The COVID-19 pandemic is inspiring creativity in the medical and tech industries to help curb the spread of the virus. Many of the concerns related to Coronavirus exposure have aimed at limiting close-quarters contact between individuals. While that may be easy at places like outdoor parks and neighborhoods, it’s much harder to socially distance at the grocery store and, eventually, offices and workplaces. The calls for some sort of solution or method of safely transitioning from restrictions have led many to consider contact tracing apps.
There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about smartphone tracking apps and tracing tools used for curbing the spread of COVID-19. So, let’s answer the question on most people’s minds: “How do contact tracing apps work?”
What is a Tracking App?
A contact tracing app is one of the types of apps to make it safe to re-open cities, towns, and communities much sooner than predicted. Essentially, a tracking app stores encrypted information about your location on a government server to help monitor your proximity to others. Should you come into contact with someone who is later diagnosed with COVID-19, your smartphone will alert you to monitor for symptoms and signs of the virus.
There are concerns from some people that tracing people through their phone is a violation of civil liberties. But in this case, it could effectively help slow the spread of COVID-19. A great way to minimise any misunderstandings about a mobile medical app for contact tracing is to fully understand what the app does.
How Does Contact Tracing Work?
In places like Australia, the U.K., and New Zealand apps for tracing people are already available to the public. The utility of these apps varies based on the developer. For example, many smartphone tracking apps are addressing privacy concerns by only having users scan codes for buildings or businesses they enter. This avoids the input of any personal information.
For those that do include information fields for users, the healthcare app development industry is taking large strides in ensuring the safety of users through encryption and private cloud servers.
Will Tracing People Help Slow COVID-19?
The goal of these contact tracking apps is twofold. Of course, the main goal with all efforts across the globe is to slow the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine is produced. Likewise, a smartphone tracking app addresses the second goal of healthcare and tech professionals: a slow return to normalcy.
Many businesses feel a strain right now on limited operations or closures due to Coronavirus restrictions. A huge perk of how contact tracing apps work is that you can reopen businesses and have an effective way of knowing where infected individuals may have exposed others.
Phone tracing is not a cure for COVID-19. As more and more people wonder how contact tracing apps work in action, the U.K. is already seeing signs that the method is effective. By using a phone for tracing people, healthcare professionals don’t need to track back all possible close contacts themselves. Instead, users can receive an alert that they were near someone with COVID-19 and take precautions.
At this point, governments are not requiring that people download and use trace apps on their phones. That said, the use of these applications can help individuals all over the globe return to work, and their favorite businesses with the confidence needed to kickstart local and global economies. Until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, contact tracing apps stand to be one of the most effective ways of getting people back to work and keeping everyone safe.
As the healthcare and tech industries help to develop solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to put rumors about how contact tracing apps work. These can be effective tools in helping to keep communities safe. By providing consumers the factual information behind smartphone tracking apps, we could see safe, near-normal towns and cities return to work sooner rather than later.