Even a low take-up of contact-tracing app can curb Covid
A RISE in coronavirus cases can be curbed even with low uptakes of a contact tracing app, offering support to digital tracing efforts pushed by governments globally, according to researchers at Google and Oxford University.
A study undertaken in three counties in the US state of Washington found that an uptake of a contact tracing app as low as 15pc could reduce infections by up to 15pc and deaths by 11pc when paired with a “well-staffed” manual contact tracing workforce.
Researchers also found that the higher the uptake of contact tracing, the greater the impact on keeping Covid-19 infections down, with a 75pc adoption reducing deaths by almost 80pc. This contradicts previous advice that contact tracing apps need at least a 60pc adoption rate to be effective.
Prof Christophe Fraser, a co-author of the research and scientific adviser to the UK government’s test and trace programme, said the findings suggest an app should be used alongside measures such as social distancing until Covid-19 is “under control”.
Trials of a NHS contact tracing app based on decentralised Google-Apple technology started last month.