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Five Ways Apps are Handling COVID-19

March 17, 2020
Apps COVID-19

Many countries are starting to take drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, limiting public gatherings, shuttering nonessential services, and encouraging social distancing. As a result, countries around the world are staying indoors, practicing good hygiene, and riding out the storm.

Luckily, in the digital age, many of us can work from home, order our groceries, and carry on our daily lives without too many disruptions as a result of the public health actions our governments take. As public safety works around the clock to keep our communities safe, some of our favorite apps are stepping up to help make our lives a little easier – and a little safer – as the situation unfolds. Check out these five ways apps are helping to fight COVID-19.

Read more: Five Ways Public Safety is Preparing for COVID-19

Apps and COVID-19

1. Contactless pay and delivery

Since food delivery apps are more popular than ever, apps like Seamless and Postmates are thinking about ways to keep their users and their delivery workers safe. Users can now request contactless delivery on most popular apps, so that their food can be left in a safe location to maintain social distance. Doordash, for example, is even distributing hand sanitizer and gloves to its delivery workers.

Contactless delivery protects drivers as much as it protects users, by supporting good distancing habits and limiting the amount of contact either party has to make. It keeps the deliveries running while preventing unnecessary exposure.

2. Extending sick pay for gig workers

For those brave gig workers delivering food, ride-sharing, and dog walking, many apps are offering sick pay to individuals who would otherwise be considered independent contractors. Uber, for example, is extending sick pay to any drivers afflicted with the virus. 

Sick pay was not typically granted for independent contractors given the nature of their employment status, but Uber is one of several apps expanding the ways they protect the people conducting business on their platform.

3. Free and discounted virtual classes

As gyms and fitness studios close, apps are stepping up their offerings to keep people in shape during their quarantines. Although apps like classpass are rolling over credits, CorePower is one of many brands and apps offering free online classes to help keep their users in shape.

Other apps are offering discounts for virtual classes to offer users more opportunities to stay in shape when their health matters most.

4. Raising awareness and combating misinformation

Social media apps are in a uniquely challenging position during the outbreak, as they’re a source of entertainment, connection, and perhaps most importantly, news. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit are combating the spread of fake news while sharing important, timely information with their users.

For example, Facebook banned ads for masks on their platforms, as well as products that claim to be Coronavirus cures, while Instagram is sharing popups with information on the virus from the CDC. By sharing hygiene tips and stickying important news updates, social media apps are educating users for the greater good

5. Implementing user safety features

Apps are taking extra steps to ensure their users are safe through new features and partnerships. Through updated FAQs, email blasts regarding the virus, and direct data links to emergency services, apps are going above and beyond to make sure their users have access to safety information, and help if necessary. 

Through direct data connections with 9-1-1, users can contact emergency services and share their profile, location, and sometimes even medical information to get help faster.

Apps are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 by helping their users with the everyday experience of social distancing, whether that’s through relevant and vetted information, entertainment, or even the smallest lifestyle improvements. In doing so, they’re helping to ease the pain of the pandemic, while reaffirming their commitment to their users’ safety.

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