World News

CDC to launch new surveillance system to track coronavirus spread

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch a new system to track the spread of COVID-19 in the country — bolstered by the $2 trillion relief bill passed by the Senate this week, according to a new report.

The bipartisan emergency stimulus bill sets aside at least $500 million for modernization of the CDC’s public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure, Business Insider reported.

The agency must report on the development of a “surveillance and data collection system” within the next 30 days, according to the report.

The exact nature of that surveillance system is unclear, but the federal government has reportedly expressed interest in aggregating data drawn from tech platforms and smartphone use to monitor the spread, the outlet reported.

Other countries, including China — the original epicenter of the outbreak — have already utilized modern technology to monitor citizens’ potential exposure to the virus, according to the report.

The country rolled out a mandatory smartphone app that asks people questions about their level of exposure to people with symptoms — and automatically orders certain users to quarantine themselves.

An app in Singapore uses Bluetooth to detect users’ proximity to individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and urges anyone in close contact to get tested, according to the report.

Such a system, if implemented in the US, would speed up testing for those most at risk for the deadly bug, the outlet reported. The country currently lags behind most other developed countries when it comes to testing.

The app, if launched here, would need to comply with privacy laws like HIPAA, which prevents the sharing of personal health information between hospitals, the government and third parties.

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World News

De Blasio defies CDC coronavirus protocol in 311 call with constituent

Mayor Bill de Blasio directly contradicted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on Wednesday when he gave a woman who’d recently returned from coronavirus-ridden Italy bad advice on when to self-isolate.

Hizzoner dished out the dubious tip while fielding a call at a 311 center in Lower Manhattan, as reporters looked on.

“No symptoms of any kind?” de Blasio asked the unidentified caller, who had recently come back from a trip to Europe’s hardest-hit nation but not shown any signs of sickness. “If you experience any symptoms at any moment, at that time adjust your approach.

“The important thing is to really be sensitive that if anything changes at all stay home immediately.”

The CDC, however, advises that anyone returning stateside from Italy self-isolate for two weeks — regardless of whether they’re symptomatic.

“Stay home for 14 days from the time you left Italy and practice social distancing,” the agency writes on its website.

City Hall admitted de Blasio was wrong and said it had reached out to the caller to give her the right information, following an inquiry from The Post.

“The mayor misspoke,” spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said. “If you return from Italy you should self-quarantine regardless of symptoms. We have made contact with the caller and clarified and the mayor will be issuing a clarification, as well.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 212 confirmed cases across the state, with 48 in the five boroughs.

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