Apple Launched a COVID-19 Screening App and Website

Apple now launched a website and a new app dedicated to COVID-19 screening. The resources offer an online screening app, information about the pandemic, and some direction 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 history, and contact you may have had with people who have had or been exposed to the virus. After performing the screening process, you’ll be taken to a page with suggested next steps that will also advise 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 show that you may need to take a COVID-19 test, Apple doesn’t give direct advice on where to get tested. It merely recommends that you “talk to someone about testing.” That’s likely because testing in the US is inconsistent and inadequate right now, and the CDC has asked people to contact their primary doctor before going to a hospital in hopes of a test. However, Apple urges anyone encountering difficulty breathing to quickly 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.

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