Contact tracing apps can sharply minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus even when only some people use them, a study published on Thursday by researchers at Google and Oxford University showed.
An app used by 15% of the population along side a well-staffed contact-tracing workforce can result in a 15% drop in infection rates and an 11% drop in Covid-19 deaths, according to statistical modeling by the Alphabet Inc unit and Oxford’s Nuffield Branch of Medicine.
With a 15% uptake of contact tracing apps alone, the researchers calculated an 8% discount in infections and 6% discount in deaths.
The findings were based on data from a digital tracing system very similar to one jointly developed by Google and Apple Inc.
The app made by the two tech giants tracks interactions through Bluetooth signals and anonymously notifies a person whether someone they met contracts Covid-19.
Six U.S. states and approximately two dozen countries have launched exposure notification apps based on the Apple-Google technology in recent weeks without major hitches.
The researchers simulated the spread of Covid-19 based on interactions at homes, offices, schools and social gatherings in Washington State’s King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
“We see that every one levels of exposure notification uptake levels in the United Kingdom and the U.S. have the potential to meaningfully minimize the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the population,” Christophe Fraser, the study’s co-lead writer and group leader in Pathogen Dynamics at Oxford University’s Nuffield Branch of Medicine, said in a observation.
The researchers famous that a contact tracing app isn’t a stand-alone intervention. They also said their mannequin still represents a “dramatic simplification of the real world”, and does not be mindful cross-county movement of people contributing to disease spread.
The research has not been peer-reviewed.