A new at-home risk assessment app is intended to stop those worried they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) from arriving en masse at hospitals in the US.
After being asked a series of questions relating to symptoms and recent travel history, artificial intelligence uses an algorithm to return a verdict of: no risk, minimal risk, moderate or high risk. Developed by a team at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University, the app directs those at risk to the nearest testing facility and also provides healthcare providers with vital real-time information on the changing numbers.
“We wanted to help identify people who are at high risk for coronavirus, help expedite their access to screening and to medical care and reduce spread of this infectious disease,” said Dr Arni S.R. Srinivasa Rao, director of the Laboratory for Theory and Mathematical Modeling in the MCG Division of Infectious Diseases at Augusta University.
The researchers hope the app can help reduce the incidence of sick people coming in contact with those who aren’t; and also assist in stemming the potential for panic levels to get out of control.
“We are trying to decrease the exposure of people who are sick to people who are not sick,” said Dr Jose Vazquez, chief of the MCG Division of Infectious Diseases. “We also want to ensure that people who are infected get a definitive diagnosis and get the supportive care they may need.”
Although still not categorised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, officials in the German government are now calling it that.
Dr Vazquez added: “This is what you have to do with pandemics. You don’t want to expose an infected person to an uninfected person.”
The app will be live shortly here and available in app stores on the iOS and Android platforms.
Scientists in the Mount Sinai Health System have also made a key diagnostic breakthrough by identifying markers that quickly confirm if someone has COVID-19. It will allow health professionals to isolate patients at an earlier stage and contain the spread of the virus.
More than 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported worldwide so far and countries are stepping up their responses. In Italy, all schools and universities are closing until the 15 March, while California has declared a state of emergency. Panic buying is also being widely reported but individuals are being urged to stay calm and focus on taking simple hygeine steps to protect themselves. The Vietnamese Government has put out the video below recommending some of the preventive measures people should take. It is well worth a watch.