What happened

Many technology stocks rose on Friday due to alarming developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies whose business growth will benefit from a return to lockdowns, safer-at-home orders, and remote-work policies saw their share prices rising. The largest gains on Friday morning included a 5.4% gain by content delivery company Fastly (NYSE:FSLY), a 6.9% increase for business collaboration expert Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK), and a 7.2% jump in video conference specialist Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM).

So what

The number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged to a new all-time high of 187,428 cases on Thursday. Infection rates are spiking dramatically in many states, including California, New York, Florida, and Texas.

A young woman wears a surgical mask while working at her laptop from home.

Image source: Getty Images.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held a news conference on Thursday, announcing the closure of public schools and indicating that further restrictions on indoor activities are "just a matter of time."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a 10 p.m. curfew for the hardest-hit counties in the state. "The virus is spreading at a pace we haven't seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge," Newsom said in a prepared statement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is sticking to limited restrictions in certain hotspots, but many hospital districts in the state have already maxed out their capacity to care for COVID-19 patients.

In Florida, a group of five mayors asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to take action before the pandemic spirals out of control. Meanwhile, Florida Senator Rick Scott tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and will quarantine at home.

A scared doctor assumes a fighting position, surrounded by renderings of coronavirus bodies.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

President-elect Joe Biden has ruled out a national shutdown under his management because "every region, every area, every community can be different" and a one-size-fits-all lockdown would be "counterproductive."

Either way, another wave of coronavirus infections appears to be under way right now and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday looks likely to accelerate the pandemic. Fastly, Slack, and Zoom will benefit from a widespread return to remote work. Investors are smelling a sea change in the air and taking early action.

Nobody is rooting for surging infection rates and nationwide lockdowns. At the same time, there's no shame in taking advantage of the unique investment options that arise from the recurring health crisis. The trick is to figure out which businesses are poised to benefit from a return to lockdowns and remote work, and these three companies fit the bill.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.