In April, Apple and Google joined forces to create the COVID19 “exposure notification” API, previously officially known as “contact tracing”. The technology utilizes both the iOS and Android platforms to enable the public to use their device to keep track of if they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID19.
The technology is open for developers, governments, and health institutions to create an app that allows people to log their positive COVID19 test result, in the unfortunate event they get infected. The API will then utilize anonymous device identifiers to log which other devices that person was close to, and notify others that they may have been exposed to COVID19.
Its effectiveness at launch was criticized, however, the fact of the matter is that its only effective if adopted by the masses. States have been slow to release COVID19 contact tracing apps, with New York launching one last week. In total there are 10 states with apps utilizing the API, and according to a CNBC analysis, around 21% of the US population, or 70 million people have access to a contact tracing app.
Other countries however have been faster to adopt the new technology The United Kingdom at long last has rolled out its own contact tracing app, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, among others. Users can check if their country or state has an app by going to Settings on iOS 13.5 or later, Exposure Notification, enter their state or country and check if an app is available.