AI and Data Analytics to Combat Health Pandemic

This article was published on Apr 25 in ExpressHealthcare (arm of Indian Express):
On Feb 17, 31st case of coronavirus surfaced in Daegu, South Korea. On outlining the tracks of this ‘ Patient 31 ’, public health official ascertained that in the last ten days the patient had attended two worship services with over 1000 people. Within a week, a 30-fold increase occurred in the nation’s number of cases. Since then, extensive use of analytics and data science has been central to South Korea’s approach in successfully ‘flattening the curve’. South Korean government has been tracking on quarantined people through a mobile app which also aids patients’ communication with the local health authorities to report symptoms.
Mapping and Forecasting through Data Analytics
In Italy, which has the 2nd highest fatality rate due to coronavirus in the world after US, Vodafone provided anonymised customer telecom data to the Italian health officials to track and analyse the movements of the population. The critical insight generated out of this real-time data was that around 40% of Milan’s residents moved 300-500m every day from their home, despite the government-mandated lockdown. Similarly, Belgium has been analysing aggregated and anonymised telecom data from the three telecom operators to understand human mobility trends during the lockdown, assess the impact of imposed measures and evaluate the risk of virus outbreak in a specific region. Till April 16, India has tracked the movement of over 70 thousand people in various states by creating virtual geo-fences for those meant to be quarantined by using mobile network tower data thereby reinvigoration Covid-19 containment efforts.
The utilisation of data analytics to understand the causes of the pandemic is reflective of the substantial transformation in the potential of organisations and governments to collect massive amount of data and use AI algorithms to harness them. In this battle, firms have been collecting and processing real-time data at an unprecedented pace and scale. Countries such as India, Singapore, China, Korea, Spain and Israel have successfully developed and deployed indigenous mobile apps to provide instant notifications if an exposure to a covid infected person has occurred. Government health officials and epidemiologists then uses such data sets to track down and screen the exposed individuals and create hot-spot zones where stern isolation is implemented.
Artificial Intelligence for Monitoring and Drug Development
Baidu, a Chinese tech giant, uses infrared sensor and Artificial Intelligence powered facial recognition technology to predict people’s temperature at various airports and railway stations. Drones powered with AI-based thermal screening are deployed in public places by various nations to detect fever. AI and cloud computing are being used extensively to   identify potential drugs...