New app predicts cornavirus cases with surprising accuracy with only a few daily questions

Tracking Coronavirus

BOSTON — An app on your phone could help predict whether a person is likely to have contracted the coronavirus.

From the United Kingdom to the united states, and now, Sweden, crowd sourcing through smartphones has seen an enormous response. The effort was created by scientists at Massachusetts general hospital, king’s college London, Stanford and Harvard

“Together, we’ve had about three and a half million people on the app,” Andrew Chan, M.D. at Harvard Medical School, said.

It’s called “COVID Symptom Study,” or on the app’s website, and it’s free to download through Google Play and the App Store. The application allows users to check off symptoms, like loss of taste or smell, persistent cough, fatigue and loss of appetite.

It then uses an algorithm, taking age and sex into account. The results boast nearly 80% accuracy regarding whether someone is likely to have COVID-19.

“We’ve been really able to adapt the app in, in real time, so that as new symptoms are emerging as being associated with COVID, we can add them quickly to the app,” Chan said.

A name is not required, but users must enter a zip code.

“The symptoms are starting to rise, for example, in a given area, which could be an indicator that COVID might be something that’s emerging, and we need to actually deploy more resources there in terms of testing or medical capacity,” Chan said.

With gaps in widespread testing capacity, the data may prove vital to help government leaders track the spread of the virus.

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