A look at Apple’s COVID-19 website and app


Apple

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Apple on Friday released a COVID-19 website and app with a screening tool and other information about the coronavirus outbreak. Apple said the app and site are meant to “make it easy for people across the country to get trusted information and guidance at a time when the US is feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.” 

They were developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House coronavirus task force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

The COVID-19 app and website include a screening tool that asks users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms, Apple said in a release. Based on their responses, they’ll receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including “guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.” 

Apple said the screening tool doesn’t replace instructions from doctors and health care providers or guidance from state and local health authorities. 

COVID-19, the disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus, has rapidly spread across the globe. The World Health Organization on March 11 declared the outbreak a pandemic, saying it expected to see the number of cases and deaths continue climbing. The US now has more reported coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, with more than 92,000 people infected with the virus as of Friday. 

In addition to the screening tool, Apple said the app and website will offer answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus as well as up-to-date information from the CDC, including best practices for washing hands and how to monitor symptoms. 

Earlier this week, Apple updated its digital assistant Siri to help guide those worried about coronavirus symptoms. Summoned by asking Siri “do I have coronavirus,” the assistant will respond with the survey that uses yes and no answers to try to guide people on potential next steps. 

The CDC also has a coronavirus self-checker chat bot on its website that can assess people’s symptoms and risk factors, and help them make decisions about seeking medical care. That tool was developed using Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service. 


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