SwissCovid app: FSO figures show usage in Switzerland

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SwissCovid app

Half of Switzerland downloaded the Covid app – but only a fifth used it every day

The SwissCovid app recorded over 3.8 million downloads from its launch in June 2020 until it was switched off on April 1, 2022. This is shown by the overall evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office.

The SwissCovid app is now in a digital twilight sleep. (icon picture)

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Almost half of Switzerland has downloaded it. But hardly a fifth used them. For the first time, an overall balance of the operation of the SwissCovid app can be drawn with figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). As the statistics published on Monday show, the app was downloaded more than 3.8 million times over the entire period from June 2020 to April 1, 2022. This corresponds to around 43 percent of the entire population of Switzerland.

That’s a reasonably impressive number – in light of the fact that people without smartphones, such as small children, are no longer potential users. But the actual usage figures lag far behind. Because on average, only around 1.67 million apps were active every day. This corresponds to almost a fifth of the population.

The app always fell short of expectations

The official figures confirm that the app never really got going. Although it was repeatedly praised, especially in connection with data protection. But she has always suffered from the number of users. Even at peak times, only a little more than 2 million people in Germany use the app.

That sounds like a lot, but it falls short of initial expectations. The higher the number of users, the higher the benefit. A study has calculated that a participation rate of over 60 percent would be necessary for a pandemic to be slowed down noticeably.

Nevertheless, the use of the app was a “relevant contribution” to fighting the pandemic. This shines in the face of those who open the app again. The app text praises the fact that more than 200,000 people could have quickly informed others about the risk of infection.

The SwissCovid app was developed to detect and interrupt chains of infection. If someone received their positive corona test result and entered a corresponding code in the app, all of the person’s contacts – provided they also had the app installed – were warned by a push alarm. The application used a Bluetooth signal to anonymously save contacts that had been close to a sick person for a sufficiently long period of time and could have become infected.

On April 1st, the federal government put the application for the smartphone into a digital twilight sleep. Up to this point in time, a total of 206,443 Covidcodes had been entered, as can be seen from the BFS statistics. On average, 49 percent of the Covidcodes were entered within two days of the onset of symptoms. The SwissCovid Infoline was consulted a total of 141,181 times after an app message, either by phone or online.

Ueli Maurer came to the app “nöd drus”

There was also a great deal of skepticism about the app at the beginning. “I chume nöd drus with the train,” Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer said shortly after the app was launched. He didn’t install it himself. In the end, it was downloaded a total of almost 4 million times – but this also includes multiple downloads by one person (e.g. when changing cell phones).

It is not known whether Ueli Maurer became an app user after all. When it came to the second dose of vaccination, he initially stated that he did not need it. He was just tough, said Maurer. Then there was the prick.

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