CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



The special collection on A Global Pandemic: Sociotechnical Perspectives on COVID-19 is available in the ASCE Library (https://ascelibrary.org/nhrefo/global_pandemic_covid19).The global pandemic of COVID-19 created enormous strains on the social and technical capacity of nations of the world as they sought to cope with a major threat that emerged in late December 2019 and continues through 2022. Nearly half a billion people, or 6.3% of the world’s population, have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease. Over six million people have died, and millions more are struggling with slow recovery or adverse health effects. New variants of the virus are still emerging despite the discovery of vaccines and a massive effort to vaccinate the world’s population. This colossal threat to global health has fundamentally challenged the sociotechnical infrastructure of nations to protect their populations and serves as a focal point for a special collection of articles for the Natural Hazards Review.The articles included in this collection address the intersection of technology, transportation, information systems, modeling, law, and policy as mechanisms used to cope with this silent, invisible threat that, unrecognized, has lethal consequences. The pandemic has been further exacerbated by the simultaneous occurrence of other hazards that disrupted the continuity of operations for communities large and small. Some authors explored the complex problems of managing evacuation in hurricane season during an ongoing pandemic, tracking the rate at which the infection was being transmitted and determining who was infecting whom, assessing fluctuations in traffic and its role in transmission of the virus, and exploring resistance to mask wearing among certain population groups. Others proposed the use of neural networks to identify associations between resistance to mask-wearing and cultural, social, environmental, and economic characteristics of diverse population groups. Predicting who would wear masks and why or why not became a critical issue in fostering collective action to reduce the spread of infection. Informing people regarding the risk of the virus and what actions they could take to prevent illness is essential to enabling people to manage risk. Still others explored the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) notification network used for other hazards as a viable means to alert the public to the threat of COVID-19. A key issue clouding the response to the pandemic is the limit on executive power in a context that demands immediate action when lives are at stake, but also requires a legitimate basis for citizens to manage their own risk.This collection of timely articles provides insightful perspectives on the myriad facets of how the threat of COVID-19 has affected the global, national, state, and local operations to protect public health. Other articles will be added to this special collection, as scholars continue to explore the multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional facets of this massive global event. We invite you to read the articles, and we welcome your comments in response.



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