Technology is coming to the forefront in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus. Let’s look at some of the technologies being used, why they’ve become increasingly common during the pandemic, and the long-term implications of their use.
Tracking of patients and non-affected individuals has become paramount. For example, a number of people exposed to the Chinese coronavirus have had to wear ankle monitors more often used on criminals to force them to abide by quarantine orders. Big Tech companies are trying to track the location of individuals through their smartphones to determine when and where people are illegally congregating. This information could potentially be used to create a list of those the person came into contact with, too. The question is how this detailed tracking of everyone will be used once the coronavirus outbreak is over.
Temperature Monitoring Technology
Taking someone’s temperature has already moved from a thermometer in the mouth to an infrared scan of the forehead. However, this isn’t good enough during a pandemic. Medical monitors don’t want to be that close to those they’re checking. Nor do you want to have to sterilize the forehead sensor between scans. This is why we’re seeing new electronic devices fighting coronavirus. One solution would be wearable temperature sensors being deployed in China. Wearable sensors on patients in the hospital allow nurses to avoid checking temperatures and focus on taking care of those who have developed a fever. The temperature sensors could be used to track the temperature of employees as they work, allowing managers to know when they’re getting sick or over-heating due to exertion.
We can expect this technology to be used long after the Chinese coronavirus crisis is over. It allows nurses to minimize physical contact with patients, eliminates the need to check the temperature of patients are fine, and saves time, too.
Artificial intelligence has come to the forefront. Complex drug trials aren’t practical in a pandemic. One could argue they are not ethical, either, because it isn’t moral to deny treatment to patients who may be dying. This is why we’re seeing artificial intelligence used to mine the existing massive databases of medical studies to study what existing safe drugs could be used to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus based on what seems to work in initial trials. Another route of attack is analyzing the protein structure of the virus, then asking AI to mine the massive amount of information we have on how drugs work to determine what existing medications could interfere in viral reproduction.
Artificial intelligence is also being used to identify, track and forecast outbreaks. This is why we’ve been able to revise the initial disease models down. This does nothing to reduce the literal cost we paid for the government ordered shutdown of the private economy based on initial bad data from China. That was the source of the coronavirus models that predicted two million dead in the United States alone. We’re able to revise the models as we get new information on actual death rates and antibody tests that reflect its spread among asymptomatic people. Data analysis that would have taken weeks is now completed in days. However, AI did warn us of the coronavirus outbreak in China even as their government covered it up. For example, the BlueDot AI warned of a disease outbreak in China days before the World Health Organization reported it. And it is AI that’s tracking the true scope of the Wuhan coronavirus in China today.