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Apple's COVID-19 screening tool can anonymously share symptoms with the CDC

You'll help health experts improve their processes.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 9, 2020
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Symptom submission in Apple's COVID-19 screening app
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Apple’s COVID-19 screening tool now helps you contribute to the public good in addition to providing personalized advice. TechCrunch notes that Apple has updated both its iOS app and website with anonymous symptom and health info sharing with the CDC. Agree and you’ll send your condition as well as non-identifying data like your age bracket, exposure risks and state. The CDC will aggregate the info and use it to improve screening protocols. You may want to run through the tool even if you’ve used it recently, then, if just to give health experts more data.

This isn’t linked to the COVID-19 exposure notification framework that Apple jointly developed with Google. That API is meant to alert people who may have been unwittingly exposed to an infected person.

The data sharing may be more useful than you think. While scientists are rapidly improving their understanding of COVID-19 and the associated coronavirus behind it, there’s still a lot of uncertainty. What does the full range of symptoms look like, and which groups are at the most risk of contracting the disease? The more people share data, the better the chances of diagnosing people properly and taking adequate preventative measures.

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