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Dissecting the COVID-19 and AI

We have often reiterated that our continuous learning sessions have always been enlightening and this time’s was no different. Avinash Humza had the task of choosing a trending topic for the session.

So, what could be more trending than the novel coronavirus? As countries continue to work round the clock to contain the spread of the viral disease, we tried do the same by trying to increase the aware of the dreaded COVID-19 via this presentation.

There is no dearth of awareness content regarding the coronavirus. Having said that, there are still misconceptions that are rampant around the virus. People try to follow everything they hear, and this sometimes leads to more issues than solutions. Avinash and Humza’s presentation tried to solve this for us.

The presentation covered quite a lot from the introduction to the symptoms to the prevention. Plus, a couple of fun facts too. Well, it seems that the coronaviruses are a big family and have a history of causing trouble quite often in this world. They cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

These viruses are also zoonotic in nature, which means they have been passed on to humans from animals. It has similarities to SARS, another respiratory disease that emerged in China during 2002-2003 and spread across the world with quantifiable speed. SARS was also zoonotic in nature.

Here is a brief history of how this dreaded virus has held the world hostage:

Outbreak Virus Type Death
2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak SARS-CoV 77
2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak MERS-CoV Over 400
2015 Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak in South Korea MERS-CoV 36
2018 Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak MERS-CoV 40
2019–20 coronavirus outbreak SARS-CoV-2 At least 4,630

The 2019-nCov was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in the Wuhan Province in China. The symptoms include:

  • Fever, tiredness, and dry cough
  • Aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea
  • High temperature
  • Breathing difficulties

The virus spreads from person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. That said, it is also possible to ensure that you can try to avoid it by taking care to:

  • Clean Your Hands Often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is essential if you have been to a public place or have blown your nose or coughed or sneezed

  • Avoid Close Contact

Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your area

  • Cover Cough and Sneeze

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow

People wearing masks are a common sight these days. But did you know there are dos and don’ts with wearing a mask as well? Ideally, you must wear a mask when you see people around you with symptoms related to the disease. Or if you are caring for a person with nCov. But if you are ill with the virus, then wearing a mask is not of help. It is better to stay isolated so that others do not contact the disease.

Another method of prevention is to avoid traveling to countries affected with Covid-19.  It would be wise to stay at home and avoid contact with others. It is safe to stay back and break the nCov chain to stop the spread of the disease. Opt for remote working if you are office goer and do not sent your children to school for a 14-day period. Make sure your employer is aware of your situation.

Stay at home doesn’t mean that is a holiday where you can go watch movies or meet with friends. That doesn’t help at all. It is preferred that you do not take public transportation, taxis or share-rides during the time of social distancing. It is always better to avoid crowded places such as shopping centers and movie theatres. The key is limiting your activities in public.

To sum up the presentation, Avinash and Hamza said that staying back to break the chain was importance. As the presentation neared it close, they shared a couple of fun facts about the disease.

The popular beer brand – Corona started suffering losses after the outbreak and has suffered a huge loss of $170 million. As memes about the beer galore on the social media due to name reference, the company has offered upto $15 million to help change the Coronavirus’s name to the BudLightVirus.

A thriller novel, “The Eyes of Darkness,” written by Dean Koontz in 1981, mentioned a virus named Wuhan-400. In the novel, the virus was created as a weapon in a laboratory.

These fun facts ended the serious presentation on a lighter note. Next, it was time for some activity. We have been following this pattern of having a presentation and then ending the continuous learning session with an activity. It is another learning that we have in the same session and also peps us up.

Avinash and Hamza divided us into two teams and gave us some images. There were similar images in them. We had to take down their details – hair color, eye colour, features, etc. Then we had to match the images to see which images seemed similar. We thoroughly enjoyed this activity and it was Avinash and Humza’s simpler way of showing us how the AI behind face recognition apps worked by matching the algorithms.

Overall, it was an informative session – one that benefitted us greatly. As it had to be a trending topic, Avinash and Hamza had to work on this at the last moment and in some haste. Apart from that it was quite enlightening for us. Despite the fact there is a lot of information on the Internet about the nCoV, quite a few things were new to us (like the mask one or the fun facts). Thank you Avinash and Hamza!

Stay safe, everyone! Stay back and stop the spread of COVID-19!