In a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, e-commerce giant Amazon has turned to thermal cameras to scan warehouse employees for signs of a fever.
According to reports from Reuters, Amazon has installed thermal cameras in a number of its shipping facilities including Los Angeles and Seattle to streamline the process of figuring out which employees have a higher than normal temperature.
If a thermal camera detects someone with a fever, that employee is sent to a forehead thermometer testing station to get a more specific temperature taken.
The company is taking temperatures “to support the health and safety of our employees, who continue to provide a critical service in our communities,” it said in a statement.
“Other companies that have explored using the thermal camera technology include Tyson Foods Inc and Intel Corp.” RT @Reuters Exclusive: #Amazon deploys thermal cameras at warehouses to scan for fevers faster https://t.co/zv5krZFB58
— The HighWire (@HighWireTalk) April 20, 2020
While this may seem like a good idea on the surface, the problem with this method of ‘testing’ is that a fever is only one of many COVID-19 symptoms.
Also, the virus can lay dormant for a number of days before the infected person starts to show symptoms, meaning the virus could spread throughout the warehouse before the thermal camera detects a fever. Couple that with the fact that more and more people are found to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, these thermal cameras could be rendered useless.