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Technology and Coronavirus

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How technology and gadgets are helping to fight the coronavirus 2020

China, on December 31st, 2019, alerted the World Health Organization to some rare cases of pneumonia in its port city of Wuhan in the central Hubei province. The disease was later diagnosed as Wuhan china coronavirus, and since then, infections have continued to spread in more countries, putting the entire world in a state of panic and uncertainty. 

A highly contagious flu-like disease, COVD-19 has put everyone on a high defensive alert with every country choosing to enforce strict regulations at all their entry points. Today many people in China and other affected countries can be seen wearing masks, but others have chosen to stay home all day to keep a safe distance from the virus.

So far, there are so many recorded cases of the disease, and a accounts for the coronavirus death toll. Thankfully over 80K have recovered.  At least more than 177 territories and countries have reported confirmed cases of the disease with Itally taking the lead of the victims . 

China is a vast country with a relatively happy population. Still, the latest videos and images have painted a picture of a somber nation heavily traumatized by fears of the biting pandemic. As the world’s most industrious nation, this outbreak, if not contained, will have a very negative impact on the World economy.

The Coronavirus overview

The coronavirus (COVD-19) traces its origin to the virus family that is associated with the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome also features in this category.  It is believed to originate from animals like bats, and snakes then spread to humans before going viral. 

How Technological input towards combating the coronavirus is helping.

All medical intervention notwithstanding, this virus is spreading fast and claiming more lives. Global medical experts are burning the midnight oil in search of a solution, but so far, there is no tangible assurance that a vaccine or cure is in sight. Nonetheless, the fight is on, and clearly, technology is playing a significant role in checking the viral infection.

In China, for example, drones and robots are being deployed to deliver food, disinfect health facilities, and enforce quarantine restrictions. Recently, the Reuters revealed that one robot called Little Peanut has been instrumental in providing food to some 300 quarantined occupants of a hotel in Hangzhou.

Little Peanut the Corona Virus Robot being deployed to deliver food.
Little Peanut

Reports from the Chinese State Media indicate that these robots are serving to minimize the high risk of direct infection. With more ambulance, nurses and doctors being moved to the frontline, personnel shortage is being experienced, thus creating the need for drones to economize on human and material resources.

This strategy is particularly applying in the sealed-off, 780 million people city of Wuhan where coronavirus broke out.

China drones  being deployed to enforce quarantine restrictions.
Drone

The Global Times, CBC News, and several other sources of coronavirus latest news have uploaded viral videos showing loudspeaker- mounted drones directing people in the countryside to go back to their compounds. It is also believed that drones are using thermal imaging technology to identify people with high fevers. The imaging is done without the drone necessarily coming down.

Read Also: Interesting Facts About Drones You Should Know.

Drone expert Andy Miah confirmed the above reports saying;

“I think they’re an incredibly appealing tool for the law enforcement industry. The drone gives the police force the capacity to roam and be present in a way that no other means of movement has allowed in the past.”

 Andy is the author of the book Drones: The Brilliant, the Bad, and the Beautiful.

Since February 4th, the Chinese government has been using terrestrial and aerial crewless vehicles to perform tasks that would ordinarily be done by man. In Taiyuan town, for example, people wearing hazmat suits are directing miniature remote controlled tanks to disinfect over 50,000 square meters per hour

Speaking to the Asian Wire, The Shanxi Province Unmanned Vehicle Association Secretary-General Mr. Hou Yongei said that the unmanned vehicles are sent into affected gated communities twice a day.

Not so long ago, the government built an emergency hospital in Wuhan in a record nine days. During the construction process, drones reportedly hovered above the site providing the required light all through the night.

China, on February 19th, 2020, ordered for self-driven UV Disinfection Robots from Denmark to boost her campaign against the virus. These devices release concentrated UV-C light that emits a germicidal effect to kill all airborne viruses and bacteria. Using an app, a robot can be directed into targeted rooms to sanitize them in just about 10 minutes, and more than 2000 hospitals are bound to benefit from the service

The self-driven UV Disinfection Robots from Denmark to boost her campaign against the virus
Self-driven UV Disinfection Robots

Most recently, a leading Chinese Electronics Company has developed a very useful app. With it, a user can input their name and ID number to determine whether they came dangerously close to a coronavirus carrier.

What’s more, other companies are developing or updating Apps to help people confirm their movements. A classic example is passenger screening in trains and airports where Apps monitor the people’s movement and contacts to draw out relevant data. In addition, while that goes on, AI robots at these centers routinely remind people to wear masks for prevention’s sake.

How Fighting Coronavirus with AI and Data Science is Helpful

Looking at the statistics mentioned earlier on, it is clear that the coronavirus of 2019 is spreading fast, and an urgent solution is needed to stop it. Currently, global research teams are united to determine the disease hotspots and how it is spreading. They should then, in conjunction with the world health organization, recommend appropriate strategies for quarantine and prevention.  

Accordingly, the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control have adopted technologies like #Artificial Intelligence and #Machine learning and in their response to coronavirus with the hope of finding a real solution.

In the recent past, big data and predictive analytics have proved as useful tools for fighting against deadly outbreaks like SARS, MERS, and now coronavirus. A few years ago, an AI start-up called BlueDot developed intelligent systems that examine data to establish the chances of disease occurrence. An Artificial Intelligence platform from BlueDot now stands out among the significant technological advances that are leveraging data analytics to map out diseases and recommend preventive measures. 

The company uses one tool called National Language Processing or NLP to track diseases around the world, and so far, this approach has registered a lot of success. Practically, BlueDot analyses over 65 human languages and filter out information to help them forecast disease outbreaks. BlueDot is also using Machine Learning algorithms to procure useful information concerning disease occurrence around the world. 

Insilico Medicine is yet another start-up US biotech company that focuses on using analytics to prevent diseases. The group is now coming up with technological solutions that will shed more light on the molecules that are capable of fighting coronavirus. Right now, they are compiling a database of molecular information to boost medical research but more urgently to counter the raging coronavirus.

Havard Medical School
Havard Medical School

Havard Medical School is also spearheading additional efforts to deal with coronavirus. The school is reviewing information and data from sources like patients’ records, public health data, and social media to analyze the situation and give updates on the current trends and patterns. Actually, the school can use this information to identify emerging hotspots and their specific locations.

Using the Natural Language Processing tool, the researchers can easily mark and distinguish the areas with people who are complaining about the disease’s symptoms and those who are not yet affected but only discussing out of fear. The school is confident that such patterns are vital to promoting increased awareness of how individuals and communities can manage the outbreak.

Geographic Information Systems on Coronavirus

On her part, John Hopkins University is using an approach called Geographic information Systems to stop the spread of coronavirus. The institute comes up with a coronavirus map and then displays all cases of on a dashboard.

Data mining is crucial in the success of GIS because the researchers dig up information from social media sites and other areas of interest to determine what people are saying about coronavirus.

Only ten years back, it was almost impossible to track diseases. However, with the emergence of Machine Learning, AI, and GIS, it is now much easier to penetrate, get information, and respond faster. 

Coronavirus in USA

The ravages of the virus have not spared the US because most recently, imported cases of coronavirus in travelers have been detected in the country. Of the current US coronavirus cases, there are several person to person infections, although the Center for Disease Control on February 25th confirmed a case of someone who had no relevant travel history. Also, the victim did not have any exposure to a sick person

Like most countries that are far from China, the US general public is unlikely to be infected on a massive scale, and as of now, the immediate health risk reads low.

However, looking at the current situation, there are those individuals with a higher risk of infection. These include health personnel attending to COVID-19 patients and those who entertain close contacts with persons incubating the virus. 

So far, deaths have been reported from Coronavirus United States sparking alarm and a greater need for medical researchers and the political class to act proactively.  On its part, the US government has already taken radical measures concerning travel as the virus continues to pose a threat to its people.

Beginning February 2nd, all foreign nationals who had been to China within the previous 14 days were suspended from entering the US. Exceptionally, though, US citizens who had been to Hubei province and mainland China are allowed to enter on condition that they submit to a 14-day quarantine.

Canada’s cases are also rising fast with British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec adding new cases. By March 1st, 2020, Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province, had reported 15 cases with British Columbia and Quebec jointly posting nine. If urgent preventive measures are not taken, coronavirus Canada may just be as devastating as it is places like Iran.

The recommended hand washing discipline to help control Coronavirus.

Without a definite coronavirus cure, one way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is by washing your hands properly. There is no standard or clinical approach to this habit, but according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the following step is strongly recommended if your hands have to remain germ-free.

1. Using clean running water, wet your hands to the wrists. Don’t mind about the water temperature.

2. Turn off the tap and then apply a sufficient amount of soap.

3. Rub your hands together to lather the soap. Ensure the lather is spread to the back of your hands and the wrists. Never forget to scratch under your nails to pull out any dirt accumulating there.

4. Rub and scrub your hands for over 20 seconds. You can feel free to hum a simple favorite song to take you through the 20 seconds. (Before taking on surgery, doctors have to apply powerful soap on their hands, scrub well and keep their hand under running water for at least 5 minutes.

5. And for your information, surgeons who are washing hand usually clean up to the elbows.  You may not have to wash your elbows, but those surgical standards give an idea of what it takes to kill these contagious organisms)

6. Rinse hands well under clean running water

7. Finally, use a clean paper towel to dry your hands. A hand dryer would serve the best purpose, but if you are not in a hurry, just let them dry naturally.

Other best practices to prevent the spread of coronavirus include

Keeping at least one-meter distance from anyone exhibiting the symptoms

Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes because that may transfer the germs that you might have picked from contaminated surfaces

Follow proper respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Throw away the used tissue immediately

Don’t miss any corona virus update and follow the advice offered by your local health care provider.

7 Coronavirus Facts To Avoid Online

Beware of phishing emails related to coronavirus. Cyber criminals are trying to trick people.

According to World health organization cyber criminals are concealing themselves as WHO to steal money or sensitive information. How people can protect themselves, keep antivirus and operating system up-to-date. Don’t click on links in emails – navigate directly to a site instead. Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know/things you aren’t expecting

Stop posting unverified articles, videos on social media as this causes unnecessary panic. With smartphones and social media make it harder for mass public health disasters to stay hidden. But internet platforms in China and other parts of the world are just as easily contaminated with wrong and fast-moving information as they are everywhere else.

Don’t take suggestion from YouTube or other influencers on coronavirus disease Don’t believe WhatsApp messages, TikTok videos on coronavirus. TikTok has come under fire for presenting a series of fake videos spreading false information on coronavirus outbreak- across the young social media platform, short-form videos seen with some users pretending to be medics or victims, and others promoting fake health recommendation, as well as multiple anti-Chinese and anti-immigrant memes.

TikTok has come under fire for presenting a series of fake videos spreading false information on coronavirus outbreak
TikTok videos on coronavirus

Don’t search for symptoms related to coronavirus dieses online. If feel you are sick go to a doctor.In late January, a video circulated on Facebook with a caption saying that a man on a train in China began vomiting blood after being infected with the new coronavirus. The video was actually a year old and showed the man battling liver cancer. To avoid fear visit doctor to check up.

Don’t fall for ads selling fake coronavirus test kits online. For more correct updates follow CDC on this link.

Don’t search for information about coronavirus on radon websites. You can land to phishing sites that can put your privacy at rick.

Don’t search and buy medicine, oil, etc. to prevent/cure coronavirus disease online.

Don’t focus much on whether N95 masks is better than surgical mask or not. Amazon has banned over a million products from being sold after they made deceptive claims about being able to cure or prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Don’t fall online ads claiming selling special face masks for coronavirus.  A search for “coronavirus” term you will see lots of results for face masks, disinfectant wipes and newly-published books on viral infections, revealing how some sellers are cashing in on the health crisis. Keep off these things they will mislead you.

Article Sources:

HealthLine.com: Coronavirus Disease

Mayoclinic.org: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

cdc.gov: Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.

who.int: Coronavirus

businessinsider.com: Little Peanut is delivering food to Victims of coronavirus

dronelife.com: Drones And Other UAV’s Are Being Used to Fight Coronavirus in China

towardsdatascience.com: How to Fight the Coronavirus with AI and Data Science

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