According to Reuters, Uber has launched a service allowing public health officials access to data about drivers and passengers believed to have come in contact with COVID-19. The service is offered free of charge in every country Uber operates. According to NBC News, the United States currently has no federal program or mobile application for coronavirus contact tracing. Health officials say ride-hailing data could prove to be very useful since it provides insight to a larger group of people outside the immediate social circle of an infected person.
"This data could be potentially life-saving in cities where many people use those services," said Mieka Smart, epidemiology professor. Public health departments can access data based on trip receipts or passenger names via the new portal. According to NBC News, Lyft has also provided data to U.S. and Canadian health officials in the past, but hasn't given any more details due to privacy reasons. "In the end, we need all the data we can to be effective. Whether it’s Uber or Lyft, or the priest telling you who was in church on Sunday," said Michael Reid, physician, via NBC News.