COVID trace app and the man whose crazy idea ‘jump-started’ the plan

Entrepreneur Andrew Pascal built a company that builds apps.

So when the Las Vegas resident considered what he could do to help Nevada during the pandemic and learned of the challenges inherent to contact tracing, the answer seemed clear enough.

His company would develop a contact-tracing app. Or so he thought.

Pascal, 54, did become a driving force in bringing to the state the COVID Trace app that launched on Monday. But not in the way he first envisioned.

Early in the pandemic, Southern Nevada Health District investigators were calling each person who tested positive for the coronavirus to request the names of close contacts who might have become infected. The investigators would in turn advise these contacts to self-quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19. But as cases mounted, investigators were quickly overwhelmed, and backlogs piled up.

“Are you kidding me?” Pascal said in an interview this past week,

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Saving jobs and remembering Plane Crazy Saturdays | News

Finally some good news from Sacramento.

Someone up there has used some common sense and drastically revised Assembly Bill 5, which threatened to put Bill Warford, Vern Lawson, Dennis Anderson and myself out of our jobs as free-lance columnists for this paper.

The bill was billed as “helping” workers, especially those of us who have chosen to join the gig economy.

That’s folks who work when and how they want to.

AB 5 was aimed at helping us whether we wanted to be helped or, for most of us, not “helped” at all, thank you very much.

It was primarily aimed at firms like Uber that compete with the established taxi and limo industry that feared some good old free enterprise competition.

It was also strongly supported by labor unions, many of them more anxious for power than helping workers, especially those who do not want to be “helped.”

What

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