With the rampant spread of Covid19 as a global pandemic, countries around the world were having a tough time detecting, tracking, and controlling the disease. When the world was trying to figure out a way to develop a reliable contact-tracing mechanism, the UK made a significant breakthrough in the confinement of the deadly and contagious Coronavirus through its NHS contact-tracing app version 1.89m in October-December.
The researchers of a review paper found the app responsible for preventing several Covid19 cases and subsequent related deaths. The contact tracing not only helped in tracking the people who came in close contact with the Covid victims but also ensured timely medical intervention and treatment. Also, numerous researchers who participated in the NHS app development program also shared similar evaluations. However, the inclusion of the finding in Nature means the peer-review by other fellow academicians and researchers. Due to this, the research has been made public for publication and other work after a thorough review process.
Ensures millions of notifications and easy tracking
One of the widely accepted and successful models against Covid19 is TTT meaning “Tracking, Testing and Treatment”. Here, all those people who came in close contact with any Covid +ve patient are tracked, identified, tested and isolated for the successful containment of the Covid19 pandemic. The research journal covered the time period for evaluation and review between the app launch on 24th September last year till the end of the year 2020. As per another claim by a research paper, the life-saving app was regularly used by around 16.5 million people which comprise about 28% of the entire UK population.
The app works by utilizing the sensors of a smartphone to determine the proximity level of a user and for how long the contact is maintained to inform other app users. In this way, it sends an alert message or notification to people who could be the potential targets for the transmission of Covid19 due to the close contact with the Covid infected person. Further, it guides those persons to take precautionary steps, practice self-isolation and take adequate medical assistance if required. Due to this app, around 1.7 million exposure notifications were sent to 560,000 app users who tested positive according to an estimate of the research paper. Further, it is shown that an increase of 1% app users results in a reduction of Covid cases by a margin of 0.8% to 2.3%.
Awareness about the app
While medical professionals attribute the decrease in caseloads to increasing levels of app awareness, there are others who argue that there could be another genuine or albeit indirect connection of the app. They observed that app users normally maintain a greater distance from other people as opposed to their normal routine as they know that the app is monitoring distance and can advise quarantine. They also stressed that it means that the modeling estimate is too low and there is more accuracy in our statistical estimate. The research paper further threw light on the app usage pattern to decode the efficiency and performance of this contact-tracing app.