What the large number of covid alerts in the UK mean for exposure apps

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She said: “During the week of July 8, the NHS covid-19 app in England and Wales had notified more than 600,000 people to quarantine, but this was only more than twice the number of new positive cases in the same area. Although we are right The contact tracing application is concerned about the rationality of the application, but it is wrong to criticize its’pingdemic’: the application basically works as usual.”

Christophe Fraser, an epidemiologist at Oxford University’s Big Data Institute The most prominent research on app effectiveness, Said that although it works as designed, there is another problem: the serious breakdown of the social contract. “People can see carnivals and nightclubs going on on TV. Why am I told to stay at home? Honestly, this is a fair point of view,” he said.

He said that it is the lack of clear and fair rules that cause people to feel generally frustrated because they are told to self-isolate. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, public health technology is deeply intertwined with everything around it—the way it is marketed, the way the media talk about it, the way doctors talk about it, support (or not support) ) By the legislator.

“People really want to do the right thing,” Fraser said. “They need to give up halfway.”

How did we get here

Exposure notification apps are a digital public health strategy pioneered during the pandemic, and they have withstood a lot of criticism from those who said they didn’t get it enough use. Dozens of countries Build apps to remind users of Covid exposure, share code, and use a framework jointly developed Google and AppleBut in the criticism of privacy concerns and technical glitches, critics accused these apps of being launched too late in the pandemic—the number of cases at the time was too high for technology to turn the tide.

So at this moment in the UK—when the technical glitch has been resolved, the adoption rate is high, and the new wave soars—isn’t it the right time for its apps to make a real difference?

“Science is not that big challenge… the challenge comes from behavior. The hardest part of the system is the part where you need to convince people to do something.”

Jenny Wanger, Linux Foundation Public Health

Jenny Wanger, head of the COVID-related technology program at Linux Foundation Public Health, said that if people do not voluntarily follow the instructions to quarantine, they will not.

She said that 18 months after the pandemic, “technology is usually not a challenge”. “Science is not that big challenge… We know how covid communication works at this point. The challenge comes from behavior. The hardest part of the system is the part where you need to convince people to do something-of course, based on Best Practices.”

Fraser of Oxford University said that he considered this issue from a motivational perspective. He said that for ordinary people, the motivation to follow contact tracing rules (whether numerically or otherwise) does not always add up.

If the result of using the application is “you are eventually quarantined, but your neighbors who did not install the application are not quarantined,” he said, “this doesn’t feel fair, right?”

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