How much personal data should we reveal?

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Issue 8: 31 March 2020
Every week, HEADlines brings you the latest news, stories and commentaries
in education and healthcare. This week, get insights on the latest developments
in healthcare.
Public health vs privacy in the face of a pandemic

Social distancing has become the buzzword these days. One after another, we hear of countries closing borders, implementing lockdowns and mandatory quarantines in a bid to limit human interaction and slow down COVID-19's spread. Along with this, a tremendous amount of effort is made by governments to track, trace, and isolate infected individuals and the people they’ve been in contact with.

The use of location-based and facial recognition technologies have become prevalent to aid this massive endeavour. In China, South Korea and Taiwan, apps have been created for the purposes of monitoring those in quarantine or tracing nearby contacts. Hong Kong has taken it a step further, issuing wristbands to track the 14-day mandatory quarantine of all incoming travellers. Singapore has also launched its own 'TraceTogether' mobile app to boost its contact tracing efforts. 

Over in Europe, the European Union's Data Protection Authority has relented, allowing member countries to put privacy protection on pause in order to fight the virus. While a necessary and effective move in light of a global pandemic, critics have also suggested that the envelope can be pushed too far, making national surveillance a norm when COVID-19 has blown over.

Just how much privacy should we trade off for public health? MIT Technology Review offers some principles we can think about. Between ethical and public health concerns, perhaps the line is finer than we think. 
Healthcare in the Spotlight
Pandemics have always shaped cities - from increased surveillance to 'de-densification' to new community activism, COVID-19 is doing it already.
A small team of biologists spanning the globe unravels - and tweets out - the virus' stealthy transmission patterns in near real time.
There is evidence of declining carbon emissions and improved air quality as societies lock down. Experts say potential stimulus funding could present an opportunity to perpetuate these changes.
A new study of more than 3 million Americans found that the longer people had to sweat out 80-degree days, the bigger the mental health drain.
Montessori learning isn't just for children. As it turns out, the learning style could transform dementia care.
Can dance and movement heal the body? An increasing number of research shows it positively impacts our brain and emotions.
Using a melding of Western medicine principles and Eastern medicine therapies, Yale's Pharmacology Professor is developing botanical drugs that can treat cancer at a whole-body systems level.
Let's not forget that our fight against dengue has not ended. Amidst COVID-19, Singapore is affected by a new strain of dengue virus DENV-3 this year.

That's all for the week!
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