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Virginia Has An App To Track The Spread Of COVID-19. Will It Work?

In this photo illustration a COVIDWISE logo is displayed on a mobile phone screen in Arlington, Virginia, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In this photo illustration a COVIDWISE logo is displayed on a mobile phone screen in Arlington, Virginia, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

What if an app alerted you if you came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19? That could soon become a reality for some in certain states.

Based on specifications provided by technology companies, the state of Virginia created a new app that will use Bluetooth to let people know if they’ve potentially been exposed to the COVID-19. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said it’s the first statewide app developed using software developed by Google and Apple. Virginia’s Department of Health is urging people to use it.

Coronavirus-tracking apps have been effective in stemming the spread of the coronavirus in other countries. In South Korea, such apps have been used to enforce mandatory quarantines.

But not everyone is ready to download it. Critics are especially concerned  about privacy rights for users.

How does the app work exactly? And what does Virginia expect its impact to be?

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