Do You Have COVID-19? New Apple Site, iOS App Help Assess Symptoms
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Apple can now help you determine whether you should request a coronavirus test.
On Friday, the company released its COVID-19 screening tool, which will ask you questions about any coronavirus-related symptoms you’re feeling, and what to do next.
Apple created the tool in partnership with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA, to make it easier for people in the US to receive trusted information on illness, which has now infected more than 93,000 people in the country.
The test is open to all users, and available at apple.com/covid19. You can also download it from the iOS App Store. No personal information, such as name or email address, is required. The company also says it won’t share any answers you give to the screening tool to Apple or the CDC, unless you give them permission to do so.
Whether the tool is actually helpful is another matter. If Apple determines you may have contracted the illness, the screening tool will simply suggest you contact a doctor’s office or local health department about getting a coronavirus test, which is the same guidance from the CDC. Apple’s site will also recommend you isolate yourself to prevent infecting others. Other tips include getting rest and monitoring your symptoms.
The site won’t fix the current difficulties in obtaining a coronavirus test. Rather, Apple’s focus is to supply information about the illness and how to protect yourself. The same tool includes educational pages on the need to wash your hands and to practice social distancing, in addition to who should get tested and why.
“Along with the new COVID-19 app and website, customers across the US may also ask Siri, ‘How do I know if I have coronavirus?’ to access guidance and resources from the CDC and a curated collection of telehealth apps available on the App Store,” the company said in today’s announcement.
All the major tech companies have been trying to educate the public on the disease. For example, Microsoft also partnered with the CDC to create a chatbot that can consult users about the coronavirus and whether they should seek out a test. You can also ask Amazon's Alexa about your symptoms.
Google, on the other hand, was ensnared in some controversy after President Trump wrongly claimed the company was working on a website to direct US users to immediate coronavirus testing. The actual site comes from Google’s sister company, Verily, and remains an early stage operation confined to the San Francisco Bay Area. In the meantime, Google created an informational site devoted to preventing COVID-19 infections.