Coronavirus Updates: Apple and Google Partnering to Track Coronavirus, UCLA Downgrades Economic Outlook

Coronavirus Updates: Apple and Google Partnering to Track Coronavirus, UCLA Downgrades Economic Outlook

Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.

Today:

  • Apple and Google partner to help track COVID-19
  • UCLA sees the U.S. economy dropping further amid COVID-19
  • L.A. County extends stay-at-home orders until May 15

L.A. County extends stay-at-home orders  until May 15

Los Angeles County health officials extended stay-at-home orders through May 15 as it warned residents that as many as 30% could be infected by Aug. 1 with the fast spreading virus.

The orders came after health officials reviewed new modeling that showed social distancing was helping to stem the virus but they needed to continue.

COVID-19 has claimed another 18 individual as another 475 new cases emerged, the county's public health director Barbara Ferrer said on Friday. That brings total cases in the county to 8,430 including 241 deaths.

Apple and Google partner to help track COVID-19

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Rival tech giants Apple and Google are partnering to incorporate tracking software onto their respective operating systems in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the L.A. Times reports.

The "contract-tracing" technology will roll out in two steps. In mid-May, both companies will enable their devices to share anonymized information, irrespective of operating system. The tech will initially interface with apps run by public authorities. Users, who must opt in to the feature, will notify those apps when they've tested positive for COVID-19. Then, the people with whom those users have been in close contact over a determined period will receive a notification.

In the second phase, the tech companies will embed the functionality directly into their operating systems so users need not download any app. Users will again have to opt in.

Google and Apple stressed they are taking measures to protect users' privacy. In total, notes the Times, the two companies' operating systems serve about 3 billion people, over 33% of the global population.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday that the administration was in talks with the tech companies and would see how the tracing technology can be used as the state plans for the eventual lifting of at-home orders.

UCLA sees the U.S. economy dropping further amid COVID-19

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UCLA issued the following dispatch: "Given the speed of the U.S. economy's rate of decline amid the coronavirus pandemic, the UCLA Anderson Forecast team has updated its views, downgrading the near-term outlook." The university cited senior economist David Shulman's forecast that real GDP is now on track to decline in the second quarter of 2020 by 7.5% from the previous quarter (an annual rate of -30%), and decline by an additional 1.25% in the third quarter (an annual rate of -5%). Read More <<

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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.

It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.

Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.

As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?

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You'll soon be able to take a rapid COVID-19 test before boarding a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.

Two design companies — one known for transforming shipping containers into pop-up businesses and homes, another that focuses on an eco-friendly approach to architecture — will erect modular COVID testing center at LAX by Nov. 1. New Jersey-based Clarity Labs will eventually staff those sites with technicians.

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