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Google Maps now shows coronavirus warnings on Android and iPhone

Published Mar 20th, 2020 3:27PM EDT
Google Maps Features
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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  • Google Maps has now begun to display a coronavirus alert on Android, iPhone, and the web.
  • The message reminds people to call their doctors before visiting a medical facility and points to the CDC’s official help page for the novel coronavirus.
  • The virus is highly contagious, and the CDC says that people who think they have the disease shouldn’t go to a hospital without first calling a doctor or 911 for instructions.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Google is doing several things to help during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The company promised to develop a version of the nationwide COVID-19 website that Trump bragged about a week ago, although the site might have a more limited scope than initially advertised. The company has also placed a COVID-19 news panel on the homepage of YouTube to provide quick access to authoritative information about coronavirus developments, and Google reduced video streaming quality to SD in Europe, the epicenter of the pandemic right now. It’s therefore not surprising to see Google Maps used to raise awareness about the coronavirus, as Google is now displaying COVID-19 warnings inside the Android and iPhone versions of the app.

Google a few days ago encouraged business owners to access Google Maps and update their listings with any changes to their regular hours, information that can be critical to customers at this time. Furthermore, we also told you that Google Maps can be used to order food online from participating restaurants and to help you find new places to order from if your favorite establishments are closed.

The new coronavirus-related warning, as spotted by 9to5Google, consists of a banner that reads:

COVID-19 alert

Call your doctor before visiting if you may have COVID-19.
Source: CDC

The warning is displayed on the screen on all platforms, including Android, iPhone, and the web, in connection with medical searches inside Google Maps. Given the massive increase in novel coronavirus cases in the US in the past few weeks, it’s likely that many people are searching for nearby help using Google Maps.

Image source: 9to5Google

The warning is important because of the nature of this coronavirus outbreak. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease is highly contagious, even if your symptoms are mild. Clicking on the alert will send you to the CDC’s official website with COVID-19 instructions.

The CDC advises individuals who think they may have been infected to call their doctors before doing anything else.

Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

Moreover, if you or someone in your household is experiencing severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention, the CDC advises that you call 911 and tell them you might have the disease so that the first responders can protect themselves accordingly.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.

You should avoid trying to get to the emergency room by yourself, or using public transportation if you suspect you’re infected. That way, you’ll prevent yourself from passing the disease to others and infecting the medical professionals who are there to help.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.