New COVID Technology Opens Investment Opportunity

Written by Jason Simpkins
Posted September 25, 2020

Nearly 7 million Americans have contracted COVID-19.

More than 200,000 Americans have died from it.

With that, the United States leads the world in both deaths and infections.

And worse still, nearly half of the country, 21 states, are now reporting a rise in cases over the past week, as schools reopen and flu season bears down.

The projections now suggest another 100,000 Americans could be killed by the disease by the end of the year.

The ugly, unvarnished truth is that we're simply not doing enough to contain the spread of the virus. 

But with the economy in recession, jobless claims rising, relief money drying up, and lockdown fatigue setting in, another massive shutdown seems unfathomable.

So, we need a new way to combat COVID. 

Contact tracing is one way to do that... 

In fact, alongside social distancing and wearing a mask, contact tracing is one of just a precious few strategies that have proven effective in slowing COVID spread.

Unfortunately, as with so many other aspects of this crisis, America has failed miserably at implementing an effective contact tracing system.

Right now, the preferred method is to simply call people who have tested positive for the disease and ask them who they've been in contact with. 

Unsurprisingly, the results have been weak.

The reality is that many COVID carriers simply aren't answering their phones. And those who are refuse to provide any information.

One recent study conducted by the CDC examined tracing efforts in Mecklenburg and Randolph counties in North Carolina between June 1 and July 12.

As cases rose in both counties, investigators were unable to contact between a quarter and nearly half of the contacts who were known to have had COVID. And up to half the people they did contact said they hadn't contacted anyone else. 

The researchers noted that the data found in the North Carolina study is consistent with what was found in other states across the country.

So that's not getting the job done. 

There was more hope for smartphone apps when Apple and Google jointly developed Exposure Notification technology.

Indeed, smartphones have the potential to be powerful tools in tracking the spread of COVID-19. They can tell you exactly how close you've been to other people, for how long, and they keep a detailed log of everyone you've been around for the last 14 days.

Linked to testing systems, they can rapidly alert you if someone you've been in contact with tests positive.

This technology, which allows a user's smartphone to exchange a random ID with other phones running the app in close proximity, provided the basis for numerous apps around the world, including the UK's NHS COVID-19 app.

That app prompts users to enter the first half of their postal code, which then allows the NHS to identify and track localized COVID-19 outbreaks and issue warnings and advice to people in the area.

Encounters are recorded by the app so that if someone later reports being COVID-19 positive, other people they have come into close contact with are alerted.

Those people are then advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

The app even features a countdown clock that shows users how long they must remain at home and helps them schedule a free COVID-19 test.

It also includes a QR code scanner owners can use to check into venues. And the app will subsequently alert them if someone with COVID symptoms has recently visited the same venue.

According to the UK government, more than 160,000 businesses are now displaying NHS test and trace codes at their venues.

And if privacy is a concern, deleting the app will remove all the information held on their phone, including places they've checked into.

Germany, Ireland, and Singapore have all launched similar apps and with success.

But, again, the United States lags.

There has been no effort to build a nationwide app, so such systems are available in just 11 states — and even in those states, they're only being used by a small portion of the population.

Virginia, for example, is by far the national leader. But in a state with 8.5 million people, just 500,000 actually use the app.

There are other obstacles, as well. 

Since each state has been forced to build its own app, they don't work across state lines. They can't track potential carriers coming and going or just passing through.

But there have been greater privacy concerns about the GPS-based apps and far fewer downloads. The Google/Apple system is only available to government health departments. Each state must choose to opt in and then build or buy its own app.

The apps also require relatively new smartphones, which often disqualifies older residents and the working poor who are most at risk of the disease.

They're also bereft of information. 

The alerts don't tell the user exactly when, where, or to whom they were exposed. They don't even disclose exactly when a person tested positive. It may have been 13 days ago, and you may have been wearing a mask at the time.

These apps could provide more details on the exact time, location, and duration of the exposure, but they don't.

This isn't to dismiss them, of course. We need to throw everything we've got at this disease. 

But we clearly need more. 

And that's why I've locked on to a technology that goes even further

It's called "Invisible Detection," and it uses advanced AI, thermal imaging, temperature screening, and facial recognition technology to identify potentially sick people. And it's far more capable of reaching those who may have come in contact with them.

The technology can count the number of individuals entering and exiting a store, ensuring businesses comply with new laws governing capacity. 

And it can even measure the distance between individuals to monitor social distancing protocols. 

That's why it's already being implemented across the country.

Businesses like Amazon and Walmart are using it to scan their employees upon arrival. The facial recognition aspect ensures that every person coming and going is cleared to be there. And the infrared and surface temperature components flag anyone with a fever.

It's also being installed at airports to not only slow the spread of COVID, but to identify terrorists and potential security threats, and reduce contact between individuals and surfaces.

This is the kind of technology we need to survive this pandemic and turn things around. And the stock behind it is dirt cheap.

So find out more about it here.

Fight on,

Jason Simpkins Signature

Jason Simpkins

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Jason Simpkins is Assistant Managing Editor of the Outsider Club and Investment Director of The Wealth Warrior, a financial advisory focused on security companies and defense contractors. For more on Jason, check out his editor's page. 

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