Apple launched a new website and app dedicated to screening COVID-19. The services provide an online screening method, disease information and some advice on when to seek testing or emergency care. Along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the White House, Apple created the platform and device.
The screening tool asks you questions about your symptoms, recent travel, and interaction you might have had with others who were resistant to the virus. After the screening process is complete, you will be taken to a page with suggested next steps which will also indicate that you need to check for COVID-19. In the press release, Apple acknowledged that the screening tool will not substitute health care providers’ guidelines or state and local health authorities’ guidance.
If the results of your screening show you will need to take a COVID-19 exam, Apple does not offer clear guidance about where to get tested. It recommends you “speak to someone about testing.” That’s probably because testing in the US is unreliable and limited right now, and the CDC has encouraged people to call their primary doctor before going to a hospital in hopes of a check. Apple, however, advises that if anyone is having breathing difficulties to call 911 immediately.
Apple claims the screening tool doesn’t collect or exchange data, nor does it involve logging in with your Apple ID or any other account. “The Apple gathers some information on how you use it to help develop the app. The information collected won’t identify you individually. “It also won’t ask for location access because the app won’t send you any regional suggestions.
Besides these devices, you may now also ask Siri “How do I know if I have Coronavirus?” And Siri will have you answering a couple of screening questions and pointing you to CDC staff.
Apple is not the first to provide the tools for online screening. Amazon’s Alexa will now help US users diagnose COVID-19, and the CDC provides an online evaluation Chatbot based on the Healthcare Bot service provided by Microsoft. Google sister company Verily has launched a platform for the screening and testing of COVID-19.