A mathematical framework that uses a mobile phone communication system as a means to map the potential spread of COVID-19 in real-time
A few weeks ago, a group of researchers from the University of Queensland, Yoni Nazarathy, along with fellow scientists from Cornell University, MIT and Melbourne put their heads together and designed a digital “Virus” termed as Safe Blues, that spreads exactly like coronavirus and thus retaliates in the same way to the community behavior of the population and social distancing regimes.
- The basic principle is that the “virtual virus” imitates the community spread of COVID-19 using electronic devices ( mobile phones) that are in close proximity to each other, sending digital “tokens” between them, and like a contagious disease, is then allowed to propagate in a population and thereby subsequently saving an ample amount of time for detection of any potential hotspots where the disease may be spreading.“This allows us to see how a ‘virus’ is traveling through our community,” said Dr.Nazarathy, in his paper “Safe Blues: A method for estimation and control in the fight against COVID-19”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreck economies across the world, the policymakers are trying their best to alleviate its economic consequences. But the real problem is that they still have to rely on the weeks-old computed data and predictions. “Our challenge is that the information on how this epidemic is progressing is always delayed,” said the–author Shane Henderson, and safe blues solely attempts to bridge the gap between our knowledge of current reported cases and the actual number of affected individuals.
Safe Blues predicts the effects of fine adjustments in social distancing measures in real-time which could allow the policymakers to make informed decisions real quick.
Safe Blues tows on the existing contact tracing apps and then tracks through a Bluetooth and location generated social graphs and anticipates one’s possible connection with someone who either could be COVID-19 positive patient or a potential symptomatic carrier of the disease. However, unlike other contact tracing mobile apps Safe Blues is not contact- tracing at all as the data is aggregated. It is safer than the other apps as per individual privacy is concerned and only requires nearly 10% of the population to make accurate predictions. The data collected is then sent to a central server and using statistical analysis and AI, the actual number of affected cases can be identified.
The basic framework was “in an imaginary world, if a harmless benign virus with same spreading traits as COVID-19 but can be easily detected and analyzed, is stimulated among the population, the spread of COVID-19 can be estimated. But such a thing is practically not possible. Thus, Safe Blues is its secured digital alternative.
Many leading countries including India (Aarogyasetu app)have adopted this technology making accumulated information available for both the government and the researchers in a secure manner and thus have a notable impact on the endgame of COVID-19.