The doctor is in, and her name is Alexa.
Alexa, the virtual assistant who comes with Amazon's smart speakers, has learned a new skill that will surely come in handy during these strange and scary times. With people around the world panicking about the novel coronavirus and with many of those people unable to get tested for COVID-19, Alexa can help calm your nerves - or stoke your fears.
Now, Alexa can help you diagnose yourself with COVID-19, thanks to information from authorities and officials like the CDC. Of course, this doesn't replace an actual test, and you'll never be able to be 100 percent sure that you are coronavirus-free if you're displaying worrisome symptoms like a dry cough and difficulty breathing.
If you have an Amazon smart home device, try asking Alexa a few coronavirus-related questions like “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?” or “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?”
Alexa will then prompt you to answer a few questions to assess your risk level and the likelihood of whether or not you've been infected with the virus. She will ask you about your symptoms, travel history, and any possible exposure to the virus.
Then, you'll get advice on how to proceed based on the information you provide and official recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information.
With a lot of misinformation surrounding the facts about the novel coronavirus and confusion about what to do whether or not you think you're sick, it's a wonderful thing to be able to access official information without having to sift through web pages - if you own one of the best smart speakers (opens in new tab) that's powered by Alexa, it's certainly worth testing our her new skill.
On a side note, if you're an iPhone user, Siri has a similar ability, so if you're not satisfied by Alexa's answers, you can get a second opinion.
Alexa will also help you wash your hands
As talented as she is, Alexa still can't stand over your shoulder to make you wash your hands for the full 20 seconds recommended by the CDC. But she can certainly help in that regard: upon request, Alexa will sing you a 20-second song to help you time your hand-washing to make sure that you're minimizing your chances of contracting COVID-19 if it's already present on your person. While it has been reported that her voice won't be winning awards anytime soon, the song can certainly help children time their hand washing better and help them develop healthier habits.