Google coronavirus website quickly overwhelmed, reaches capacity following launch

Only a few hours after its launch, a Google-affiliated website designed to screen patients online for coronavirus and direct them to the appropriate care was overwhelmed by demand, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Google’s sister company Verily Life Sciences launched the website late March 15 to assist patients in Northern California. However, by midmorning March 16 the website displayed a message that it had reached its capacity, with no appointments available.

A Verily spokesperson declined to comment to WSJ on the number of appointments the website can support.

“In the first few days of this pilot, we expect appointment availability to be limited as we stand up operations and that testing capacity will increase in the days to come,” the spokesperson told WSJ.

President Donald Trump has been promoting the website over the past several days. During an announcement, he said Google had directed 1,700 employees to build the website “very quickly.” Google did not confirm this.

The program will initially launch in the San Francisco Bay Area, with expansion planned as more testing kits and locations are made available. In one example, if a patient inputted they had a severe fever, cough or other symptoms, they were directed to seek medical attention on their own, according to WSJ.

Additionally, to use the website, users must read and speak English and have a Google account.

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