Manhattan, NY , United States, 08/27/2021 / Web Desk /
“The virus-tracing effort raises questions about the power of Big Tech to set global standards for public health tools.” NY Times. It has been over a year since Google and Apple’s first apps were released, and since a new coronavirus variant was discovered in March, smartphone contact tracer has struggled to live up to its promises and prove its worth. The majority of US states have not implemented a contact-tracing application.
On average, one in four people in states with the apps activated it on their phone.
The technology Apple and Google developed enabled governments to develop contact-tracing apps that their residents could download. Later, Apple integrated the system directly into its mobile operating systems.
California’s system was activated 12 million times – roughly 30% of the state’s population. Only about 3% of California’s nearly 2.5 million COVID-19 case reports were logged into the system since its launch.
The reach of the tools is limited by the fact that just half of the US states chose not to build a service.
According to a public-health official in the UK, Braithwaite, the app users are more likely to be wealthy and less likely to contract COVID. COVID-19 cases are logged in the app for each state, but not necessarily the same percentage as the number of people who have downloaded the app.
Bryant Karras is the chief informatics officer at the Washington State Department of Health. He said that usage has increased in recent months after Apple integrated tools directly into iOS, and when the state began sending automated texts encouraging residents with COVID-19 to use the service.
Installation numbers indicate at least 10% of residents in 12 states have activated Apple and Google’s exposure-notification tools, out of the 17 that responded to Insider.
The first big problem is the fact that the apps were launched by individual states in the US, rather than the federal government. Like the UK and other countries, if the federal government has created an app to trade US-wide data, this would have helped in raising nationwide awareness and encourage people to submit their COVID results in the app. Because of this, almost half of the US didn’t bother to use the service. If the federal government was behind this project and had done a nationwide launch of the app, we would be seeing a much bigger number of people using the service. Moreover, in the states where the service was introduced, there was poor education and promotion for it that resulted in residents not even considering using it. Lastly, almost none of the individuals who tested positive for COVID actually input their data in the app.
Overall, the figure for all 17 states is 24.8%. With a combined percentage of 2.14%, however, not even 10% of COVID-19 cases from their state have been logged into the system. The percentage of COVID-19 cases logged into the apps in this area is likely to be significantly lower than the overall US.
Apple and Google don’t provide users with their identities to states. Multiple public-health departments stated that privacy protections make it difficult to empirically measure the effectiveness of tools.
DISCLAIMER of Liability. IN NO EVENT SHALL OUR PR COMPANY BE LIABLE OR RESPONSIBLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOST PROFITS OR LOST OPPORTUNITIES, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES IN ADVANCE AND REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE OF ACTION UPON WHICH ANY SUCH CLAIM IS BASED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY CLAIM ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY OF THE CONTENT, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, AUDIO, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND VIDEOS, OR OF THE ACCURACY, RELIABILITY, OR LEGALITY OF ANY STATEMENT MADE IN OR OMITTED FROM ANY advertisement, sponsorship, endorsement, testimonial, opinion, or other product-related or service-related statement or review appearing in the Websites or in ANY post or article distributed via the Websites.