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Apple launches new self-screening tool for COVID-19

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Google's New York office is shown in lower Manhattan on March 5, 2018 in New York City. Published reports say that the tech giant is close to a reaching a $2.4 billion deal to buy the landmark Chelsea Market building. The building, a block-long former Nabisco factory that is named after its ground-floor gourmet food mall, sits directly across from Google's current New York City headquarters in the Meatpacking District. If the sale goes through, it would be one of the most expensive real estate transactions for a single building in New York City history. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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As part of its ongoing efforts to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has released a new website and iOS/iPadOS app with a screening tool for coronavirus symptoms, along with updated information about prevention practices.

In a statement this morning, Apple said the site arose out of a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The website’s landing page has general information about the virus as well as some tips on social distancing and who should be tested by a doctor.

You don’t need an Apple ID to use the actual screening tool, and Apple also notes that none of your answers will be shared with Apple or the CDC without your permission. You also have to check a box agreeing that you won’t hold Apple responsible for “any harm relating to your use” of the app.

You can use the screening tool to check symptoms for yourself or other people. The tool starts by telling you that you should immediately put the app down and call 911 if you have high-risk symptoms like “Constant chest pain or pressure” or “Extreme difficulty breathing.” From there, it asks you a series of questions regarding your age and symptoms before delivering a recommendation.

Apple COVID-19

Even with the mildest of symptoms, the app suggests you not take any chances. If you say you have a sore throat, for instance, the app will say you should self-isolate based on your answers. Even if you say you feel fine and that you’re not in an area with a COVID-19 outbreak, the app still recommends that you practice social distancing.

This isn’t the first time Apple has tried to help control the spread of the pandemic through its software. Last week, it updated Siri to give you a questionnaire when you ask,”Hey, Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” In that case, the answers came from the U.S. Public Health Service and the CDC.

As for other companies, Google maintains a website with up-to-date information about the pandemic and Facebook has an information panel about the virus that pops up above your news feed.

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