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(Reuters) — White House officials met Wednesday with U.S. technology industry officials to discuss tech-related response efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak and ways for government to collaborate with the private sector.
COVID-19 has killed about 30 people in the United States and infected more than 1,000 Americans and over 115,000 people globally at the time of writing.
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios discussed the planned release of a new database of full-text coronavirus-related scholarly literature and urged tech firms to use tools like artificial intelligence “to help medical researchers glean scientific insights from this collection of articles,” the White House said.
“Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort,” he said.
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The companies taking part — by teleconference — included Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Twitter, the White House said. Numerous U.S. health and other federal agencies also participated, either in person or by teleconference.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included increased coordination to improve information-sharing, identification of best practices to root out misinformation, and the tech community’s efforts around remote work and telehealth, the White House said.
White House officials are meeting members from the airline, financial, and health care industries to discuss ways to contain the impact from the spread of the virus.
But those efforts stand in contrast to the White House ordering federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified — an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion.
On Tuesday, the White House and Congress discussed measures to bolster the U.S. economy and protect Americans’ paychecks from the outbreak’s impact, prompting a rebound in hard-hit stock markets.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Nandita Bose in Washington, editing by Steve Orlofsky, editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky.)
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