COVID-19 impact on engineering, engineers

Engineers like facts and seek credible information sources on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) effects to the engineering-related world. Engineers also have technologies, processes and expert advice that can help. See Control Engineering highlights.

By Mark T. Hoske March 17, 2020

Engineers have technologies that can help with responses to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) effects, and CFE Media and Technology websites (Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Oil & Gas Engineering) includes a section with updates on coronavirus impacts on engineers and a related newsletter.

On March 12, the sites also launched a survey to learn more about impact on business, company responses, remote work and operations, supply chain, travel, user group and trade show impacts, future impacts of similar challenges and government strategies by country.

Control Engineering coronavirus coverage to date includes articles on use of coronavirus for malware attack, manufacturing production information, coronavirus preparations, role of the supply chain, National Safety Council update, 3D coronavirus roadmap, the delay of Hannover Messe until July and more. The CFE Media and Technology Marketing to Engineers event on April 27 in Chicago has been moved online.

As an engineering-minded observer, I’m aware of and concerned about wide-spread lack of appreciation for fact-based information. A lot of new information is available daily. Some of it, from sources that should be credible, turn out to be incorrect or misleading. I believe engineers are highly discerning consumers of information, with carefully tuned abilities to seek and encourage use of multiple, credible sources to validate what’s presented without falling prey to clickbait that can increase cybersecurity risk.

Three COVID-19 points

Just as the virus’ potential for exponential growth without appropriate mitigation, so has available information about COVID-19. Three notes of appreciation follow.

  • Companies, governments, and groups have employed policies and technologies for remote monitoring, meetings, measurements, learning, and controls to promote social distancing needed to slow the spread and not overload healthcare facilities. No one wants to hear that their ill or elderly loved ones were on the wrong end of a triage decision where healthcare is beyond capacity. We can all do our part to change the infection curve and explain to others the irrefutable math behind it.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-tracked approvals to more quickly expand COVID-19 test capacity (mistakenly initially portrayed as widely available). Countries with widespread testing have had better outcomes in limiting spikes in infection rates to better distribute healthcare resources.
  • “Flu and COVID-19: Similar symptoms, different fears,” a March 11 Associated Press article by Marilynn Marchione, AP chief medical writer, in the Daily Herald (Paddock Publications), included the three critical sentences. “But to public health experts, the huge number of flu deaths is exactly why extraordinary steps should be taken to try to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading widely. The flu’s annual return can’t be stopped because it’s already so embedded in the population. There is still a chance COVID-19 cases can be limited or spread slowed while treatments are developed.”

We all need to think again about how technologies and science-based critical thinking can spread compassion and wisdom more quickly than hysteria and misinformation.

Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

KEYWORDS: COVID-19 engineering impacts, coronavirus

CFE Media and Technology publications add engineering related COVID-19 coverage

Newsletter has COVID-19 engineering-related coverage

Engineers can help share legitimate knowledge and technologies that can help with COVID-19 responses.


Have you helped dispel misinformation related to COVID-19 and encourage smarter behaviors and technologies?


Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.