Smartphone app to track coronavirus symptoms in owner

By: News Desk      Published: 04:09 PM, 5 Apr, 2020
Smartphone app to track coronavirus symptoms in owner

Pinterest's CEO has partnered with Feeding America and experts from Harvard University, Stanford University, and more to launch an app that lets you self-report your symptoms.

The goal of the app is to collect real-time data to help researchers detect regions on the brink of a coronavirus outbreak, and track how the virus spreads in communities.

Called "How We Feel," the app asks users to report information like age, gender, location, and how they're feeling so experts can track real-time data about the virus. How We Feel doesn't ask for any personal identifying information like your name, phone number, or email address, but it does ask for your age, gender, location, and health history and upon opening it says that you can stop donating your data anytime you want.

The survey takes 30 seconds, and you're supposed to take it every day. The app, which is available for free on iOS and Android, asks users to donate their data, which Pinterest says is only used in the service of public health. Users aren't asked for identifying personal information like their name, email address, or phone number. How We Feel asks users to complete daily health check-ins, which take about 30 seconds, so researchers can track the spread of the coronavirus.

The key is to complete the survey every day, because it can help experts predict areas that may be on the brink of an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. According to a statement from Xihong Lin, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard University, analyzing the data provided by the app could help scientists discover common characteristics of the outbreak, study how the disease is spread in communities, learn the timeline of COVID-19 symptoms, and set up strategies for testing in specific regions and creating new testing sites.

The data will also help researchers learn what kind of effect strategies like social distancing and self-isolation have had on reducing the spread of the disease. Overall, Lin said, the goal is to give policymakers more information to help them adjust their response to the virus as needed. For each download, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann and his wife Divya will donate to Feeding America, up to 10 million meals.