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New Coronavirus App to Notify People if You Might Have Been Exposed

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Virginia has become the first U.S. state to introduce a smartphone app created by Apple and Google that automatically notifies people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus. The free Covidwise app debuted on Apple and Android app stores yesterday (August 5th), and state officials are encouraging people to download and use it. State officials are also emphasizing its privacy-protection features, with Governor Ralph Northam saying at a news conference, “I want to be clear, this app, Covidwise, does not — I will repeat that — does not track or store your personal information. It does not track you at all.” The app uses Bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who has downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus, tracking proximity of phones, but not keeping tracking of anyone’s location. Sixteen countries have already launched apps using the Apple-Google framework, and Google said that as of Friday, at least 20 U.S. states and territories are exploring using it. (Associated Press)

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