Inspiration My wife is an ICU veterinarian, Derek's family member is immunocompromised and Norm's wife's family is from China. Last week, my wife began working on donating all of her ICU ventilators to human hospitals. Derek and I met and realized we could be do something bigger with phone data than just serve ads. Derek brought in Norm who's family had been impacted by the crisis in China and this is the idea we came up with.
What it does Users agree to share their location and select their current disease status. From that point on, a data base is created with time stamps, IDFAs/GAIDs, lat-long, and status. If a user gets tested and changes their status from negative to positive (or even develops symptoms), any device in the data base that has been in the vicinity of that user will receive a push notification alerting them that their risk has changed. Any user can see the number of positive tests in their vicinity, all anonymously. Public health researchers can use this anonymous and privacy compliant data to create heat maps and risk zones.
How we built it It's a basic mobile app built in React Native.
Challenges we ran into The data needed to be scalable. Derek's engineering background building the ad system for one of Facebook's largest ads marketing partners allowed him to think of this from day 1. Our main problem right now is that Covid apps not submitted by appropriate groups are being blocked. We have now partnered with Nina Martin, PhD researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and CEO of Public Health United to get it submitted.
Accomplishments that we're proud of Partnering with a faculty member at one of the leading schools of Public Health in the world. She will be using this approach and data to raise awareness and assess risk in underserved communities in inner city Baltimore.
What we learned Things we take for granted in the advertising world are unknown to the front line researchers solving problems of mitigating disease spread. Tech and traditional science can solve real problems by collaborating.
What's next for Covid-19 Near Me After app store approval, it will be used to raise awareness and assess risk in underserved communities in inner city Baltimore. We also need some UX/UI work, a way to cover hosting fees and help with Android development.