In defence of the COVIDsafe app

We recently published an article that was critical of the COVIDsafe app, which had not identified close contacts of anyone infected with coronavirus that manual tracing had not found. YourLifeChoices member Geoffrey Williams took umbrage with the article and wrote this in defence of the app.

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I think the COVID app was an excellent idea, and its ongoing use should be encouraged and not criticised. I uploaded it in the first week. It would be even more helpful if the app worked on older version mobiles, as my wife’s phone can’t download it.

It is an indication of Australia’s overall good management of COVID that the app has not identified any more people than manual tracing. Let’s hope this continues.

However, if community spreading increases, as it is doing in Melbourne, the ability to manually trace everyone might fail. That is when the COVID app will come into its own.

I think it is counter-productive to criticise the app because that might affect its ongoing uptake by more people – when it is perhaps more likely to be needed.

It doesn’t hurt to have the app, and it was a good effort in the early days to try to find a techno method of assisting traces so we could ease the restrictions.

I don’t remember reading any comment that manual tracing picked up contacts that the app did not register. If that does happen, then perhaps the parameters of the app could be changed to register contacts of less than 15 minutes. It might not always take that long for someone to be sneezed on by an infected person in a public area.

I would be very interested to read more articles that criticise people who deliberately ignore social distancing guidelines. Their reckless arrogance is causing a public menace and they should be shamed, particularly in Melbourne at present. Their behaviour is verging on criminal intent to harm society by ignoring health advice to save innocent people they come near.

I would prefer you to criticise people who are deliberately doing the wrong thing, rather than undermining good ideas that are being used to try to help people.

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