‘Digital’ contact tracing: How would the US react to coronavirus containment effort that tracks our cell phones?

app
Digital contact tracing, already underway through smartphone apps in other countries, could help contain the coronavirus pandemic in the US. Credit: Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix

There’s a reason contact tracing has survived the test of time: it works. Thanks to epic efforts at hunting down people with Covid-19—which, in turn, was in part thanks to widespread testing—South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and India’s Kerala district have emerged as success stories in their battle against a new foe, nipping new infections in the bud and dramatically reducing hospitalizations and deaths.

But here’s the thing: contact tracing has always teetered on the line between individual freedom and the good of the general public; the stigmatization of a viral scarlet letter versus keeping others safe; the price of health data sharing versus societal responsibility.

Related article:  First we need a coronavirus vaccine—Then figure out how to produce 300 million doses

Today, thanks to the mini tracking devices in our pockets called smartphones, it’s easier than ever to bring an effective method for controlling outbreaks into the digital realm. Some epidemiologists even argue that due to the highly infectious nature of SARS-Cov-2, traditional analogue methods are both too dangerous and too slow; digital contact tracing is the only way to go.

If Covid-19 has one silver lining, it’s how on average people in the West are just as willing to sacrifice personal freedoms and adopt strange new customs (face masks everywhere!) to keep themselves and others safe.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend