Etched in our minds was a time before it all began. A time where we could still roam freely without fear of unknowingly contracting an infectious disease. A time where air travel was commonplace and plans for activities and events were concrete. Now in June 2020, it is an uncertain time where we can only wait can hope for the best outcome from the numerous government and international efforts in place to combat the novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic would be defined as a pivotal moment in human history. In the face of uncertainty, it is in our human nature to seek improvement and adaptation so as to maintain our way of life.
One prominent consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the wave of technological advancements. From in telecommuting for work to the use of AI tools for contact tracing, the pandemic has seen an unprecedented increase in the applications of technology and rise of digital processes.
For the month of June, we explore a range of technological advancements that have surfaced during this time. First, we look at the use of social media platforms to raise awareness of mental health issues that some affected by staying at home or fear of the virus. (p. 22) With the expanding use of artificial intelligence in many fields, it is definitely one area that Tencent Healthcare has leveraged on to create open-sourced tools in combatting COVID-19. (p. 26) The 3D printing industry has also turned heads with its applications for helping to minimise transmission of viruses. (p. 30)
We are honoured to share our Gamer Changer of the month of June, eko.ai. A Singapore-based start-up launched in 2018, the founding team of experts hope to revolutionise and democratize the echocardiograph. Read more about their work on using AI to develop a software that would bring the echocardiograph to the masses from an interview with Dr Carolyn Lam, co-founder of eko.ai. (p. 14) Also in the columns section, we draw attention to a lesser known Nipah virus that affected the South and Southeast Asian regions. Its high fatality rate of 40 to 75 percent caused the World Health Organisation to place it in the priority list for research and development of treatment and vaccine. (p. 18)
As many economies begin to re-open and governments start to ease lockdown measures, some countries such as South Korea and Germany were faced with a second wave of COVID-19 cases. This caused many other governments to draw on these examples to be cautious when easing restrictions and social distancing measures. The WHO has also warned countries looking to relieve lockdown and movement controls to do so gradually, with a fear of sparking a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
Deborah Emmanuel Seah Qing En