How To Track Coronavirus (COVID 19) On Your Phone & Online
Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android phone, there are multiple ways to stay on top of all the most recent COVID 19 data, using applications and web tools
COVID-19 cases in the US and UK, as well as in other parts of the world, are on the rise. A second spike is being talked about, so staying on top of current data is of paramount importance. And because we now all have phones, keeping abreast of what’s happening in real-time has never been easier.
There are a number of ways to track and monitor coronavirus online – from dedicated apps which we’ll cover in a second to web-based applications from Microsoft and Google that integrate into search engines. First, let’s take a look at how Bing and Google are helping people track Coronavirus data around the world.
Online Coronavirus Tracking Tools & Resources
Google’s Coronavirus Tracker
Google search now has live coronavirus data. In order to access it, simply type coronavirus tracker into Google search and you’ll be taken to a dedicated COVID-19 page where you can see all the most recent data and trends.
Using the data, you will be able to see daily infection rates for your country, broken down by region, the number of active cases, the number of deaths, and the number of people that have recovered from COVID 19.
The Google page has helpful links to the NHS which details everything you need to know about the virus, how it affects your body, and what you can expect should you contract it.
Where does Google get its coronavirus data from? According to the FAQ page for the Google Coronavirus Tracker tool, “Data comes from sources like Wikipedia, government health ministries, The New York Times, and other authoritative sources, which may be added over time with attribution.”
Bing Coronavirus Tracker
Microsoft has also integrated coronavirus tracking into Bing. Like Google’s, Bing’s COVID-19 tracking and data tool use information from WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and Wikipedia to populate its content.
This means you’re getting the most up to date whenever you check it. Microsoft’s information tracker, like Google’s, is designed to supplement search, so if you’re looking for information on cases and infection rates, you can view it all on one page which makes digesting the data easier.
Center For Systems and Engineering – Track COVID-19 In Real-Time
If you want to cut straight to the core data, however, the Center For Systems and Engineering has a dedicated tool that tracks COVID-19 cases in real-time. You can view it here.
Again, the Center For Systems and Engineering pulls its information from WHO, as well as from the Centers for Disease Control in the US, China, and Europe.
How To Monitor COVID-19 on iPhone & Android
Apple and Google have now both added a COVID-19 tracker to their respective operating systems. In Apple’s iOS, you need to go into Health to activate it. And in Android, you can activate the COVID-19 tracker in Settings.
The trace and track apps are the result of a direct collaboration between Google and Apple. You can read a statement from Apple on the initiate below:
Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.
First, in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.
Both Google and Apple are working with NHSX, the NHS’s digital arm, in a bid to help combat coronavirus in the UK. Both apps link up directly with NHSX information and help UK authorities collect data on the spread of COVID-19 in the UK.
How Does Apple’s COVID-19 Tracker Work?
Since the NHS abandoned its trace and track application, Apple and Google have now bolstered out their respective trace and track applications inside iPhone and Android.
Using a decentralized model, whereby matching is done on a user’s phone, and not a central server, ensures your data is kept safe. Using Bluetooth, Apple and Google’s technology will alert users if they have come into contact with someone that has COVID-19. This allows them to then take the necessary steps, be that getting tested for the virus or self-isolating.
“The Exposure Notification Service is the vehicle for implementing exposure notification and uses the Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology for proximity detection of nearby smartphones,” said Apple, “and for the data exchange mechanism.”
Apple also outlined the security and privacy features of its Exposure Notification system in a recent white paper that detailed how the technology works in practice and how it keeps your data secure:
- The Exposure Notification Bluetooth Specification does not use the location for proximity detection. It strictly uses Bluetooth beaconing to detect proximity.
- A user’s Rolling Proximity Identifier changes on average every 15 minutes and needs the Temporary Exposure Key to be correlated to a contact. This behavior reduces the risk of privacy loss from broadcasting the identifiers.
- Proximity identifiers obtained from other devices are processed exclusively on the device.
- Users decide whether to contribute to exposure notification.
- If diagnosed with COVID-19, users must provide their consent to share Diagnosis Keys with the server.
- Users have transparency in their participation in exposure notification.
In order to use these COVID trackers and exposure warnings on iOS and Android, users must actively allow the setting to collect and transmit data. If you do not activate it settings, you will not be able to use any of its features which means you could potentially be exposed to coronavirus and not know.
In a bid to help curb increasing cases of coronavirus in the UK and US, government officials are advising everybody to turn on this ability inside their iPhones and Android phones.
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Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.