The coronavirus outbreak has seen many of the world’s population affected, with worldwide cases going beyond the 1 million mark in recent days. Many nations are enforcing lockdowns and strict social distancing to combat the spread of the disease as the whole world continues to brace for a possible cure to stop the illness from further spreading.
At a time of a pandemic, the role of technology has become bigger as it continues to evolve. According to a GeekWire article, Microsoft’s software developers are working on software tools to trace people who have had contact with COVID-19 patients in hopes of simulating how different responses change the course of the outbreak. With this, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) together with Microsoft is adapting a healthcare bot service that can act as a self-screening tool for people who would need to assess their current health to determine if they need a COVID-19 treatment.
Microsoft continues to work with health experts in order to utilize the best of today’s technology to develop predictive models to address and detect the spread of the virus, as well as finding different ways to conduct contact tracing of COVID-19 patients while still protecting personal data privacy. One of the countries that has received positive marks when it comes to handling the COVID-19 outbreak is Singapore. In the country where no lockdowns have been implemented so far, a smartphone app is used to monitor the spread of the virus. According to Business Insider, the app uses bluetooth technology to track users’ proximity to other people with the app, and alerts those who come in contact with a person who has tested positive or is at high-risk for carrying the coronavirus. While this development has affected Singapore positively, it may cause privacy issues should it be implemented in other countries where it would violate privacy laws such as HIPAA in the USA.
There is still a long way to go, but bringing technology on our side is critical at the moment. Chief Technologist at IntuitiveX Desney Tan observes: “AI, robotic augmentation, telework, and telemedicine are sure to loom larger on the post-pandemic scene.” With such a great need for solutions to counter and minimize COVID-19’s impact today and in the future, relying on tools, bots, and software has become a must--and all this technology, coupled with the dedication of the world’s brave frontliners and the world’s innovative and brilliant minds--the hope of overcoming this global pandemic continues to burn bright.