Photo: Adobe

As more and more cities look to automate the coronavirus testing process, tech companies are working together to ensure that people can use an app or website to schedule tests instead of waiting in a potentially dangerous line.

Why it matters: Many testing locations remain overwhelmed by demand, but some are still underused. More efficient coordination could help make better use of the resources we have.

Driving the news: In Tarrant County, Texas, Adobe, Oracle, Accenture and Splunk (along with some smaller firms) teamed up to help people determine whether they are eligible and then find a testing site and schedule a time.

The big picture: There is a huge need for tech help at all levels of government, as evidenced by these efforts as well as other projects, such as the volunteer-led U.S. Digital Response.

"We all need the government to work and now that means digitally," Adobe general counsel Dana Rao told Axios, adding that digital literacy was not a typical strength of governments even before the pandemic.

Yes, but: Tech partnerships don't guarantee broader coordination, either among the companies themselves or the many municipalities that are all trying to set up similar programs.

  • In many cases, a local government ends up working with whichever tech companies it happens to have a relationship with.
  • "I wouldn't say it's very coordinated right now," Rao said.

What's next: Now that the partners have rolled out their system in Tarrant County, they hope to offer it to other state and local governments.

Go deeper

Aug 15, 2020 - Health

FDA issues emergency use authorization for Yale's saliva coronavirus test

A health worker practitioner administers a coronavirus test in Brockton, Massachusetts, on Aug. 13. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization to Yale School of Public Health for its SalivaDirect COVID-19 diagnostic test on Saturday.

Why it matters: The test uses a new method of rapidly processing saliva samples when testing for the virus and "is yet another testing innovation game changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Health and COVID-19 Testing Coordinator Admiral Brett Giroir.

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Exclusive flash poll: Parents will lean on family members for help

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Parents expect to rely on family members to help babysit, tutor or tend to their children's needs in the fall as they try to juggle competing demands and uncertainty, according to a flash poll of 310 U.S. parents who are part of an Ipsos-run community panel conducted Aug. 10-12.

The big picture: Parents are facing another semester of tackling the superhuman task of managing virtual education from home while also working.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 15, 2020 - Technology

"Historic" laptop demand leads to shortages ahead of remote school

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American students are facing a shortage of laptops, particularly low-cost Chromebooks popular in K-8 schools, at the same time that many districts are choosing full-remote or hybrid reopening models.

Why it matters: No device = no education.

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