Corona Virus app idea

William Prothero waprothero at
Wed Apr 29 18:34:54 EDT 2020

I had an idea for a Corona Virus app that Livecode is perfect for, and which could be coded up fairly quickly. I don’t have the time for doing it, but offer this idea just in case someone on the list wants a project for this.

The idea is to solve the problem that is now being created as folks who are severely impacted by the social lockdown policies being invoked in various countries. Here in the US, only “essential businesses” like grocery stores, hardware stores, post offices, etc are open, with the requirement that each person must stay 6 feet away from another, and wear a mask.

I am now observing increasing communications, on social media, advocating for open up more businesses so folks can get back to earning money to survive and get back to their normal lives. Retired folks generally have some kind of retirement pension or income, but younger ones work at jobs. As one of the retired group who is older and possibly more susceptible to the “death” side effect, I am fine with lockdown (bored maybe), but arguments are being made that many closed businesses (like restaurants) can be opened safely, with special distancing restrictions. This is in spite of the more informed policymakers advocating for caution.

So, here is my idea: 
Each business that wants to open would register on the app, possibly with the city administration able to approve. Maybe there would be a checklist of policies the business could check off. After registration, the business might get a “seal of approval” from the city (or responsible agency). After it is approved, each visitor (or the business staff) would “sign in” the visitor. This would be enforced by the business's staff. It would post the name of the business, customer contact info and time. This way, a database of visitors to all of the businesses (restaurants, haircut shops, beauty salons, etc) would be generated. A person who gets infected would also get an entry by ..?…someone (self/doctor/hospital?). The database would be available to city administration who could then do contact tracing. Obviously, this would require adoption by the city and hospital management. It’s a simple database entry project. I’d probably add some other features, like a checklist of current city requirements, best practices, etc.

Ok, yeah, this sounds like what Apple and Google are building. However, there is no attempt to detect all close contact persons using bluetooth (or whatever), with its privacy issues. But the businesses visited are identified, and this also would provide an incentive for them to be very careful. It’s a bit like a Yelp for Corona Virus. The app could be built quickly and get out as pressure to ease the lockdown restrictions builds. Businesses could get a “success score”. Visitors could do ratings.

This is such an easy app to build that a programming student could do it. The hardest part for me would be to get it into the Android and Apple stores, and also to promote it to the local pandemic “powers that be”. I’m retired and don’t want to take on a project of this size, but perhaps someone on the list would find it appealing.

Be Well,

William A. Prothero

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