By Chand Bellur
March 6, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. PDT
- Apple recommends Apple Park employees work from home to avoid spreading COVID-19.
- Santa Clara County Public Health officials advise that employees work remotely, if possible.
- The California Department of Public Health does not recommend cancelling public events at this time.
Media Exaggerates COVID-19 Threat
COVID-19 isn’t a particularly deadly disease compared to the flu and even certain strains of cold virus. The media, however, has created a panic in order to keep viewers engaged.
Exaggerated claims of global catastrophe have created mayhem in some regions of the world. There are riots at Costco, as people stock up on bottled water, hand sanitizer and other pandemic essentials.
All the while, the World Health Organization has made it clear that, although COVID-19 needs to be contained, the disease is much less dangerous than other outbreaks, such as Ebola and SARS. They wish to contain the disease, which is no more deadly than many flu strains, because, in combination with the flu, COVID-19 would double the mortality rate.
The WHO wants to contain the disease while researchers develop a vaccine and treatments. They haven’t instructed people to shelter in place or stop going to work. Instead, the strategy is to quarantine areas that are infected, in order to slow spread of the disease. This is temporary, until a vaccine and treatments are developed. Much like a cold or flu, COVID-19 is a seasonal disease that will likely taper off in the next few months.
If you follow primary sources, such as WHO news conferences, these facts are well known. If you’re watching twenty-four hour cable news, you may believe that we’re on the verge of the next apocalypse.
COVID-19 is the next Y2K, Stormy Daniels or Ebola. All of these events, and many more, were excessively hyped by a media that scares people into watching the news. Even SARS, a much deadlier disease, did not generate this much hype. Images of health workers covered in protective gear generate visceral fear amongst an easily manipulated public.
As fear of COVID-19 spreads, even rational minds are erring on the side of caution. Apple today urged Apple Park employees to work from home, if possible.
Apple Park Employees Encouraged to Work From Home to Avoid Spreading COVID-19
Apple Park, located in Santa Clara county, is the world headquarters for Apple, one of the largest corporations on the planet. The enormous “space ring” facility is used by 12,000 Apple employees and contractors. It’s the size of a small town. Disease transmission is riskier when so many people are contained under one enormous roof.
Santa Clara Public Health officials recommend that employees telecommute if possible. This advice is for all corporations in Santa Clara county. Apple’s work from home recommendation is an extension of Santa Clara county’s guidance.
It remains to be seen how many employees will actually heed the advice. Some of Apple’s teams are ill-equipped to work at home. Not all Apple employees write code. Many of them work with hands-on physical design equipment in material science labs. Those working in labs, design or with materials can’t really work remotely. They will likely continue working on-site at Apple Park.
Not all employees need to leave in order to ensure safety. Simply reducing the number of employees in the facility should decrease chances of contracting the disease.
There’s no word as to when Apple will reverse their work from home recommendation. For now, they’re monitoring the situation as it unfolds.