Local Governments, Silicon Valley Push to Expand Coronavirus Contact Tracing

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Government Technology Agency (GovTech) staff demonstrate Singapore's new contact-tracing smarthphone app called TraceTogether, as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore on March 20, 2020. (CATHERINE LAI/AFP via Getty Images)

Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said last week said that “very aggressive”  contact tracing of individuals infected with coronavirus will be a critical step to reopening the economy. To that end, San Francisco plans to hire a team to track down people who test positive for COVID-19, and reach out to their contacts. And on Friday, Apple and Google announced they are teaming up to work on an smartphone app that could alert users if they have been exposed to the virus. In this hour of Forum, we’ll talk about the importance of contact tracing, how it works, and find out why some privacy experts are concerned.


George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, UCSF

John Swartzberg, clinical professor of medicine, UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Ina Fried, chief technology correspondent, Axios

Ashkan Soltani, independent researcher and technologist; former senior technology advisor to President Obama