Linux Foundation launches initiative to fight pandemic; more Apple Stores close again in the USA

Coronavirus: Linux Foundation launches initiative to fight pandemic;  more Apple Stores close again in the USA

The partnership between Apple and Google in the development of an exposure alert API to help fight the new Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) inspired other companies to launch initiatives that combine technology and information to halt the disease’s progress.

In this sense, we will see that the API created by the technology giants was recently adopted by two large enterprises in the health area: Linux Foundation and the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

Linux Foundation

THE Linux Foundation announced a new initiative to leverage the use of open source technologies to combat the pandemic, which includes the Apple and Google exposure alert API.

To catalyze this open source development, Linux Foundation Public Health is building a global community of leading technology and consulting companies, authorities, epidemiologists and other public health experts, privacy and security experts and individual developers. While we are excited about the launch of two very important open source projects, we believe that our calling function to enable collaboration to combat this pandemic may be our biggest impact.

Initially, the project will focus on applications that already use this technology, supporting public health authorities and governments during all stages of the COVID-19 diagnostic process – this includes mapping testing and tracking the isolation index.

Subsequently, the initiative foresees the creation of two new APIs: COVID Shild and COVID Green – which will be launched in Canada, Ireland and several American states. Both will be made available to public health authorities around the world for use and customization to create their own exposure alert applications.

Association of Public Health Laboratories

THE Association of Public Health Laboratories (Association of Public Health Laboratories, or APHL) also recently announced that it is working with Apple, The Google and the Microsoft to create a server in the U.S. that securely stores data from the Exposure Alert API – while Microsoft will provide the server online based on an open source tool.

Therefore, instead of storing this information (crucial for monitoring the progress of the pandemic) on servers that are disconnected from each other and without access to health agencies, APHL intends to make them available in a single database, as highlighted by its president Bill Whitmar:

We are honored to partner with Apple, Google and Microsoft to make this innovative technology accessible to state and territorial public health agencies. Applications that use this technology will quickly inform users of possible exposure to COVID-19 and provide them with information they can use to protect themselves and their families.

With the security of user information in mind, the solution will not store data on central servers run by Apple or Google; in addition, if and when a user is diagnosed with COVID-19, he may choose to share the result, alerting individuals that they may have come into close contact with him. Doctors can also read the data, if that access is granted.

There is still no information on when the new server will be established or if it will extend to more countries / regions where the Apple / Google API has been implemented.

More stores close again in the US

Last week, Apple closed eight more stores in several states after the increase in the number of cases of COVID-19. According to information published by Michael Steeber (who has accompanied the reopening and closing of Apple Stores), the units that closed the doors again were the following:

Steeber also noted that 6 of the 28 Apple stores in the state of California have also restricted access to customers, since they are in malls that were forced to close.

In many locations, the Apple is serving only by appointment, whether for appointments with Genius specialists or delivering orders placed online (in pickup). In addition, the company is continuously analyzing the progress of the pandemic – in all regions where it has retail operations – to know when it will be able to reopen (or if it will be necessary to close again) its stores.

In Brazil, there is still no forecast for the reopening of the two Apple Stores.

via MacRumors [1, 2], AppleInsider