5 Technological Advances that Are Limiting the Spread of the Coronavirus

The pandemic of COVID-19 has spread worldwide, with the number of cases continuing to climb. As of now, there have been 68,440 confirmed cases and 994 deaths in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, this accounts for just a fraction of the overall global toll, which is predicted to escalate further.

The impact of the pandemic is particularly felt by schools, healthcare organizations, and businesses. Bloomberg reports that New York City, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, is struggling to locate enough space to accommodate more hospital beds. Furthermore, the US is experiencing a significant shortage of necessary medical supplies to combat the virus effectively.

While it may not be possible to prevent the pandemic entirely, containing it is still achievable. Every individual, from medical professionals and public health authorities to businesses and ordinary people, can play a role in achieving containment, provided they take the appropriate measures. To prevent the disease from spreading, the public is advised to take precautions such as washing their hands frequently, disinfecting high-touch surfaces in their homes and workplaces, and keeping a safe distance from others.

The coronavirus outbreak has led medical professionals, public health organisations, and private enterprises to integrate technology into their everyday operations. Among the technological measures being employed to curb the virus’s spread are:

Detection Methods

Numerous domestic and international organizations are currently working to establish the most effective methods of controlling the spread of coronavirus. Their testing approaches vary, with some proposing compulsory testing for everyone, while others recommend limiting it to healthcare workers. A small proportion contend that testing should be ceased altogether.

The most effective means of testing for the coronavirus is still uncertain. Nevertheless, it is evident that the results of any testing must be accurate and returned promptly. Forbes has recently highlighted the AI startup InterVision, which has created an AI system to aid healthcare workers on the front lines in efficiently diagnosing and monitoring the virus.

Compared to previous outbreaks like SARS, testing procedures available today yield results within hours, enabling swift disease identification and thus a more rapid response in terms of patient care.

Health Monitoring

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being employed to study the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bluecoat, a software firm, was the first to produce a scientific paper on this subject, accurately predicting the global spread of the virus in the early stages of the pandemic when it was still mostly contained. This was accomplished by analyzing news reports, the progress of plant and animal diseases, and global airline ticket data.

Johns Hopkins University has created an interactive map that depicts the pandemic’s evolution, incorporating new cases, deaths, and recoveries, using data obtained from organizations worldwide.

The video below, produced by The Medical Futurist, delves deeper into the initiatives mentioned in this article and a host of other technological solutions:

Thirdly, Healthcare for Non-Human Beings

Wheels are not typically a significant factor in the decision-making process when hiring a nurse. However, robots, some equipped with wheels, have already proven enormously beneficial in treating coronavirus patients. These robots are capable of performing tasks beyond human capability, such as cleaning, delivering supplies, monitoring vital signs, and providing electronic communication between healthcare professionals and their patients, all without exposing themselves to the risk of infection.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities may employ robots for various duties, such as cleaning, temperature monitoring, and administrative work.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, are becoming more prevalent in aiding medical personnel in situations that may be dangerous. Through drone technology, healthcare professionals can prioritize more pressing duties. In addition to transporting goods, drones are currently used to monitor individual temperatures and public areas for compliance with safety protocols, such as mask-wearing.

Creation of Novel Vaccines

Development of a successful vaccine for the novel coronavirus may take twice as long without the support of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. According to InformationWeek, numerous nations, such as Hong Kong, Israel, and the United States, are now using AI to expedite the search for a vaccine.

Scientists are utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a means of hastening the search for a coronavirus cure. Utilizing AI technology, Google’s DeepMind, for instance, has examined the structure of proteins associated with the virus. Google has shared this data with the scientific community in order to quicken the development of a cure.

To learn more about the use of AI in healthcare, read our blog post “Will We Soon Have Superintelligent AI?”

For the time being, numerous leading companies, primarily in China, have provided their computing resources for academic use. To analyze the genetic structure of the coronavirus, Chinese tech heavyweight Huawei, recognized for producing smartphones and networking equipment, has utilized its cloud division and developed a tool, as per CNBC, a business news platform.

Sharing Health-Related Data

Technology’s effect on the dissemination of information regarding the coronavirus can have both favourable and unfavourable outcomes. In a recent interview with the BBC, Dr Lee Riley, a University of California infectious disease expert, remarked about the 24/7 news cycle and the advent of social media amplifying fear more swiftly than the virus itself. He proposed that frequent updates on the situation are causing escalating anxiety amongst people.

Despite this, technology can be employed to offer important information to the general public. China, for example, launched a ‘close contact detector’ application that allows individuals to determine if they’ve engaged with someone who has, or is at risk of having, the virus. However, such software is not suitable for use in the United States due to Americans’ reluctance to embrace government surveillance.

As online services become more prevalent, companies and healthcare providers are looking to chatbots to interact with and inform customers. For instance, companies utilize chatbots to relay alterations to pricing or service, whereas medical facilities use them to impart knowledge to people.

Upcoming Pandemics

According to Fast Company, additional pandemics, possibly more fatal than COVID-19, are expected to occur soon. Despite the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, practical applications may be found in the lessons learned to improve the management of similar occurrences in the future. Preemptive strategies, effective policy-making, medical advancements, and the use of technological tools may all play a role in containment efforts and help to mitigate the potential impact of any pandemics.

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