Pros and Cons of Thermal Screening at Live Events

While thermal imaging has been used in Asia since 2003, entities in the United States are only getting started now. Spurred by Covid-19, grocers in California are a prime example of an early adopter of thermal screening to augment fever detection.

There are multiple ways to use this technology at live events as well as shortcomings to those techniques.

Detection of Viral Fever / Seasonal Flu: While a person is often contagious days before and days after detectable symptoms, they are most contagious at the time they are experiencing symptoms. Fever, sneezing, coughing exacerbate the spread of viral particles. Provided the equipment is calibrated and the person is not on any substances or experiencing a medical emergency, then a high temperature is a very clear positive indication of fever. Typical viruses have been a mild to moderate issue at live events E.g. “wook flu”.

Identification of dehydrated guests: When someone is dehydrated and experiencing a medical emergency, their temperature is elevated. There is no reason (flu, dehydration, or otherwise) a human’s body temperature should exceed a threshold of 104°F. Doing so would be an indication of hyperpyrexia and should be readily addressed to prevent serious injury. Depending on the screening hardware and software, multiple people can be discreetly assessed in a single second. This would vastly improve the speed and discretion of temperature checking at rest and medical areas when compared to traditional non-contact IR thermometers used by medical and security personnel.

Detection of Covid-19: With the information we currently have, Covid remains asymptomatically contagious for a longer period of time than most viruses. During the days before symptoms, the external body temperature has been known to drop below average. If further research finds these factors to be true, they make detection more challenging. Whether this virus remains a problem for society for years too come will determine the need for more thorough detection methods including Audio classification devices “cough listeners” or even trained Canines as were used during the SARS outbreak.

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