A coronavirus testing website is being developed by Google that will help people screen themselves for COVID-19. President Donald Trump made the announcement during Friday's press conference about the coronavirus epidemic. He also declared a national state of emergency.
The website will prompt people to fill out a questionnaire about their symptoms and then, if necessary, direct them to drive-thru testing locations that the U.S. government is planning to roll out.
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Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet (Google's parent company), said in a leaked memo uncovered by CNBC that both Google and Alphabet's life sciences company Verily would partner in an effort to aid COVID-19 testing.
Trump, who has faced backlash over his lackluster response to the COVID-19 epidemic, said that Google had 1,700 engineers working on the project. Vice President Mike Pence added that the website will launch on Sunday.
However, in a subsequent statement, Google indicated that the project was not as far along as the Trump administration suggested. "Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time," Google said.
Statement from Verily: "We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.March 13, 2020
The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has produced over 142,100 cases worldwide, including over 5,300 deaths, as can be tracked on coronavirus maps. The U.S. has seen over 1,875 confirmed cases with 41 deaths spread in different states, from Washington to New Jersey.
The outbreak has caused chaos and panic worldwide. Italy instituted a country-wide lockdown, while the U.S. issued a coronavirus travel ban against most European nations. Major events have been postponed or canceled, including sports leagues and tournaments such as the NBA, NHL and March Madness. Movie openings have been postponed or canceled, including No Time to Die, Fast and Furious 9 and Mulan.
And many corporations, including Google, have ordered their employees to work from home in order to help with containment as social distancing is one of the essential coronavirus tips for staying safe.