Credit to Tech’s Pandemic Leadership
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U.S. tech companies could have done more to keep Americans informed about the coronavirus and to help people and businesses that have struggled. But they have also been decisive forerunners in protecting their workers and the rest of us from the virus.
Last year, some leading tech companies closed their offices relatively early as coronavirus outbreaks began in the United States, and they continued to pay many hourly workers who couldn’t do their jobs remotely. These actions from companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Twitter have likely helped save lives in the Bay Area and possibly beyond.
Now, many of the same tech companies – as well as schools and universities, healthcare facilities, and some government employers in the United States – have started announcing vaccination mandates for staff, resuming mask-wearing requirements. , delayed reopening of offices or on-site vaccinations at the workplace to help slow the latest wave of infections.
American tech companies, which deserve criticism for abusing their power, should also be given credit for using their power to take decisive action in response to virus risks.
These steps helped make it acceptable for other organizations to follow. And in some cases, tech companies have acted faster in response to health threats and communicated more effectively than leaders of federal or local governments.
I understand that readers will disagree on whether employers should require vaccinations or other health measures. I also understand that tech companies have many advantages over other types of employers, including workers who can largely do their jobs away from an office. Companies that make cars or planes, serve food, or run hospitals don’t have that luxury.
And tech companies based in left-wing regions of the United States, including the Bay Area and Seattle, are less likely to face backlash from local staff or politicians for demanding vaccinations. Having infinite dollars also gives tech companies the ability to do what they think is best.
But other wealthy companies have for the most part not been so visible in leading the way for large employers to help with the country’s response to the pandemic.
Tech companies cannot and should not replace effective government. The collaboration of private industry and the United States government has been instrumental in the development and delivery of highly effective vaccines, and it is the actions of the federal government that have dramatically reduced poverty in America in times of crisis.
There is reason to be concerned that the tech superpowers and other private companies have too much influence. But in this case, the tech companies have shown power to make us all a little bit safer.
Understanding the State of Vaccination Mandates in the United States
A MeToo calculation in video games: Many employees at video game company Activision Blizzard are protesting what they say is routine workplace harassment and unfair pay for women. The video game industry has traditionally ignored allegations of sexism and abuse of women, but now “a critical mass of its own workers indicates they will no longer tolerate such behavior,” write my colleagues Kellen Browning and Mike Isaac.
Related: The women of Google complained about the mistreatment inflicted by their bosses. They received mental health counseling and in at least one case the company requested access to an employee’s patient records, Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Ruchika Tulshyan report.
American drivers are the unconscious guinea pigs: New York Times editorial board member Greg Bensinger writes that Tesla is putting everyone at risk by overestimating the capabilities of driver assistance technologies in the company’s cars.
We can’t blame the internet companies alone: It is a mistake to overstate the influence of online disinformation on anti-vaccine beliefs in the United States, a writer from Wired said. There is also a risk that the public and the media will use “disinformation” as too broad a term for messages which are not objectively false but which contain hand-picked statistics or misleading interpretations of the facts.
Kisses to that
Watch the family of Olympic gymnast Sunisa Lee burst with joy when she won a gold medal.
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