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How many people are actually using a COVID exposure alert app?

One of the things that I don’t think we are doing a good job of here in Canada is promoting our COVID Alert app. Most of the people I talk to don’t seem to have it installed on their phones. And most of the people I talk to seem to be nervous about sharing personal information with it, including their location. (That’s not actually how the app works.)

The thing with exposure alert apps is that they’re only really useful if most people are using them. And they’re only really useful if people who test positive for the virus enter the code that they are given into the app. So it relies on us trusting that other people will do the right thing. I get that. But those same shortcomings apply when we just ask someone if they’ve been exposed to anyone with COVID-19.

I could be wrong, but my view on this is pretty simple.

If everyone who had COVID-19 got immediately sick and showed highly discernible symptoms, then this virus would likely be a lot easier to control. Part of the problem, as I understand it, is that some people get really sick and some people don’t get sick at all. But these latter people can still unknowingly spread it around — perhaps to other people who might get really sick.

Given this variability, it’s critical for us to know who has been potentially exposed and who has not been exposed. Otherwise, we’re running around mostly blind. From what I can tell, exposure alert apps are one of the best ways for us to track transmission. But, of course, it only works if you’ve got the app. For those of you who don’t already have it, you can download it for both iOS and Android by going here.

P.S. I’m writing this post because it came up with my barber today while I was getting a haircut. He wasn’t all that aware of the app, but he ultimately concluded that we have a problem of education and that he was going to download it. Maybe some of you will do the same after reading this.

4 Comments

  1. Sylvie Turcotte

    Done few weeks ago, I feel secure about the applications but as you know if people don’t get it, and don’t act about it – reporting they have COVID to the rest of people… it will be a lost for every person who put their confidence on other canadians.

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  2. In the vein of education, I highly recommend looking up Alex Berenson’s books on Amazon and reading his Twitter. He takes an honest look at all the Covid-19 data, strips it of political and financial motivations and just reports what the numbers are actually saying. One of those things the data is saying is that the spread of the virus isn’t affected by lockdowns, masks, or social distancing. The virus is going to act like a virus no matter what we do. Sweden didn’t lockdown, didn’t have mask and distancing ordinates, and their curve was the same as ours and they’ve largely avoided the most recent European wave. Same with Japan.

    The problems with Covid-19 tracking are numerous. 1) testing isn’t even close to accurate and is possibly corrupt – people testing positive when they didn’t even show up for the test. 2) the death rate is comparable to the flu when you calculate the CDC’s estimate that for every 1 positive test there’s 10-20 positive cases that have gone unrecorded. We’ve never done this for the flu, why should we do it now? 3) the tracking and masks and lockdowns set a precedent for requiring unnecessary compliance in order to participate in society. Ticketmaster already has plans to not allow anyone to go to events unless they’ve been vaccinated (by a vaccine that’s been rushed to market of which no one knows the long term side effects) or test positive (again from a test that isn’t at all accurate).

    It’s not the privacy concerns that bother me. It’s the slippery slope toward 1984-type dystopian government control. Think that’s crazy? It’s already happened with masks and lockdowns *despite* there being *zero* scientific evidence showing that they work.

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  3. daniel b

    I recently got cable tv again for the first time in 20 years, mainly because of Covid i’m home more and wanted to watch sports. As soon as i started watching broadcast TV i saw ads for the Covid alert app and general Covid ads from the government. I’ve never seen these ads while browsing the internet, on social media, or podcasts, etc. Looks to me like the gov’t is only advertising on Tv, which only a minority of people have anymore, which may explain how people are not aware of the app. Although, given the amount of general media exposure it got i’m amazed that there are people who;ve never heard of it.

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  4. Pingback: Five global airlines to start using a digital health pass |

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