Google collaborated with the US Virgin Islands (USVI) Departments of Health, Education, Labor, Tourism, Licensing, and Consumer Affairs, plus the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) to create an informational site for the people of the Virgin Islands to use as a reliable source of information about COVID-19.
William Floyd, Director of US Public Policy, said, “At Google, our mission is to make information universally accessible and useful. In these uncertain times, working with local governments and health authorities is key to our efforts, and we’re deeply appreciative of the support of the USVI to make this possible.”
The website has plenty of useful information, from current states on COVID-19 cases to recommended actions to phone numbers to call for a variety of health concerns. There are also links to lots of appropriate resources, including CDC informational pages, a sign for businesses to download, and the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines.
Google’s search results for inquiries about COVID-19 in USVI presents this official page at the top of the results.
The territory’s government explains simply that they want to make sure their people find accurate information when they search. Justa Encarnacion, USVI Health Commissioner and Chief Public Health Officer, said, “The Department of Health is pleased to collaborate with Google so that our population can arm itself with the most potent weapon available: accurate and reliable information about the virus and steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That’s the best way to limit its transmission.”
Google has been working hard to balance their usual hands-off approach to content with a more hands-on response to coronavirus misinformation, which has been referred to by the World Health Organization as an “infodemic.”