Unknown codes are constantly changing in iPhone and Android devices that ping nearby phones via Bluetooth – a process that begins after the user chooses to receive notifications.
For exposure notifications to be effective, Android users must turn on Bluetooth and download the Covid-19 notification app of their state. On the iPhone, even though the system is already baked in settings, users should go to exposure notifications and make sure availability alerts are turned on.
When a person who uses the symptom tests positive for coronavirus, she gets a pin from the health official to enter her phone. Any other phone that has been nearby in the past two weeks – usually at a distance of six feet or less, for at least 15 minutes – will receive a warning to quarantine the user and notify the health provider.
Apps assess your risk based on the strength of the Bluetooth signal (how close you were to the other person) and the duration of your contact with them.
Where you can get them
At least 15 states These Covid-19s are participating in the exposure notification system.
Some states registered sign-ups within weeks of starting the program. Maryland launched its notification system on Nov. 10 and more than 1 million people have already signed up, said Charlie Gischle, a spokesman for the state Department of Health. He called the application “a complement to traditional contact tracing and another tool in the toolbox” to fight coronavirus infections.
Colorado Govt. “We are at a critical moment in this epidemic and choosing this service will keep our families and communities safe and our economy going,” Jared Police said in a statement.
Questions about privacy
Is the information from the apps anonymous? Experts say it is.
Apps do not collect data on users or their locations, and there is no way to combine covid diagnostics and alerts with names and identities over the phone, Gischle said.
“The process is completely anonymous and does not collect any personally identifiable information, given the privacy concerns of previous more aggressive contact tracing applications.”
Earlier versions that raised privacy concerns were created by third-party developers. This coronavirus notification alert technology has been provided by Apple Pal and Google, and users can choose to use it at any time, Gischle said.
Warnings Covid-19 can reduce infection
The more people who sign up for alerts, the more effective they are. Only a small percentage of the nearly 100 million Americans currently living in 15 states use apps.
For example, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware have formed a regional alliance that uses a similar system that allows their applications to operate across state lines, Enscombe said.
States face some challenges in spreading them
The warning system is designed to complement traditional contact tracing, not to work alone.
But technology brings its own set of challenges. For starters, the notification system only works on Google and Apple Plus phones that are less than five years old, An Nscombe said. Not everyone has a new smartphone, and a small percentage of those who do use the notification system.
In addition, not all states are using the notification system. Many state health departments are already overwhelmed by the resurgence of the virus, and some may not have the resources to develop and maintain the app, Enscombe said.
Earlier, the GPS-based notification system caused outrage among privacy advocates and raised suspicions about contact tracing in general, Water said.
“States need additional funding currently stuck in Congress to help dismantle the war and adopt this crucial tool in the fight against covid,” Waters said.