Android's owner is one of the tech companies at the forefront of the coronavirus crisis, and the company is adding a COVID-19 warning to Google Maps to steer users in the right direction.
Google Maps COVID-19 warning directs users to call doctor first
Google is adding a warning to Maps listings and searches for those who may be sick. Users looking for a nearby hospital or medical locations such as blood banks will see the warning. On a medical listing, users can click on the new warning. It will then take them to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.
The CDC warns users at its website that, if they believe they are sick with coronavirus, they should call their doctor immediately. Those who don't have a primary doctor should call the hospital they're searching for to report they believe they have coronavirus. The alert simply says, "Call your doctor before visiting if you may have COVID-19. Source: CDC".
The new coronavirus warning is on both Android and iOS.
Coronavirus warning encourages social distancing to prevent spread
Normally, it would make sense to visit the hospital if a person believes they're sick. In the current coronavirus crisis, however, visiting a hospital could lead to disease spread. Coronavirus is a disease that is communicable.
It passes from person to person. Even if someone has few or no symptoms, he or she could still pass the disease to others who may show symptoms upon infection.
Hospitals are where sick people go to get well. Someone already sick with a compromised immune system could contract coronavirus and die from it. The disease is killing those with poor immune systems and the elderly, in particular.
When sick individuals call the doctor, he or she will tell them to socially distance themselves from family and friends and "self-quarantine." That is, instead of going to the hospital, where they could infect others, they'll be told to stay home.
At this point, coronavirus solutions such as anti-malaria drug Chloroquine and anti-ebola drug Remdesivir are in testing. There is no vaccine available for consumption just yet.
The only thing doctors can do for coronavirus patients is help them with breathing difficulties (if they have any). There is no pill, tablet, or shot doctors can give coronavirus patients. Thus, going to the hospital won't benefit coronavirus patients for now.
Google summons resources in coronavirus fight
Apart from the new Maps warning, Google is also summoning YouTube to aid the public on how to respond to the new crisis. YouTube is rolling out a video news shelf in the coming weeks that will provide information on coronavirus from its own authoritative sources.
The company will introduce some coronavirus video ads to provide public assistance. To reduce internet congestion in the EU, Google's YouTube will reduce its standard video resolution from 720p to 480p.