‘Contact tracing’ is a process used by public health officials to identify individuals who may have come into close proximity with a contagious virus, such as COVID-19. Traditionally, infected persons are asked to identify interactions with people whilst infected or in the days leading up to infection being diagnosed. Health practitioners can then contact those at risk to warn them of potential exposure, what steps to take and how to avoid infecting others.
With every day that passes under various shelter-in-place and similar orders, life before COVID-19 seems less and less familiar. Yet prior to the pandemic, businesses were just starting to recognize and deploy an employee benefit demand that went beyond the traditional employer offerings of health insurance, life insurance and 401k contributions—holistic wellness. A decidedly positive, albeit fragile, trend was emerging that prioritized mental health and community building in the workplace. It was not uncommon in small and large companies alike to see direct offerings, stipends or discounts for meditation, therapy, yoga, gym memberships, life coaches, meal plans, etc. More than ever, wellness in the workplace was being recognized as being about more than sick days and family leave—it can be key to remaining competitive in drawing talent and, in turn, enabling sustained growth. As tellingly, health insurance providers were rolling out and investing in preventative health programs—becoming more aware that their own long-term savings were tied to having a healthier pool of participants.
Society is driven by word-of-mouth endorsements. Likewise, it’s instinctive to share self-prescribed remedies that alleviate our various ailments. A colleague recommends ginger tea for a cold. A friend tells you how lavender essential oil helps with anxiety and insomnia. We habitually rely on such recommendations. However, a business making such statements must be careful that any claims are substantiated and that marketing efforts do not run afoul of any laws or regulations. This is especially true now, where consumers are desperately hunting for hygienic methods to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and to treat symptoms stemming from COVID-19. Amidst the seemingly uncontrollable COVID-19 pandemic, it might seem like the perfect time for dietary supplement manufacturers and holistic medicine practitioners to tout the benefits of their products and services. But is it?
Car racing games have long attracted avid gamers. There’s the Gran Turismo series, the appeal of which wasn’t just the number of cars and tracks available, but also the ability to simulate a racing season and race against other players online. The cars could be heavily tuned, and for the most part different models had their own handling quirks and personalities.
The Mid Lane is a rundown of developments in the world of esports.
It is no surprise that COVID-19 is impacting esports players, tournaments and the overall landscape of the growing industry. (But Facebook did something, too!)
With the shelter-in-place orders imposed by the local and state governments, businesses are scrambling to transition to a virtual workforce and facilitating employees to work remotely from home. Educational institutions are no exception. School administrators and teachers have been working hard to create and implement plans to educate students at home, including maintaining a classroom curriculum through online platforms and incorporating daily or weekly interactions with the teacher and classmates through video chat or remote conferencing services.
While companies in every industry are working hard to figure out the best response to this global pandemic, those in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries have been faced with some unique challenges related to the balancing of intellectual property rights with serving the public good. One particular question that such companies might face is whether parts of their patent portfolio are connected to federal funding and if so, how the Bayh-Dole Act may come into play as the government faces increasing pressure to meet public health needs.
As the world collectively struggles to adapt to the “new normal,” it is clear that one of many challenges facing businesses and individuals is how to best adapt to supply chain disruptions. A key example of where these shortages are being reported is in the health care sector, which is experiencing a limited (or non-existent) supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and ventilators for patients. Not only have these shortages placed a strain on those treating patients who have fallen ill from COVID-19, but it has also frustrated efforts to fully identify who may or may not be infected. As one example, in a recent interview conducted by The Indicator podcast, it was reported that limited supplies of PPE to protect workers during patient sample collections were in turn limiting the ability of the University of Washington’s health center to test patients for coronavirus.
One doesn’t have to look beyond Facebook posts, Twitter feeds or just text messages with family members to understand how COVID-19 is transforming established norms. With bedrock industries such as air travel, hospitality, food and beverage, insurance and traditional health care, ringing the alarm, it is easy to lose track of a trend that was gently and steadily growing and effecting real and positive change—the embrace of holistic health and wellness in the workplace. Not surprisingly, many of the wellness companies leading this change rely on congregation—in-person community-building—for their growth.
March often marks a new beginning—not just by Mother Nature—but also in sports. In the U.S., March brings the excitement of the NCAA tournament, Spring Training for Major League Baseball, and the ever-tightening playoff races for the NBA.