Both Android and iOS have extremely strict app policies regarding COVID-19. All the apps on the app store go through intense scrutiny and are only released if they come from a legitimate source. Although there are many websites that help you gather information about the outbreak and its preventive measures, the number of apps hardly touch double digits. But you don’t have to worry, here is a list of recommended apps to keep you updated about the Corona Virus Outbreak.
COVID-19 Apps for Android and iOS
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a federal agency that comes under the Department of Health and Human Services (USA). Its main aim is to protect public health via control and preventive measures with special attention to infectious diseases.
Listen to CDC’s Nonpharmaceutical ways to prevent the spread of pandemic flu and COVID-19
The CDC app is on top of the recommended list when it comes to COVID-19 related information. It covers news, podcasts, pictures, and videos related to the current COVID-19 health crisis. The CDC app along with all the general news updates has a section dedicated to Coronavirus Disease. This, in my opinion, is the most comprehensive database and will aid in clearing a lot of doubts and misconceptions around COVID-19. For instance, it consists of the Corona Virus Situation summary, Risk Assessment details, What May Happen (repercussions) and other important resources. It also consists of guides and advises that individuals and communities can follow to decrease the outbreak spread. You can also refer to the CDCs website for more information.
- Up-to-date information on COVID-19
- Detailed virus background information
- A global map with a list of countries affected
- Legitimate source
2. First Aid – American Red Cross
Red Cross is more than a century old humanitarian organization, known for providing emergency assistance and educating people about the same. The organization besides being on the ground also has an app that helps you keep a tab on several preventive measures and ways to be better prepared. There is a small section of explanatory articles such as Coronavirus- What Social Distancing Means or Steps to help Cope with Evolving Coronavirus Situation and more.
Besides that, it can be your tool-kit for various other purposes. You can read about various life-threating diseases with step by step instructions to tackle them. It often happens that we forget to stock-up essential items during these times. To counter that there’s a prepare section that contains checklists to follow before, during and after the calamity has subdued as well.
- Safety tips on coronavirus
- Updated regularly
- Hospital map section along with phone numbers
- List of emergency numbers
- Online first aid courses
There is no doubt that Twitter is the fastest source of information and organizations, governments, health departments use it as a medium to release information to masses. Therefore following and keeping a track of global health monitoring organizations like WHO, CDC or other news websites such as The Associated Press, CNN, BBC is a fast and dependable way to consume information. You can also follow your government’s Twitter handle for area-specific updates.
Press the bell icon and choose all tweets so that you don’t miss out any important updates.
Twitter also has an option to enable Crisis and Emergency Alerts. To enable these alerts, go to Notifications > SMS Notifications> Crisis and Emergency alerts. The same should be enabled for Push Notifications in the same menu.
- Fastest information source
- Legit Twitter handles like WHO and CDC
- Get Crisis and Emergency alerts
I turn my head towards Reddit every time I need information about something. It’s often community-driven and if a sub is well moderated and administered, it can be a chest of useful information. One such page is r/Coronavirus which became the fastest-growing subreddit and is also regarded as a reliable source by Reddit itself to keep away users from other pages which might be a source of misinformation. The page has very strict measures for the posts, such as restrictions on giving medical advice, sharing articles as is and without any title modification, etc. In addition to that, it is moderated by several members including virologists as well.
Subs to Follow:
The sub is also a great way to listen, communicate and ask doctors and specialists questions. One such AMA (Ask me anything) includes Bill Gates, along with Dr. Trevor Mundel (Gates Foundation) and Dr. Niranjan Bose (Chief scientific adviser).
I highly suggest joining these subs and also keeping an eye on misinformation. There are plenty of pages which are actively being removed due to spreading of misinformation.
- In-depth information
- Ask Me Anything session by medical professionals
- Live Map Tracking
- A common platform for news, infographics, videos, pictures, etc.
It’s a news app that filters news according to your interests. In our case, it’s the COVID-19. The app can be configured easily and you can pick keywords to suit your interests. For instance, I chose, Corona, CoronaVirus, and COVID-19 as keywords, so the app will then look for these specific keywords and show articles from hundreds of news sources. All the global news updates are shown on the home page while the local tab keeps you updated with the news in your area. You can also get an in-depth analysis as it has an option to show articles related to what you’re currently reading.
You also have the option to enable push notifications and connect it to your Smart TV. In addition to that, use the app’s widget to have all the COVID-19 related info on your home screen.
- Get news from multiple sources
- Local area news section
- App widget
- Save the article for offline viewing
Beware of Fake Apps
When there is so much demand for information around COVID-19, chances are a lot of sources will be full of misinformation ultimately resulting in widespread confusion and panic. It not only hampers your approach towards tackling it but might as well make you stressful. Hence, cross-check when you come across an extreme article and verify information if the source is nothing but word-of-mouth. For example, Reddit quarantined r/Wuhan_flu citing “it may contain misinformation or hoax content.”
Although, apps have restrictions and are suspended if any malicious activity is identified. There are several apps that find a loophole in the process and try to steal personal information, induce malware in your system and put financial data at risk.
Few suggestions to stay safe and avoid misinformation:
- Always consume information from a trusted and verified source (WHO, CDC, Govt. Websites)
- Keep your OS updated (Security Patches)
- Don’t download attachments from unknown emails
- Try avoiding apps from third-party stores or the Internet
These are some apps that are officially recommended if you’re seeking any information regarding COVID-19. I highly suggest installing the CDCs app, as it is accurate and regularly updated. Additionally, Twitter is also a great option for quick news and updates to get news from authorized organizations. Moreover, you should also keep tracking your home country’s Twitter handle as well, for local updates. Rest is all about keeping yourself safe from mass gatherings, using face masks and consulting a specialist if any symptoms crop up in your body. We’ll keep updating this article as per the changes.