The U.S. Navy is considering whether it can use existing technology or prototypes to track sailors' movements to test the efficacy of social distancing policies in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Naval Sea Systems Command, or NAVSEE, has issued a request for information for a "COVID-19: Proximity Tracking Program."
It seeks "comments on draft requirements, market research, potential sources, and best practice information for commercially available or advanced prototype technologies for a proximity tracking program."
Among the specifics it is looking for is "wearable" devices as well as storage and processing devices.
The devices will need to "estimate the distance between itself and the other wearables" while also identifying the wearer, the identifier of the device that is in close proximity and the date and time of the measurement.
"The proximity records will primarily be used to identify those individuals that were too close for too long to a person that has tested positive for COVID-19," the RFI says. "Secondarily, this data will be used to determine if social distancing policies put in place by the government employers are effective."
The move comes more than three months after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus infected more than 1,200 of the crew aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and took it out of service for more than 10 weeks. One death was reported.
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