Apple users wondering if they’ve caught COVID-19 now can ask digital assistant Siri for advice.
The company on Saturday rolled out a self-screening feature that allows users to ask, “Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” Siri then takes them through a questionnaire prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Public Health Service to determine if they’re exhibiting symptoms of the disease, such as fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath — or if they’ve had contact with someone with the virus.
If users indicate their symptoms aren’t extremely life-threatening, Siri instructs them to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, and maintain social distancing — that is, a separation of six feet between people. If the symptoms persist, they’re advised to contact a physician.
For extreme and life-threatening cases, Siri recommends a call to 911.
The app doesn’t delve into the realm of diagnoses.
“There are a number of symptoms that could be COVID-19 or something else,” explained Seth Martin, MD, MHS, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
“The only way to make a real diagnosis is to have testing performed to determine if those symptoms are actually due to COVID-19,” he told TechNewsWorld. “An app can’t do that.”
In addition to the questionnaire and advice, Siri provides App Store links to telehealth applications that could include virtual consultations with medical professionals.