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Infographic – U.S. Public Divided on Contact Tracking

Contact tracing poll


2 May 2020. While the toll from Covid-19 in the U.S. continues to climb, calls are increasing for widespread diagnostic testing, to determine the extent of infections. But after testing, health authorities also need to track down contacts of those testing positive, to find where the virus is spreading. These steps are helping Iceland, for example, keep the spread of Covid-19 largely contained, as reported recently in Science & Enterprise.

Tech giants Apple and Google say they’re working on a mobile app to find people who came into contact with individuals testing positive for Covid-19. Their solution uses coded Bluetooth transmissions from smartphones to identify other people who came within range of the phones, about 30 feet, and if individuals registering on the app test positive for Covid-19. With that alert, the app user can then decide to get tested or self-isolate.

The companies say the app will not store personal information it collects on any servers, and promise to take other steps to protect users’ privacy. A survey by the Washington Post and University of Maryland released this week, however, indicates the proposed app is getting a lukewarm reception at best. The results are displayed in this weekend’s infographic, courtesy of business research company Statista.

The results show U.S. adults with a smartphone, about eight in 10 respondents, are evenly divided on their use of this app. Equal 50/50 percentages say they will or will not use the app, with almost equal proportions holding definite opinions — 17 percent yes and 20 percent no. About three in 10 smartphone users say they will probably use (32%) or not use (30%) the app. The survey interviewed 1,008 respondents between 21 and 26 April.

The survey also shows a majority of Americans (60%) are worried about becoming infected or seriously ill from Covid-19. And two-thirds of Americans (66%) say restrictions on businesses closing are appropriate, while about equal and smaller numbers say they’re too restrictive (17%) or not restrictive enough (16%).

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