EMERGING NEWS 

Google Postpones US Office Reopening to September as Coronavirus Cases Spike

Every time a new outbreak of Ebola or another dangerous infectious disease sweeps a country, you can expect the usual stock-up on antiviral drugs and flu vaccine supplies – so if it’s not apparent right away, the people in charge are treating the problem as if it is a threat to national security. In fact, viruses are a threat to everyone.

And every once in a while, a completely unexpected outbreak will take over the world’s attention. Such was the case with the norovirus, a virus that causes nasty diarrhea and vomiting.

On May 19th, the first “major outbreak” (that was when the buzz started) occurred at a cruise ship called the Oasis of the Seas. Seven people got sick.

By the 24th, when the more minor outbreak had probably died out, 244 cruise passengers got sick and 22 were admitted to hospitals, with at least some being confirmed as suffering from norovirus. When illness hit the Hilton casino in Vegas, the casino – with a capacity of over 1,000 – collapsed.

It continued through May, with over 6,000 cases in total. At least two people died as a result.

Which brought us to Google. Google described the outbreak in California, where the cruise ship was, and it was obvious to everyone that it was norovirus, and it was. Google, indeed, really did describe the outbreak. Except that Google didn’t let the people in charge know – like the rest of us. They rather blithely invited me into their conference room, explained what had happened, and warned of upcoming outbreaks. They didn’t even ask for a VPN password. (That’s how serious they were.)

I think they were in no mood to give an expert opinion anyway.

Which brings us to Google’s latest move, which was to postponing its US office reopening to September, as it awaits a decision by the FDA on whether they can reopen. Which means, more or less, that until then, it will have no people. Well, pretty much – their executives will still be working, but the rest of them will be employed by contractors.

And it’s their security consultants that would be the most affected.

Which means that, even though G+ is going to be losing people, there is still an opportunity to have a mini-reunion there. If you know anyone at Google who looks like you, you might be one of them.

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