Chamber: How Tech Is Helping the Fight Against Coronavirus

Click here to view the Chamber’s latest resources and guidelines to help protect American workers, families and businesses.


Leading technology companies are using their resources, computing power, and data to combat the coronavirus and provide assistance for individuals and businesses. We’re tracking the topline efforts below:

#DataForGood

Researchers and leaders from the Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health released the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) of scholarly literature about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the coronavirus group.

The dataset represents the most extensive machine-readable coronavirus literature collection available for data and text mining, and responds to a call to action by the White House Office of Science and Technology Office

Splunk

Splunk created an interactive COVID-19 Dashboard to provide a data-driven approach to track COVID-19. An individual or organization can download a Splunk app, populate it with their own data, and use it to help get a better understanding of the data behind the pandemic. The Dashboard will help leaders bring data to every potential response to best ensure public safety.  

HERE Technologies

HERE used data to create an interactive mapping and tracking tool displaying the spread of COVID-19 over time. The map provides an overview of the latest situation, including the total number of confirmed cases, as well as deaths and recoveries.

IBM

Research: Researchers at the Energy Department are using IBM’s supercomputer to identify drug compounds to disable the coronavirus. 

IBM has also partnered with The Weather Channel to launch an interactive “Incidents Map” to track reported cases of COVID-19. The free tool uses Watson AI to pull together relevant COVID-19 data from state and local governments every 15 minutes.

RELX 

RELX is opening its Exsevier database with research and health information to the public. This includes peer-reviewed research and journals for researchers, care plans and skills guides for clinicians, and video resources for patients. 

SAS

SAS launched an interactive coronavirus dashboard that depicts status, location and spread of the virus, including trend and location analytics. Users can analyze data at the state and country level and see the latest on case status over time (confirmed, recovered, active, deaths), mortality and recovery rates, visualizations of the spread over time and country-to-country comparisons. The dashboard has prompted collaborations with state health departments to create custom dashboards to help state leaders make better decisions as they manage an unprecedented crisis.

Salesforce 

Salesforce announced to its customers on Monday that it would offer free services to emergency response teams through its Health Cloud program.  Tableau, owned by Salesforce, is also offering a ‘free data resource hub’ to help organizations understand coronavirus data quickly using data from Johns Hopkins University as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Screenshot from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine’s interactive COVID-19 Global Case Tracker

Misinformation

Google and Facebook have been aggressive in combating misinformation on their networks. 

Google removed thousands of videos on YouTube, its video-streaming service, that spread false reports and remedies about the coronavirus. Across the globe, videos about the coronavirus also carried a message underneath that encouraged viewers to seek advice from official government sources. Google also deleted apps from its online store that had tried to profit from the global crisis. – POLITICO

Since early March, Facebook has aggressively deleted reams of misinformation from its networks, mostly generated by normal users and not state-backed groups, while clamping down on people selling medical face masks and other products, often at hiked-up prices, on its platforms.

Apple is tightening its rules for coronavirus-related apps in its App Store, to help ensure that sources are reputable and from recognized entities 

Google

Research: Google is committing $50 million to the global coronavirus response, focusing on health and science, access to educational resources and small business support. On March 27, Google announced a new $800+ million commitment to support small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic. 

Google also debuted a national coronavirus website that tracks information, prevention tips, search trends, and additional resources for individuals, educators, and businesses.

Working with the WHO, Google will be matching up to $5 million in donations to the Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (through the UN Foundation). The fund will help the WHO track and understand the spread of the virus and help frontline workers with essential supplies and information. 

Google’s DeepMind has also released predictions to help scientists better understand the protein structure of the coronavirus. In addition, Verily is developing a small, body-worn temperature patch that transmits data to a phone application to provide timely notification of fever and support earlier diagnosis and treatment of a viral infection like the flu or coronavirus. This could be especially useful in elderly populations, where viral infections have higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

Community: Alphabet’s Verily will also be working in collaboration with California state, local, and federal health authorities to help establish testing sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, and on an online tool to increase risk screening and testing for people at high risk of COVID-19.

Facebook

Research: Researchers are using aggregated and anonymized Facebook data, including mobility data and population density maps, to study how the virus is spreading. 

Community: Facebook launched a Business Resource Hub with recommendations and resources that can help businesses cope with disruptions and keep their customers connected and informed.

On March 17, Facebook announced the creation of a $100 million grant program to help 30,000 small businesses around the world. 

Twitter

Research: Twitter’s data is being used in research on the coronavirus and its researchers hub is publicly available. 

Community: Along with its peers, Twitter is cracking down on misinformation and pushing official, credible information to the top. The platform is partnering with the World Health Organization directly in nearly 50 countries. 

Amazon

Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 workers to handle the spike in online shopping due to the outbreak, along with over $350 million worth of increased pay through the end of April for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe, and Canada. 

To triage needs, the company is also temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products. 

To protect consumers, Amazon is working to ensure that no sellers are artificially raising prices on basic need products during the pandemic, and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items. 

Amazon has established the Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution, focused on supporting independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress. These groups have the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with the coronavirus or placed into quarantine. 

Blackberry

To provide the highest level of security for employee devices, Blackberry is offering cybersecurity software solutions, including secure remote access for desktops and laptops, secure messaging and phone calls, and employee safety and advanced endpoint protection.


Telecommunications

As Americans hunker down at home, telecom companies are also taking steps to meet increased demands and provide assistance. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asked broadband and telephone service providers and trade associations to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge to ensure that Americans do not lose connectivity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Major providers have risen to the call, which asks that they: 

  1. not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  2. waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  3. open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

AT&T

Community: Along with other telecom giants, including Comcast and Charter, AT&T is removing barriers like data caps and fees, to provide relief for those caught up in the pandemic. These come as part of a pledge led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that also asks companies to open public Wi-Fi hotspots and waive late fees. 

AT&T is also creating a $10 Million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to give parents, students and teachers tools they need for at-home learning.

Comcast

For the next 60 days, Comcast has announced several new policies the company will be implementing. They will be offering Xfinity WiFi for everyone including non-Xfinity internet subscribers.

Xfinity Wifi hotspots will be available across the country for free. When at a hotspot, people can connect to the internet by selecting “xfinitywifi” as the network name in the list of available hotspots and launch a browser.

As many people will be working from home, Comcast has also announced it will be pausing its data plans for 60 days. Customers will receive unlimited data for no extra charge.

Charter

Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. 

Charter will also partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely. Charter will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, high-speed broadband program to eligible low-income households delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.

Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use.


Gig Economy

Businesses in the gig economy are playing a fundamental role in meeting consumer needs, as Americans enact social distancing. In some locations, restaurants, bars, and cafes are now restricted to take-over and delivery orders only. Delivery-based businesses are taking steps to protect consumers, and support restaurants and workers. 

Uber

Uber is giving away over 300,000 free meals to health workers and first responders who are helping combat the coronavirus. The company is providing financial assistance of up to 14 days for drivers and delivery people who have been diagnosed with the virus or asked to self-isolate.

UberEats is waiving delivery fees for more than 100,000 independent restaurants across the U.S. and Canada. To protect customers and drivers, it is urging customers to use the “delivery notes” feature to have drivers leave orders at the doorstep to limit contact.

The platform is coordinating with FMCSA to prioritize moving loads of relief goods, including cleaning supplies, food, and toilet paper.

Lyft

To support and protect drivers, Lyft is providing funds should they be diagnosed with the coronavirus or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency, and has partnered with EO Products to distribute more than 200,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to drivers, at no cost to them. 

Postmates

Postmates is offering reduced delivery fees, making on-demand delivery more accessible. To protect and support customers and drivers, Postmates launched non-contact deliveries and established the Postmates Fleet Relief Fund, which aids in covering the cost of co-pays, medical expenses, and sick leave related to COVID-19. The company is also working with Congress to expand a paid sick leave tax credit to all eligible contractors who are on the Postmates platform.

Instacart

Instacart announced plans to bring on an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers – more than doubling its shopper community – across North America over the next 3 months to meet the increasing customer demand for online grocery delivery and pickup in the U.S. and Canada.

Grubhub

Grubhub has waived up to $100 million in commissions for restaurants on the platform in order to help them cope with the possible economic impact of the coronavirus. 

The platform is also providing additional financial relief to their drivers and restaurants through the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, where customers’ Donate the Change contributions will go to charitable organizations that support drivers and restaurants impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

For those who are sick or being cautious about coming into contact with anyone they do not know, Grubhub provides the option in the ordering process for customers to contact their drivers directly to discuss delivery details, allowing both the deliverer and the recipient to decide what each feels most comfortable with. – Observer

Airbnb

Airbnb is partnering with hosts to connect 100,000 healthcare providers, relief workers, and first responders with clean, convenient places to stay that allow them to be close to their patients — and safely distanced from their own families.