NHS invents contact-tracing apps for COVID-19 to ‘flatten the curve’

nhs-invents-contact-tracing-apps-for-coronavirus-heres-what-experts-can-say

With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, many are desperate to find a cure or, at least, find a device that can prevent it. 

The National Health Service (NHS) has developed a contact-tracing app that could help flatten the COVID-19 curve worldwide.

We all know that coronavirus spreads via human contact. When a person is being tested for COVID-19, one of the questions medics will ask you is who were you recently in contact with.

The new contact-tracing app

NHS has innovated a contact-tracing app and it will be released in the UK within a few weeks.

According to Matthew Gould, who is the head of NHS, the app will not be keeping data locally. However, if companies like Apple and Google will request for it, the NHS will decentralize the data. 

Gould also revealed that the app will allow people who are currently in the UK to report themselves if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

With that given, it will lessen false reports reported to medical experts. The app will also not force people to go on self-quarantine if they don’t show any symptoms.

The NHS app will be released in some parts of the UK for pilot testing. When the app goes well in the area where they released the app, the NHS will share it with other countries.

Gould predicts that if the app works well, NHS will deploy the app in other countries in about two to three weeks.

Teaming up with Apple and Google

When the app was announced in public, Apple and Google are now updating their mobile operating systems to support the app. 

Apple and Google run almost 99% of people’s phones worldwide, and with a more sturdy mobile system, people can download the NHS contact-tracking app.

Once Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems are good to go, it will also allow them to keep track of other devices.

How it works

When a user will log in to the app and report their symptom, they will alert the people they have come across with in the past couple of days.

With that given, it will be easier for people to determine who is possible to have had gotten the virus through human contact.

Government authorities and medical experts will easily determine those people who might have contact with the virus via the app. 

However, according to some privacy experts, the app might also crash when a user uses it. Without Apple or Google supporting it, the app will end up draining people’s batteries.

Worst-case scenario, it would cause phone screens to disable and inaccessible for users. 

According to Professor Ross Anderson of the University of Cambridge, the app could also spark more fake reports. Given that the people will self-report to authorities, it is possible that users will abuse the app’s usage. 

Image use courtesy of Markus Spikes/Flickr

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