Are there attempts to build an app that tracks everyone by GPS, and notifies all possible contacts (and people having been in the same supermarket etc.) when someone develops a cough?

It seems to me that, with a majority of people using such an app, the R0 could easily be pushed below 1 without too many restrictions. I think this could even work when using the app is on a voluntary basis - I guess that people making wrong statements in such an app and getting someone sick amounts to negligent assault in many countries.

I don't believe the claims that 60% of people getting infected - or even a month-long quarantine for everyone - is unavoidable with such a technology, and would like to hear differing opinions/see data suggesting the opposite.

2gwillen2moThere are at least two attempts I'm aware of to do almost exactly this, surely more that I'm not aware of, plus some attempts to do other modeling (like, using people's tracks from fitness apps, so they don't have to install a new app.) I think it's going to be really unlikely to get enough people to use something like this to be useful, but I'd love to be wrong. If you want to help I'm happy to direct you to them.
3streawkceur2moI actually think it is plausible that governments and/or Facebook do this, and it becomes widely enough adopted. A community-level risk score would already be helpful ("based on estimates in your locality, the risk of contracting the virus when taking a bus is X now...) for individuals.

Yeah, I think something at the government (or google/facebook) level would be a lot more effective. (Of course, people might have some qualms. China already did it, of course, and it's mandatory -- but that's China.)

March Coronavirus Open Thread

by Elizabeth 1 min read8th Mar 2020377 comments


This thread was created on 3/8/2020, or approximately one million years ago in virus time. It’s getting pretty bloated now, and a lot of things that were high value at the time have been eclipsed by events, making karma not a very useful sorting tool. So I’m declaring this thread finished, and asking everyone to move over to the April Coronavirus Open Thread.

Interested in what happened in this thread? Here’s the timeless or not-yet-eclipsed highlights:

  • Scott Alexander comes up with Hammer and Dance 6 days before Tomas Pueyo
  • Spiracular on why SARS-Cov-2 is unlikely to be lab-created.
  • Two documents collating estimates of basic epidemiological parameters, in response to this thread
  • Discussion on whether the tuberculosis vaccine provides protection against COVID-19.
  • Suggestive evidence that COVID-19 removes sense of taste and smell.
  • Could copper tape be net harmful?