NHS COVID-19 app’s glaring flaw is its two-metre sensitivity
Analysis by Paul Kelso, business correspondent
After weeks of pressure, and just a fortnight before the
self-isolation rules change fundamentally, the decision to tweak the NHS COVID-19
App is an act of political capitulation rather than pandemic management.
For weeks business groups have pointed out that the ‘pingdemic’ was
turning the great reopening into a colossal shutdown. While companies lost revenue, staff lost precious wages, another
blow after 18 months of instability.
Yet ministers insisted that self-isolation remained the best way
of managing the pandemic, even after Boris Johnson tried to skip the requirements
himself by joining a test-and-release pilot.
Now the app has been adjusted, though not the two-metre
sensitivity. Instead the timeframe for measuring close contacts of asymptomatic
positive cases has been cut from five days to two.
This, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, will
result in fewer “pings” but the same number of “high-risk”
contacts being told to self-isolate.
Curiously this appears to be the first time the government has
identified a sub-category of riskier contact with COVID cases, and may be the
first mention of the five-day infection window.
If there has been a fundamental reconsideration of the risk of
close contact, the government is not explaining it. On the contrary, new
research suggests the app has prevented 50,000 additional infections last
month, and almost a million since December.
If this all seems a little confused, it is the inevitable
consequence of the glaring flaw of an app that confined people to their homes,
based on surveillance of a two-metre gap that had been abandoned in the real
Originally Appeared On: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-news-live-over-50s-to-be-offered-booster-jabs-from-september-as-new-rules-for-vaccinated-us-and-eu-travellers-begin-12370469