Pandemics have impacted our society in different ways over the centuries. This is also the case of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which can be considered as the pandemic of the digital era. The reliance on the digital world has never been more crucial. Big data, mobile technology, and artificial intelligence have been adopted by many countries for a better pandemic management including planning, surveillance, contact tracing, testing, and health care strategies. An example of this is COVID Alert, the free app released by the government of Canada, that notifies people of a possible exposure before symptoms appear. In the case of science research, vaccine and drug development can be accelerated with the help of big data analysis and bioinformatic tools.
In addition to strategies for containment and mitigation processes, digital technology has also played an important role during the isolation period. Thanks to virtual platforms, students are able to continue their courses without the risk of in-class exposure. In fact, students from our Department have even defended their thesis by videoconference, allowing them to graduate on time. It is becoming increasingly evident that our adaptation into the digital world is now a need. Many businesses had to boost their online services as well as implement remote working for their employees in order to maintain their productivity. Likewise, the IMMpress team has also adapted to this era by releasing a virtual magazine and a Blog page, so our readers will not miss any of our issues. The cover for this IMMpress Magazine issue, Pandemics, depicts the integration and importance of digital technology in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the changes in our lives are likely to stay with us permanently even after the pandemic is over.