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November 04, 2020 Column

Editor’s Column

By William R. Drexel

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our country, its economy, and its citizens. The long-term global consequences of the virus remain unclear, but it likely will affect critical infrastructure providers directly and indirectly for some time. It is thus quite appropriate that we dedicate this issue to the pandemic and how it impacts, and may be impacted by, the infrastructure sector of our economy.

In our first article, Managing Critical Infrastructure During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Kevin Jones explains how critical infrastructure companies and other essential businesses can take measures and develop strategies to monitor and manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19 within their workforces. The article explains the importance of contingency plans that can be implemented swiftly if an outbreak occurs within the essential employee population. Substantial advance planning is necessary because medical, legal, and other considerations must be coordinated among company management, legal and medical advisors, and critical workforce personnel.

In our second article, Mobile Technologies and COVID-19: A Primer on Fighting the Virus with Cell Phones, Michael Roberts explains how mobile technologies can be used by businesses and governments to manage the pandemic. Mobile technologies offered by infrastructure companies, for example, can facilitate contract tracing and enable quick response (QR) codes that serve as digital immunity passports and provide health screening, monitoring, and alerting systems. The use of such digital technologies is positively correlated with more effective pandemic management across the globe. The author identifies the opportunities and legal issues surrounding the use of such technology.

I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the entire Section to congratulate Cathy McCarthy on her election as Chair of IRIS for the upcoming year. Cathy has served our Section for many years and thus is well-equipped to lead us through the continued uncertainty arising from the pandemic. Like many of our clients, we will need to remain flexible and adapt to the changing needs of our members, our clients, and their customers.

We hope you enjoy this issue. As noted in our last issue, we have begun regular podcasts focusing on topics in Infrastructure. Our first podcast was on net neutrality, which was the subject of an article in the Winter 2020 Infrastructure issue, and we have had more recent podcasts on the Safety Act and renewable energy. Other topics should be covered in additional podcasts by the time this article is printed. Follow us on twitter (@AmericanBarIRIS) or connect with me on LinkedIn to get timely notices of new podcasts as they are released.

If you have other suggested topics for future issues or would like to submit an article for consideration, please contact me at [email protected].

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