Washington DC's COVID-19 tracking system doesn't need an app install on the iPhone

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
Washington DC has fired up its own coronavirus exposure and contact tracing system utilizing the Apple and Google exposure notification framework -- and doesn't need an app on the iPhone.

DC launches 'DC CAN' COVID-19 tracking system


The Washington DC system functions similarly to others seen in the past, including Pennsylvania's COVID alert PA.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they are given an anonymized code via the health department. The code, when entered into DC CAN, will send alerts to anyone who has met the minimum threshold for exposure. Currently, the minimum threshold for exposure is met when someone is within six feet or less of an infected person for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Android users can download the app from the Google Play store. Apple iPhone users just need to opt into the exposure notification system, and turn on notification alerts for the Washington, DC region in their iPhone's settings.

Add DC to your regions


For those who travel frequently, DC CAN is interoperable with exposure notification apps from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

On September 1, Apple released iOS 13.7, an update to the iPhone operating system that included changes to the Exposure Notification feature, removing the need to install a public health app beforehand.

However, some states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, still require a user to download their state's COVID-19 exposure app. Users who attempt to add one of these regions to their exposure notifications in their settings will be prompted to download the app from the App Store.

The technology uses a device's onboard Bluetooth hardware to keep tabs on who the owner comes into close proximity with. Specifically, Bluetooth identifiers are exchanged and saved locally. No information is stored in a central database, no user location tracking is being performed, and all participation is optional.

If a participant later tests positive for COVID-19, and agrees to share that information, their device will send 14 days of contact keys to a central server. Phones periodically download positive broadcast beacons, or beacons of users who reported testing positive for COVID-19, and look for matches among a list of locally stored, anonymized identifiers. If a match is found, an alert is displayed with links to critical healthcare information.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,466member
    Only way this will work on iPhones is if all the states are required to use the Apple/Google api's and Apple is forced to turn Exposure Notification on and connect to the local system. Of course, it's too late to do this after 220K people have died. I don't blame Apple or Google on this, I blame the states, federal government and apathy of most Americans.
    StrangeDaysforgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,011member
    rob53 said:
    Only way this will work on iPhones is if all the states are required to use the Apple/Google api's and Apple is forced to turn Exposure Notification on and connect to the local system. Of course, it's too late to do this after 220K people have died. I don't blame Apple or Google on this, I blame the states, federal government and apathy of most Americans.
    Even if all your conditions were met it still may not work because (a) some people will ignore the warnings that they may be infected or to take action; and (b) some people don't carry their smart phones with them all the time (at least 5% of the US population don't own a smart phone). We can also blame the smart phone iOS makers for not having an API for diseases until approximately May 1, 2020, long after the first wave of deaths.

    Similarly, Apple and Google could install mandatory earthquake (or tsunami) message notifications, like they have in Japan now, but why aren't governments implementing it in the US? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42582113 I'm guessing that the Japanese system simply uses an SMS system for notifications from a central server, but I'm fairly sure that Apple and Google could find a way to update their OS's to make earthquake message notifications mandatory and effective using crowd sourcing. I infer they won't innovate anything until millions die first.

    For those who don't know how earthquake notifications work, it's basically a warning that an earthquake (or tsunami) above a certain threshold has occurred nearby. If you are right on the epicenter, these warnings won't help you, since (ideally) it's users' own phones that collectively generate the warnings (via crowd sourcing), but earthquakes travel at roughly the speed of sound (in rock, which is much faster than the speed of sound in air) so most people would have a couple of minutes warning that they are about to be hit by one. There are actually two types of earthquake waves, P-waves and S-waves which travel at 60% different speeds. I believe the more harmful wave is the slower one, which is comforting. (So sometimes the P-wave itself is its own early warning message notification.)

    Actually, now that I think of it, crowd sourcing of earthquake notifications isn't a panacea, since at least half of all earthquakes originate under the water, where nobody with cell phones resides, but those earthquakes are typically farther away and take longer to reach land, so they aren't as much of a threat as the ones that start on land.
    cat52forgot username
  • Reply 3 of 7
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,446member
    Not working completely doesn't mean it doesn't work at all.
    JFC_PAforgot username
  • Reply 4 of 7
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,063member
    This is how it should be done. Each state doesn't need to build its own app...just implement this damn thing. I'm in the Dumb South (more apt than Deep South alone) in a state with the highest deaths per capita in the US and, of course, our state won't implement it. Go Louisiana. 
    forgot usernametokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    That’s horrible.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Meanwhile, half of people in White House hear the warning sound. But they quickly mute it to prevent being fired. 
    forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    rob53 said:
    Only way this will work on iPhones is if all the states are required to use the Apple/Google api's and Apple is forced to turn Exposure Notification on and connect to the local system. Of course, it's too late to do this after 220K people have died. I don't blame Apple or Google on this, I blame the states, federal government and apathy of most Americans.
    We can also blame the smart phone iOS makers for not having an API for diseases until approximately May 1, 2020, long after the first wave of deaths.
    ...
    I infer they won't innovate anything until millions die first.

    While you're at it, why not blame the Android OS makers, too?

    I state that your inference is BS
    watto_cobra
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