Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 Infection Risk Within the Google/Apple Exposure Notification Framework to Inform Quarantine Recommendations

Amanda M. Wilson, Nathan Aviles, James I. Petrie, Paloma I. Beamer, Zsombor Szabo, Michelle Xie, Janet McIllece, Yijie Chen, Young Jun Son, Sameer Halai, Tina White, Kacey C. Ernst, Joanna Masel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Most early Bluetooth-based exposure notification apps use three binary classifications to recommend quarantine following SARS-CoV-2 exposure: a window of infectiousness in the transmitter, ≥15 minutes duration, and Bluetooth attenuation below a threshold. However, Bluetooth attenuation is not a reliable measure of distance, and infection risk is not a binary function of distance, nor duration, nor timing. We model uncertainty in the shape and orientation of an exhaled virus-containing plume and in inhalation parameters, and measure uncertainty in distance as a function of Bluetooth attenuation. We calculate expected dose by combining this with estimated infectiousness based on timing relative to symptom onset. We calibrate an exponential dose–response curve based on infection probabilities of household contacts. The probability of current or future infectiousness, conditioned on how long postexposure an exposed individual has been symptom-free, decreases during quarantine, with shape determined by incubation periods, proportion of asymptomatic cases, and asymptomatic shedding durations. It can be adjusted for negative test results using Bayes' theorem. We capture a 10-fold range of risk using six infectiousness values, 11-fold range using three Bluetooth attenuation bins, ∼sixfold range from exposure duration given the 30 minute duration cap imposed by the Google/Apple v1.1, and ∼11-fold between the beginning and end of 14 day quarantine. Public health authorities can either set a threshold on initial infection risk to determine 14-day quarantine onset, or on the conditional probability of current and future infectiousness conditions to determine both quarantine and duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-176
Number of pages15
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Bluetooth technology
  • COVID-19
  • digital contact tracing
  • proximity sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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