Earlier this month, more than 600,000 people in England received notifications in just one week from the COVID-19 track-and-trace app that they should self-isolate. And soon thereafter, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was being called a “pingdemic.”
The app uses Bluetooth technology to alert people if they’ve spent 15 minutes or more within two metres of someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. The steep rise in the number of notifications arose as the UK government moved toward ending a large number of coronavirus restrictions in England.
By the time “Freedom Day” rolled around on July 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were isolating after meeting with the Secretary of State for Health, who later tested positive for COVID-19. By July 23, the Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, was also isolating after one of his children returned a positive test.