Frontline workers remain true heroes as our nation continues to battle COVID-19. They risk their lives each day to help others, but they cannot combat this deadly virus on their own. Fortunately, we live in a world with remarkable technology. Below are some examples of technology that is being used in the fight against COVID-19.
Companies across the globe are printing everything from medical devices, personal protective equipment (PPE), accessories, and more. Because these devices are in high demand and can put people’s lives at risk if made improperly, the FDA released guidelines for anyone participating in printing equipment to follow.
While 3D printing helps, it isn’t a perfect solution. It can take a while for a 3D printer to make one item, and it’s harder to monitor the quality of an item, especially since there are a lot of people who independently own a 3D printer and are contributing to making PPE. But overall, 3D printing materials for those in need of protective equipment is positively impacting lives and is a great example of the power of technology.
Another way technology is helping in the fight against COVID-19 is through cellphone tracking. Using data gathered from users’ cellphones allows experts to see if people are staying home or gathering in large crowds. If a large gathering occurs, they can predict that there will be a spike of COVID-19 cases in that area and prepare healthcare providers ahead of time.
However, many people feel that using cellphones to track their movements is controversial and in violation of their rights. Fortunately, there are apps like SafePass, which allows users to track their symptoms, find testing sites, and receive an alert if they come in contact with someone who has the virus. Using an app like this is optional, which is less invasive of people’s rights since users have to choose to allow Safepass to access their information.
Unsurprisingly, telemedicine has played arguably one of the biggest roles in the fight against COVID-19. It allows patients and providers to interact virtually, therefore preventing crowded waiting rooms and close proximity contact between providers and patients. However, like other technology, it has its downfalls.
One issue that occurs when using telemedicine to treat patients is the inability of healthcare professionals to give their patients a physical exam, which may result in an improper diagnosis. Another issue is there can be an internet connection problem. If patients live in rural areas with poor wifi, they may end up not having access to virtual healthcare. There is also the issue of data security and how providers and patients can share secure information virtually. However, even with the chance of telemedicine experiencing problems, it has still been a great resource during this time of crisis.
Online Ordering & Curbside Pickup
Online ordering and curbside pickup may not be the most advanced technology that helps prevent people from coming in contact with each other during the pandemic, but it is widely used. According to this article, curbside pickup at retail stores has surged to 208%, and this trend is likely to stay. Like telemedicine, online ordering and curbside pickup keep people from gathering in indoor spaces and allows those who are at risk to shop in a way that keeps them safe.
Overall, while the use of technology to help slow the spread of COVID-19 has positively impacted people across the nation, it isn’t foolproof. The best way for people to protect themselves and others is to just stay home, but many of us are not naturally wired that way and need human interaction. Therefore, it’s important to take all the necessary precautions when out in public and utilize the technology we have to keep ourselves and each other safe.
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