Nestled among Kansas cornfields in a landscape devoid of any noticeable natural topography, a verdant mound can be seen from a dirt road. Surrounded by a military-grade chain fence and in the shadow of a large wind turbine, a security guard in camouflage paces the fence line with an assault rifle. If you look closely, you might notice what looks like a concrete pill box perched on the top of the small hill, flanked by cameras. What lies underneath is a bunker that is unassuming, unassailable and – to many – unbelievable.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic started in late 2019, the free movement of billions of people – including tourists, business people, digital nomads, refugees and students – across nations was a common part of life.
The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have reminded us of the vital role public space plays in supporting our physical and mental well-being. We need to move, to feel sunlight and fresh air, and to see, talk and even sing to other people.
Lockdowns and “social distancing” have limited our participation in public life and public space. As a result, cities around the world are reporting declines in health and well-being. We are seeing increases in depression, domestic violence, relationship breakdowns and divorces.
The current health crisis has led to a rise in the use of digital services. Telework, along with school closures and the implementation of distance learning solutions (CNED, MOOCs, online learning platforms such as Moodle for example), will put additional strain on these infrastructures since all of these activities are carried out within the network. This raises concerns about overloads during the lockdown period. Across the Internet, however, DNS server loads have not shown a massive increase in traffic, therefore demonstrating that Internet use remains under control.
We’ve all been living through this pandemic for many weeks now. Wherever we are in the world, we’re all impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another, and we’re all developing our own ways to cope, stay healthy and stay connected.
We may not be together physically, but we can all draw inspiration from one another. I’ve enjoyed seeing thousands of our team members interacting and sharing stories across our various digital and social channels. I was particularly moved by a video that our team in Dalian, China, created to reassure us all that we can make it through this.