- Apple updates Siri so that it can help diagnose people exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.
- Siri’s answers come from the US Public Health Service and the CDC.
- Apple is also donating millions of masks to healthcare providers to help them treat the coronavirus pandemic safely and more effectively.
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With so much misinformation about the coronavirus swirling about, Apple recently updated Siri to better help inform users who think they might be exhibiting coronavirus symptoms. And while this might seem pointless given the plethora of information available via a quick Google search, you’d be surprised at some of the conspiracy theories, fake cures, and downright misleading information being passed around online and presented as factual.
In light of that, iPhone users can now ask, “Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” whereupon they’ll be prompted to answer a series of yes or no questions to better “help you understand your situation.” Apple makes a point of noting that the answers it provides come from the US Public Health Service in concert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The first question asks if users have a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath. If you answer yes, it then asks if your symptoms are extreme or life-threatening. If you answer yes to that, it gives you the option to call 911.
If you indicate that you have no symptoms but may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, Siri delivers the following message:
OK, stay vigilant for symptoms like fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath. They may appear up to 14 days after exposure. If that happens, separate yourself from others.
Contact a medical provider if you’re age 65 or over, or have a serious medical condition like lung or heart disease, or diabetes. If you can’t reach a provider, telehealth apps may be able to help.
Again, this may seem altogether pointless — who relies on Siri for medical advice, after all? — but the amount of misinformation about the coronavirus is staggering. As we highlighted last week, some fake preventative measures — such as eating ice cream or garlic — have gone viral in some countries. In light of that, it’s a smart move for Apple to provide users with an accessible and medically sound way to handle potential coronavirus symptoms.
On a related note, Apple CEO Tim Cook yesterday took to Twitter and said that Apple helping donate supplies to help healthcare providers battle the coronavirus more effectively.
“Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19,” Cook said. “We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you.”