Over the past year, the global community has grappled with the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus has spread across nations, affecting countless lives and resulting in a tragic death toll surpassing 1 million.
Various regions, including parts of Africa, have faced strain on healthcare systems, with some hospitals reaching full capacity.
Amidst these challenges, technology has played a crucial role in the fight against the pandemic, offering innovative solutions to combat misinformation and contribute to public health efforts.
In this article, we have compiled some of the key ways in which technology has been instrumental in addressing the impact of the coronavirus:
Table of Contents
Misinformation during a pandemic or epidemic can indeed lead to widespread panic, fear, and various negative consequences.
Technology, however, plays a crucial role in combating and mitigating the impact of misinformation. Here are some ways in which technology helps in the fight against dangerous misinformation:
- Educational Campaigns on Social Media:
- Social media platforms, including Google and Facebook, actively engage in educational campaigns to counter misinformation. They collaborate with reputable healthcare organizations to provide accurate and verified information to users. This involves prominently featuring information from reliable sources and directing users to official health resources.
- Fact-Checking Tools:
- Technology has given rise to fact-checking tools and organizations that scrutinize information circulating on the internet. These tools help verify the accuracy of claims and debunk false information. When users come across potentially misleading content, fact-checking features provide them with additional context and correct information.
- Algorithmic Detection:
- Social media platforms use advanced algorithms to detect and flag potentially misleading or harmful content. These algorithms analyze patterns of information dissemination, user engagement, and other factors to identify content that violates guidelines. This proactive approach helps curb the spread of misinformation.
- Collaboration with Health Authorities:
- Tech companies collaborate with health authorities and organizations to ensure that their platforms prioritize information from trusted sources. This collaboration helps in creating a united front against misinformation, with health agencies providing accurate and up-to-date information for dissemination.
- Promotion of Authoritative Sources:
- Platforms often prioritize and promote content from authoritative sources, such as health ministries, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other recognized health organizations. This helps users access information that has been vetted and approved by experts in the field.
- Community Reporting:
- Users on social media platforms can report content that they find suspicious or potentially harmful. Tech companies use community reporting systems to assess the legitimacy of content and take appropriate action, including content removal or warnings.
- Public Service Announcements:
- Tech companies use their platforms for public service announcements to disseminate accurate information. This may include creating dedicated sections for COVID-19 information, providing links to official health resources, and running awareness campaigns.
By leveraging technology, social media platforms and online spaces can actively contribute to combating misinformation, ensuring that users have access to reliable and verified information during a pandemic or public health crisis.
These efforts aim to promote public safety, discourage panic, and foster a more informed and resilient global community.
When a new pandemic emerges, people often inquire about existing drugs to treat or prevent the virus causing it.
The same curiosity arose with the coronavirus pandemic over a year ago. Nations are actively seeking ways to slow and eradicate the virus, and technology plays a crucial role in expediting the search for a cure.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven valuable by suggesting components for vaccines based on understanding viral protein structures.
It aids researchers by quickly sorting through vast amounts of medical research papers relevant to the task, a task that would be significantly slower if done manually.
An innovative system, Google Deepmind’s AlphaFold, has been introduced to predict the 3D structure of a protein using its genetic sequence.
This technological advancement accelerates the process of finding potential solutions to combat the virus.
Traceability And Data Sharing
Getting clear messages to the people during a pandemic is very important to make sure that they are informed of what is happening and to make sure that no one gets ahead to feed them with misinformation.
Due to this fact, an interactive COVID-19 map that helps to provide news on the disease was launched by Microsoft Bing.
Sixfold has also launched a live map of border crossings for truck drivers so that all of Europe could know what is going on when there happen to be delays in the supply of shipments.
Social media app TikTok has also partnered with the World Health Organization to provide knowledgeable information on the coronavirus pandemic for their users and the correct facts and live streams from the WHO.
Their users will be able to ask various questions about the pandemic and receive answers.
The introduction of wireless thermometer guns and other infrared scanners is now essential in detecting infected persons at various checkpoints, offices, airports, hotels, hospitals, shops, and train stations, and with the help of coronavirus test kits, you can also use lateral flow tests for home to check your status.
These technological devices are used to measure the temperature of the human body while helping to keep a distance between the person being inspected and the person holding the device.
Big data analytics can help in tracking infected people through the use of facial recognition. This also helps health officials track the people who may have come into contact with the person the virus has infected.
Some of these technologies can even help identify people even when they are wearing a mask that has covered their faces. These technologies also allow monitoring of the movements of people who health professionals have quarantined.
It is clear from what we have seen that the world was not adequately prepared for the attack of another pandemic.
The only thing that seems to have gone our way is that this pandemic does not seem to be very dangerous in terms of the rate at which it infects and brings down its victims. Will the world be prepared should another pandemic happen after this?
From what we see, technology has to be instrumental in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic through the various ways in which it has been applied.