Stealth.ify: New web app brings incentives toward social distancing measures
The app uses geospatial technology and predictive analytics to help users from communities most impacted track the spread of COVID-19 and pinpoint the most-affected areas.
With some form of social distancing likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, according to White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx, it’s important for all of us to be able to do so wisely and safely.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Shannon Morales, a startup founder and operator, recently launched a new web app, Stealth.ify, that tracks the spread of COVID-19, while incentivizing social distancing.
“The reason why I started Stealth.ify was to really focus on local, urban communities that really were vulnerable during the pandemic and help them with certain situations,” said Morales. The name is derived from the type of video games that allow players to use the stealth feature to avoid dangerous areas.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that 33% of 580 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 were African-American, compared to 18% in the community.
In New York City, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases and related deaths in the United States, death rates among Black/African American people and Hispanic/Latino people, were 92.3 per 100,000 and 74.3 per 100,000, respectively. This is significantly higher than that of the white (45.2) and Asian (34.5) communities.
These statistics indicate that the Black and Latino communities are among the most vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic.
“We’re kind of in this real-life dangerous situation with the pandemic, and now we kind of have to stay away from these critical areas,” said Morales.
The Stealth.ify app allows users to create a personal profile based on their demographics and prompts them to answer a short questionnaire. This then builds a dashboard with an interactive map that lets the user know how far they are from an infected site, based on their location. From there, users can also see how far they are from an essential store, which nearby essential store is least busy, or the time of day in which the essential store is least busy.
As Morales and her team continue to build the app, she hopes a future feature will be a telemedicine component where, particularly low-income users, can connect to physicians or nurses who can help them in family situations where resources may be limited. Another likely future feature is a rewards program that allows users to accumulate points for their social distancing efforts that can later be redeemed.
The launch of the Stealth.ify app is an expansion of Morales’ passion for building support for the Latinx community.
In February 2020, Morales was named the director of the Philadelphia chapter of Techqueria, a national nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in Tech.
Members can join Techqueria for free, and receive access to job opportunities, apprenticeships, internships and a network of other Latinxs in Tech across the nation.
“They’re so supportive in everything that people do,” Morales said of the nonprofit. “You just have access to so much more support than they would if they were just going at it alone.”
Through both endeavors, Morales is able to help and provide support to the most vulnerable and underrepresented communities.
“It’s important for us to support one another as we try to go and do things outside of our norm or outside of what people think we should inherently be doing,” she said.
To access the Stealth.ify app, visit stealthify.io.