics

Go Ahead, Stream All You Want. The Internet Is Fine—for Now | WIRED


Netflix says it will lower the quality of its video streams in Europe in an effort to preserve bandwidth for more essential online activities.

But early data shows that most US broadband providers, and many elsewhere, are standing up to the surge in internet traffic generated by the many people stuck at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic. At least for now.

Companies that monitor internet traffic have seen a surge in internet activity in recent weeks. As traffic has increased, internet speeds have decreased in some areas.

Source: Go Ahead, Stream All You Want. The Internet Is Fine—for Now | WIRED

Coronavirus Will Be the Hardest for Gig and Service Workers in the U.S. | Teen Vogue


Now, with the new coronavirus spreading across the globe and the death toll rising, people are coping as best as they can. Social media has been awash in jokes about self-quarantining and photos of barren shelves at Whole Foods and lines snaking through Trader Joe’s. Journalists have kept busy opining about what a shift toward remote work might look like, while companies that peddle remote-access technologies watch hungrily.

The more lighthearted threads of discourse belie a sense of uneasiness, even low-level panic, that’s been building with each new troubling headline. Those who are at higher risk — the elderly, the immunocompromised, and people with other existing medical conditions — keep sounding the alarm, and most folks are keeping an eye on the situation, but one gets the distinct impression that there is a certain class of people who have not quite worked out how much they’re supposed to care about any of it.

Source: Coronavirus Will Be the Hardest for Gig and Service Workers in the U.S. | Teen Vogue

“All Hell Is About to Break Loose”: Could Wall Street’s Coronavirus Tsunami Get Worse? | Vanity Fair


“Capitalism does not work in an 18-month shutdown, capitalism can work in a 30-day shutdown.”

He said that a shared sacrifice was necessary, much as Americans made in World War II. Staying at home for a month was not too much to ask, he said.

“The only shared sacrifice that is going on right now is the health care community, the nurses, the doctors, the people taking care of patients,” Ackman continued. “Those people are making enormous sacrifices. [The president] is not saying storm the beaches of Normandy right now, he’s saying go home, go home, spend a month with your family.

Source: “All Hell Is About to Break Loose”: Could Wall Street’s Coronavirus Tsunami Get Worse? | Vanity Fair

Global Europe Brief: A continent quarantined | EURACTIV.com


It’s official: Europe’s coronavirus deaths have exceeded Asia’s toll this week. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that Europe is now the “epicenter” for the global COVID-19 pandemic – and warned it is impossible to know when the outbreak will peak.

Maria Van Kerkhove, who heads the WHO’s emerging diseases unit, warned it is “impossible for us to say when this will peak globally.” A few days after their comments, governments across the world have imposed draconian measures to try to slow the pace of infections and deaths, confining people to their homes, closing shops, restaurants and schools to practice social-distancing and therefore dramatically changing everyday life as we know it.

In Europe, with more than 85,490 confirmed cases and 4,070 deaths as of Thursday (19 March), millions of people are on strict lockdown.

Source: Global Europe Brief: A continent quarantined – EURACTIV.com

EU citizens stranded as repatriation efforts face obstacles | EURACTIV.com


As of Monday (23 March) surpassed the 160,000 mark in reported cases on the continent, with 8,622 deaths.

The huge spike in cases prompted countries on other continents with much smaller numbers to impose restrictions on tourists and business visitors from Europe.

“There are some countries where we have some concerns, especially in Asia, Latin America and Subsaharan-Africa, where a growing number of travellers are seeking help to return,” Borrell told reporters after the meeting.

Source: EU citizens stranded as repatriation efforts face obstacles – EURACTIV.com

Can the EU be run by videolink? Confidentiality is the biggest problem | EURACTIV.com


Member states expect the regular meetings of their ambassadors in Brussels to play a greater role in EU decision-making.

But they regret that their leaders will no longer be able to hold smaller side meetings to resolve problems at summits.

And they worry leaders will not be able to speak frankly when they can’t be sure who is listening in on the other end of the line.

“There are now always 10 people sitting in the room. That makes several hundred people in Europe listening,” the diplomat said.

“And anyone can record this and pass it on to the press. it’s a completely different atmosphere.”

Source: Can the EU be run by videolink? Confidentiality is the biggest problem – EURACTIV.com

GPS is Fatally Flawed. It’s Past Time to Fix It.  | Nextgov


Much like the internet, America’s satellite-based Global Position System was designed to be accessed and used by all. It has immeasurably benefited mankind.

At the same time, bad actors have exploited the system’s vulnerabilities for their own purposes. This poses a grave threat to our nation, which the government has long recognized but has refused to address.

Highly precise and free of charge from the government, GPS timing has become integrated into virtually every electronic system. And because GPS was America’s gift to the world, we gave away the code to access it. This has helped make it a global utility. It has also meant that GPS signals can be easily imitated and receivers convinced they are in false locations.

Russia, China and Iran regularly exploit this vulnerability. Worse, equipment that has come on the market in the last several years has enabled only modestly competent hobbyists and terrorists and to be able to fool GPS also.

Source: GPS is Fatally Flawed. It’s Past Time to Fix It.  – Nextgov

Why Trump Isn’t Using The Defense Production Act | Defense One


For a week, President Donald Trump has frustrated state governors and local lawmakers by insisting that he was using the Defense Production Act to boost production and improve allocation of badly needed medical supplies amid the spreading coronavirus crisis.

But pressed on whether the administration was using either of the act’s two main authorities to compel companies to help or to direct supplies to the worst-hit epicenters, officials were vague.

On Sunday, Trump and trade policy director Peter Navarro acknowledged that although the president signed an executive order last week nominally invoking the act, his administration is not using any of the emergency powers that it grants.

Source: Why Trump Isn’t Using The Defense Production Act – Defense One

What Can the U.S. Military Do to Help Fight the Pandemic? | Time


What else can our 1.2 million active duty and 800,000 national guard and reserves do?

An important caveat: the military’s first order of business must be to maintain its own health and capability so we can ensure our national security remains strong. We cannot have coronavirus bring down our strategic nuclear forces, and our Navy ships must be ready to sail on combat missions.

The Army and Air Force know that the challenges of Iran and North Korea are not going to be put on pause while we fight coronavirus. So job one will be keeping the force healthy and ready to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations.

Source: What Can the U.S. Military Do to Help Fight the Pandemic? | Time