Many times, the internet has been ‘broken’ because of a trend, hashtag, or news. By ‘breaking the internet’ we refer to being widely popular, with individuals across the globe, re-sharing, tweeting, writing, and searching for the topic. Usually, when something breaks the internet, it is interesting for a specific target audience, however, this time, everyone is virtually talking about the same thing – a respiratory tract infection that infected 2,027,643 and taken the life of 129,155 people. The question that started as, ‘what is the coronavirus’, emerged to, ‘symptoms of coronavirus’ and ‘do I have the coronavirus’ and is now, ‘coronavirus vaccine’ and ‘how and when will the coronavirus end?’

Everything You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Outbreak

With these top trending searches for the COVID-19, here is a detailed insight on the internet’s latest deadly sensation, which covers the most searched for topics on the World Wide Web.

What is the coronavirus?

The virus that cannot be seen from the naked eye has proven to be fatal for elderly people, people with low immunity, and people with pre-existing health conditions. It has the symptoms of normal flu, and then before you know it, you develop pneumonia and breathing problems. If your body can fight it off, you recover and if not, it deteriorates your system. What emerged as an unknown condition in the city of Wuhan, China has caused the world to shut down.

How does the virus spread?

Contrary to popular belief, the virus is not air-borne. You can get it if you come in contact with an infected person or a contaminated surface. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours and sometimes days. The tricky part that has left the internet dumbfounded is the fact that one person may have the virus and not know about it. This means that the symptoms will not show until five to fourteen days, and until then the person can infect thousands – some who might not be lucky to survive it!

How can I prevent myself from getting the virus?

You can prevent being infected by staying home. Going out increases the probability of coming in contact with a coronavirus patient. The most important thing to do is to wash hands repeatedly with soap. If for some reason, you cannot wash hands, then use an alcoholic sanitizer to kill off the germs. Staying clean and practicing good hygiene habits will reduce your chances of getting ill. Social distancing means not interacting with people; it is widely being practiced across the globe and messages promoting it are surfacing the internet.

Is there a cure for the virus?

There is no cure for the virus, which is why people are worried. Thanks to the internet, we are updated with the on-going testing and tries for the COVID-19 vaccine and health care providers all over the globe are sharing life-saving medical updates. According to the internet’s reliable sources, even if a vaccine is made, which is expected to take several months, the process of it being approved, finalized and distributed on a global level will be very time-consuming.

Why is the internet worried?

Some people are finding it awfully stressful to be online during this trying time. Similar to reality, the internet too is a chaotic place, and all sorts of false, misleading, and upsetting information is being shared on it. Since everyone has access to it, there is no stopping it. Some popular COVID-19 myths on the internet include:

  •   If I wear a mask, I cannot get the virus. The cotton and surgical masks provide some protection but because they are loosely fitted and also because the virus particles can enter through the eyes, you can get the virus.
  •   If I order a parcel from China, I will get the virus. Look at what the internet has us believing about COVID-19! Any contaminated surface with the germs can pass on the virus to you! Moreover, research suggests that after 72 hours, the impact the germs on the surface can have reduced significantly which means until that parcel arrives, you probably won’t contact the virus!
  •   The rising temperature will kill the virus. Sigh, this one got us good. The internet built up our hopes but unfortunately, less is known about this virus and its attributes so this has not been proven up until now.

These are just some of the myths floating on people’s dual screens. Do not believe everything you see on the internet!

According to the internet, how and when will the coronavirus end?

People have had enough. The lockdown and self-isolation are impacting their mental well-being and they’re searching for hope on the internet. They want answers: when will the virus outbreak end and how will it end? According to popular websites on the web, the future holds three possible outcomes. One, we will have a vaccine. As discussed before, it is time-consuming but it is our best bet. Till it comes, regulations such as time curfews, lockdowns, and social distancing will slow the spread till we have the cure in our hands. Two, we will have no option but to let the virus continue its course. If the hopes for finding a cure in the near future expire, then the world will try to return to normal. This means more deaths and the collapse of the healthcare system. However, it will prevent financial and economical disasters. This is the worst-case scenario. The third outcome on the internet is that we change our lifestyle to slow down the virus spread as much as possible, saving people and going on with the routines.

How is the internet helping at this time?

The internet has been the greatest source of help during this hopeless time. Here are some of the most promising things, which it is currently doing, amidst the corona outbreak:

Tele-health apps

To reduce the risk of getting sick and picking up more diseases from the clinics and hospitals when ill, telehealth applications have taken the world by storm. These are apps and websites that allow online chats, videos, and doctor consultations. From the comfort of your home, you can voice your concerns and the doctor can evaluate, diagnose, and treat you. This is an actual leap into the future!

Online education

The schools might be shut down during the COVID-19 crisis but fortunately, the internet has given birth to virtual education; online classes, lectures, videos, presentations, and whatnot. The schools have become digital and the screens are pouring more knowledge than ever before. The internet has not forgotten parents and there has been an increase in parent control and parent monitoring software tools to help keep the offspring on track.

Remote work

Because of the rules set, people have been instructed to work from home. The internet is allowing people to communicate without any hassle, download applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other business apps, to work efficiently and effectively. The internet is a wondrous place because there also exist applications to increase productivity.

Entertainment

Thanks to social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we are connected with our loved ones even if they are miles apart. We are making the most out of content online and sharing it. Streaming websites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, etc. have made the tedious days easier. And because of them, we can forget the outside world and have a good laugh. YouTube is letting people create content, try out new recipes, techniques, and hacks, and let them broadcast their talent. TikTok is another such example where not only the millennial generation but also social media celebs of all ages have started sharing stuff.

Updates

The people are globally connected and they are helping each other cope by updating each other with the latest happenings regarding the availability of medications, recommendations on work and school, transfer of things, donations, travel, and news related to COVID-19. The internet has helped become a global family. We are seeing how everyone is dealing with the lockdown and restrictions and it is helping us stay sane.

Mental health

Staying up locked inside, where some of us have to deal with toxic members, some find it difficult to juggle personal and professional life, and some are struggling with maintaining meaningful relationships with their children, the mental health of many has been impacted. People are suffering from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks more than ever. The internet has helped people get out of their distress, share their concerns to find similar voices, and get online therapy.

New skills

Since people have nowhere to go and little to do, and are stuck in their houses, this quarantine time has proven to be the perfect time to acquire new skills, and start things that you’ve always wanted to do but never have gotten the time to. The internet is our best friend in this regard for everything from learning a new language, to enrolling in a course, to set up an e-commerce business – everything is there.

Everything You Need to Know About the Internet and TV During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Now that we have discussed the benefits of the internet, let us discuss the ways in which you can stay connected to the internet during this pandemic.

Since everyone is asked to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, staying connected to the internet has become more vital than ever. Several service providers are offering free internet service during this time of crisis so that people can keep in touch with their friends and family. Professionals who are required to work from home can also take advantage of this internet facility if they quality or the service.

How to get a free internet connection during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Low-income households and students can easily get free internet service during the pandemic. In addition to this, some providers are offering free internet service for 60 days to facilitate their customers in the best possible way. To find out about the providers offering free internet service, check out the guide below:

Free Internet Service – COVID-19
Provider Service Package Qualification Criteria Offer Details Get Offer
Charter Spectrum Internet 100 Mbps New customers having K-12 or college students in their household Free for 60 days View Plans
Comcast Xfinity Internet Essentials – 25 Mbps New customers who qualify for public assistance programs Free for 60 days View Plans
Cox Communications Internet 15 Mbps New customers who have at least one K-12 student in their household or are eligible for public assistance programs Free for 60 days View Plans
Optimum Internet 30 Mbps New customers with K-12 students or college students in their household Free for 60 days View Plans
Suddenlink Internet 30 Mbps New customers with K-12 students or college students in their household Free for 60 days View Plans

How to get the best internet deal for your household during the COVID-19 outbreak?

There are 3 steps involved in the process of getting the best internet package that perfectly blends with your needs and requirements.

  •   Search: Simply run your zip code on Local Cable Deals and you will be presented with the top internet providers that are available in your area.
  •   Compare: To narrow down your options, weigh your internet usage against the speed and package prices of every internet provider that is available in your vicinity. The package that best suits your requirements should fulfill all your online activities including HD streaming, virtual gaming, and communicating.
  •   Order: When you have made your decision regarding the provider and the service package, get in touch with Local Cable Deals and order the service. The company will upgrade your home with one of the best services in town.

What would happen if you are unable to pay your internet bill during this time of crisis?

Since the country is in a state of emergency, many users are concerned about paying their utility bills, especially the internet. Being a student or a professional who is working from home, you simply cannot afford to lose your internet connection.

Internet companies know that customers might not be able to pay their bills on time because of the lockdown. So, do not worry, you will not lose your internet connection. Almost every service provider has signed the FCC’s pledge to keep Americans connected. The contract clearly states that companies will not terminate the services of any residential or business customer due to their inability to pay bills. In addition to this, internet companies are required to waive late payment fines as the whole nation is suffering through an economic crisis. Furthermore, Wi-Fi hotspots are to be provided to people who are in dire need of them.

Apart from signing the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, some major service providers have lifted their data caps for two months and are offering unlimited internet service to their clients without charging extra. These companies include AT&T, Xfinity, CenturyLink, Mediacom, Cox, and Sparklight.

Is it possible to switch providers in this time of pandemic crisis?

Of course, you can easily change your internet service provider if you are not happy with your current company. However, if you have signed a contract agreement with your current provider, you might have to pay an early termination fee for leaving the services before the end date. In case, there is no other option but to cancel the services, negotiate with your provider, and try to reduce the fee that you are liable to pay.

Charter Spectrum happens to be a lifesaver in such situations. The company offers to buy-out your contract by paying the early termination fee on your behalf if you decide to get their services.

Another alternative would be to change your service package. If you are fed up with your current services, contact the provider, and get an upper-tier plan or a lower-tier plan, whichever suits your needs and requirements. It is always better to work on an upgrade or a downgrade and resolve the issue than to pay a hefty early termination fee.

Xfinity, DirecTV, and Dish TV are among those providers that charge an early termination fee upon cancellation of services. On the other hand, Spectrum, Cox, Optimum, and Suddenlink do not charge any early termination fee so you are free to cancel any time you want.

Are there any TV services where you can stream movies for free during the COVID-19 lockdown?

Since you have to maintain social distance from other individuals, you might as well use this time to watch some interesting shows and movies. Luckily, several TV service providers have expanded their free trials during the coronavirus outbreak to facilitate their customers. These TV services include Netflix, Hulu, ShowTime, Amazon Prime Video, Sundance Now, CBS All Access, Acorn TV, Quibi, and Urban Movie Channel. Sling TV is currently offering free live streaming for 14 days without any contract. The company’s “Stay in and Sling” promotional campaign gives you access to a number of facilities including on-demand movies, TV shows, live news, and entertainment.

Other than that, you can find hundreds of streaming apps on platforms like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android Play Store. Some critically acclaimed streaming services include Pluto TV, Tubi, Crackle, CW Seed, The CW, The Roku Channel, Adult Swim, Shout Factory TV, Film-Rise, and Red Bull TV. These services are great for individuals who do not mind ads and commercials when watching movies and shows.

How much internet speed is required to stream TV?

Most streaming services recommend having a minimum internet speed of 5 Mbps to avoid buffering and low-quality resolution. While it is good for a single user, we certainly do not endorse this speed for multiple users, especially not right now when the whole world is doing nothing except for using the internet.

Since every household nowadays has multiple users and devices, Local Cable Deals recommends having at least 25 to 100 Mbps of download speed, depending on the number of people using the connection. Fiber and cable internet connections can easily entertain multiple devices with heavy internet users. Therefore, if you are a large household with more than 3 users, always go for a cable or fiber-optic connection.

Are there any new TV streaming services launching in COVID-19 lockdown?

Yes. Two new streaming services are being introduced during this pandemic. The first one is NBC Universal Peacock and the second is HBO Max. Peacock streaming service will be available as a free preview for Xfinity customers who have subscribed to the Xfinity Flex service. HBO Max, on the other hand, will be available to all the HBO Now customers.

What is Xfinity Flex?

Xfinity Flex is a streaming device that offers easy access to movies, shows, music as well as YouTube videos. Although Xfinity Flex is not as sophisticated as Amazon Fire TV or Roku Streaming Stick, it is still a commendable service, which keeps you entertained. Moreover, the service comes at no extra cost and provides you with more than 15,000 hours of movies and shows.

What is the difference between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max?

HBO Go is a streaming service and you can sign up for it through your satellite or cable provider. HBO Now and HBO Go have similar content but the key difference is that anyone with an internet connection can sign up for HBO Now. In some areas, HBO Now offers original HBO shows with some popular movies. HBO Max is also a streaming service but offers more content than HBO Go and HBO Now. This particular service comes with on-demand shows from other networks and several movie titles that you would enjoy watching.

Are there any new movies and shows releasing in this time of pandemic?

TV shows and movies that completed production before the COVID-19 outbreak will premiere on their scheduled date. This means that highly anticipated shows like What We Do in the Shadows (15th April 2020 on FX), Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (26th April 2020 on ShowTime), and Killing Eve (12th April 2020 on BBC) would premiere on their preset dates. However, several TV series have been postponed due to the coronavirus and will resume production when the situation gets better. For instance, Fargo, Supernatural, and The Walking Dead are all delayed indefinitely because some episodes of these shows are still to be filmed.

Nevertheless, some major movies that were released just days before the lockdown are available to stream through paid on-demand service. These movies include The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Emma, Birds of Prey, Bad Boys for Life, and Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker.

Is it true that Netflix is reducing its streaming quality in this period of COVID-19?

To reduce the amount of bandwidth consumptions during this time of crisis, Netflix has decreased its streaming quality by 25% but this change has only taken place in Europe. The change is expected to last for 30 days after which the company will evaluate the performance and then take any further decisions. Netflix has not yet announced any bandwidth reduction for other parts of the world. However, you may want to download the shows that you wish to see just in case the company decides to reduce its quality in your country.

How can students study from home during the COVID-19 lockdown?

For starters, you need to know that most online learning websites require a broadband connection so that students can study and learn uninterruptedly. According to FCC, a broadband internet connection should at least deliver 25 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed. To make sure that your provider is delivering the right amount of speed, run a speed test and if your speed is less than the prescribed rate, then contact your internet company and lodge a complaint.

With that being said, let us discuss ways in which you can study from home and receive online lectures. First, note your syllabus. You should know what you have to study and what concepts you need to understand. After that, search for your subject on Khan Academy or Scholastic. You will find numerous videos on these websites related to your syllabus. To receive online lectures from your school instructor, use Zoom, an application that allows teachers to deliver online classes to their students.

As you can see, these activities require a stable internet connection so you do not miss out on anything important. Therefore, we always recommend a broadband connection from a reputable internet provider.

Are there any internet options for low or fixed-income households?

Yes, of course. Many internet providers offer economical internet packages for low-income families. When it comes to affordable internet, you can choose from three different options. These options are DSL, Cable, and Fiber. DSL is the slowest and the most affordable option. Cable, on the other hand, is a balanced option that gives you speed as well as value for your money. Fiber costs more than the other two options but it gives you high-speed connectivity, which is necessary for large low-income families if all the members wish to connect to the internet at the same time. However, keep in mind that Fiber internet is not available everywhere. Therefore, check its availability in your area before searching for the packages.

What are top internet providers for low-income households?

For low-income households, the best internet providers include Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Verizon FiOS, CenturyLink, and HughesNet.

Comcast Xfinity

Xfinity provides plans at reasonable prices but the best way to save your money with this provider is by getting bundle packages. So, if you are looking for multiple services like the internet with TV, then Xfinity is your best option.

Charter Spectrum

Although Spectrum’s most economical plan costs more than Xfinity, the key benefit of choosing this provider is that it offers unlimited internet data with any contracts. When your income is limited, you should have the option to cancel your services any time without paying the early termination fee, which costs quite a fortune.

Verizon FiOS

Verizon FiOS may not be the cheapest option but it is definitely the fastest option that you can get. The company has one of the most extensive fiber networks in the country. In addition to this, Verizon FiOS is widely available, which makes it extremely desirable and therefore, noteworthy.

CenturyLink

For rural area residents, CenturyLink offers the most reliable and affordable DSL internet connection. Even though it is not as fast as cable and fiber, it is certainly more accessible and budget-friendly. So, if you happen to live in a rural area, make sure to check out CenturyLink’s internet plans.

HughesNet

HughesNet satellite service has the widest range in the country. It is literally available in all the 50 states of America because the service is delivered through satellite. However, since we are limited by the technology of our time, you will have to deal with the data caps when choosing this provider.

These are the top internet providers for low-income households and families who cannot spend more on such utilities. Do check the availability by searching for providers with your area zip code.

Conclusion

Just like all difficult times, this too shall pass. Until then, observe the rules of quarantine and lockdown as per your local authorities and avoid going outside. Make the best out of your internet connection and learn something new every day to move forward with your life goals. Stay home, stay safe.