Researchers claim that the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app has prevented almost 600,000 infections in England and Wales
In recent months, dozens of countries have introduced apps to simplify contact tracing by automatically notifying people when someone has tested positive for COVID-19. The UK is one of the countries that has released an app, eventually, which relies on APIs produced by Apple and Google.
According to a Financial Times report, researchers from the Alan Turing Institute at Oxford University have now indirectly calculated how many cases have been prevented by the NHS COVID Contact Tracing app.
Apparently, the app has sent 1.7 million notifications telling people to isolate. Of those, Oxford researchers estimate that approximately 600,000 cases have been averted. Based on current death rates, that could mean that the app may have prevented thousands of deaths in the UK, alone.
We should stress the research has not been peer-reviewed, and it only relies on data since September. The UK government only released the app in September though, so there was data on which the researchers could rely.
Additionally, averting 600,000 cases would represent a 15% reduction in the 3.96 million cases that the UK currently reports. Similarly, the NHS COVID-19 app may have only reduced deaths by around 2%. The UK government has supposedly spent £35 million in developing its app, for reference.