Got some time on your hands? Who doesn't. Why not fill out the census? It's easier than tackling the closet.
Today's Login shouldn't distract from either task. It's 1,242 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Governments around the world have turned to high-tech solutions like smartphone tracking and Bluetooth bracelets to slow the novel coronavirus' spread. For both practical and cultural reasons, however, the U.S. is unlikely to try such methods.
The big picture: The U.S. plainly needs more tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19. But a lack of testing supplies, the absence of nationwide strategies and policies, an individualistic culture, and concerns over civil liberties all stand in the way of adopting these techniques.
Driving the news:
Yes, but: Without widespread testing in the U.S., it's not clear who would be tracked or for what purpose.
Civil liberties advocates argue that invasive uses of technology, once introduced for well-meaning ends, are difficult to roll back and could lead to a more permanent erosion of privacy rights in the U.S.
Technology can still play a role in U.S. efforts against the virus.
Facebook is said to be in talks to buy a 10% stake in Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio, according to the Financial Times.
Why it matters: Facebook has long sought to invest in big markets where internet connectivity is sparse, expensive, or both — figuring that a boost in internet usage will result in more users.
Its last approach, subsidizing free use of Facebook, was poorly received in India. This would appear to be a different means to achieve the same end.
Meanwhile, in other virus news:
U.S. tech firms are donating big supplies of N95 masks, raising questions about why they have them in the first place. It largely comes down to stockpiling for California’s wildfires, Axios’ Kia Kokalitcheva and I report.
Why it matters: Health care professionals need all the masks they can get their hands on (far more than that, really).
In fact, California workplace rules require companies to have a two-week supply for all workers in the event of wildfires.
Yes, but: Not all of the recent donations have come from wildfire reserves.
An employee at the Technical University of Munich checks a pipetting robot that prepares samples from people with suspected COVID-19. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images
The coronavirus pandemic could accelerate the rise of the robots, according to a Brookings Institution blog post Tuesday, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
Why it matters: A coronavirus-caused recession will likely lead to a spike in automation, meaning some of the jobs lost to the virus will never return, as companies restructure their operations to rely more on machines than people.
Details: Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director of Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, says an ongoing trend of companies replacing less-skilled workers with a combination of technology and higher-skilled employees has accelerated under recent downturns. A recession induced by the coronavirus would be no different.
"There's likely going to be no rest [for] the weary if COVID-19 lingers. Along with a public health crisis and epidemic of illness, the virus may well spur a downturn that brings a new spike of automation and lasting changes to an already evolving ... job market."— Brookings' Mark Muro
Photo via Twitter