But even as the rate of adoption climbs, will the exposure notification app make a difference?
Experts and officials worldwide aren’t so sure. The limited evidence that exists so far makes clear the apps aren’t creating a big dent in the spread of the virus.
However, given the U.S. recorded1 million new infections in a week, many health officials are eager for whatever help they can get.
More than 700,000 people have now activated WA Notify – Washington’s COVID-19 notification tool.
It is secure, anonymous and quick to set up.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee)December 1, 2020
WA Notify is built on technology developed by Apple and Google called theExposure Notification System. The app uses Bluetooth signals emitted by smartphones to detect and remember interactions, allowing people to receive a message if they’ve been within six feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19.
The app does not use GPS and does not indicate where the potential exposure occurred. It’s meant to compliment the manual contract tracing being done by workers who identify and inform people who’ve been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. The digital system could catch exposures that occur in anonymous settings such as grocery stores, busses and airports.
Dr. John Wiesman, the state’s secretary of health, told GeekWire that the app is part of a toolbox “for Washingtonians to take control in their own lives to help keep them safe.”
Others remain skeptical.
“I’m getting asked whether people should turn on exposure notification on their phones. Go ahead. It’s not bad from a privacy perspective. It’s just unlikely to make you or anyone any safer,” Ryan Calo, a University of Washington law professor and privacy expert, tweeted on Tuesday.
- ryan calo（@rcalo）December 1, 2020
COVID notification apps have a heavy lift. First and foremost, they need to protect individual privacy. To accomplish that, they’re limited in the information that’s being gathered and shared with users and health officials, which reduces their benefits. Norway had toscuttle its original contact tracing appbecause it didn’t do enough to safeguard individual privacy.
应用风险产生假阳性,因为我t can’t tell if people are masked or outside, reducing the likelihood of infection. People could be within six feet but have a wall or shield between them. It can miss actual cases if both parties don’t have both a smartphone and the app. Even if they do detect a possible exposure, people who test positive are encouraged, but not required, to send a warning to other app users and many don’t.
“它永远不会上班，因为它是[可能]过度和欠包容的目标，“Calo继续在他的推文中继续。“思想魔术应用程序很可爱 - 但它不会。也没有证据表明它甚至在它是强制性的地方。“
— Martin Kaste (@MartinKaste)December 1, 2020
欢呼应用程序成功的头条新闻通常侧重于有多少人安装它们，而不是流行病学数据显示他们取得了显着差异。专家说将是difficult to quantifythe impact of the apps. Washington health officials said they expect to receive aggregate data telling them how many notifications are sent.
许多数字警告应用程序的支持者指向an unpublished studythat modeled the tool’s potential benefits for King, Snohomish and Pierce counties in Washington state.
The study by epidemiologists and modellers atOxford University and Google Research predicted that if 15% of the population used the app that it would cut infections by 8% and deaths by 6%. Used alongside a “well-staffed manual contact tracing workforce,” theinfections would be cut by 15% and deaths by 11%.
Experiences in Germany and Ireland provide some insight into adoption and performance of exposure notification apps, which both countries launched in July.
In mid-October Ireland reported 1.3 million active users—大约34％的人口。超过3,000人使用该系统警告他人，向超过5,800人发送通知。在一个press release除了说：“其中一些可能没有被确定，爱尔兰当局没有分享有关警报的其他细节。”狗万平台