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Apple launches COVID-19 screening app and website

Apple launches COVID-19 screening app and website


You can ask Siri for resources as well

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Image: Apple

Apple today launched a website and a new app dedicated to COVID-19 screening. The resources offer an online screening tool, information about the disease, and some guidance on when to seek testing or emergency care. Apple developed the site and app in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the White House.

The screening tool asks you questions about your symptoms, recent travel, and contact you may have had with people who have had or been exposed to the virus. After completing the screening process, you’ll be taken to a page with recommended next steps that will also suggest whether you need to be tested for COVID-19. Apple noted in a press release that the screening tool “does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.”

If your screening results indicate that you may need to take a COVID-19 test, Apple doesn’t provide direct advice on where to get tested. It merely suggests that you “talk to someone about testing.” That’s likely because testing in the US is inconsistent and limited right now, and the CDC has urged people to contact their primary doctor before heading to a hospital in hopes of a test. However, Apple urges anyone experiencing difficulty breathing to immediately dial 911.

Apple says it doesn’t collect or share data from the screening tool, nor does it require logging in with your Apple ID or any other account. “To help improve the site, Apple collects some information about how you use it. The information collected will not personally identify you.” It also doesn’t ask for location access, so the app won’t give you any localized recommendations.

In addition to these tools, you can also now ask Siri “How do I know if I have coronavirus?” and Siri will have you respond to a few screening questions and point you toward information from the CDC.

Apple is not the first to offer online screening resources. Amazon’s Alexa can now help US users diagnose COVID-19, and the CDC offers an online assessment chatbot built on Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service. Google sister company Verily has also launched a COVID-19 screening and testing website.