(UnitedVoice.com) – Despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders that have become the new normal in America, the novel coronavirus continues to spread. As of April 1, 2020, the United States surpassed 200,000 reported infections according to the Johns Hopkins webpage tracking the worldwide pandemic. Now, companies and entrepreneurs are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to join in the battle.
In conjunction with the White House and other government agencies, Apple developed a questionnaire that will help people determine if they might have the virus. It’s available as an app on Apple devices and also as a webpage for public use. It provides other helpful information like guidance on testing, information about social distancing and hand hygiene, and a rundown on symptoms.
Google has also set up a site for people to keep informed. There is a plethora of information available, including a link to the CDC’s symptom self-check.
Human beings generally enjoy interacting with one another. Most people have several different circles: family, work, friends, etc. In this unprecedented time, gathering with others must take a back seat to safety concerns. Large gatherings have been banned and hygiene precautions, like sanitizing hands, have become vital.
One enterprising trio in Seattle developed a device to help prevent people from spreading something from their hands into their mouth, nose, or eyes. It is a wristband that senses where the user’s hand is and emits a buzz when it gets too close to their face.
Isolation can cause loneliness and emotional distress. Fortunately, in today’s world being restricted to home doesn’t have to mean a lack of social interaction. Video chat services abound, allowing people and groups to connect face-to-face in real-time.
Video calls are a great way to talk, but they lack the ability to let users share experiences like going to a movie theater together. In just one example of how to bridge that gap, streaming-giant Netflix has rolled out Netflix Party. The service allows people to log-on from separate devices and watch movies and TV shows at the same time while using a live chat feature to talk about it.
Hospitals are overwhelmed. In some areas, alternative locations like hotels and sporting venues are being modified to house patients as hospital bed space runs out. The overburden on the medical system has caused the cancelation of appointments and elective procedures to leave capacity for the most ill or injured of patients.
Doctors outside of hospital settings have expanded their use of video calling to keep patients socially isolated while still meeting medical needs. ERs and Urgent Care Clinics are also using video contacts to perform intake interviews remotely prior to advising patients to proceed to a facility. If a condition doesn’t require immediate intervention but does require close monitoring, there are now devices that can be linked to smartphones to track the patient’s vital signs, including pulse and temperature, and transmit the data to a doctor.
America is navigating uncharted waters right now. We’re fighting a war against a microscopic enemy ravaging us on our own shores — something we’ve mostly been spared from on every scale over the last 100 years. We’re not used to so many casualties here, at home. It’s shocking, unsettling, and frightening. But the technology that exists here in the 21st-Century affords us hope and maybe the dimmest of silver linings; it makes it easier for us to band together even while we isolate.
Copyright 2020, UnitedVoice.com