SEATTLE, Washington — As COVID-19 continues to plague the world, many international companies have been providing relief to communities hit the hardest around the globe. Organizations are using many different ways to help, from resource distribution and new technologies to vaccine research. Microsoft is one such major company utilizing its resources to support the fight against COVID-19. Here are four ways Microsoft is battling COVID-19 internationally through its different operations.
4 Ways Microsoft is Fighting COVID-19
Resource distribution is one fundamental way that Microsoft is aiding with COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Microsoft has purchased, repurposed and distributed five pallets of personal protective equipment, including more than 240,000 FFP3 medical masks, 75,000 goggles and 100,000 nitrile gloves, among other items. Moreover, Microsoft has provided aid packages to many different countries. Two of those being Italy and China, which were significantly affected by COVID-19. In Italy, the company purchased and distributed medical supplies in the city of Milan to help alleviate the hardships experienced by the people and support healthcare professionals conduct medical procedures in a safer environment. In China, Microsoft offered monetary aid and support, including communications and data assistance for hospitals.
The Microsoft Healthcare Bot service has connected more than 18,000,000 individual users across the globe. This service helps provide up-to-date and accurate information about the infection and serves as a tool to screen people for potential infection and treatment. Health organizations worldwide created 1,230 COVID-19 self-assessment bots based on the Microsoft Healthcare Bot service, reaching 18 million individuals and serving more than 160 million messages. One such organization is Emergency Medical Services Copenhagen who was receiving 2,000 calls a day when the pandemic started hitting internationally. Now, these people are directed towards the Microsoft Healthcare Bot for their questions. The Microsoft Healthcare Bot utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing technology to help organizations create their own bots, which answer questions that allow doctors, nurses and other health care professionals the freedom to provide critical care to patients who need it.
AI For Health is a health initiative that Microsoft launched to help healthcare services worldwide. Started in January 2020, AI For Health was mobilized to help health organizations, nonprofits and researchers with AI technology and data tools. Now, with the initiative’s specific focus on COVID-19, the company has donated $20 million to research facilities and organizations to spearhead COVID-19 research. The AI For Health has a five-part focus on the novel coronavirus research. The first area of focus is data collection and insight to aid safety concerns and the economic impacts of the virus. The second part concentrates on treatment and diagnostics, researching potential vaccines and diagnostics. The initiative’s third focus area is the allocation of resources, including hospital space and medical supplies. The last two areas of focus centers around minimizing misinformation shared through the dissemination of accurate information and further scientific research into understanding the component makeup of COVID-19. Through collaborations with other global organizations, such as the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and Folding@home, Microsoft is aiding in multiple areas for COVID-19 relief.
Give with Bing is another way that Microsoft is helping COVID-19 relief. This initiative allows people using Bing’s search engine to donate to nonprofit organizations, providing users a convenient and easy way to aid communities in need. By using Bing, people earn points for every search they make. These points can then be distributed to a nonprofit of their choosing, with more than 1.4 million nonprofits to choose from. With the ongoing pandemic, Give with Bing has highlighted COVID-19 focused nonprofits, which has allowed more aid to reach numerous communities. Through this option, users have supported more than 500 COVID-19 centered nonprofits.
These four Microsoft operations have helped save numerous lives globally. As a powerful company, Microsoft has taken strides toward giving back to communities and aiding those in critical need. The diversity in these actions shows deliberate thought and care concerning the pandemic, from AI assistance in hospitals to convenient donation methods for nonprofit organizations. However, Microsoft’s work is still just the beginning, with the pandemic a persistent issue internationally. To completely eradicate COVID-19 and help those in need worldwide, more organizations need to follow Microsoft’s steps and contribute more to global COVID-19 relief initiatives.