Great news to all Americans worried about Coronavirus spread! There is already one state that applies a COVID-19 tracing app in the country– its Virginia! To clarify, the state is not using the sought-after Apple-Google COVID-19 tracing app, instead, they use their newly-developed app that has a similar function with the Apple-Google. Here’s how it works.
How to use the COVID-19 tracing app?
Calling all Virginians out there! The COVID-19 tracing app is now available to be used by over 8 million Americans in the state.
Covidwise app will be automatically downloaded in all iPhones and Android phones. Just like the Apple-Google framework, this app uses a Bluetooth signal to determine the distance of a person to another person.
Once you open the app, your phone will send signals to know its location at a specific time. To clarify, the app won’t be collecting any of the users’ location or identity. One exemption on the rule is when you are confirmed to have the virus.
When the user tested positive with COVID-19, a six-digit number will be given by the Virginia Department of Health. The user has to input the number on the device. Once it’s entered, the Health Department of Virginia will be notifying other phones that are close with the entered number.
All the users’ that got close or interaction with the infected person will be reminded to take a COVID-19 test or to practice self-quarantine. That will be the basis of the user to know if he or she gets likely to be infected or not.
“For the purpose of this app, there wasn’t an absolute need to be able to track where you are or who you are,” Jeff Stover, director of the Virginia Department of Health, said on a video call with reporters. “The most important thing was that you know whether or not you’ve potentially been exposed, and that we can all take actions to do whatever prevention is necessary.”
Google helps in promoting Covidwise
Virginia paid exactly $229,000 for company SpringML to develop Covidwise. Although Apple-Google is not technically part of the Virginia team, Google still helps in spreading the news of the newest app.
Virginia officials confirmed that Google has been helping them for ad placements about the new app. The tech giant also admitted that most of the other U.S. states copy the system they created, and mix it with what they developed. And of course, it’s okay with them.
There’s a problem with tracing app
As we read more about COVID-19 tracing app, we discovered that every new thing always has its flaws– just like tracing apps.
First, the data collection. Most of the users that don’t want to download the app are worried about their data being collected without their permission. Secondly, to make it effective, at least 60% of the population needs to download the app.
“Effective is going to be anyone’s guess as to how you want to describe that. But they also state in the [Oxford] study that they estimate that for every one to two app users, you will potentially reduce the infection by one,” based on the U.K. study.
For now, its great news for the Virginians.