Apple released a Covid-19 website and an app to help people take the right steps to protect themselves from the Coronavirus pandemic.
The health steps are in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
The app and the website have been created in collaboration with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CDC and provide factual information about the spread of COvid-19 in the United States and all the relevant information needed to stay safe.
The website and app will have screening tools and answer users’ queries on risk factors, symptoms, exposure, and anything that concerns them about the disease. The screening collects data on your travel history if any and contacts with anyone who is at risk or has been exposed.
The app guides you through the protocol of self-isolation if needed, social distancing, what symptoms to looks for, if a test is needed, and when to go in for professional medical help.
There are limitations here as there is no information on where to seek testing if needed. This is because there is no clear information available on testing in the country and is difficult to get access to. The government has recommended getting in touch with your primary doctor before seeking a test. If anyone experiences any respiratory distress, then it recommends calling 911.
The screening tool is just a self-help guide and in no way can be taken as a replacement for medical care or guidance from state or healthcare authorities.
One can use the information provided to get instructions on best practices to keep oneself healthy in these times, how to sanitize surfaces and wash hands, and guidance to local resources or numbers of relevant authorities if one needs further clarification and help.
There is a frequently asked questions or FAQ tab that one can use to get greater clarification about their doubts and queries. All updates by the relevant authorities and CDC will be available whenever they are announced.
Customers across the US can also ask Siri, “How do I know if I have coronavirus?” to access guidance and resources from the CDC and a curated collection of telehealth apps available on the App Store.
In a statement, the CDC said the launch was a direct response to the Trump administration’s “call for an all-of-America approach and will help Americans heed CDC guidelines and self-isolate to limit COVID-19 transmission.”
Apple has also started sending messages over the iPhone to all its users landing in the US about the CDC guidelines on self-quarantine and monitoring the symptoms if any.
The Covid-19 website and app will ensure users’ privacy.
The tools do not require a sign-in or association with a user’s Apple ID, and individual responses will not be sent to Apple or any government organization.
Any resident of the US ages 18 and above can access the screening tool and resources by downloading the COVID-19 app on the App Store or visiting the main website.
Apple had earlier declared that it is donating 10 million masks to the medical community, which is grappling the surge of patients with inadequate protective gear and a shortage of masks.
There are other apps and screening tools that are offering the same services. CDC itself has an online assessment chatbot built with Microsoft’s help and Amazon’s Alexa has a similar service. Verily, a Google company has also launched a coronavirus screening and fact check website.
The United States has become the new epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 142,735 cases and 2488 deaths.