“Happy to leave details but I won't have the app” – Readers discuss the NHS Covid-19 app and ‘Pingdemic’

The NHS Covid App has been the subject of quite a bit of backlash in recent weeks, after numerous businesses were forced to close shops and pubs due to staff shortages due to staff being forced to self isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app. We decided to ask our readers to see what their experiences of the app were like.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 4:32 pm

While the official line from the governement is that anyone ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app should self-isolate, some MPs have been suggesting that it was up to the public to choose leading to some very mixed messaging. While we do know that we can expect for there to be changes made to the app in the coming months in light of the success of the vaccination programme, we asked our readers what they thought and here is what they had to say:

Andrew Wright responded, saying that, “The app is doing exactly what it was designed to do, but for the first time is doing it when there are both a high number of Covid positives and a high level of social mixing.”

Sandra Jane Flinders added her thoughts, “Yes when it first started as it was test to see if it was working, not been pinged since thank god.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: In this photo illustration the official NHS Covid-19 "Test and Trace" contact tracing app is seen on a screen on August 13, 2020 in London, England. The NHS has used several mobile applications during the course of the pandemic to help patients assess and report their symptoms. This week, they have started trialling the "NHS Covid-19" contact-tracing app, after a series of delays in the development process. (Photo Illustration by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

And Nina Marie Bamforth said that, “I've had the app ages and never been pinged yet.” Stan Morton said that he “was pinged and immediately went for a walk in test and was given the all clear and recorded the result but nothing changed.”

There were a few replies from people who had been ‘pinged’ by the app, here are their thoughts:

Richard Taylor replied and said that he had been alerted the “Other month, did my 10 days went out on Saturday got pinged again on Monday.”

And, Vicki Slack commented saying, “Yep, got one for 3 days then the second that was over, was pinged again for another 4 days!”

Claire Davies said, “Yes, I end 9 days today, been absolutely fine. So sat at home for nothing.”

One of the people who happened to be alerted and wasn’t too happy about it was Ryan Fletcher Wainwright, who said, “Yes I had to do 10 days! Bloody s**t!

Most of the people who had replied hadn’t bothered to download the app and remained adamant that they had no intention of doing so. As was the case for John Slatter, who said “Never bothered with it . As never needed it. But will still use mask for crowds and shopping.” And Julie Scott responded saying, “Dont necessarily need the app, they can text. I had a text today.”

Sara Marris said, “No, I follow every rule, but refuse to download that app.”

Rachel Dunning replied saying that, “The only people to download this are the ones who hope for being pinged! The average person who needs to work won't have it.”

It was very clear from the responses that people were not overly enamoured with the app and quite a few people cited concerns over the reliability of the application when it came to correctly notifying users to self-isolate. As a result quite a lot of people chose not to have the app installed at all, case in point being Steph Hodgkinson, who said; “There's gotta be something wrong with it. Well we know it's riddled with errors. Happy to leave details but I won't have the app.”

One thing that is certain is that the messaging from all in government on the matter needs to be clear here with no grounds for confusion. As people adjust to this ‘new normal’ following the lifting of restrictions, all people want is a clear approach to navigating a way through the risks and a return to a regular life, all without confusing and erratic messaging. In the meantime, if you’re not going to use the NHS Covid-19 app do make sure you leave your details with the locations your visiting so you can be contacted in case there’s a risk of infection but the official line still remains that if a user is ‘pinged’ then they should self-isolate… unless they are included in the small selection of key workers that are exempt from self-isolation requirements.