A recent study has identified the potential of contact tracing apps to reduce the spread of the novel corona virus substantially even if only a few people use it.
The report was published by the researchers at Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc and the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University.
The app, when used by 15 percent of the population, along with a well-trained contact-tracing workforce, will lead to a 15 percent drop in COVID-19 infection rates and an 11 percent drop in the deaths due to it, finds the study.
The researchers reported a 6 percent reduction in deaths and an 8 percent reduction in infections when there was a 15 percent rise in the usage of contact tracing apps alone.
Apple and Google have jointly developed a digital tracing system and the results of this study were based on data from a digital tracking system similar to it.
The app, created by the two tech giants monitors interactions through Bluetooth signals and anonymously informs an individual if they have come in contact with someone who is later infected with COVID-19.
Six states in the US and around two dozen countries across the world have launched exposure notification apps based on technology from Google and Apple without significant hitches in recent weeks.
The contact tracing app is not a stand-alone intervention, says the researchers. They also warn that the model used by them is a “dramatic simplification of the real world” as it does not take cross-country movements of people into consideration.
The cross-country movements of people are a leading cause of disease transmission.