Americans' buy-in for smart phone app could be red flag for coronavirus contact-tracing
A majority of Americans are willing to share their coronavirus test results with public health officials, but fewer are willing to download an app that tracks who they come in contact with, according to new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Why it matters: To lift social distancing measures without allowing the virus to spread rampantly again, we'll need to know in real time who has the virus, and who they could have potentially infected.
The big picture: Google and Apple have announced that they're working on a joint effort to notify people via smartphone — on an opt-in basis — if they've come into contact with someone with the coronavirus, but there's a real question of how many people would use the apps.
- Half of those polled by KFF said they'd download an app that tracks who they come into contact with, and then alerts them if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
- This number dropped to 45% if information about who they've come into contact with is provided to public health officials.
- But people were more willing to download such an app after they were told it would allow them to return to parts of normal life.
The bottom line: "The mixed receptivity to using voluntary apps for contact tracing means that they can be an important tool to combat the epidemic but will not be a substitute for old-fashioned contact tracing," KFF president and CEO Drew Altman said.
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