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Amazon’s Alexa Now Offers Coronavirus Health Recommendations

By Rhian Hunt - Mar 27, 2020 at 4:20PM

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Health suggestions, COVID-19 news, and perky tunes for hand-washing are included.

Users worried they might have coronavirus symptoms can now ask Alexa, Amazon's (AMZN 3.15%) virtual AI assistant, and get advice based on CDC guidelines. While not a substitute for actual medical testing and recommendations, the program is now equipped to provide a thumbnail assessment of a user's risk level based on their answers to a series of questions. The news comes after Amazon pledged to help fight the pandemic, alongside other tech companies. 

Alexa owners can start the querying process by asking, "Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?" Alexa then conducts a brief question-and-answer session to determine what type of symptoms the user has, how many people they've been recently exposed to, and where they've traveled recently.

Amazon Echo buttons.

Image source: Amazon.

Based on the answers, Alexa provides a symptom and risk level summary based on CDC protocols in the U.S., or Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare standards for users in Japan. The digital assistant also provides suggestions on what the user should do, based on risk and symptoms. A database of COVID-19 info also lets the user catch up on the latest news about the pandemic.

In the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Brazil, and India Alexa users can also request 20 seconds of music to wash their hands to, ensuring that they've scrubbed for the recommended time. The Alexa coronavirus service can be accessed on any device capable of supporting the digital assistant, including Echo, Fire TV, Fire tablets, smartphones, Kindle, and similar devices.

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