Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg is developing mobile apps to help New York state trace coronavirus cases

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Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. February 12, 2020.

Doug Strickland | Reuters

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is developing three smartphone apps to help New York state trace every person who comes into contact with someone infected with Covid-19 cases to help control the spread of the virus. 

Contact tracing requires scores of people to interview coronavirus patients and track down all of their contacts over the past 14 days so those people can be notified, tested and quarantined. 

The team, lead by Bloomberg, is partnering with the health-care nonprofit Vital Strategies to develop the three new smartphone apps. The first app will help contact tracers find information and data quickly, the second will allow the public send data directly to local health departments and the third will provide guidance to people in quarantine and allow them to report any symptoms, Bloomberg said. 

“When social distancing is relaxed, contact tracing is our best hope for isolating the virus when it appears and keeping it isolated,” Bloomberg said. 

He added that Vital Strategies is working with the state to develop a “comprehensive playbook” that outlines for contact tracers how to do the job effectively.

The team has hired a staffing company to build a “small army of New Yorkers” to conduct the contact tracing and has teamed up with the City University of New York and the State University of New York to identify applicants, Bloomberg said. 

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates. 

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