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Acceptability of App-Based Contact Tracing for COVID-19: Cross-Country Survey Evidence
77 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2020More...
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest public health crisis of the last 100 years. Countries have responded with various levels of lockdown to save lives and stop health systems from being overwhelmed. At the same time, lockdowns entail large socio-economic costs. One exit strategy under consideration is a mobile phone app that traces close contacts of those infected with COVID-19. Contact tracing apps work best when used by a large proportion of the population. The objective of this study is to investigate user acceptability of a contact-tracing app in five countries hit by the pandemic.
Methods: We conducted cross-sectional anonymous online surveys in France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US. The survey asked about intentions to use a contact-tracing app under various scenarios. Our study sample consists of 5995 adults.
Findings: We find very strong support for a contact-tracing app, with an overall acceptance rate of 74.8%. Acceptability is high regardless of the respondent's country or individual background, or the scenario considered. Trust in government is an important determinant of support.
Interpretation: Acceptability of app-based contact tracing for COVID-19 was widely supported in five countries hit by the pandemic to various degrees and with different attitudes towards privacy. Our findings are therefore encouraging for the viability of this approach.
Funding Statement: Economic and Social Research Council (grant ES/R011710/1), the University of Oxford and Volkswagen Foundation (grant "Consequences of Artificial Intelligence for Urban Societies'').
Declaration of Interests: None declared.
Ethics Approval Statement: Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Oxford (reference number ECONCIA20-21-06).
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; contact tracing; proximity tracing; app; digital; user acceptability; mHealth
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation