IntelliDyne brings you a weekly digest of some of the latest news and insights about COVID-19, how federal agencies and IT officials are dealing with the pandemic, and best practices in order to bolster security and privacy in teleworking environments and encourage improved communications.
Structured Data: Connecting Americans to Coronavirus Information Online
The White House reports that while “there is no shortage of coronavirus content on the internet, the American people need access to the most up-to-date public health guidance and most relevant information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing facilities.” One way to accomplish this is by adding structured data to websites for easy identification and retrieval.
The federal government has been working with Schema.org to be sure that “coronavirus resources are prioritized with online search engines.” Google’s developers network states that governmental bodies and other organizations “are publishing urgent announcements that affect schedules and other aspects of everyday life. This includes the closure of facilities, rescheduling of events, and new availability of medical facilities (for example, testing centers).”
Federal Government Effort to Improve Search Engines for COVID-19 Research
Two government agencies announced earlier this month a joint effort to support the development of search engines for research that will help in the fight against COVID-19. These efforts aim to apply the long-standing program of expert engagement and technology assessment called the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) to the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a resource of more than 44,000 research articles and data about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses.
The two agencies involved in this effort are the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
More information on TREC-COVID can be found here.
Military Hospitals Move Healthcare to Virtual Platforms
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) reported health facilities are moving to virtual delivery of healthcare due to stay-at-home orders. In a report about Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, DHA states that virtual healthcare appointments are being used for a wide variety of purposes, including “medication refill requests, lab and radiology results, cold and allergy symptoms, urinary tract infections and routine follow-up appointments in which a physical exam isn’t required.”
It should be pointed out that the move to virtual screening and healthcare delivery has been in the works for many years. Virtual healthcare delivery has been used in caring for troops around the world and in educating medics in remote locations.
Department of Defense Coronavirus Response
DoD’s informative coronavirus response website reports that the Department is “working on how to resume normal military operations following the coronavirus pandemic.” Despite a stop-movement order, the Secretary of Defense is reevaluating plans every 15 days, with U.S. Transportation Command planners involved in the efforts.
Among the concerns are replenishing the DOD stockpile in case of future crises and employing a testing program. The infographic below, updated as of April 22, 2020, provides a snapshot of DoD activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.