A Covid-Fighting Tool Is Buried In Your Phone. Turn It On.

from WaPo

Here’s a phone alert you wouldn’t want to miss: “You have likely been exposed.”

The coronavirus surge is upon us, and your phone might be able to help. About 100 million Americans now have the ability to get pop-up notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

But exposure notifications only work if you and the people around you turn them on. Yes, you!

There’s early evidence this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans. In August, I wrote about the first of these state-sponsored alerts, Virginia’s Covidwise app. In the three months since, only 488 people have used the state’s app to send alerts about a positive diagnosis to others.

More here.

Posted in Healthcare, Ideas and tagged , , .


  1. As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to spiral out of control once again, it is important for those who may have possibly been exposed to the virus to have an easy way of being notified of their exposure. In this article, the Washington Post discusses a new way that states are attempting to notify people of their exposures using smartphone apps or features. By sending notifications directly to someone’s phone, health care professionals are given an easy method of letting people know that they may have been exposed. While this seems to be a great application, I have privacy concerns. How would health care professionals or contract tracers know that you may have been exposed? By utilizing some sort of software on your device that will allow them to monitor your proximity to other people.

    Although the article mentions that anonymous tracking takes place utilizing a smartphone or other device’s onboard BlueTooth, there are growing concerns about how anonymous this tracing can really be. If a company or software can track your mobile device’s proximity to other devices, it must be aware of your and other people’s location at all times. Regardless of whether the software knows your personal information can be debated, however, when the software is developed and maintained by healthcare professionals, they may have this personal information linked to the device. Additionally, when downloading an application onto a device, location services most likely need to be turned on for the app to work. Therefore, there is a likelihood that third-parties monitoring wifi or data connections may be allowed to track your device’s location that they otherwise would not have had.

    It is important to mention that exposure notifications and applications are only used voluntarily by individuals. As of right now, no one is forcing someone to allow the tracing software built into smartphones or downloaded onto them to track their locations and possible exposures. While this remains the case, individuals must consent to the tracing and tracking, which may eliminate many of these concerns because of their express agreement. If these applications or notifications were ever made mandatory, then the privacy violations in question maybe even more relevant to the discussion. I have not entered into any programs that monitor my exposure and do not think I will ever because of the privacy concerns. Furthermore, I am not participating in risky behavior that would put me at risk of exposure. I do not go out unnecessarily, and when I do, I take the necessary precautions to protect myself and my family from the virus. I believe that this technology would be best used by someone who does participate in risky behavior, whether by choice or because of their occupation or other driving force.

  2. The Washington Post’s article on using your phone to track the corona virus, is information I desperately needed. It is also going to be information that I spread to others and make others aware of their tracking capabilities. After I read this article, I immediately downloaded the Covid Alert NJ application and set it up. As the corona virus is on the rise again it is so important for me to keep up to date with this application. My grandparents had Covid-19 twice, so for me to see them I must make sure I am being diligent on keeping my mask on, washing my hands, and keeping my distance. This app is perfect for people like me who need to be aware of who they are around. The bad thing is that many people do not know about this application. If we spread the word about this application, it could be a great feature that can stop the spread of corona virus. We are on our phones or have our phones in our pocket almost every second of the day, so downloading the application so stay diligent and protect others should be no problem. This application comes with awesome features. It tells you when you are near someone who was tested positive for COVID-19, it has a daily check in if you are feeling any symptoms in the morning, and it updates the positive COVID tested cases. COVID-19 is going to be a difficult challenge to face until a vaccine comes out that can save lives. Until then we must stay on top of making sure we keep others safe. The Bluetooth notifications that you could activate on your phone give you notification connected with your application and let you know when you are near someone or in an area more risky for getting COVID. Instead of your phone using your location, it uses Bluetooth signals from your phone and others’ phones. The application is not going to be perfect and many people are questioning why it is not perfect. We as a country must start somewhere, if this is the start to an application that could save lives, why not use it? Whether it is perfect or has glitches it is still extremely helpful. If everyone that reads this article told five people and those five people told ten people and so on, we could slow the transmission of COVID by a ton. If you do read this go out, tell your friends, family members, and co-workers. This application could slow the transmission rate and save lives.

  3. I am surprised that the COVID features on mobile devises have not been widely talked about. I did notice that Apple added a COVID feature in my setting app of my iPhone, but I did not know what it was for and had it turned off incase it was tracking my location more than it already is. I know that Apple is the best company in terms of respecting its users privacy. Like any tech company, it is not perfect but it is much better than Samsung and Google. Apple maps do not track where you are going, but only track the journey in order to update road conditions and such. They do not track that you went there, its complicated but they do the most to keep us safe. They go the extra mile, which is probably more costly to ensure privacy, which I really appreciate. So I know that Apple’s COVID feature would be as safe as possible, but I did not see the need for it. I would say I am safe and do not put myself in a position where I have a high chance to catch COVID, since I am living with my parents. This does not mean I cannot get it, though. I work still and I go out to run errands and see friends every now and then so there is chance. Having the feature enables would help be feel safer when I do go out, but I would also be skeptical of how accurate it is. Could somebody falsely say they have COVID and then I could get a false notification? I do not know how it all works and if there is chance for misinformation. While anybody with common sense would not do that, 2020 has definitely showed us how stupid some people can be. After reading the article, I am considering turning it on now. Since my worries about location tracking are put down, since Apples is proving again that they value their user’s privacy, I do not see a reason not to get it. If I was living on my own, I might not care as much. But I live with my parents and have to keep their health in mind, so having all of us turn it on can’t hurt.

  4. The Covid-19 pandemic is still a huge issue in our country that is constantly evolving. We are approaching “a surge” in cases increasing or what most people referred to it as the second wave. According to the author of this article, “your phone” may be able to help you with this up coming second wave. Due to contact tracing, many Americans are able to get notified when they have come in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. But for a person to get notified if they have come in contact with someone who tested positive, they have to turn on these notifications. According to the author, “this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans.” For example, only 488 people in August living in Virginia were using the state’s contact tracing app. That is not nearly enough people on the app to make contact tracing effective and helpful to slowing the spread of the virus. The way contact tracing apps work is they use software built by Apple and Google which is connected to a person’s cell phone. The software can tract the person’s location and alert them if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive. I personally and many others may think this is a violation of privacy, but the tracking is anonymous, and the software does not store a person’s location. Phones can clearly be a huge help in battling Covid-19 so each state’s health departments need to implement their own systems so we can beat this virus. I found this article very interesting and did not realize how important contact tracing is. The whole reason why we are in a pandemic is because the virus spreads very fast and a huge reason why it spreads is because some people are carriers of the virus without even knowing. With the software that can-do contact tracing we can now limit the spread of the virus. The thing we need to do now is get the whole country on board with contact tracing. We are almost at a whole year of living in the pandemic world so there is no reason why everyone is not on board with contact tracing. Even with a vaccine out, contact tracing will be a huge thing that needs to continue happening. Over the next few months I am hoping to see our country really invest in contact tracing and make it a priority.

  5. I feel like a Covid-19 exposure signal would be a great thing! It is contingent on the fact that people have to use it. People already struggle to wear masks into places without making complaints to the staff, so I don’t think this would work statewide as too many people don’t seem to care about the future of our nation within this pandemic. With the recent announcements from Pfizer about a possible vaccine hitting us within a year, even less people are acknowledging the fact that there is a virus out here. I had first hand exposure to how little people have cared about this thing since the beginning. I live near the shore and I used to go on drives during lockdown and I would see the people still going to the beaches, people unmasked, even the police presence there wasn’t enough to stop the amount of people disobeying the statewide social distancing orders. An application/ notifications involving contact tracing could mean the end of this bug if we use them properly and maintain the proper anti-virus practices in our everyday lives. But seeing that only 488 people in Virginia. This is a state with over 8.5 million residents. This means that roughly .00005% of residents use the app, which is an absolutely abysmal turnout. The author was right when saying “and your phone might be able to help,” but this is only if we the people act upon it. Just from the people I know I could name over 10 people that would swipe right past that notification of “you may have been exposed” and carry on with their day and that is horrible. It might seem like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel but that light can easily be switched off when dealing with a potential to be life threatening virus like the coronavirus. I trust that apple would use this tech feature in good faith, someone was talking about the potential for tracking with this specific feature and I think it is perfectly warranted when it comes to this. We are dealing with a threat to national security here and I think the ability to track who you have seen and use it to make sure anyone who is exposed to the virus knows, then proceeds to quarantine would be great for the rejuvenation of our health as a nation.

  6. It has now been nearly nine whole months since the coronavirus touched down on the United States. While we thought the worst was behind us, most of the United States is experiencing a second wave of the deadly virus, especially in New Jersey. I am constantly around my parents and grandparents who all have different health issues that make them vulnerable to the virus. I personally think that this new technology developed by these companies is great. The worst thing about the virus is that in has an incubation period of up to 14 days. That means someone can be walking around for 2 weeks before feeling any symptoms whatsoever. In that two-week period, they can infect hundreds of people in which they come into contact with. This technology is great because it is able to ping other people around you that might have the virus. You can then very easily receive a notification knowing that you could have come into contact with someone that has the virus. From that, you can quarantine and avoid infecting other people around you. This is truly a breakthrough in technology. In such a short period of time, these companies were able to develop software that can truly help the ongoing pandemic. I also find it interesting that the government receives these types of notifications as well. They can check up on you to make sure you are following the roles and quarantining. This pandemic is not a joke whatsoever. It has killed nearly 250,000 people in the United States and many more around the world. While the news says a vaccine is close to being made, it will still take a while to reach production and distribution. We are still months away from receiving the vaccine. While many of us are trying to return to our pre pandemic lives, I think we should all use this software. It does its best to keep us safe as well as the other people around us safe. It is free for everyone which makes it even better. We never know who is infected around us because not everyone shows symptoms. This software can be a game changer in helping us stay safe.

  7. We are now starting to see a resurge in coronavirus cases. I am sure everyone is using their phones during this pandemic. With all the technology that we have, it is not surprising to me that our phones can help, but it is amazing the way that they can. 100 million Americans can have a free, anonymous pop-up notification from local authorities when they have personally spent time with someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Unfortunately, this isn’t as popular as it should be, but I think that is just people being unaware. For example, the article talked about how in Virginia only 488 have used the app to report a positive test. I am from Virginia and I just downloaded the app, but I had never heard about it. I do think that is very amazing that these people are smart enough to be able to anonymously track the coronavirus through Bluetooth in our phones. I think that this system has the potential to be very effective for the end of this virus, but I think that everyone needs to download the app and use it how it is intended to be used. I could see how this topic may be tricky with privacy laws, but I think that if these officials and developers are transparent with what they do with the data, then there should be no problems. For someone who argues about not wanting to download stuff on their phone, I am sure they have apps on their phone that never even get opened; these apps can save lives. And how much longer do you want to live like this? I liked this article because it was very informative and had a section for pretty much any question that someone might ask. Our phones are so integrated into our lives and make many aspects of life easier. I think that it should be mandated that you have this app on your phone and only use it to report a positive test or check your exposure. We have access to all this technology, why not use it?

  8. We are closing in on a year since COVID-19 has plagued the United States. The US has been consistently #1 in cases, constantly setting records for cases on a daily basis. While in lockdown, everyone has increased their use of technology. The fact that our phones can help us fight against COVID-19. This app can help around 100 million Americans, which is absolutely massive. I think that it is somewhat sad that we have this technology, yet so few people use it, and the only way for the app to work is by having notifications on, which is a very simple task. I will definitely be telling my friends and family about this app to help spread the word and try to help people stay safe. Though, this app is more for those who do not know who they are around, and honestly may not help me that much, but having the extra reassurance is definitely a positive. However, I do have some concerns with the app being able to track who I come in contact with and my own privacy. But the article has given me some reassurance, as they say the app tracking is anonymous and uses Bluetooth to insure this. The app also does not store your location neither. I was shocked to hear that this app/technology was used to help diagnose the First Lady and the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. I was also shocked by the volume of use in Colorado. Nearly 1 million people used the app which is around 17% of the state’s population. The app is available in 15 states and territories as of November 17th. This app should definitely be used and available in all 50 states and territories. This app has the potential to be extremely effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19. However, getting this app in all 50 states could be a challenge due to some restraints caused by privacy laws. But we have to act now, as COVID-19 will not wait for us. The US is almost at 12 million cases and has over 250,000 deaths and counting. All in all, this article was extremely helpful and I will definitely be telling my family and friends about it and I am downloading it as I write this.

  9. COVID has and still is being a driving factor in every decision made, everyday things we do, and whether we get do see another day. America’s cases have been rising rapidly since the plateau from the summer. With cases rising we begin to take those extra precautions we were taking in March and April, earlier this year. We live everyday knowing that we can get this virus and that we do things like wear a mask every time we step out of our houses, avoid busy areas, continually not see friends in bigger crowds and what scare most people the most is, we do not know when it is going to end. That is the scary part. We may live the rest of our lives in the constant state that we are in now, but what more can we do to help save ourselves from this deadly virus? Something we would not expect is for our phone to save us. What if we could get notifications, “You have recently been exposed to the Corona Virus”? That might be something that seems abstract now, but normal in the future. Over 100 million Americans can now get this notification which can help save others lives. This can help save others lives because you get the notification rapidly and this helps you from spreading the disease to friends, family, co-workers, etc. This can gratefully impact the prevention of the spread of the Corona Virus. The way it works, is you must sign up for the notifications and then your device can detect how close you get to someone. While this may seem like an invasion of privacy, this can help save millions of lives, and they do not store your location. Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia and his wife tested positive and this notification system notified all the people (co-workers) they were in contact with. These notifications like in this example can help save so many lives and is only one of the smaller steps we can take in preventing the spread of COVID. As we continue battling this deadly disease, we can be doing so much more to prevent it and getting Covid Alerts is the first step. We are in a long battle, but by working together and doing everything we can, we will get through it.

  10. One of the biggest problems with COVID-19 is that people do not know when they have been exposed to it or not. Until now, I have not known or even heard about apps that could help us regarding COVID-19. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has been testing a Bluetooth app that detects and alerts people that they have been exposed to or been in close contact with someone that has the disease. To me, this is an excellent idea. Rather than reading on the news that my town has been exposed to COVID-19 the following week, an app could just tell me within that day, which means I could take precautions to protect my family, friends, and others. Over fifteen states have already been using this method, including New Jersey, and I am shocked as I have never heard about this. Although this method might sound great and very resourceful, the real question is, is it reliable? As of now, the aspect of tracing someone anonymously is not really effective and makes some people feel uncomfortable. With the growth of technology, private information is given and with this tool, and some feel like they are giving up too much for an app. But the bigger problem is, if people do accept to have this Bluetooth app on, then their locations must be on at all times. This is a problem for multiple reasons. One turning on this app definitely wastes more battery on a mobile device. Personally, if I had 10% left on my phone and was not home, I would turn my location off to save my battery. Also, once again, people have trust issues with turning on their locations. I think the concept of this idea is brilliant and efficient. I believe notifications should alert people quicker that their area has been affected by COVID-19, rather than reading it a week later. I also believe that people should not be forced to turn on their locations at all times just so they get notifications about COVID-19. Personally, I think this plan holds many problems still, but in the future, it could help us.

  11. This article from the Washington Post gives people hope and gives another “heads up” when covid is around you. Of course, it all comes back to technology and smart phones. When you are near someone with covid, you will get an alert on your phone that tells you “you have likely been exposed”. This is a great way to ensure that people who may have been in contact know they have been exposed and go to get tested. Most people do not know if they have the virus due to being asymptomatic or were exposed in public. Everyone is constantly on their phones, so they are guaranteed to see the alert and hopefully take it into consideration. According to the article, you have the option to this feature off. Why would anyone want to do that? I believe that should not be an option, especially with the most recent spike in corona cases. The downside to this feature is that it only works if you have it on and the person you are in close contact with have it on. I feel this is unfair to you and anyone else who has it turned on, since you are trying to be cautious and the people who turned it off are not.
    People may look at this feature and find that it is a violation of privacy, since it knows your location and who you are coming in contact with. According to the article, the tracking is “anonymous” and does not store information about your location. The feature uses the Bluetooth wireless system in your phone. Another drawback is that each state’s health department would have to set up and operate their own system. I do not see this as much of a setback since it could mean saving a lot more lives. Each state should start creating this system to reduce the numbers in each state, and eventually, the country.
    In conclusion, this phone feature could be the next hero of our country. As this feature is developed and put into action, more lives will be saved and people will begin to avoid bigger crowds. It may seem too good to be true now with all the spikes in cases and a repeat of shutting down of businesses, but as this feature becomes a “norm”, we may be back to a normal society again in no time.

  12. Covid-19 has been chaotic to live through and has shown to bring out the worst in people. Whether they do not believe that the virus is something to worry about or simply just do not care, the public’s reaction to the virus has caused things to become drastically worse. Despite social distancing, curfews, and quarantine the numbers are again on the rise and as a result people must be better able to protect themselves. One way that people can better help protect themselves is through the use of Covid-19 fighting tools that are available within phones. It is possible to be alerted by phone when you have come in close contact with someone that has tested positive for the virus. Upon hearing this I was skeptical for two main reason. I was worried about my location being tracked and shared with others as well as I worried that the app was going to have access to medical records to be able to know if someone has Covid-19 or not. These were two aspects that worried me because no one needs to know my location and no one other than my doctor needs to know my medical history. However, this article brought ease to those worries by explaining how the application works. It does not go based off of location services it functions based off of Bluetooth. Bluetooth chirps detect what other phone you have been in the vicinity of and logs those interactions. Then if someone is later tested positive for the virus and logs that you will then get a possible exposure notice if you have been near that person during the time frame in which you can contract it. It appears that user safety and privacy are at the core of this application as everything that is shared between people is anonymous. It protects user identity while still being able to notify others of possible exposure. If more people used an app like this it could help cut the spread of the virus drastically. Being asymptomatic is one of the biggest causes of the virus spreading. Infected people go out and carry on with their day while unknowingly infected because they show no symptoms and while doing so they can infect others. With a Covid-19 tracking app even if you are not actually infected, getting a notification about the exposure can prompt others to go get themselves tested and be more cautious when out of the house. This is a very important feature for people with smartphones to worry about because they are the ones more likely to contract the virus. Younger generations are the people that are still going out while the elderly such as grandparents are doing their best to stay inside. Life is clearly not going to stop for the virus but having a way to determine possible expose while out it essential not just for your own health but to ensure that you do not have it and give it to someone of greater risk like a grandparent. It is because of this that everyone with a smartphone that has the application should turn it on to aid in cutting back on the spread of the virus. We are right around the corner from thanksgiving and Christmas, and people are going to be gathering together. It is important that if people do they utilize apps like this to be able to catch and prevent exposure to the virus and benefit the health of all. This is a very interesting idea and I believe if mass implemented it can have great benefits in this fight against covid-19.

  13. COVID-19 is still a large issue around the world today. Reading this article was actually very informative because I was unaware of the software that was added by Apple regarding COVID. The fact that cases are rising throughout the United States again and your phone might be able to help and tell you if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive would be very efficient in my opinion. This app of exposure notifications should be made available in all states to help everyone around the world. As the article mentions, ““this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans.” This shows that it does work and definitely provides true information but is not helping many Americans around the world because many people are either unaware of this feature or have not yet tried it. Personally, this app and tracking software caught me off guard because I did not realize how useful technology and phones can be to this virus.
    This app can potentially limit the spread of the virus if everyone were shown how to use it properly and paid attention to the notifications that it gives you. My main concern with this sort of tracing app would be the app keeping my location and tracking where I am at all times but since the app is an anonymous tracker and is said to not “store your location” then that makes me feel much more comfortable using it. Another issue that I see with this sort of app would be people’s dedication and even just care to use it. With cases rising you still see that there are plenty of selfish people that do not care and are not wearing their masks, hanging out in large groups, and even not adhering to the guidelines behind the virus and social distancing itself. I feel that if people cared about their well being and the well-being of others around them more than it the app would work a lot more effectively if more people were to use it. The development of this sort of feature on something as simple as your smartphone could lead to a closer and quicker end to the virus if people do the right thing and continue to use this software.
    Personally, my mom is at very high risk with this virus and I go to work and things like that, where I am forced to leave my house. Many different kinds of people come to my job and I am almost unaware of all the people that come in and out. Therefore, with this app I can be sure that I am not exposed to anyone of any sort to not only look out for my health but for my mom’s health as well. Apple adding this software was one of the best things that they could have done in my opinion.

  14. The Coronavirus’ massive influence on the world is something the world will never forget. The worldwide pandemic is a world event that will be talked about for generations. One thing they will talk about is how our modern technology adapted to the times. This article talks about how IPhones allow their users to be notified if a person they have been around someone who has tested positive for the virus. Over the course of the virus’ reign over the world, technology has been rapidly trying to adapt to the times. A rather interesting version of this is what the National Football League is doing with their athletes a part of the league. What they are doing is providing electronic bracelets that monitor a person’s temperature and alert someone if they have a fever, or if that came in contact with someone who has been reported to have the virus. This technology must have been improvised to keep the football players safe from the virus, and the people who created this bracelet had not a lot of time to create it. Proving it to be quite the feat of technological adaptation.

  15. Before reading this article, I could already tell there is something about it that makes me want to read more into this topic. In this day and age, with coronavirus all over the place and sometimes right around the corner from you, most people want to do whatever they can to stay away from it. Washing your hands, wearing masks, staying around the same group of people, and using a lot of hand sanitizer are all great methods to avoid getting the virus. Since the title of this article is, “A COVID-19-fighting tool is buried in your phone. Turn it on.” It gets right to the point and does not allow for any question what the article is about. After reading this title I almost immediately chose this for my blog post because I wanted to know what else could help prevent me and the people around me from getting the corona virus. What this article in essence is about is an app on your phone that you can download that keeps track of the corona virus and people who have it or do not have it near you. These alerts are broadcasted throughout the app alerting all who have it. Almost a million people in Virginia already have and use the app on a regular basis and I believe everyone should use this app. If everyone in America who has a smartphone downloads this free app this could save a lot of hustle worrying about if anyone near you has COVID-19. You can go into the app and tell it that you have either been exposed or you have it and it alerts everyone who has the app near you. I wish more innovations like this were to come out and I wish more people would use things like this. This app is only majorly used in Virginia and I could only imagine how useful it would be if more people were to download and use this app. I might even say that in the future the government require it for people to download it and use it so that we can all have it as a convenience in this trying time. Overall, this article opened my eyes to a necessary app that many people use already that will help everyone stay safe in this pandemic.

  16. Exposure notifications for COVID-19 is something I have never heard of. The article immediately caught my attention, as this is a very helpful tool with very little coverage. Only fifteen states in the U.S. currently support coronavirus exposure alerts. New Jersey does support the alerts and provides instructions by local health authorities when using them. I do intend on receiving these alerts as it can provide myself and others safety. Any person who is knowledgeable of these alerts should get them to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

    One concern I would understand from the public is an invasion of privacy. However, it is proven that these systems do not log your phone’s location. The phones log what other phones it was near, not where it was. The entire process is also completely anonymous. Location tracking is not part of the system at all, and even if it were it would not be the only way your phone is tracking your location. In settings, you can view your phone’s location history. This shows every location your phone has been and for how long. If these intrusive location tracking services do not bother a phone owner then neither should a COVID tracking app.

    Participation in these apps is limited at the moment as there is not much exposure to it. Participating now can still benefit users, as alerts may still be helpful. However, the more users of the apps will make the apps more effective. If everyone has the app on their phone, then when someone does contract COVID-19 everyone they exposed will be notified. This can substantially decrease the number of cases in the country. If someone does not know they were in contact with a person with the disease, they will not quarantine and continue the spread of the virus. These systems must be more widely known. They should also be advertised by phone companies, like Apple. Apple can add apps to a phone screen automatically with an update, and these should be one of those apps. They should not be hidden in settings. While COVID-19 is a dangerous virus, there is a simple solution in our pockets to significantly reduce risk.

  17. The new feature in Apple and Google software updates that allows for users to enable COVID-19 exposure notifications is another technological breakthrough that we are witnessing as a product of this devastating pandemic. This anonymous tracking uses Bluetooth signals embedded in the phone to determine if one was in contact with an infected person. There is no location storing and no other extensive tracking of the actual people. Additionally, iPhone has very extensive privacy security already embedded in their software. Personally, when I first saw this update, I immediately declined to turn it on within my phone out of fear my location would be tracked and stored. I questioned whether it was crucial enough to share my data for a notification that I possibly could have the coronavirus. However, about halfway through reading this article, I stopped to turn on the exposure notifications on my phone.

    It has become so crucial today to be informed about the growing danger of being exposed to COVID-19. Because it is such a new virus, doctors are unsure of the lasting effects it could leave on someone’s body. There is no certainty if people could be re-infected with it or even if it could damage a person’s lungs for the rest of their lives. We have seen second and third waves of this pandemic due to carelessness around holidays. Too many families are going to be mourning a loved one during the upcoming holidays. With all of this, and much more occurring, it is so important to stay safe. If we become at risk for contracting the virus, it becomes life-threatening to those around us. What we do know is that this virus spreads so easily from person to person. In a matter of seconds, an entire family could become infected because of one person that comes in contact with them. If that one person had their exposure notifications turned on, they could have been tested and quarantined properly, saving so many lives of the people around them. The message within this article needs to be broadcasted to Americans everywhere. As individuals, we can wear a mask, socially distance ourselves, and now live responsibly with a simple enabling of the COVID-19 exposure notifications in our phones.

  18. COVID-19 has been the center of the news ever since the first case was reported last November. The impact that it will have on the world is inevitable, and it is still a very large issue to this day. Technology has rapidly adapted and companies have been developing ways to know whether someone is in the presence of someone else who may have symptoms or may have even tested positive for the virus. What is being described in the article above are exposure notifications. Turning this feature on one’s iPhone allows them to be notified when in the presence of someone who has tested positive. Personally, I have exposure notifications turned on because I believe that it is of great benefit and can help keep myself safe. If everyone were to turn on this feature on their phones, it will most certainly be of great benefit for everyone as it may help contain the spread of the virus. One thing, however, that is probably having people not download these types of apps is the fact that the app will track their location. I think that this is much of a setback, however, because at the end of the day it is used to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 from spreading and to keep others safe from the virus. This article overall just shows how greatly technology is improving and how quickly ways can be developed to stop the spread of coronavirus, even with the use of a simple smartphone app.

  19. This article was one of the most interesting articles I’ve read. In this historic time, we face a challenge that is not new to humankind, a new disease. What’s interesting about this event, however, is that in history, we didn’t have access to technology we have today during previous pandemics. Though our medicine is as advanced as it has ever been, the technology I’m referring to is smartphones. Though the smartphone’s tracking capability has been seen as a negative and an invasion of privacy, this article makes a very interesting case for how these devices we hold so near and dear to our hearts can be used to face one of the biggest challenges we’ve seen in recent history. Exposure notifications are a revolutionary idea using some of the most recent technology we’ve ever had. Being capable in most phones, exposure tracking seeks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by allowing people’s phones to communicate with each other in a way that can allow others to send an alert to other phones letting them know that they came in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. In the pre-vaccine era, this should be the safest way of ensuring we slow the spread, until the vaccine is released. There were many doubts and concerns I had while reading this article, mainly, “Isn’t this just another scheme for the government to spy on us?” Then I read the article, and was reassured by the author that this program doesn’t actually track your location, instead, the program uses Bluetooth tracking to ping nearby phones to give the phones an idea of how long this person was near you, and how far away they were. This brought up one more question from me that remained unanswered: “If this program doesn’t track you but only pings people near you, what if someone does have their location enabled? Wouldn’t you pinging to that person mean the government temporarily knows where you are or at least knows where you were and for how long you were there? Regardless, this isn’t something that would drive me away from using this program. I think this program truly is awesome and intuitive. When I get the chance, I will enable it so I can know if I’ve been exposed. This will help considering I’ve never been tested.

  20. Most Americans may not be aware that they have free access to a COVID-fighting tool which provides them with anonymous corona virus exposure notifications. Notification will come in an alert message stating that you have been likely exposed. As more and more cases are increasing, these pop-up notifications from local health authorities may proactively assist in the prevention being infected. Granted, this notification tool will only work if the user turns on this option on their iPhone. The tool notification uses software built by Apple and Google for iPhone and Android devices. The process works by detecting individuals are within close contact with another device. For those individuals worried about the invasion of privacy, be assured that the app tracks encounters between people anonymously and it does not store your location. Apple and Google buried this setting, and as a consequence user do not even know this beneficial tool is available to them. Leave it to big tech to bungle what could have been the years most helpful tech app. Notifications are only as useful as people entering their own positive test results. Most States provide exposure notification apps which will walk users through the necessary steps in order to utilize this health tool. Behind the scenes, your phone sends out Bluetooth signals which can be picked up by other users signals in a close proximity. It is important to note that exposure alerts will not be enabled without the user’s permission. The notification tool which provides exposure warnings was part of a recent upgrade to the software of iOS and Android devices but will not be activated until the user enables the setting. However, if your state does not support this alert system, you will not benefit from notification alerts unless people that are surrounding you also have the system enabled. When traveling, this app will be able to work across state lines because of a new national repository of positive diagnosis.

  21. I remember when I was browsing Twitter at the beginning of the lockdown people were posting and complaining that if you went deep into your settings you would see a COVID contact tracing app automatically in the phone but disabled. People didn’t like the idea that they would’ve been being tracked without being alerted. To most that sounds stupid and impeding but that was also at the beginning of lockdown when people didn’t think it would last that long. Now here we are today nearing another lockdown because of the increase in cases throughout the past few weeks and how much more it will spread in the winter. People also didn’t know the tracking wasn’t being done through the phones by Bluetooth rather than GPS tracking. Less violating and more protective through Bluetooth tracking the encounters you have with other devices. The alerts are beneficial to all involved and will tell you if you have been in close contact with someone so you can protect yourself and get tested. Also being given the opportunity to enable or not is the consent you give to the location services being used. If you do not want to be tracked then you put yourself at higher risk of not knowing if the individuals you have been around are safe or not. I personally believe that at this point with the progression of the virus it should be enabled by everyone and all apps similar should also be. Limiting our risk is key now to try and truly reach and end to the virus and returning to a more normal lifestyle.

  22. I was extremely surprised to read about this mostly because I have heard nothing about this technology before and I find it strange that this has not been advertised. This only works if a large network of people are all using it because your phone will only tell you that you have been in contact if you have it on and the contact was with someone else who had it on. While this is something that certainly could help slow the spread of coronavirus by alerting people who have come in contact so they can get tested and isolate, it is interesting that Apple already had this technology installed on iPhones before the pandemic was even a threat. This technology was not designed to help fight coronavirus, it just gives people a reason to allow Apple to collect this information. This is an example of how easy t is for big tech companies to know where you are and who you have come into contact with.
    In conclusion I was shocked to learn about this as it is something that is more hidden on the iPhone and not something that is being heavily advertised to turn on. Most Americans carry iPhones and this is something that in a global pandemic could be extremely helpful. This is something that most people need to be a part of for it to be affective so if most people don’t go into their settings and turn it on, they will not know if they come into contact with someone who had the virus. The software is buried deep in settings and not enough people are currently aware of it for the software to be affective. Another problem is that some view it as an invasion of privacy and while they are probably right as this software was designed before Coronavirus was a problem, a global pandemic asks the question of where is an invasion of personal privacy justifiable for the safety of the nation. In order for this software to make a real difference in helping alert people when they come into contact with the Coronavirus a herd mentality of everyone signing up to protect each other would be required.

  23. As the coronavirus pandemic is in full effect with flu season and all the coughing and sneezing from allergies approaching, and how we are scared to get covid but we don’t really know what we have. doctors wanting medical information from us and all these apps they have and how it can control your health and how safe it can be. This could undermine not only individual patient care but public health. The doctors are trying to successfully prevent the spread of Covid and wanting people to isolate and control outbreaks of infectious disease. They want to increase the usage of these apps and trying to stop the spread of this virus and it will depend on how they take care of the right data and technology to track its spread and treat people who tested positive for the corona virus. This I don’t think will work because it can get spread so easily I don’t think there’s enough to stop the spread without a vaccine so it might be harder, and I also don’t trust these apps as they may track you and what you do and see all your steps. they may also see who you are calling and who you are texting and just having an eye on you. But they think its for your safety but its really not, they just want to get into as many peoples business as they can and that is illegal. this is why we have to always read all contracts, and read all terms of conditions and make sure we stay well aware of what can happen and what can possibly be the reason why we always wonder why these strange things happen. Lets say someone walks into a hospital and says he or she has covid and he or she tells the hospital his or her information and then lets say their symptoms get worse, and they need to be transferred hospitals, that hospital has their information automatically, and that’s how information spreads all around and its not safe for he or she, and that is the reason we need to stop and be aware of situations.

  24. Covid-19 has become a large scale issue for our nation, and with it comes a lot of uncertainty. Many people are unaware of how badly their regions are affected and are unaware of the true risks theyre facing. Many states are utilizing systems to notify you if you have been possibly exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Now theses systems definitely have their bonuses, and absolutely allow for quick action. Though, exposing where you are at all times to the companies in charge of the app may lead to some people feeling uncomfortable and feel their privacy is being invaded. The app has its clear positives on one end, safer methods and safer exposure; but it also has glaring negatives such as privacy becoming somewhat void.

  25. This article is a little outdated compared to the time that I am reading, but I think it would be interesting to look and see if I used this app or any of my other friends use the app. I knew about these apps at the time they initially came out, in fact I am pretty sure that Apple made it a default for everyone’s phones to give these covid-19 watch notifications. In my opinion as much as I think it was a great idea, I also think that all of this technology was actually released too late. This article was posted on February 18th, 2021, which is about a month before the US “shut down” due to the covid-19 outbreak. That means it took a year to develop an app that could help people track covid-19. I have a feeling this was mainly targeted toward newer generations, but my generation didn’t really take this whole pandemic seriously, which is displayed in the percentages of age groups that have gotten the vaccine. With all of this said as much as I like the app, I think it is somewhat useless at the same time because majority of people that had the resources didn’t care enough to use the apps. The way that I look at the whole pandemic, is that it is your duty to make sure you don’t spread the virus. If you were worried about spreading the virus, this simple solution is to not go outside, there are plenty of apps that have people do grocery shopping for you if need be. I also don’t think the issue was that people didn’t know they were near someone with covid, because at the end of the day that shouldn’t really matter if everyone is doing what they are supposed to. If everyone were to remain 6 feet apart and wore their masks the pandemic would have slowed down much sooner. Yet, like I said earlier, people didn’t care or take it seriously. People found the time off work as a good time to go on vacation to go to Florida and party. Which is very frustrating for people who took this pandemic seriously. At the end of the day, although I like the idea of the app, and I think it could benefit some people, at the same time, people the I know didn’t use it often because they didn’t care enough. If everyone were to just follow the rules, then we wouldn’t have to develop apps like this in the first place. As much as I have showed the flaws of the users of the app, overall if the right person uses it, then it is very helpful. This is especially true for people who are living with someone who is at risk. Just a simple notification could save the life of someone in danger. All in all, if people cared or took the pandemic seriously then these applications would have been very useful, but the lack of care drove these apps to be rarely used, to my knowledge.

  26. Apple and the newest phone updates never fail to amaze me. Whenever I update my phone, new features appear that I would have never thought would ever exist. One feature in specific is a covid-fighting tool. At this point, covid is around four years old, but that does not mean covid has stopped infecting people. This new covid-fighting tool allows users to receive notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who tested positive for covid. However, the only downfall is both you and the people around you need to turn on this setting for it to work. This feature would be perfect for older people to have turned on, but it is inconvenient for them because they will not know how to turn it on or go out of their way to turn it on. In 2020, Virginia tested a Covidwise app for state-sponsored alerts regarding covid exposure, 770,000 people used the app. However, 777 people who downloaded the app had gotten a positive test, but only 488 people entered their diagnosis into the system. In 2020, Virginia had a population of 8.5 million, so 488 people are barely anyone and not very helpful.

    Regarding privacy, the software Google and Apple built uses Bluetooth therefore people’s identities are kept anonymous, and their location is not stored. However, using Bluetooth does not stop phones from getting hacked. Hackers can easily gain access to other people’s phones and put misinformation (such as false positives) which can mess up the covid exposure notifications and make people worry and quarantine for no reason. With or without hackers, this risk is possible. Humans are constantly lying, especially about their health. I know many people who have tested positive for covid, but they have lied about their test results and have put everyone else’s health at risk. If people can lie about their test results verbally and physically, what stops them from lying on an app? As mentioned before, people need to turn on the settings themselves, therefore, only a small portion of the population will have the setting turned on, which is not effective. There are too many possible flaws for this feature to work properly. I think this covid-exposure feature would work better for smaller populations such as at a workplace or a school setting rather than to track exposure for the whole state.

    With parties and general college life, students at Seton Hall University are constantly getting sick and testing positive for covid. This covid exposure feature would be perfect for colleges since students are always near each other. Seton Hall could enforce a rule that students need to either download a separate app or turn on exposure notifications. Like masks, this covid-exposure feature should be normalized because it can help with the virus, and plus who would not want to know if they have been infected? After reading this article, I have turned my covid-exposure notifications on, and hopefully, it will be effective.

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