During a press conference at the White House, President Trump today announced that the government is working with Google to build an online screening website for COVID-19.
Update (4pm PT): Turns out, Trump was wrong. It’s Verily, not Google, that is building the site. Development is in its early stages and a first rollout will happen in the Bay Area. You can read about what’s really happening here.
The announcement was short on details, but the idea, it seems, is to give users the ability to enter their symptoms and see if they need additional testing. None of this sounds extremely complicated, but according to Trump, Google has 1,700 engineers working on this. According to Debbie Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, users will have to log into this new screening website, fill out a screening questionnaire and risk-factor questionnaire and then get directed to a “drive through” testing facility. In some ways, the announcement raises more questions than it answers, though. It’s unclear what data Google will collect and whether logging in will be mandatory, for example. The partnership with Google is part of a larger private sector partnership the White House has set up that also includes Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and others. We have asked Google for more details and will update this post once we hear more. Update (2:20pm PT): So far, all we have is this, but it’s unclear that Verily’s site and the one President Trump talked about are the same: