Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Virginia's health department released a coronavirus contact tracing app on Wednesday that relies on a Bluetooth-based system designed by Apple and Google.

Why it matters: Adoption of COVID-19 tracing tech in the U.S. has been limited compared to other countries — and tracking who has possibly been exposed to the virus (and promptly notifying them) is crucial to stem the spread.

How it works: The app logs when smartphone users come into close contact via Bluetooth.

  • If two people download the app and are in proximity long enough to risk spreading the coronavirus, their phones log that contact.
  • Virginia's health department says user location is never collected in the app. Distance between two people is calculated by the strength of the Bluetooth signal between their devices instead of GPS.
  • If a person tests positive, the Virginia Department of Health will provide a PIN number to report that result on the app.
  • Once someone logs in the app that they have tested positive, 14 days worth of their contact with other users is shared to the system.

The big picture: Apple and Google unveiled their system in early April, and although the companies say that 20 U.S. states and territories are "exploring" apps, Virginia is reportedly one of the first states with fully deployed results.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Ashley Gold: This contact tracing app will only work if people download it and are willing to share their test results. Otherwise, its impact will be limited.

Go deeper: Americans are on board with contact tracing as long as it doesn't involve cellphone data

Go deeper

House Democrats unveil new $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief proposal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Photo: Liz Lynch/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday unveiled House Democrats' new $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief proposal.

Why it matters: Negotiations with the Trump administration have stalled since the House passed its $3 trillion HEROES Act in May. The pared-down bill, which is $200 billion smaller than Democrats' most recent proposal, is part of Pelosi's last-ditch effort to strike a deal with the White House.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,642,602 — Total deaths: 1,007,769 — Total recoveries: 23,387,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,191,061 — Total deaths: 205,998 — Total recoveries: 2,813,305 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic
Sep 29, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans won't take Trump's word on vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Note: Margin of error for the total sample is ±3.2%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Barely two in 10 Americans would take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine if President Trump told them it was safe — one of several new measures of his sinking credibility in the latest wave of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Details: Given eight scenarios and asked how likely they were to try the vaccine in each case, respondents said they'd be most inclined if their doctor vouched for its safety (62%), followed by insurance covering the full cost (56%) or the FDA saying it's safe (54%).