What are Covid-19 Apps?
Mobile apps designed to help in contact tracing are called Covid-19 apps. They are in response to the pandemic the world is facing now. Additionally, it’s the process of determining individuals who may have been in contact with those who are infected.
All over the world, Covid-19 has brought about fear and uncertainty. It has impacted almost all sectors and industries. It does not discriminate. Thus, in response and in the almost desperate need to attempt to stop it or contain it, numerous apps were proposed and developed, with official support from the government in each country.
Various frameworks for creating contact tracing applications have been developed by mobile app developers. Privacy issues were raised, particularly regarding systems based on keeping track of the geographic location of application users. Alternatives that are less intrusive include using Bluetooth to log the proximity of a user to other cell phones. Booth Google and Apple announced in April that they’ll integrate functionality supporting apps that are Bluetooth-based directly into their operating systems, Android and iOS.
Keeping Track of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Everyone who owns a smartphone or device has a set of go-to applications on their phones. In the worldwide health crisis now, many new apps were added to the list. Mobile app development has continually evolved, despite uncertain times.
The development has come up with several apps that could help keep tabs on all updates that are related to the pandemic, such as information on current hotspots, a spike in cases and location that’s nearest to testing and treatment facilities. Some apps even allow funds donation as well as commit one’s device for research.
Apps that Battle against Covid-19
- Arogya Setu for Android: An initiative of the government of India, the app is designed to help people determine if they’ve been in contact with an infected individual. The application makes use of Bluetooth and GPS on a smartphone to build a social graph.
It detects some asymptomatic person has met one who is infected. If this occurs, the asymptomatic person receives an alert, along with self-isolation instructions. Users have to switch-on the Bluetooth all the time to enable location sharing.
- MayMyIndia Move: for both iOS and Android. It has a built-in dashboard to monitor the total number of cases in the country, which is based on inputs from the ministry of health, as well as the family welfare. Moreover, the dashboard has state-wise data, together with details on isolation centers, treatment centers, relief campaigns for migrant workers, and hunger relief centers. Users could also report concerns like law enforcement lapses of lockdown violation, which government and local authorities could check out.
- MyGov App for iOS and Android: When it comes to the worldwide pandemic, there is just so much misinformation. People could keep tabs on the official cases in the country. On a constant basis, the app shows how many active cases are there, how many deaths and discharges.
It also has informative features, including a shortcut page for PM-Cares fund with account details for donations and myth busters. In the event a solution is made to help combat Covid-19, it could be submitted to the Safe India Hackathon.
- Practo for Android and iOS. Now private laboratories are permitted to test the Covid-19. As a telemedicine site, Practo began providing online appointment services. Tests would be carried out by Thyrocare, a diagnostic company that will send a certified phlebotomist to directly gather samples from home. A request for testing would only be approved upon the submission of a valid prescription of a doctor, a duly filled test requisition form signed by the doctor and an identification card. Also, the app provides an option to consult a physician via chats.
- BOINC for the Android OS: For users who want to go further than donating for PM-Cares as well as other similar funds, this app is worth checking out. Available via the app, the distributed computing project lets anyone contribute the smartphone’s computing power and PCs to hasten research and find vaccines. It will only make use of the phone’s CPU and GPU when they’re not used, particularly during downtime.
How Effective and Reliable are Mobile Apps to fight Covid-19?
The coronavirus has brought about several much-needed public-spiritedness. Now, there is a strong desire for a meaningful contribution. Among technologists, the popular response is to develop surveillance applications on smart devices for contact tracing. There are indeed various reports of the successes and efforts of these endeavours all over.
The implicit point of view in the development and deployment of such technology is that privacy issues have to take a backseat in this health crisis. This has a couple of perils. The first is that invasive tech could continue well further the health emergency. Second, and probably more important is that privacy violation is a concern in the health crisis context in which fear of the virus and the associated stigma spread considerably faster than the virus itself. Utility over privacy for these critical apps is typical indeed.
However, the balancing needs careful examination, particularly when the whereabouts and details of people who are affected are revealed to the authorities and the public. In a society that’s prone to discrimination, prejudice and attaching stigma, the cost of false positives could be notable. The deployment of any technology should always be culture and society centred.
In the contact tracing context, a simple application wherein users could switch on recording Bluetooth-based contact trace voluntarily would be a great option. Probably, geo-location and manual entry could be useful as well. The application also maintains a list of contacts that they meet, categorized as random tokens.
Users could opt to inform their contact list on a voluntary basis if they get a positive test and could disclose location tracks should they wish to do so. The reliability still could be slow, but so does the risk. The contact tracing usefulness could be maxed if a big number of people install the application, which only happens if users trust the system.
In designing apps to help combat Covid-19, emphasis should also be on the relevance of certain aspects, including anonymity and voluntary disclosures of contact tracing. Most importantly, all details of the design and operations of the app should be made public.
Morgan is an IT Consultant at TatvaSoft Australia, which is a Top Mobile App development company in Sydney. Coming from an IT background Morgan likes to share informative and very useful articles, blogs on mobile app development. He is having seven years of experience in a Technological domain and helps the organization of all shapes.