“The technology is more or less … I wouldn’t say useless,” says Gestur Pálmason, a detective inspector with the Icelandic Police Service who is overseeing contact tracing efforts. “But it’s the integration of the two that gives you results. I would say it [Rakning] has proven useful in a few cases, but it wasn’t a game changer for us.”
He says there have been instances where the data was useful, but that the impact of automated tracing has been exaggerated by people eager to find technological solutions to the pandemic.
Iceland chose a different approach to keep the disease under control:
This is all despite the fact that the country has not enacted many of the more drastic social policies seen elsewhere—an approach that has lead to some criticism. While movement has been curtailed and there have been restrictions on the size of gatherings, primary schools and even some restaurants have remained open, using a mixture of social distancing and a “bubble” strategy where classes and workplaces are divided into discrete units that do not interact with each other.
The U.S. has adopted mostly strict lock downs and economy shut down policies and many areas have adopted mandatory mask wearing (for which there is yet no scientific evidence that home made or improvised cloth masks of random design, random materials, assembled by person of unknown skill are stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2).
Many in the U.S. distrust Google, Apple, Facebook, etc, and are not likely to voluntarily turn over information to any of them.
Tracking apps deplete smart phone batteries more quickly, and since they are, so far, untested, could result in false positives that mandate many people be put in 14-day quarantines. Korea overcomes that problem by offering Covid-19 testing immediately to those who were tracked in contact with a patient.