Quest : Epidemic Response: Ideas

This is the community think tank for brainstorming, sharing, and vetting ideas for new or improved solutions

Quest Lab
Project Lab

Maxwell Hartman

Professor H
Date: 14 April 2020 12:31

We use this thread to keep track of all our pre-projecting solutions found in the Project Lab related to the Epidemic Response Quest!

  1. Create a new topic
  2. Title it with "Quest : Epidemic Response : Ideas : <your pre-project title here>"
  3. Fill in the description
  4. Categories (project-lab)
  5. And fill out the post with your bright idea or ideas!
  6. Finally copy and paste the URL of this topic with a short summary of your idea here in this thread!

Jamille Desouza

Date: 27 April 2020 13:45

The other day I had an idea and have been looking to find somewhere to share it. I recently found this organization and thought perhaps this would be the right place.

Contact-tracing appears to be especially important in this COVID-19 epidemic and yet it appears both difficult and time-consuming for "detectives" to interview individuals and potentially unethical to track COVID-19 infected individuals without their explicit consent.

That said, I was thinking, what if someone developed a mobile app that would allow COVID-19 positive individuals or those who were in contact with someone confirmed to have had COVID-19 or had reasonable suspicion that person had COVID-19 to complete a survey and "opt-in" to be tracked anonymously?

The basic idea is essentially:

  1. App is developed with geo-tracking features and survey, users opt-in and data is collected in an anonymous fashion.
  2. Part 1 Includes a short survey available via App or via website link asking relevant questions concerning COVID-19 exposure and locations visited.
  3. Part 2 Allows the individual to opt-in to live tracking with added option toggle on/off the mobile location tracking feature as needed. Geo-location data is collected anonymously and used to feed maps and projections.
  4. Part 3 A live map of cases is produced at a local level at a block level, with high traffic, public areas (such as shops, parks, etc.) specifically highlighted if they have been indicated as a potential spreading source. This information would be available publicly.

Additional considerations might include:

  • Putting in together a task force or automated email warning system advising those responsible for public spaces (like shops, parks, gyms) that their location has been indicated as a potential COVID-19 spreading point and advising them to take precautions.
  • Working with local government bodies to identify hot-spots and make more informed decisions on how to "re-open".
  • Partnering with a cell-provider network and allowing for individuals to choose to also "opt-in" for retroactive location data to be shared for a period of 14 days from when they indicated they might have had contact with an infected individual or were confirmed as being infected themselves.

Marketing the app would be key, but given the current news climate it is highly likely news sources would respond favorably and that corporate partnerships may be viable. The key would be developing to keep everyone's privacy safe and ensuring that all information collected received the individual's consent.

Maxwell Hartman

Professor H
Date: 28 April 2020 06:48

Hey @Jamille Desouza , welcome and of course great idea!

Contact tracing, especially digitally, is the next big weapon in the battle against viral epidemics like COVID-19. There is all kinds of work already done on this from previous epidemics and it is something we of course want to track in our SOLUTIONS section.

There is a good intro article to contact tracing here:

Go see the section in the Epidemic Response Quest SOLUTIONS spreadsheet called "Real time resources" to see some of the tracking solutions already out there.

Next steps with your idea would be to figure out the overlaps between your idea and the existing solutions and if there are any gaps in the existing solutions that your idea would fill.

Nice detailed idea posting and let's see if we can get some other community heroes to join the conversation!

Shivani Sundar

Virus Crusher
Date: 04 May 2020 15:03

I like Jamille's idea for an app!

I think it would also be super cool if the app once the person got better, put them on a "reserves" list or "inactive participant" list, since we don't know if the chances of the virus reinfection and we can track recovered people as well when they interact in their area. In the unfortunate scenario that a person does get reinfected(although it seems like recovered patients aren't at risk for now, but viruses are strange, we don't know if a mutant strain can or if the virus will mutate like the flu) they can asked once again if they'd like to opt-in and be tracked. I think the app on the person's phone should have a two-step authentication process as well to protect their privacy by not only having a physical passcode into the app but a notification sent by the app saying "You typed in your passcode at [insert time] is that you?" to either a person's email or as a text(see Apps like Duo, my university uses this app to access financial aid and grades) and the user can accept if its them or deny if they never even opened the app in the first place.

Joseph Lopez

Date: 05 May 2020 03:58

Hi everyone!

I'm new here and this will be my first post on this forum. Feel free to redirect and guide me if I go off-track.

Regarding an app for tracking COVID-19 exposure, Google and Apple recently created a collaborative platform for app developers thinking of such ideas and are themselves creating their own cross-platform app. It will allow data to flow thru both Android and iOS devices. Here are more details:

Florian Lienert

Date: 05 July 2020 09:13

I examined the cleaning properties of tablet cleaning fluid on an old smart phone display.

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