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San Francisco and Oakland cut ties with Verily COVID-19 testing program

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Two California counties are no longer using Google sister company Verily’s COVID-19 testing system, Kaiser Health News reported. The counties, home to San Francisco and Oakland, stopped using the company’s testing platform over concerns that it doesn’t adequately protect patient data and that it doesn’t help low-income residents who have the greatest need for testing.

Verily’s platform screens people for symptoms, books appointments, and reports test results. (It contracts out to lab companies that do the actual testing work.) California has around $55 million in contracts with Verily for its testing program, which launched in March with a limited number of sites before expanding to at least 28 counties.

The program was controversial from the very beginning. President Donald Trump claimed inaccurately at a March press conference that Google was building a nationwide website to guide coronavirus testing, when the only project in the works was this Verily program.

More recently, in June, members of the Oakland COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force outlined concerns around accessibility and data privacy in a letter to California Secretary of Health Mark Ghaly. In order to get tested at a Verily site in California, patients need to sign up with a Gmail account and provide personal information like their address and health conditions.

Patients at an East Oakland health clinic that serves mainly African Americans were suspicious of those requirements, Noha Aboelata, CEO of the health clinic, told Kaiser Health News. The clinic partnered with Verily for a walk-up testing site. The Verily privacy policy also says it could share data with third parties. “That always is going to raise suspicion and concern in our community,” Aboelata said. The partnership lasted less than a week.

In San Francisco, the Gmail requirement made it difficult for health care workers to use Verily to test residents who are homeless.

People experiencing homelessness are at high risk for contracting and having severe outcomes from COVID-19, as are Black and Latino people. Testing for those groups is particularly important. The difficulties with Verily testing sites show that public health solutions don’t work when they aren’t focused on the needs and challenges of the communities they aim to serve. Underserved communities are less likely to have seamless access to the internet or smartphones and may be less likely to trust the medical system enough to turn over their data.

“It turns out that in public health, the highest-tech solution is usually not the right one,” Margot Kushel, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, told Kaiser Health News.

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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