Should you download the new COVIDSafe app?

The new COVIDSafe app has been a topic of some controversy in recent days. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s an app that runs on your phone while you’re out of the house and will notify you if you’ve come into close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19.

A lot of the controversy surrounding the app has to do with privacy concerns; what can the government do with your information, what are the laws protecting the data you input etc. So with this uncertainty, why should you download the app, and is it a good idea?

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To help understand this situation, it’s actually helpful to look back on the last pandemic we experienced in Australia, the Spanish Flu in 1919, and see what we can learn from the data of that era.

What we see when we look at case numbers in 1919, is a peak in March/April (not unlike the one we’ve just experienced) before a steady fall off, and then a huge resurgence in cases in June/July. We can pretty safely estimate that what we’re seeing is an initial surge in cases as the disease is brought in from overseas, followed by a quieter period as people begin to take precautions and understand the disease, and then, once everyone is lulled into a false sense of security, a bigger surge in domestic cases as health precautions begin to be dropped.

This is what we want to avoid, and this is what COVIDSafe is trying to help us do.

The lockdown has been hard, and can’t last forever, but a vaccine is still quite a while away. What we need is a “new normal” that’s halfway between the current national lockdown, and the lives we used to lead.

By using COVIDSafe, doctors will be able to establish who has had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case much faster, which will help isolate people days earlier than they otherwise would have been. The risk of transmission will be lowered considerably, but only if we all get on board.

We can return to a form of normal where we can still meet with friends, go out to eat and leave the house for fun instead of essentials, but still adhere to social distancing, mask-wearing, and COVIDSafe using policies so that we don’t see a full resurgence in the disease.

Should you download the new COVIDSafe app?

Absolutely. It’s going to be the first of many new steps we’re going to have to take to get us back to normal life.

It’s either that, or a very long quarantine.

We understand that this is a difficult time for a great many people. If your mental health is really suffering, please reach out and get some help. Beyond Blue has a dedicated support service for this exact situation, so find out more by clicking here, or just calling them on 1800 512 348

The latest government information about restrictions and financial help can be found here.

If you have any concerns yourself about coronavirus or your respiratory health, you can get in touch with us to book a no fee telehealth appointment with our respiratory specialists.

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This article is from Keystone Medical Media, a sub-entity of Keystone Content.

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