Sunday, May 17, 2020

How You Can Help Fight COVID-19

"[I]n early May [Iowa Governor Kim] Reynolds . . . stopped announcing daily cases and deaths on TV . . . [and] sending out those statistics with news releases to the media and posts to the governor's website . . . at a time she is increasing the ability of Iowans to sit down for a meal at a restaurant, get a haircut, work out at a gym and go shopping [saying] 'Iowans are going to take the responsibility to decide if they are ready to go out and participate at the businesses or go to a restaurant.'"
Vanessa Miller, "As Iowa Reopens, Stat's Virus Data Elusive; Citing Lack of Help from Reynolds, Some Keep Their Own Tallies," The Gazette, May 17, 2020, p. A1

In other words, we're being asked to make our own decisions about avoiding COVID-19 -- and at a time when our Governor has stopped reporting deaths during daily video reports, and otherwise obfuscating what data remains.

What to do? I guess we'll have to gather our own data. Fortunately there's a way to do that -- one that takes less than a minute a day, costs nothing, and is risk free.

Willing to help? Read on.

What I'm talking about is the creation of Professor Tim Spector, MD, Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London, and Professor Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School and Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

It's an app for either iPhone or Android called Covid Symptom Tracker, and over 3.6 million people have downloaded the app and report in every day on their symptoms. If you are symptom-free, as thankfully I have been, it literally talkes less than a minute to click on the app, select the "me" profile, click on the "I have never had a COVID test," and "I feel physically normal."

If enough people in your county have signed up your app then displays the number of people in your county who are reporting COVID symptoms.

I am in Johnson County, Iowa, and at the time of writing we need an additional 223 people (May 17; today, July 3, we need 188) to participate to get that report.

To get the app go to your app store and search for "covid symptom tracker." It should be at the top of the list. If not, look for the logo displayed here.

And thank you! Spread the word.

More about Covid Symptom Tracker

To find out more about this project from those who created and run it:

And see:

Andrew Jacobs, "App Shows Promise in Tracking New Coronavirus Cases, Study Finds; The app, which allows people to record their symptoms, was remarkably effective in predicting infections. The most reliable indicators, researchers found, were loss of smell and taste," New York Times, May 13, 2020, p. A4 ("In the absence of widespread on-demand testing, public health officials across the world have been struggling to track the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in real time. A team of scientists in the United States and the United Kingdom says a crowdsourcing smartphone app may be the answer to that quandary.

"In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers found that an app that allows people to check off symptoms they are experiencing was remarkably effective in predicting coronavirus infections among the 2.5 million people who were using it between March 24 and April 21.")

Charlotte Jee, "A New App Might Help Researchers Monitor the Spread of Coronavirus," MIT Technology Review, March 25, 2020

David M. Halbfinger, "How Are You Feeling? Surveys Aim to Detect Covid-19 Hot Spots Early; Scientists have persuaded Britons and Israelis to fill out questionnaires about their health, to get ahead of the coronavirus by getting resources to the right place. The U.S. is next," New York Times, April 1, 2020

"COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App," News, Massachusetts General Hospital, March 31, 2020

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Andrew Chan, COVID-19, Covid Symptom Tracker, epidemiology, Governor Kim Reynolds, symptoms, Tim Skpector, Vanessa Miller