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UC Davis Computer Scientists Launch App To Help Slow Spread Of COVID-19

DAVIS (CBS13) — State officials have launched a program to train and hire thousands of COVID-19 contact tracers, but now there's an app for that.

It's one more digital step toward slowing the spread of COVID-19.  Computer scientists at UC Davis have developed a web-based contact-tracing app called We-Care.

Prasant Mohapatra, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Computer Science at UC Davis, said the success of the app will depend on the density of uses.

Users who sign up for the app will be able to check themselves in at specific locations. If someone reports themselves as positive for COVID-19 and checks in at the same spot, the app will send you an alert.

"If someone is detected positive later on, they will be able to quickly identify who all might have been exposed," Mohapatra said.

Mohapatra says they developed the app with privacy concerns at the forefront. The app can be used anonymously and allows users to voluntarily check in to locations without sharing their personal information. Devices are not tracked by any signaling protocols like cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

"It completely preserves the privacy and if you start using it, even I have access to the back end, I will not be able to figure out you are you," he said.

Professor Mohapatra says until a vaccine is available, contact tracing will play a key role in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

"That will take us a long way in terms of providing an environment that people can go back to work," Mohapatra said.

The app is already up and running. You can sign up or get more information at

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