The sudden outbreak and rapid spread of novel coronavirus has undoubtedly taken the whole world under a long-term shut-down! The recent cases of Candian PM’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and American Actor, Tom Hanks who were tested positive for the COVID-19 have not only caused a great panic among the public but also questioned our technological development in the healthcare industry!
Taking this discussion further, here we will talk about how technology can help us fight against the spread of novel coronavirus! So, let’s begin!
COVID-19: Is it a pandemic?
No matter, how much we talk about the advancement made in the healthcare sector, the recent outbreak of the novel Coronavirus brings us an entirely different story. So, far there have been 1,69,591 cases reported worldwide and 6,516 people have already lost their lives and sadly this is not the end! The numbers are growing and in-mid way of this, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. (Source: WHO,CDC,ECDC, NHC,DXY as on 16/03/2020).
How technology is helping mitigate the COVID-19 threat?
COVID-19 has undoubtedly become a global issue, but, by the use of the right technology, we can mitigate the coronavirus threat to some extent. Let’s find out how technology can be helpful in mitigating the coronavirus threat.
AI to monitor COVID-19 Outbreak
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play an imperative role in identifying the COVID-19 outbreaks and the nature of spread. For example, the Canadian startup BlueDot successfully used AI and machine learning to identify the coronavirus outbreak. Their AI algorithm used multiple sources such as social media posts, news reports, government documents, and others to predict the outbreak.
Robots for cleaning quarantine wards
Since COVID-19 spreads via physical contact with the patient, thereby, human intervention can prove out to be very risky. To mitigate this risk, sterilization robots can be employed that can easily move into a quarantined zone and sterilize the virus easily. For example, the Chinese medical robot developer TMiRob recently deployed 10 disinfection robots across major hospitals in Wuhan to mitigate the spread of novel COVID-19.
Blockchain for administrative work
You surely would have heard about the world’s first digital currency, Bitcoin, which is one of the most popular applications of the blockchain technology. But, have you ever thought about its use cases beyond that? Well, Blockchain-powered services are helpful in automating the administrative work involved in the hospitals. Thereby, it helps in mitigating the need for face-to-face contact amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
Drones for aerial delivery of medical supplies
Drones are no-doubt the fastest, safest and economical means to transport medical supplies in disease outbreak areas. Considering that, Singapore’s AI startup Antwork has been delivering medical supplies between Xinchang County and Zhejiang, which are the most severely COVID-19 hit provinces.
Chatbots for knowledge on COVID-19
Next, we have chatbots that are acting as real-time information providers of coronavirus outbreak to the people. For example, Japan’s startup Bespoke recently launched a chatbot "Bebot" to update travelers on the coronavirus outbreak. Through this Chatbot, people can get quick answers to their queries on COVID-19 such as symptoms, preventative measures, and associated risks.
All in all, the coronavirus outbreak is one of the very serious public health crises at the moment. However, with the right precautionary measures and implementing the right technology, we will be able to mitigate the COVID-19 threats.