Until the prevalence of COVID-19 is reduced to minimal levels or there is herd immunity, businesses, churches and other organizations will likely have to continue to take measures to limit the risk of infection. This brief considers tools that could be adopted by businesses and other organizations to that end.
We emphasize that the purpose of these tools is to enhance trust and improve information sharing, so that individuals can move around more freely than would otherwise be the case in a world still filled with grave fear of a deadly disease. While such tools offer intrinsic benefits, they may also offer an alternative to the mandatory restrictions under which so many of us were or are laboring and which might otherwise be re-imposed should another wave of disease occur.
A COVID-19 status app with the characteristics described in this brief has the potential to enable businesses and other organizations to reopen more fully, more quickly. It could also be of great value as part of an alternative to lockdowns should there be a second wave of COVID-19—or should another pandemic hit. Given the economic devastation wrought by the combination of COVID-19 and the lockdowns, it seems likely that such an app would be welcomed as an autonomy-preserving, private, voluntary alternative.
This brief is part of a series: Strategies for Combating and Recovering From the Coronavirus Pandemic.