Marco Verch via Flickr/Victor Tangermann
Blind Spot

Experts: Fever-Detecting Cameras Won’t Really Stop Outbreaks

byDan Robitzski
5. 11. 20
Marco Verch via Flickr/Victor Tangermann

Fever checkpoints didn't stop SARS, Ebola, or swine flu. It's unlikely they'll work for COVID, experts say.

Enhanced Surveillance

In order to nip coronavirus outbreaks in the bud, a number of companies and hospitals have started to use temperature-recording security cameras to detect fevers.

While Amazon has touted the cameras as a technological safety measure for its warehouses, doctors and infectious disease experts told Wired that the cameras, even when supplemented with symptom questionnaires, are extremely unlikely to prevent further spread of COVID-19. In fact, they could let up to 50 percent of infected people go undetected.

Lip Service

During the SARS, Ebola, and swine flu outbreaks, doctors enacted similar measures: temperature checkpoints and other screenings for symptoms were commonplace. But, Wired reports, they didn’t work.

“People feel better if they see it happening, but it’s a false sense of security,” Hildegarde Schell-Chaple, a nursing professor in charge of screening people who enter University of San Francisco hospitals, told Wired. “It’s something we should not be doing.”


Wasted Effort

Remote thermometers can accurately measure temperatures, but work best under carefully-controlled settings, not while hanging from a warehouse ceiling.

Instead of dedicating resources to an approach unlikely to work, experts told Wired that companies and hospitals would be better off doing something else, like securing protective equipment for workers or trying to trace who came into contact with infected patients.

READ MORE: Infrared Cameras Can Spot a Fever, but May Not Slow Covid-19 [Wired]

More on thermal cameras: Amazon Buys Thermal Cameras To Scan Workers for Fevers


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