Nolte: Virginia Government’s Coronavirus Contact Tracing App Is Huge Failure

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor's mansion on February 2, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Northam denies allegations that he is pictured in a yearbook photo wearing racist attire. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Here’s some good news. The people of Virginia have soundly rejected a government coronavirus app that tracks everywhere you go and stores that information in case it’s needed later.

COVIDWISE is a Virginia Department of Health phone app that was supposed to revolutionize contact tracing. The idea is that every Virginian would be a good little citizen and download an app that literally gives the government the ability to track everywhere you go and everyone you meet.

Then, if you are diagnosed with the coronavirus, you would input a code from the health department, and your app would notify everyone (who also has the app) you’d been in contact with about the possibility of infection.

Doesn’t that just sound nifty, as in 1984-nifty, especially when you discover Apple and Google helped develop it?

And all for a virus with a survival rate of 996 out of 1,000.


What kind of idiot would hand the government that kind of information, especially the government of Virginia that’s run by a kook like Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam, who wears Ku Klux Klan robes in his college yearbook, who thinks it’s okay to leave a baby on a table to die of exposure, and who doesn’t take the virus seriously himself?

Well, in Virginia, only ten percent of the population has so far downloaded the app, which is nowhere near enough to make it work the way it’s supposed to:

Amid a growing surge of cases, COVIDWISE should be one of the most easily accessible ways for Virginians to learn if they’ve been exposed to the virus and avoid infecting others. But nearly four months after the app’s launch, participation is still decidedly mixed. As of Thursday, a total of 808,774 people had downloaded the app — roughly 10 percent of the state’s population…


“While people do appear to have it on their phone, it also doesn’t seem like the vast majority of the Virginia population does,” Reingold added. Sarah Sams, who lives in Mechanicsville, said that at least 90 percent of her friends, family and neighbors said they haven’t downloaded the app.

Even people using it find doesn’t work because — surprise, surprise — the government is too inept to execute the most important part — which is sending those who test positive the six-digit pin number to alert all your contacts.

“[T]he department [of health] has sent out 874 PINs, which means there’s more than 300 Virginians who received a number but never uploaded their results to the app,” local media reports. “Others have tried, but the result hasn’t always been seamless. Seth Hochman, an Arlington resident, said he tried to submit a positive result but never heard back from his local health department after he got a PCR test at a nearby pharmacy.”

So people who went to the trouble of downloading the app and then went to the trouble of getting the pin number, still haven’t bothered to follow through on the whole point of the app, which is to input the pin number to alert others.

Not hard to figure out why. “Hey, I might have gotten you sick!” There’s a reason why medical records are guarded by privacy laws. A whole lot of us don’t like others to know our health business. And come on… This is coronavirus, not the bubonic plague.

So this app has been out there four months and so far only 553 people have submitted their pin numbers, which means it’s a total failure.

And why shouldn’t  it be? The app is absurdly intrusive and the hysteria around the virus oversells the actual risk.

People know this.

Even in blue states.

Nevada tried the same app. Only three percent of those folks downloaded it.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.