If you are concerned you might have COVID-19 and want to run your questions by someone, you can now do so by asking Siri.
Reported by CNBC, Apple has released an update to Siri with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Public Health Service.
Users can now ask “Hey Siri, do I have coronavirus?” and Siri will lead them through some questions to help determine if they should seek medical help. It will ask users if they are exhibiting the symptoms most commonly linked to COVID-19 such as a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath.
When you ask Siri, “Do I have coronavirus,” you’ll now get an answer. Apple updated its voice assistant this weekend to give users a questionnaire based on information from federal health officials, CNBC reported. Depending on the symptoms reported, users are told to self-isolate, call a doctor, or call 911. CNBC says Siri also serves up a link to the App Store and telehealth apps.
Siri will ask users if they’re exhibiting symptoms of the disease, such as fever, dry cough or shortness of breath. Siri will advise people who say they have extreme or life-threatening symptoms to consider calling 911.
If users say their symptoms are not extreme or life threatening, Siri instructs people to stay home and avoid contact with other people. It advises them to contact a medical provider if their condition becomes more severe.
It also providers users with a link in the App Store, where they can download telehealth apps and potentially receive virtual consultation.
The answers are from the U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Apple.
The service is intended for users in the United States. It is not known if, or when, the service will be expanded internationally.
An Apple spokesperson did not share further information on the changes.
Apple is not the only tech giant who has mobilized its resources to help health officials respond to the global pandemic, which has now sickened more than 300,000 people across the world.
Facebook said earlier this week it planned to launch a coronavirus information center that will appear alongside users’ news feed. It encourages people to take social distancing seriously and also has a “request or offer help” page.
Google’s much-anticipated website dedicated to providing information about COVID-19 debuted on Friday.
Tech vs coronavirus
Like the rest of the world, the tech industry is reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus – streaming services are reducing their video quality, major events are being canceled, and many of us are having to switch to remote working software.
At the same time, the biggest names in technology are lending a hand to the efforts to get the spread of Covid-19 under control. Earlier this weekend, it was announced that Apple is donating two million N95 respirator masks to hospitals in the US.
Google has launched its own coronavirus information hub, where you can find details about the virus and Covid-19 – symptoms, treatments and so on. It’s also displaying more relevant links alongside searches around coronavirus.
For the moment it seems as though the launch of products like the iPhone 12 and the PlayStation 5 won’t be delayed by the coronavirus, but it’s going to be a long time before everything gets back to normal.