Apple Unveils COVID-19 Screening App and Website

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Isolated at home, but feeling a little flulike? Apple has you covered.

The tech giant released a brand new website and mobile app on Friday that’s dedicated to COVID-19 screening. Built in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the White House, Apple’s new resource offers an online screening tool and guidance on when and how to seek emergency care.

The screening tool asks users questions about their symptoms, recent travel, and any contact they may have had with people who had the coronavirus or were exposed to it. After responding to the questionnaire, users will be redirected to personalized next-steps, whether they be to stay at home or to seek a COVID-19 test. The resource is easy to use, though Apple clarified in a press release that the app “does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.”

One pitfall of the app is that it can’t tell you where to seek a coronavirus test, only whether you should. That is because access to tests remains inconsistent across the country, with most states facing a desperate shortage of test kits. To limit long waiting periods that could cause further exposure to the virus, the CDC has urged people to contact their primary doctor before heading to a hospital in search of a test. Still, Apple urges anyone who is having difficulty breathing to immediately dial 911.

Apple’s AI interface, Siri, has also been programmed to assist those with basic screening questions, and will offer the same series of questions to determine whether the user needs to seek a virus test. Amazon’s Alexa has also been outfitted with coronavirus resources.

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