Contact Tracing App: Over 55,000 downloads in less than a week

NHS England’s chief data officer, Dr Geraint Lewis, says he is overwhelmed by the number of downloads of the Contact Tracing App. Details within

man showing another mobile phone

An average of 25 people per day are being tested for Coronavirus after reporting it through the NHSX Coronavirus Tracing App, being trialled on the Isle of Wight.

This figure was revealed yesterday (Sunday) by Dr Geraint Lewis, NHS England’s chief data officer.

He said he was “overwhelmed” by the Isle of Wight’s response to the new contact tracing app.

Introduced last week to the Isle of Wight, as the second phase rollout (the trial took place at an RAF Base in Yorkshire), more than 55,000 people have downloaded the App to take part, with experts saying the number continues to rise.

Lewis: No evidence of malicious or mischievous use
Dr Lewis said the Island has been very supportive of the App, helping the team behind it learn and improve as they go along — and, as far as they could tell, there has been no evidence of malicious or mischievous use of the App, such as people reporting symptoms they don’t have.

He said:

“We have taken advice from experts on design all the way through this process and that includes the wording in the App — so experts of behavioural science can appeal to people’s better nature and to nudge them into behaving properly and responsibly.”

How it works
With the App, users download it to their phone and go about their day. Only if another App user, who has been near enough for the phones to match, reports symptoms and requests a test, is an alert sent to tell them to self-isolate.

The App does not track the user’s location, only how far away it has been from another phone with the App installed.

Location of downloaders unknown
However, there is no way of knowing whether all the downloads of the App have happened on the Island.

Dr Lewis said:

“We do not know for sure that all of these people are Islanders because the App does not track your location, but the profile of how and when people started downloading gives me confidence that the vast, vast majority of what we are seeing is Islanders.

“It is phenomenal when you remember some people haven’t received their letters yet and they are going out on Monday as well.

“The bottom line is the more people use the App, the better it will be at saving lives and protecting the NHS.”

Seely: 80,000 downloads anticipated
Bob Seely, the Isle of Wight’s Conservative MP, broke down the figures as a ‘rule of thumb’, expecting 80,000 people on the Island to download the App and use it after taking away children, those who do not have smartphones or those that are not compatible with the App.

He said:

“The 50,000 mark is between 50 and 60 per cent, probably, and that will continue to climb up at least. The evidence suggests we are looking at an incredibly strong showing on the Island.”

Coronavirus Contact Tracing App
The NHSX Coronavirus Contact Tracing App was launched on the Isle of Wight in the first week of May 2020. The App is the first phase of the new ‘test, track and trace’ programme, aimed at reducing the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

To download the App follow this link in your phone’s Web browser

Background reading
Coronavirus Contact Tracing App on the Isle of Wight: What you need to know | FAQ: NHSX Coronavirus Contact Tracing App | How to setup and use NHSX Coronavirus Contact Tracing App | In-depth explanation of how it works is available |Podcast with IW Council leader pitching the Island for the pilot


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: Luis Villasmil Image: Visit Isle of Wight under CC BY 2.0

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3 Comments on "Contact Tracing App: Over 55,000 downloads in less than a week"

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wightwalker

Dr Lewis said:
“We do not know for sure that all of these people are Islanders because the App does not track your location, but the profile of how and when people started downloading gives me confidence that the vast, vast majority of what we are seeing is Islanders.” A slightly shaky assumption given that anyone can download the app once the release was announced.

Rockhopper

It was reported on Radio 4 news this morning that a third of residents had downloaded the app…one of those numbers is wrong!

Angela Hewitt

As the app was reported nation wide on every news program and channel I think Dr Lewis is whistling in the wind. This project has been rushed and ill thought out. Which is a great, great shame. It feels like surface dressing instead of a message of real hope which is what we all want and need