CoEpi: Community Epidemiology in Action
Questions you may have about CoEpi.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does CoEpi do?
- CoEpi is building mobile apps (for both iOS and Android) with a privacy-first approach to anonymous Bluetooth proximity-based exposure matching and symptom alerting to address the spread of COVID-19 and other transmissible illnesses (like colds and flu) in our communities.
- How does CoEpi ensure anonymity?
- CoEpi users simply install the app to get started – there is no registration or information collected, and no profile is created. Users will enable Bluetooth tracking to enable them to detect proximity to other users, and can get alerted if anyone symptomatic was previously nearby without disclosing any information about their location or devices they were in proximity to. If the user begins experiencing any symptoms, they can optionally choose to anonymously share symptom information for the purpose of alerting individuals they’ve been in proximity to about those symptoms. In the future, we plan to allow users to optionally enable location tracking, for the sole purpose of storing their own history on their device to be able to see the location where any exposure matches occurred: such information will not be uploaded without explicit consent.
- How does CoEpi do exposure matching and alerting if a user is anonymous?
- When someone who uses CoEpi was in proximity of another potentially infectious CoEpi user, CoEpi notifies other users who were in their proximity during the past relevant timeframe. A notified CoEpi user will (in future versions) be able to see (if they recorded the info locally on their device) the date/time/place of their proximity with the symptomatic user. The user will then be able to optionally enable periodic check-ins where the app will ask the user to report any symptoms they’ve noticed, what if anything they’re doing to reduce possible re-transmission, and will prompt the user to consent to share that information with other CoEpi users and/or public health officials if appropriate.
- Is CoEpi working with the other Bluetooth-based exposure alerting apps?
- Yes! CoEpi is actively collaborating with members of dozens of other Bluetooth-based exposure alerting efforts around the world.
- How is CoEpi different from other Bluetooth-based exposure alerting apps?
- Many of the other apps are collaborating with CoEpi on the shared Bluetooth protocol so our apps are interoperable. (See more in this Github repo.) The main difference between CoEpi and other exposure alerting apps is that we are laser-focused on creating an app that’s useful for end users – like you and us – immediately. Communities of close contacts can begin protecting themselves with CoEpi immediately; we don't need millions of people to install the app, and we don't have to wait for testing to ramp up. By installing CoEpi and reporting symptoms, you and the people you interact with can create your own early warning system to detect and respond to any infectious disease.
- How can I help with CoEpi?
- We’re an open source project, and we’d love your help! Fill out this form to sign up as an early tester for iOS and/or Android, and if you have other skills to contribute, let us know. We can always use more native mobile developers.