#WhatTheTech: Good News Only!

Written by:
Leah Johnston
Date Posted:
20 March 2020

Whilst news outlets flood our phones, TVs, laptops and minds with fear over endless COVID-19 updates, the tales of heroic medics, amazing community spirit, technological advances and climate benefits have been somewhat overlooked. 

So, in a world that seems full of negativity, we thought we would slightly change the format for this week’s #WhatTheTech, bringing you nothing but good news!

Pollution levels plummet 
The lack of factory output and vehicle emissions in areas of lockdown has created an unintentional beneficiary of the coronavirus – the planet. 

The pandemic seems to have allowed mother nature to do some much-needed healing, with parts of Italy, New York and China all seeing promising results.

Following the complete lockdown of Italy, the heavily polluted city of Venice has benefited from a well-earned rest and a lack of boat traffic. Venetians have been sharing pictures and videos of the usually murky canals now crystal-clear with fish swimming in them!

According to researchers at Columbia University, early results showed that emissions of carbon monoxide in New York, mainly from cars, had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.

Some reports have estimated that China’s quarantine has saved more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere – that’s about the equivalent of what Chile produces in a whole year!

Go clubbing from your couch
What do you do when the nightclubs close and all large events are cancelled? Well, a number of DJs in China and beyond have turned to “cloud clubbing” – where people can watch live DJ sets and interact with the audience online as if they are in a club. Ruan Liangliang, manager of nightclub TAXX Shanghai, commented, 

“Recently many of our friends and customers have said they are bored with their indoor lives. So we planned a live broadcast to share pleasant music and ease their anxiety.

Virtual party-goers have been tuning into China’s version of TikTok, Douyin, where DJs video their performance either from their studios, homes or a music venue, and then live stream it on the app for millions to watch, comment, and dance along.

According to Vice, almost 2.3 million people tuned into a cloud rave on 10th February put on by SIR TEEN, a club in Beijing. Clearly, the party won’t stop!

Robots doing human jobs aren’t always well-received, but it seems that they may have found their calling in the midst of a global pandemic! 

Hospitals with high rates of infections have been turning to robots to provide relief for overworked medical staff and avoid human-to-human contact where possible. In fact, an entire ward run by robots opened in a Wuhan field hospital, with bots assisting with jobs such as food and medicine delivery, monitoring patients’ vitals and sending updates to doctors, disinfecting rooms and equipment, and disposing of medical waste.

Ginger, a resident robot of the Wuhan hospital, is even being used to boost morale by interacting with patients and leading dance routines!

Putting pen to paper
Residents of Swarthmore Care Home have been inundated with cards and letters from all over the world offering support amidst the coronavirus crisis. 

Following the government announcement of social distancing measures, those living in care homes are no longer allowed to receive visitors. With all of the Buckinghamshire residents between 76 and 101 and therefore falling in the high-risk category, staff decided to post a message on social media asking for messages of support. 

By the power of social media, and returning to a more traditional way of communicating, the residents have been able to keep in touch with the outside world. One resident, Aileen Davis, commented, “It makes me feel like somebody cares. I think that’s the important thing. I think we need to think that somebody cares”. A fellow resident, John Brown added, “One benefit of coronavirus is that it makes people more conscious of the need to help others.”

Have you heard any other good news stories? Spread the positivity and let us know @hyve!

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