Research from DU shows contact tracing apps are effective in reducing spread of COVID-19

Coronavirus

FILE – In this July 23, 2020 file photo, health care workers prepare a COVID-19 test sample before a person self-administered a test at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami. Racial disparities in the the U.S. coronavirus epidemic extend to children, according to two sobering government reports released Friday, Aug. 7. One of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports looked at hospitalizations of children with COVID-19. Hispanic children were hospitalized at a rate eight times higher than white kids, and Black children were hospitalized at a rate five times higher, it found.(David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

DENVER (KDVR) — Contact tracing apps can be effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 according to new research from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business released on Monday.

Researchers say that there are drawbacks including privacy and civil liberties considerations, misidentification, government surveillance and the sharing and storing of personal information.

“Having mandatory mobile tracking and monitoring of people who are or may be COVID-19-positive may reduce new cases per day by 3.3 on average, given everything else stays the same,” says Young Jin Lee, Business Analytics Associate Professor.

“Although the impact may appear small, this will dramatically flatten the exponential growth of new cases if this policy can be launched in the early stage of an outbreak.”

The research data is from newly confirmed COVID-19 cases from six different countries, comparing Singapore and South Korea, which launched mandatory contact tracing via mobile apps, to China, Germany, Italy and the U.S., which did not mandate the use of mobile tracking apps.

“Continued testing and refinement of peer-to-peer apps, along with the willingness of civil authorities to accept their use for public health protection, may be the key to striking this balance,” the authors say.

“Before the next pandemic or wave of the current pandemic hits, this should continue to be explored.”

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