KEY POINTS

  • CDC plans to launch COVID-19 tracking app
  • Federal government supports it
  • Has to comply with HIPAA law on confidentiality

The federal government supported the Center For Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) new surveillance system that would track down the spread of the coronavirus.

According to Business Insider, the bipartisan emergency stimulus bill allocated at least $500 million for the modernization of CDC's public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructrure.

In a New York Post article, the CDC must give updates on the development of a "surveillance and data collection system" within the next 30 days and even if the exact nature of the technology is still unclear, the federal government showed an interest in gathering the data taken form the tech platforms and smartphone use to monitor the spread of the virus.

Other countries such as China and Singapore had already utilized modern technology to track their citizen's potential exposure to the virus.

China launched a mandatory smartphone application that inquires about individuals' level of exposure to people with symptoms and automatically orders certain users to quarantine themselves while Singapore used Bluetooth to detect how close an individual is to a person who had been exposed to COVID-19 and urges anyone in close proximity to get tested.

If a system like this is implemented in the U.S., it would speed up the testing for people who are most at risk for the virus as the country is currently behind most other developed countries when it comes to testing.

However,  if the app is launched in the country, it would have to be in compliance with privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prevents the sharing of personal health information between hospitals, government and third parties.

 

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