MUMBAI: Artificial intelligence (AI), said BMC authorities on Friday, has played a role in shaping the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic in Mumbai over the past seven months.
Luckily for Mumbaikars, the city’s Covid curve has so far coincided with the “lowest-level” severity projected by machine intelligence, instead of medium- or worstlevel projections.
BMC additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Bhide, who made a presentation on AI on Friday, said the decisions to set up Covid care centres “even before the central recommendations”, huge field hospitals and wardlevel war rooms came from AI-driven analyses. Even the realization that the city needs more oxygen-supported beds than for ICU came from such an analysis.
AI had predicted the ongoing surge too. “It was anticipated that the number of cases would go up with the city opening up, but what is important is that the situation is better managed now,’’ said Bhide. The deep-dive analysis has helped the BMC anticipate shortfalls—be it in terms on ventilators, oxygensupported beds or ICU beds —and prepare in advance.
The officer said several activities go on in the background that don’t come to the public eye but play a critical role in resolving Covid-related issues. In the initial days, there was fear among patients of not getting a bed in time. “Now we have more cases but the BMC has been managing in a better way with technology,” said Bhide.
The decentralized or ward-level war rooms directing patients to beds was developed when AI analysis showed the centralized system was getting clogged. War rooms are the first contact for patients and arrange beds or home or institutional isolation.
AI systems give three-week projections on the highest-, mid- and lowest-level severity. “We keep our preparedness as per the highest-level projection, but over time we have realized the requirements are as per the lowest-level projection,” she said, adding, “We thus always have additional preparedness”.
When there was a shortage of doctors initially, AI-based X-ray algorithms helped analyse Covid in patients. At a jumbo centre, a wifi-enabled tool attached to beds helped gather patients’ vital parameters remotely.