The coronavirus pandemic has halted life as we know it around the globe, and I don't know about you, but even though it's April Fools' Day, I'm finding it hard to have a sense of humour about anything right about now. And it seems Google agrees. As reported by Business Insider, Google is breaking from its annual April Fools' Day prank tradition out of respect for those affected by COVID-19.
Since 2000, Google has pulled off cool features like hidden Pac-Man games in Google Maps and pranks baked into YouTube and Google Calendar each year to commemorate the holiday. Other brands, from McDonald's to Snapchat, have jumped on the bandwagon as well. But I'm very relieved to share that this year, my inbox is not flooded with April Fool's Day pitches.
At a time full of so much uncertainty, fear, isolation, and grief, the last thing we need circulating the internet are coronavirus-related pranks that could cause confusion or further spread the already rampant misinformation floating around about COVID-19. And what with everything else being cancelled due to coronavirus, why should April Fools' Day be exempt? In some countries, including Thailand and India, making April Fools' Day jokes about coronavirus or joking about having it can even be punishable by jail time.
If you do encounter dubious coronavirus-related information today that you suspect might be April Fools' Day fare, remember not to believe everything you read. Always check for the most reliable and up-to-date information on the CDC's website. And if you do need some (good, clean) comic relief to brighten up your day today, instead consider mixing things up with a funny Zoom background in your next online class or team meeting. And then watch patiently for your coworkers and classmates to notice and laugh at it, one by one.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the Public Health Agency of Canada website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.