What the Tech? Siri Can Now Answer Coronavirus Questions

Siri can now provide information on the Coronavirus and might even be able to help you decide whether you should seek medical attention or just stay at home.

Apple updated the voice assistant over the weekend to provide information from the CDC. It will also ask about any symptoms you’re experiencing and using that information, will suggest you see a doctor or just stay home and isolate.

Simply say “Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” and it will begin a series of questions about symptoms and any contact with someone who might have the disease.

Depending on your answers, Siri will instruct you to contact your doctor or stay home and isolate. Apple will also encourage users who are not feeling well to use one of the many tele-medicine apps available in the app store such as Tela-Doc and Doctors on Demand.

The smartphone app Ada is also a very good first step in getting information about symptoms and what you should do if you have a fever, cough or chills. I

‘ve written about Ada before because it is the #1 medical app most people have never heard of. Developed by a group of doctors and medical experts, Ada is popular in 140 countries where people have trouble getting into an office to see a doctor.

Ada was updated recently to include symptoms and an assessment of the Coronavirus and COVID-19.

The first time you use Ada it will ask many questions about your medical history along with your age, location, occupation and health risks. The more questions you answer the better Ada is at assessing any health issue affecting you.

Much like questions from your primary care physician or a nurse practitioner, Ada uses a bot to ask follow-up questions based on your answers.

When I tried it last, I gave it answers to suggest I have the symptoms of COVID-19. I said I had a fever and Ada asked how long it had been going on and the range of the temperatures.

When I answered that I also had the symptom of difficulty breathing Ada’s bot asked a series of questions about the duration, if it got worse when I walked or laid down.

Ada also followed up those answers with the question of whether I had come in contact with someone with the Coronavirus or COVID-19 and if I had been traveling recently.

After answering all of those questions, Ada responded with two reports based on my answers suggesting I might be suffering from pneumonia or COVID-19. Ada showed statistics that 6 of 10 people with the symptoms I had given it were diagnosed with pneumonia while 1 in 100 had COVID-19.

It then recommended I seek immediate emergency care by going to the hospital.

Ada is a free app for iPhones and Android devices. While neither Ada nor Siri are good substitutes for a real doctor, they both may be able to answer the question of “should I go to the doctor with what I have or stay at home and see if the symptoms get better?”

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