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How Technology is Helping to Combat the Coronavirus, RSV, Flu

China has spent several decades building up its tech sector, and now that it is faced with a massive health crisis, itis is pushing its tech companies to join the fight against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The death toll of the coronavirus outbreak has reached over 6.65M, with more than 650M people infected worldwide.

For RSV, in the 2022-2023 season, the overall rate of RSV-associated hospitalizations was 30.4 per 100,000 people

CDC estimates that, so far in the 2022-2023 season, there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations, and 7,300 deaths from flu.

About the Coronavirus

The virus, which causes a disease now known as COVID-19, has spread to every province and region in China and countries all over the world.

The virus may have jumped from animals to people at a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Researchers think the virus originated in bats, and one study suggests the disease may have spread from endangered pangolins to people.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international public health emergency and warned recently that the window of opportunity to contain the outbreak could be narrowing.

Combatting the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) with Technology

China’s tech companies have responded to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by utilizing available technologies such as:

  • Deploying autonomous vehicles for bringing supplies to medical workers
  • Installing thermal cameras on drones to improve detection of the virus
  • Lending computing power to help develop a vaccine.

The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology on Thursday called on the tech sector for help, suggesting that robots, temperature screening machines, and devices that can help reduce human contact should be deployed.

It’s not clear how much tech can help control the virus, but Beijing has made it clear that fighting the virus is a national priority and requires collective action.

The Chinese government has long focused on technological innovation as being an important area of growth, and Beijing has spent billions of dollars to initiate advancements on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and other areas.  It has been working to develop a tech sector that can compete with Silicon Valley.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said earlier that, “The fight against the epidemic cannot be achieved without the support of science and technology,” and that “China should ramp up clinical research for vaccines and antiviral drugs, as well as expand online shopping options for the tens of millions of people who are staying indoors to prevent the disease’s spread“.

China’s efforts to create its own Silicon Valley go back all the way to the 1980s when authorities began designating parts of the country as “high-tech development zones” focused on consumer electronics and biotech, among other fields. Those 168 zones reported more than 33 trillion yuan ($4.7 trillion) in revenue in 2018, according to official statistics.

Tech is part of Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, a plan to shift the economy from manufacturing to high-tech sectors.  The initiative entailed investing billions of dollars of government funding into areas such as wireless communications, microchips, and robotics.

China was home to nine of the world’s 20 most valuable tech companies in 2018, a big leap over the two it claimed five years earlier, according to a report by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

As China now fights the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), technology won’t be the “dominating factor” that stops the outbreak, according to Danny Mu, a Beijing-based analyst of emerging technologies at Forrester, but adds that the sector has its uses, like offering digital services for food delivery and mobile payments that help people “better face the epidemic.”

Researching Cures and Eliminating Human Contact

Supercomputing

Given the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and the risk of imputation in Europe, researchers from Hasselt University & Sorbonne Université are now modeling how intervention strategies can fight the spread of the virus in Europe using their VSC | Vlaams Supercomputer Centrum supercomputers.

Tencent in China (TCEHY) opened up its supercomputing facilities in early 2020 which include machines that can run calculations much faster than ordinary computers to help researchers racing to find a cure.   Beijing Life Sciences Institute and Tsinghua University are among the participants.

Didi, China’s biggest ride-hailing provider, has teamed up with medical and aid organizations to allow workers who need to perform tasks related to data analysis, online simulation or logistical support to use their servers for free.

Robots

Robots have been introduced in applications to help bring food and supplies to areas to eliminate human contact.

Self-driving robots can now bring goods to medical workers and patients, to Wuhan, for example, where the virus originated.

The bots, which look and run much like pint-sized vehicles, have been delivering packages to a hospital that primarily treats Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. The route is relatively short — about 600 meters to the hospital — but cutting humans out of the equation has helped protect customers and employees.

Robots are also spraying disinfectant in isolation wards, intensive care units, and operating rooms.

Drones

Drones have also been put to use during the outbreak.  Drones enable authorities to scan through large crowds and spot if someone is in need of medical attention or alert and enforce citizens to wear masks or stay indoors.

Command centers have been set up where they can monitor what the drones are seeing in real-time.

Drones have also been used for spraying disinfectants.

China’s massive security state is being used to crack down on the Wuhan virus.  China has long used facial recognition, artificial intelligence and other technologies to crack down on crime and monitor its citizens.  Tech companies in China, however, have been accused of censoring politically sensitive topics online in China, however, to combat the outbreak, many support it.

Originally posted 2020-02-25 21:37:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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