On the 11th of March 2020, WHO declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic. The whole world is trying to overcome this global emergency which was first reported in Wuhan, China. So far, we’ve seen it spreading across the world and affecting over a million lives. We would like to share a few details regarding Coronavirus(COVID-19) and help you understand how technology is helping counter this epidemic.
What is Coronavirus?
“Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).”
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.”
Common signs of infection
- Respiratory symptoms
- Dry cough
- Shortage of breath
- Breathing difficulties
These symptoms may range from mild to severe and may show up 1-14 days of exposure. The virus is transmitted from person to person via certain body fluids. Preventive measures need to be taken.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection
- Wash your hands frequently
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Reduce touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Practise social distancing and maintain a distance of 3 ft from people. Avoid hugs and handshakes for now.
- Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
Technologies helping us tackle Coronavirus
We now have access to advanced technology in helping counter the outbreak. Below are a few technologies which help our medical sector curb a pandemic like Coronavirus (COVID-19):
Artificial Intelligence or AI has the capacity to identify and foresee the nature of the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus and accelerate the development of a vaccine. Machine learning algorithms can analyze data from sources like news, social media, official documents, etc to predict the outbreak. As the number of cases increases, AI tools help in scanning the results of prospective patients and speeding up the process which helps in further diagnosis and treatment. Reuters reports that Israel is going to use anti-terror tech to counter the spread of Coronavirus. Alibaba claims that its AI-powered diagnosis system can identify coronavirus infections with 96% accuracy.
China has started using robots to sterilize hospitals where patients are quarantined. Robots are also employed for contactless deliveries, spray disinfectants, perform basic diagnostic functions, etc.
Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation or RPA helps automate tedious tasks which will help the doctors in assisting patients better and make better decisions with less legwork. RPA helps in appointment scheduling, generate analytics that will help deliver accurate diagnosis, streamline workflows, monitor remotely, etc.
Blockchain helps hospital administrators reduce face to face contact by helping digitize administrative work like claims processes, medical data, etc. It is now possible to use Blockchain to connect hospitals and collect medical data and help researchers to access data for research.
Chatbot helps people access real-time alerts, spread awareness about the virus, its preventive measures, treatment procedures/ protocols, etc.
Technology has also helped people who are working from home as a measure of practising social distancing. Applications like Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype etc helps in making audio/video conference calls remotely. Technology also helps people access accurate information, fact check the information received via social media, etc.
Smart helmets, camera-equipped drones, advanced facial recognition software, surveillance tools, health apps, etc are efficiently helping us and are a necessity at this point in time. A lot of data has been collected using phone carriers, health and transport agencies, applications, etc. This has raised privacy concerns since there is little transparency regarding who has access to these data. China is already under scrutiny for using advanced surveillance systems and facial recognition software.
We are living in a world which is far more technologically advanced. There are tech companies around the world which are capable of using the above-mentioned technologies to develop innovative solutions to tackle this pandemic. All is not lost. We do not know what we are going to face in the coming decades. But, we do know that with our medical expertise and tech innovations, we can bring forth solutions which help us face these difficult times together.
“Prevention is better than cure”. Technology and medical expertise will help us curb the pandemic. However, there are certain preventive measures like the ones we have mentioned above that everyone should keep in mind. Wash hands frequently, use an alcohol-based sanitizer, maintain social distancing, and practise respiratory hygiene. Fact check the information you receive and share only accurate information. Do not panic. Receive medical attention if you have a fever, dry cough and respiratory symptoms. Be safe. Be kind. We shall overcome this together.