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'By failing to prepare, you are preparing to Fail' - Data Analytics and its role in dealing with Covid-19

During the past few months, the world is fighting a battle to contain a lesser known virus with no cure or vaccine in sight and which has had far reaching impact on the world's healthcare and economic stability. Informed decisions are need of the hour and these decisions are making use of data generated from various feeds globally across sectors. COVID-19 has brought to the core the importance of Big Data Analytics. 

Analytical tools like ML (Machine Learning), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) are being used individually or as a combination to derive information around disease profiling, nature and spread of the virus etc.

Below are my views on how Data Analytics can help respond to a disease with such far reaching implications globally:

A.      Develop the Correct Response - Data available across sources worldwide has helped develop the right measures which has proven that early interventions can disrupt the spread of the virus. Suggesting a few ways:

a.       Quantify Risks - Identify the cities where maximum movement of folks happens. This helps be ready with different responses and strategies to be adopted like home quarantine etc. and focus on local transmission in the villages/small towns. Also, plan and implement social distancing by projecting infections vs. casualties over a 2 to 3-month time frame.

b.      Predict trajectories - Identify and categorize patients who are more vulnerable to the disease and those cases which could lead to severe respiratory issues.

c.       Develop Response Strategies - Simulate a variety of best and worst case scenarios to help the government decide the combinations of measures required to be implemented to reduce or flatten the curve.

B.      Predict the Invisible - Probably the most widely used dashboard worldwide to understand the spread of the disease is the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering's COVID-19 Dashboard. This idea has helped educate the public on the exponential increase in the numbers and serves as a warning. Alternatively, it has helped governments to identify the strategy, which would work best, taking into consideration the learnings from other countries by looking at the trends.

From my understanding, the technologies being leveraged to deal with the outbreak are:

1.       Statistical & Simulation modelling - Tracking spread of the virus, predicting outcomes, estimating when the demand for healthcare services would peak, demand of ventilators etc.

2.       Artificial Intelligence -

a.    Chatbots serving as virtual assistants over tele-callers/support staff and also serve as healthcare agents to answer basic COVID-19 related questions

b.       Diagnosis - Technology used to diagnose Pneumonia, a common complication from COVID-19 from CT Scans in a short duration and with high accuracy

c.       Fever detection - Cameras with AI help detect people with fever, recognizes faces and also determine if they are wearing masks; all this without any manual intervention

d.       Research - To assist in the development of antibodies and vaccines by recreating models of the proteins that are associated with the virus

Conclusion

Eventually, mankind will find a way to put an end or at least find a cure to this life threatening virus. However, this pandemic will leave plenty of opportunities for those seeking help - using technology to promote advances in healthcare, government response, business continuity plans, and more. Using AI and ML, there is an opportunity to come up with innovative solutions or products like use of drone for delivery of medicines and essentials, robots to assist patients with contagious diseases when kept in isolation etc.

Companies and governments alike will have to start making use of the reliable predictive abilities of analytics to identify bottlenecks and plan ahead to handle such disruptions effectively in the future. Analytics will help you think about various situations in difficult times and enable organizations and governments to prepare for the worst and respond better. As Benjamin Franklin rightly said - 'By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail'.

Comments

Good one.

Good read!!. Short and informative

Superb way of articulating the technological benefits and applications. True effort to make you feel proud of being a technocrat.

Good one Divya.Nicely articulated

Amazing write-up!! It's really admirable how you have put together the benefits of data analytics and technologies.

Well articulated . Good one

Very well articulated and addresses the need of the hour!

Very nice read, really made us think and appreciate how important data analytics is in the current scenario

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