The Monumental Role that Apple News Plays in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Apple is holding, in my opinion, the biggest hand in this entire pandemic situation. They’ve got pocket aces, at least here in the United States, for one very big reason. Apple has the ability to ping approximately 100 million Americans at the same time. It’s an extremely huge responsibility that no other media company or device manufacturer has.

The only rival power is the US President’s National Wireless Emergency Alert System, where he can text every American with a cell phone simultaneously.

But a text from the President comes with many caveats. Everyone has an opinion of the guy. Some of those opinions include complete distrust of anything he says.

Apple doesn’t have that problem. The moment they pushed an Apple News notification to their users saying that Tom Hanks and his wife were quarantined in Australia – every iPhone user listened.

The only way to stop the spread of this virus is to get the right information and directions to us, the people. We’re each a node, a potential carrier, that helps the virus travel further.

And so yes, getting test kits, rallying healthcare resources, and commencing proper quarantines are all of extreme importance.

However, getting the right information in the public’s hands and telling them the proper actions to take is the most important vector to control here. And Apple has the best ability to do so at scale and speed.

Apple, by creating a closed ecosystem of hardware and software, created an information delivery system that rivals that of the US President. Let that sink in for a moment.

Apple has the equivalent of an Amber Alert for all information. And Twitter rides a close second.

Where’s Twitter At?

Twitter has a similar ability to Apple, except that they don’t control the content of the notifications quite to the same degree. They have, however, trained nearly 31 million daily active users in the US (and around 152 million Globally) to look at their phones when it buzzes. The behavior is what’s important here.

What I’d like to see, though, is Twitter take better action to share quality information. Not just celebrity reaction tweets. For instance:

I’d like to see Twitter pushing notifications of the Twitter threads like Dr. Daniele Macchini’s – who is a physician in Bergamo, Italy – sharing her actual experience working in the hospitals right now.

Likewise, the Twitter thread from an Accidents & Emergencies Consultant in Northern Italy who is sharing how negligence and feeling that the West is above the virus is exactly what caused a national state of emergency in Italy (and could elsewhere in the West too).

The general public is largely all in the same boat. We don’t know whether to panic, prepare, or pretend that nothing will happen. And that’s a major threat.

If you fail to prepare, then you’re preparing to fail. That’s my personal take. Stay smart and stay safe.