Apple releases new self-screening tool for COVID-19 symptoms

Even with no symptoms, Apple's new app recommends social distancing to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

apple covid 19 coronavirus screening tool
Apple

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As part of its ongoing efforts to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has released a new website and iOS/iPadOS app with a screening tool for coronavirus symptoms, along with updated information about prevention practices. In a statement this morning, Apple said the site arose out of a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The website’s landing page has general information about the virus as well as some tips on social distancing and who should be tested by a doctor.

You don’t need an Apple ID to use the actual screening tool, and Apple also notes that none of your answers will be shared with Apple or the CDC without your permission. You also have to check a box agreeing that you won’t hold Apple responsible for “any harm relating to your use” of the app.

You can use the screening tool to check symptoms for yourself or other people. The tool starts by telling you that you should immediately put the app down and call 911 if you have high-risk symptoms like “Constant chest pain or pressure” or “Extreme difficulty breathing.” From there, it asks you a series of questions regarding your age and symptoms before delivering a recommendation.

Even with the mildest of symptoms, the app suggests you not take any chances. If you say you have a sore throat, for instance, the app will say you should self-isolate based on your answers. Even if you say you feel fine and that you’re not in an area with a COVID-19 outbreak, the app still recommends that you practice social distancing.

This isn’t the first time Apple has tried to help control the spread of the pandemic through its software. Last week, it updated Siri to give you a questionnaire when you ask,”Hey, Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” In that case, the answers came from the U.S. Public Health Service and the CDC.

As for other companies, Google maintains a website with up-to-date information about the pandemic and Facebook has an information panel about the virus that pops up above your news feed.

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