Technology: The weapon against the global threat to fight against COVID-19

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COVID-19, a name that has stalled the general flow of life across nations, lead to large-scale loss of lives, crippled the world economy, and pushed us to a point of uncertainty. Frontline workers have been the biggest warriors, fighting the threat to keep us safe and healthy across the globe by detection, quarantine, and treatment. Scientists have been burning the midnight oil for months to generate a vaccine for COVID-19. Administrators have been on the vigil to detect, isolate, and ensure seamless healthcare supplies and facilities in the affected zones. For all that’s being done, technology is the silent weapon that’s enabling us to carry out these duties successfully.

Majorly, COVID-19 is being fought with the following three steps:

  • Detection: Carrying out mass-scale tests among potentially infected people to detect the positive cases
  • Quarantine: Once detected, the patients are quarantined at a medical facility to restrict further spread
  • Treatment: Treat the quarantined COVID-19 positive patients

Detection is very important because COVID-19 being a single RNA strand virus has the capability of very fast replication making it highly contagious. To tackle this, it is imperative that we detect and isolate these patients quickly and accurately. Since human involvement must be reduced to counter the risk of infection, technology plays a huge role:

  1. Location Tracking

  • Access the location history to track the places visited and also the people with whom positive COVID-19 patient interacted with
  • Detect any sort of gathering that defies restriction guidelines and take required action against them

Countries like UK, India and China have developed location-based apps that can alert the person if they have met any person who has tested COVID-19 positive or if they are approaching a positive patient by 100m.

2. Robotics

A. Drones

▪ Used to monitor temperature and detect anybody with high temperature

▪ Send medical and food supplies curtailing human involvement

▪ Convey emergency warnings to the public who defy lockdown norms or in general

B. Autonomous Vehicles

Anonymous-Vehicle

▪ Used to transfer food, emergency or medical supplies across localities minimizing any human involvement

C. Robots

▪ Used to deliver food, medicines to the COVID-19 positive patients in quarantine centres reducing risk of health workers getting infected

▪ Many medical facilities in Wuhan were completely staffed by robots with most of the medical instruments being IoT (Internet of Things) enabled.

China has implemented robots as an alternative to human interaction altogether, restricting further contamination of any health worker. Cloudminds, a manufacturer of robotic systems has deployed 100 such robots for hospitals to combat the current pandemic.

3. Big Data & Facial Recognition

Dashboards have been created by Chinese government accessing temperature data from face recognition and infrared temperature detection systems installed across major cities. This helps in constant monitoring in case of development of any new case.

To some extent, it can be said we have been successful in restricting the COVID-19 rampage. But to completely eradicate the threat, we still need the vaccine. Though there have been significant advancements by many countries, the world is still seeking the magic pill. Till then technology keeps on providing alternative ways to treatment, to work, and to survive.