North Dakota, Wyoming and Alabama are starting or announcing the imminent launch of a coronavirus contact tracking app based on preliminary work by Apple and Google.
While the Corona Warn app, which is also based on the interface between Apple and Google, has been very well received in Germany (17 million downloads so far), this option of anonymous communication to track Covid 19 infections has not yet emerged in the USA enforced. Proprietary contact tracing systems, for example in Utah, are according to a report by Apple Insider failed in large part. They did not want to get involved in privacy-encroaching functions such as location tracking and the collection of personal data.
The Apple-Google-API tries to avoid exactly that by exchanging anonymous keys between Bluetooth devices. Only if someone enters a confirmed infection manually with a TAN or via the QR code of the test report, contacts up to 14 days ago will be informed about it – all of this should also be completely anonymous and encrypted. The important personal data remains directly on your own smartphone.
On this basis, North Dakota has now become the second US state after Virginia to release a coronavirus tracing app (“Care19 Alert”); Wyoming and Alabama want to follow suit today and on Monday. The app was developed in the USA by Prowd Crowd. This should also be able to trace contacts across states in the USA. In July, the American Association of Public Health Laboratories announced a partnership with Apple, Google and Microsoft to set up a national server for the secure storage and transfer of contacts with people infected with Covid-19. It is not yet known whether the North Dakota app will cooperate with it. Washington and Pennsylvania could follow in the next few weeks. South Carolina has at least expressed interest in a similar solution, but has not yet officially confirmed it.
The efficiency of such digital contact tracking apps is still unknown. According to Apple Insider, a study suggests that the daily number of infections can be reduced if only 20 to 40 percent of a given population would download and use such apps.
Another measure, which could presumably bring about a significant reduction in the devastating rate of new infections with SARS-CoV-2 in the USA, is little used there despite its easy availability, at least in some states of the USA – wearing masks in public and especially in closed spaces such as shops. (Macworld)