COVID-19 Exposure Apps Work—If People Are Using Them

Image via The Washington Post/Geoffrey Fowler.
More than 150 million Americans can get pop-up notifications from local health authorities if they have been exposed to the coronavirus using a phone app.

There are now more than 150 million Americans who could receive pop-up notifications from local health authorities if they have spent time near somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19, but only if more people activate them, writes Geoffrey A. Fowler for The Washington Post.

There has been early evidence that using such anonymous smartphone technology works, but so far it has not helped many Americans since few people are opting to use it.

The alert software has been built into iPhones and Android devices to detect when people get in close contact with each other.

While there were some privacy concerns about this, Apple and Google have figured how to track encounters between people in a way that is anonymous.

Pennsylvania’s app was downloaded nearly half a million times in the two months it has been up, and according to state officials, it has been helpful.

“We do believe Bluetooth exposure notification apps are effective,” said Maggi Mumma, deputy press secretary at the state’s Department of Health.

But officials were quick to point out that the more people use the app, the more efficient it will become.

Read more about the app at The Washington Post by clicking here.