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How to get coronavirus-related alerts on your phone

As of April 17th, 2020, the World Health Organization has reported infections of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in 210 countries, claiming nearly 150,000 lives around the globe. With over 2-million confirmed cases and the human race attempting to flatten the curve, it is imperative to stay informed. Today, we will show you a few different ways that you can receive coronavirus-related alerts on your smartphone — knowledge is the first step in creating a healthier world and restoring all of our daily lives to normal.

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Set up Google Alerts

Google’s Alert service allows you to receive alerts when new information about specific topics, such as the coronavirus, appear on the web. Once configured, you can choose how often you wish to receive updates, and select which email address you want Google to send the alerts to — you can even elect to receive the information in an RSS feed. Follow the instructions below to create a Google News alert and stay updated with the latest coronavirus news via email.

  1. Begin by visiting Google Alerts.
  2. In the Create an alert about… text field, enter “coronavirus OR COVID-19” without the quotation marks.
  3. Select the Show options button.
  4. Choose how often you wish to receive alerts: As-it-happens, once a day, or once a week.
  5. Under the Sources option, select News.
  6. Under the How many option, select Only the best results.
  7. Enter or select your email address, then press Create Alert.
  8. If you wish to cancel the Google Alert, revisit the Google Alerts page, and locate your current alerts under the My alerts section. Press the trash-bin icon next to the alert to delete it — you will no longer receive alerts on the topic.

Sign up for CDC Health Alert Network alerts

COVID-19 Virus
CDC/Pexels

Are you looking for coronavirus information straight from the source? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has its official Health Alert Network for conveying the latest information on diseases, including the coronavirus. To sign up for alerts, visit the Health Alert Network web page, and scroll down to Receive HAN Updates — you can then select Sign Up for HAN Email Updates or Subscribe to the HAN RSS Feed.

Receive updates from Facebook

With all the controversy surrounding factually incorrect news spreading on Facebook, it seems an odd place to sign up to receive updates; however, the team at Facebook has spent time assembling a Coronavirus Information Center where information is gathered, fact-checked for accuracy, and then presented. To receive updates from the Facebook app on the coronavirus pandemic, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Facebook app on iOS or Android.
  2. Select the Menu button — presented as three horizontal lines on either the bottom (iOS) or top (Android) left-side of your screen.
  3. Scroll down and select the COVID-19 Information Center.
  4. Press the white Follow button to subscribe to updates.
  5. To unsubscribe from Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center, return to the same screen in your mobile application, then click the Following button — you will no longer receive alerts about the coronavirus from Facebook.

Ensure Emergency Alerts are enabled

All smartphones used within the United States are capable of receiving emergency alerts from the U.S. government and other safety institutions. If your country or region issues an emergency alert, your device will give off an alarm sound and present a message with information. To make sure the option isn’t disabled, check our guide on turning off (and on) alerts in Android and iOS. Note, that you can never disable a Presidential Alert message, but any other alerts and public safety notices, such as AMBER alerts, can be altered if desired.

Enable coronavirus alerts from your favorite news source

Do you have a favorite news app that you use daily? Some news sources, such as the New York Times, offer coronavirus updates that you can subscribe to via email. Be sure to check with your favorite news source to see if the option is available. The steps to subscribe will vary amongst each news source, but a good start is to Google the name of the publication with the word “coronavirus.” If your news source has a section on the virus, it will likely appear in search results, that page may then offer email sign-ups to stay up-to-date.

Michael Archambault
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade…
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