The Secretary of State for Digital said on Sunday that the StopCovid application would go into test from May 11. He recalls that this application is intended to be a complementary solution to health surveys.
The subject is thorny. In one blog article posted on Sunday on the Medium platform, Cédric O, the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs of the StopCovid project, intends to clarify the government’s strategy. The application, intended to alert registrants if they have been in contact with a positive person at Covid-19, has been the subject of many criticisms and questions.
According to Cédric O, the service “should be able to enter into test in real conditions the week of May 11” and will be presented “in stride” in Parliament. The tracing application StopCovid was originally scheduled to be debated last week in the National Assembly, along with the deconfinement plan. Edouard Philippe finally told deputies that this solution would be the subject of a dedicated and subsequent debate.
A “complementary” solution to health surveys
The application is far from unanimous. While Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior, confined himself to say at the end of March that the use of a digital tool like this “was not French culture”, the official discourse has since changed a lot. According to Cédric O, the StopCovid application is a complementary solution to health brigades work.
“The secret of the countries that have succeeded in curbing the epidemic are health surveys carried out on an industrial scale, combined with a capacity for systematic testing,” recalls Cédric O. “However, they suffer from certain limits.”
Namely, their limited “reactivity time”, the “memory of the respondents” which sometimes prevents “from remembering all of their social interactions, even in the last few days” and finally the impossibility, in the urban centers, to reconstruct the transmission chains in public transport, public places or shops.
It is precisely within cities that the application could find its usefulness from the first downloads. A study published in the journal Science and which made a lot of noise explains that an application like StopCovid is useful only if nearly 60% of the population use it.
“Our luck is that these urban and active populations which are at the heart of the circulation of the virus are also those who have the highest rate of possession of a smartphone – above 90%”, answers Cédric O.
A voluntary installation?
The Secretary of State recalls that this application “is not obligatory” and “is based on a voluntary installation, freely consented”. Before indicating, a little further, that as long as collective immunity has not been reached, everything should be done to cut off the fires by using digital tools like StopCovid or “refuse these tools for philosophical reasons but in this case accept a significant risk of sick and additional deaths”.