Apple launched a website today and a new app dedicated to COVID-19 screening. The sources provide an online screening tool, information about the disease, and some guidance in seeking tests or emergency care. Apple developed the site and app in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the White House.
The screening tool will ask you questions about your symptoms, recent trips, and possible contact with people who have had or been exposed to the virus. After completing the screening process, you will be taken to a page with recommended next steps that also indicate whether you should be tested for COVID-19. Apple noted in a press release that the screening tool “does not replace instructions from health care providers or guidelines from national and local health authorities.”
If your screening results indicate that you may need to take a COVID-19 test, Apple will not provide direct advice on that true to be tested. It just suggests that you “talk to someone about testing.” That’s likely because testing in the U.S. is currently inconsistent and limited, and the CDC has urged people to check with their primary care physician before going to the hospital hoping for a test. However, Apple urges anyone who has trouble breathing to call 911 immediately.
Apple says it does not collect or share data from the screening tool, nor is it required to sign in with your Apple ID or any other account. “To help improve the site, Apple is collecting some information about how you use it. The information collected will not personally identify you. “It also doesn’t require location access, so the app doesn’t give you localized recommendations.
In addition to these tools, you can now also ask Siri, “How do I know if I have corona virus?” and Siri lets you respond to a few screening questions and point you to information from the CDC.
Apple isn’t the first to offer online screening tools. Amazon’s Alexa can now help US users diagnose COVID-19, and the CDC offers an online assessment chatbot built on Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service. Google sister company Verily has also launched a COVID-19 screening and testing website.