Contact tracing app could help slow spread - FOX34 Lubbock

Contact tracing app could help slow spread

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"My vision was if we can empower every individual person to have that information, then every person can take control of their life, by being normal people, and not trying to get other people sick," Po-Shen Loh, founder of NOVID, said.

NOVID is a one-of-a-kind contact tracing app, re-thinking the common practice to prevent the spread of disease.
The app can detect how many people a user interacts with, without invading their privacy.

"Nobody actually knows who anyone is when you install the app. You actually don't give it any information and the app doesn't have your GPS information, " Loh said. "So, in the end, all that happens is that the servers which we operate just know that the person who's user number 50,000,320 was within 2 meters of the user 2,306."

The app uses a combination of bluetooth, and an ultrasonic sound to detect other users nearby, making it more accurate than other similar apps.

"So the way that it works is that if anyone reports a positive test, now the reporting we have is self reporting. Then, other people who had spent time with that person would receive a message that was 'anonymized'. It would say something like this: 'someone just reported a positive test, during the time that they were potentially contagious, you spent at least 15 minutes close to them,'" Loh explained.

Loh says the app works best, with the more users, and can be especially useful for families and co-workers.

"I want to know if it's potentially too dangerous for me to visit my mother," Loh said. 

The app is still being developed, and is just one possible tool to keep the spread of the virus down, but not the entire solution, Loh recognized.

Currently about 20,000 people around the world have downloaded the NOVID app.

It's available on both Google Play and the Apple Store

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