Technology is the buzz word in fighting Covid 19. Social distancing and others norms cant help unless we focus on technology.
But at the same time, it gets important to notice about the contribution of technology which is working as a boon to mankind. From sorting for the vaccine to fight against the “infodemic- an ocean of fake news”, it is helping at every possible step to take on the virus using Artificial Intelligence or machinery.
Aiding Companies in technology
Several countries have used technology in their rescue efforts. From using the scientific advancement in vaccine development, to contact tracing using GPS and drones, they have explored every possibility. COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the human fragility to the core. On the brighter side, due to the progress in technology, we are well equipped to face the situation. With people getting quarantined, offices getting shut, and Work from Home is the new normal, it is the technology that has helped this transition.
Thus enabling professionals to connect and work seamlessly with the comfort of their home. Be it video conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams or Skype, which provides hassle-free meetings, to collaboration apps like Slack and Flock, which ensures that employees operate, as usual, the entire experience has smoothed because of these applications!
Let’s have look how technology is helping the world governments take on these tough times posed by the pandemic.
AAROGYA SETU – Contact- Tracing using GPS and Bluetooth
Aarogya Setu app was launched on April 2, 2020, by the Government of India, is the primary contact tracing app. Developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), it uses both GPS and Bluetooth to gather information and update its users. It has been mandatory for government employees and health care workers. Moreover,
it is being used at airports too, to ensure that the flyers are not infected by the deadly virus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged the people in one of his addresses to the nation to download the app, and since then it has become the fastest app to reach 50 million downloads in just 13 days! Available in 11
languages, it is a vital tool for government in its fight against COVID-19.
Countries like Spain, Britain, South Korea and several Gulf countries have launched their own tracing and tracking apps. Australia’s COVIDSafe and Israel’s Hamagen are two prominent examples.
Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
Tech giants like Alibaba, Baidu, and Huawei have started showing interest and collaborating with the healthcare sector to provide a solution to the ongoing mayhem quickly. BlueDot, a Canadian startup, tracks infectious disease risks using AI tools. As a matter of fact, BlueDot had warned of Corona outbreak even before the World Health Organisation. Alibaba claims to have built an AI-based diagnosis system with 96% efficiency. Infervision, another startup, has been using AI-powered deep learning medical imaging
platform to screen patients and help healthcare workers in China.
Some countries are even trying to develop a vaccine using AI and Cloud computing. Through AI, the vaccine candidates get narrowed down and thus, save the researchers a lot of time. AlphaFold, introduced by Google DeepMind in early 2020, released protein structure predictions of several under-studied proteins
associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus associated with Covid-19, to help with a better understanding of the virus in April.
Robots technology on Rescue
Health workers not only have to work tirelessly for longer shifts during these testing times, but also face imminent risk of infection. Robots can mitigate these risk to a great extent.
Indian firm Propeller Technologies came with Zafi Medic robots. With a payload of more than 20kg, Zafi Medic helps in delivering food and medicines to quarantined patients. These robots will also be helping the Tamil Nadu police to serve people in containment zones. Asimov Robotics launched KARMI-Bot which can disinfect the surfaces using UV radiation. Robots with similar functionality have sprung across India, and the world to help our warriors carry in their undying efforts.
Fake news beating the virus
The only thing beating the virus this year is the fake news surrounding it. From cumbersome corona cures to crazy conspiracy theories, the world is seeing it all. “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of World Health Organisation (WHO). Quite
surprisingly, contributing to this “infodemic”, is US President Donald Trump, who blatantly suggested injecting of disinfectants in the body and irradiating patients’ bodies with UV light.
On the other hand, some leaders warn their citizens constantly about misinformation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her addresses requested her people not to believe in any rumours and only believe the official communication. The Government of India has also actively dispelled fake claims and rumours, though various social media platforms.
Covering the Skies-Drones
Authorities are using drones for inspection and surveillance to ensure that people follow social distancing, and also the delivery of critical supplies to high-risk areas, to prevent contamination. In addition to this, they are also using it for aerial disinfection in a quick and efficient manner. An Indian startup, Indian Robotics Solution (IRS) has come up with an innovative solution. It has developed a ‘Penta- Performer’ drone named ‘Thermal CORONA Combat Drone’ which serves as a single solution for five problems during the COVID-19 outspread, namely sanitization, thermal screening, announcement, medication and surveillance.
This global pandemic has put to test our disaster preparedness and response. The Human race, in 2020, has more tools than ever at its disposal. Had it not been these technical advancements, we may have witnessed a near-wipe out of the human race!