NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 Technology Task Force (CTTF) today announced the launch of a public education campaign to drive adoption of Exposure Notification (EN) technology available on smartphones to help support public health authorities in their efforts to limit the spread of infections.
This year began with a dramatic increase in cases, placing additional pressure on state leaders and public health authorities around the country using traditional methods of contact tracing to help control the spread. Consumer technology like EN can support and augment these efforts. More than 20 states around the country are currently using EN to send alerts to users who have been exposed to COVID-19, while helping to protect their privacy, in order to dramatically reduce the time between a person's COVID exposure, a test and isolation or treatment.
The multi-platform campaign, with the theme of "Connect and Protect," includes television, radio, digital and out-of-home advertising, along with social media outreach involving celebrities and other trusted national and local influencers. A key focus of the campaign is communities of color, which have been disproportionally impacted by the virus.
CTTF, a voluntary organization whose Advisory Board includes more than 70 of the most respected leaders in technology, public health, media and government, is mounting this public education campaign under the fiscal sponsorship of Engine Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and with charter funding provided by The Rockefeller Foundation and individual Task Force members including Ron Conway, John Borthwick and Fred Wilson. Additionally, corporations helping to contribute to the campaign through financial and/or in-kind contributions include Apple, Google, iHeartMedia, Spotify, United Airlines, ViacomCBS and WPP.
"With vaccinations only just starting and infections and deaths still tragically high, it's absolutely critical for private enterprise to do all it can to support the fight against COVID," said CTTF Co-Chair John Borthwick. "Our campaign is working in tandem with the efforts of the states and the new administration by urging all Americans – especially in places hit the hardest – to enable their phones to register exposure with nearby people in a privacy preserving approach and notify them should someone later report a positive test, taking the necessary steps to protect one another."
"Phone-based Exposure Notifications can be a powerful public health tool to help control the spread of COVID-19 and save thousands of lives," said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation. "Even as we race forward with vaccines, we urgently need to ramp up testing and tracing to combat the virus. We can all do our part to protect our friends, loved ones and communities by enabling our phones to receive Exposure Notifications."
A Critical Tool in the Fight Against COVID
While the COVID-19 infection rate has declined from its January peak, the virus continues to cause some 2,000 U.S. deaths a day and has caused nearly 500,000 U.S. deaths since the pandemic began. If broadly adopted, the Exposure Notifications System of digital, privacy-preserving contact tracing can greatly enhance the effectiveness of "test and trace" programs mounted by public health agencies at the state and local level and potentially save thousands of lives over the next several months as part of a comprehensive effort to end the pandemic, including the roll-out of effective vaccines.
To date, Exposure Notifications have been launched in 24 states, territories and the District of Columbia, with additional states actively pursuing solutions, representing approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population. While some states, most notably California, Colorado, Maryland and Connecticut, have begun to drive significant adoption, adoption has been inconsistent across others, highlighting a critical need for additional education and communication about the benefits of EN. It's important to ensure the most high-risk populations adopt this technology, such as Black and Latinx communities, which have been hardest hit by the virus. The CTTF PSA campaign is designed to meet this need.
A study released last week by the U.K. Department of Health Care demonstrated the value of EN, finding that approximately 600,000 cases of COVID-19 across England and Wales have been prevented by the app since September. Research conducted by scientists at The Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University shows for every 1% increase in app users, the number of coronavirus cases in the population can be reduced by 2.3%.
The "Connect and Protect" campaign is being overseen by CTTF Co-chair Kameka Dempsey. The concept and creative templates for multiple platforms were developed by SOZE Communications. Video spots were created by Big Vision, Empty Wallet. Radio ads were produced by Gimlet Media. The campaign website, www.connectandprotect.info, was produced by Countable.
About The COVID-19 Technology Task Force
The COVID-19 Technology Task Force (CTTF) is a broad technology industry coalition designed to support the public sector with the engineering talent and resources to beat COVID-19 and advocate for forward-thinking policies that accelerate society's recovery. The Task Force serves simultaneously as the contact point among tech companies producing solutions to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and between the tech industry and the public sector to identify and fulfill public needs.
SOURCE COVID-19 Technology Task Force