Tech vs COVID-19 – Top trending tools and apps helping fight the virus

It’s at times like these, when we’re all stuck at home, that we start to appreciate the technology available to us. It allows us to catch up with family and friends, it gives us that all-important escape and allows us to keep up to date with what’s going on, all around the world.

They say there’s an app for everything, and coronavirus is no exception, so we’ve put together a list of the apps and tools you could find most useful. From tracking the spread to monitoring symptoms, and even as a means to see who’s been infected and who hasn’t, check out this list of apps – ones that could make all the difference in easing the strain of the virus.

Coronavirus App

Country: Global. Launched in the US
Open Source: No
Type: Web application
Developed by: Private

The app tracks the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak worldwide through an interactive map, stats and charts, showing affected countries and regions in real-time.
Marcus Kuhn, Partner and Head of Product Development at what. says:  “Very nice overview. The John Hopkins tracker offers a similar service, which is both complete and very popular”

TraceTogether

Country: Launched in Singapore
Open Source: No
Type: App (Apple / Android)
Developed by: Singaporean Government

The Singaporean app is able to identify people who have been in close proximity to coronavirus patients using short-distance Bluetooth signals. Contacting people earlier allows to better protect everyone, reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Marcus says: “I am afraid of the privacy implications and the app won’t easily be transferred to western countries. There is an international movement, called PEPP-PT, that is trying to do the same but with privacy in mind. Definitely great potential to help but high distribution is needed to be effective. With Corona Notifier, we are working on an alternative strategy together with UBS WM IL, to let people manually identify people they’ve been in contact with for any specific length of time. It is a digitalised version of the current contact tracing being done now. We send automatic notifications.”

CoReport

Country: Launched in Switzerland
Open Source: Yes
Type: Web application
Developed by: what. in partnership with Divio

CoReport is an open-source tool that enables an organisation to collect structured status reports from other organisations at set intervals. The development was initiated by in collaboration with Divio. It is currently being deployed by the Swiss canton of Baselland on hosting sponsored by Divio. CoReport is provided as a ready-to-run Dockerised web application and is under active development.

Marcus says: “Completely different focus than the other tools by providing decision-makers with data to base decisions. This works in the background. It digitizes a highly manual and laborious process. By doing so it also becomes monitorable. This means both quantity and quality of data collected increases while the frequency can also be increased without undue burden. Therefore, decision-makers have a better picture and can make more informed decisions.”

COVID Symptom Tracker

Country: Launched in the UK
Open Source: No
Type: App (Apple / Android)
Developed by: Private
This monitoring app, which was developed by King’s College and health data science company ZOE, a spin-out from King’s, asks users to take 1 minute to self-report daily, even if a person is well. The daily report will help the scientists behind the app identify the high-risk areas as well as who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions, and how fast the virus is spreading in a given area.

Marcus says: “There is a similar solution in Switzerland, called >COVID Tracker, that tries to take a look behind the curtain by collecting alternative data. As testing differs from country to country the numbers of cases are not comparable. Solutions like these try to use alternative approaches to find out how many cases there really are.

Nextdoor

Country: Global. Launched in the US
Open Source: No
Type: Web application
Developed by: Private

The social networking app designed around local communities has launched a new interactive map called Help Map, to let neighbours offer help to one another during the pandemic. The app lets people mark themselves as available to help with anything from grocery shopping to child care. Anyone offering help to at-risk neighbours needs to make sure they’re following the advice provided by global health authorities, like the World Health Organisation, or local ones, depending on the country.

Marcus says: “Huge solidarity movements are ongoing and Nextdoor is facilitating one of them. People have come out to help one another and it is great to see.

Natural Cycles

Country: Launched in Sweden
Open Source: No
Type: App (Apple / Android)
Developed by: Private

The birth control app launched a new tracker to help its users detect COVID-19 symptoms, allowing them to share symptoms with their healthcare providers if they feel ill and think they could be infected.

Marcus says: “This is a great way to monitor temperature and see when you get ill, as fever is a symptom that appears in almost all the symptomatic cases.”

Alipay / WeChat Health Code

Country: Launched in China
Open Source: No
Type: App (Apple / Android)
Developed by: Private

All we need to do is follow the example set by China to get insights into the future and know which apps could help us to slowly return to normal life. Both apps assign people colours – green, yellow or red – depending on whether they should be allowed into public areas or quarantined at home. Cafés, restaurants and shopping malls in more than 200 Chinese cities are now requesting to see a green QR code before you’re allowed in.

Marcus says: “The pervasive checkin and checkout in places with QR codes is an interesting approach to do contact tracing, but I think the Tracking apps will take care of that better

Do you know any great new tool or app helping in the fight against Coronavirus? Let us know!