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What is contact tracing?

There’s a new approach to contact tracing with some help from Apple and Google

ST. LOUIS — You may have heard the term ‘contact tracing,’ but what is it?

Many health officials believe the best way to battle the coronavirus pandemic is through contact tracing.

It is a tool used by infectious disease specialists. When they find someone who has an infectious disease they perform a thorough interview to find every person the patient may have had contact with during the time they were contagious. Then, they can contact those people either for testing or order a quarantine.

Officials said it often requires a lot of time and manpower.

There’s a new approach to contact tracing with some help from Apple and Google. 

According to the Associated Press, the idea is to help national, state and local governments roll out apps for so-called “contact tracing” that will run on iPhones and Android phones alike

RELATED: Google and Apple team up to use smartphones to track coronavirus exposure

Your phone could find everyone you’ve been in contact with by using Bluetooth. It could determine whose phone you were near while you were contagious.

People with the virus would need to download an app for those contacts to be notified, but you don’t need the app yourself to get the alert.

According to the Associated Press, developers have already created such apps in countries including Singapore and China to try to contain the pandemic

Google and Apple said no names would be attached to the data they have but experts worry it's a slippery slope. And this kind of tracking could stick around long after the pandemic is over.


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