Amazon's Alexa AI can quickly and effortlessly check your coronavirus risk level now
Even though the COVID-19 testing situation in the US is still far from perfect, China is no longer the country with the highest number of confirmed cases in the world. As of right now, more than 85,000 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus stateside, and that already vexing tally is expected to continue climbing for a period of time likely to range anywhere from a few weeks to the better part of a year.
In addition to staying indoors as much as possible and avoiding all unnecessary human contact, many might be inclined to seek medical help or even self-medicate at home for apparent COVID-19 symptoms. But because the number of available (and reliable) test kits remains limited and hospitals are starting to get swamped in certain places, it could be a good idea to try to use the technology at your disposal to check your coronavirus risk level before doing anything else.
The first COVID-19 test you need to take before panicking
Following in Apple's footsteps, Amazon has built a US "experience" turning Alexa into your perfect health assistant during these very troubling times. All you need to do is ask questions like "what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?" or "what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?", and the e-commerce giant's AI will automatically initiate a quick risk level assessment.
Upon answering a series of queries about your travel history, symptoms, and possible exposure, the voice assistant will provide the correct CDC guidance adapted to what Alexa deems to be your "risk level." Otherwise put, you will find out if you need to see a medical professional or just stay put, stay safe, and continue keeping an eye out for potential exposure or increasing symptoms.
Obviously, you shouldn't place a lot of trust in Alexa's pseudo-diagnosis, although the digital assistant's guidance may well prove to be a good way to keep your paranoia and hypochondria in check. This US and Japan-only feature can be accessed on an array of devices, ranging from Fire tablets to Echo smart speakers and "more", and the same goes for a neat new Alexa skill that will help you stay properly protected.
Other useful tools and features available for Alexa users
As you probably already know, you have to carefully scrub your hands for a full 20 seconds as often as possible and especially after making contact with anyone these days. If you're tired of singing happy birthday over and over again, you can now ask Alexa to help you keep time by singing a song of her own for the aforementioned 20 seconds. This functionality is available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, and the UK in addition to the US.
Back to US-exclusive capabilities, Amazon is highlighting a number of new and old ways you can stay informed, connected, and entertained right now, as all three of those things are perhaps more important than ever.
Some of the most notable Alexa skills promoted by the company in its latest blog post include news briefings from apps that don't require a subscription (like CBS News, Fox News, and NBC News), easily accessible CDC PSA videos on Fire TV and Echo Show devices, scheduling blood donations with the American Red Cross simply by using your voice, streaming free audio stories from Audible and kid-friendly Prime Video shows, and watching the first season of "select shows" on Prime Video with an Amazon Prime membership and no extra charge required.