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App Shows Promise in Tracking New Coronavirus Cases, Study Finds


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The Covid Symptom Study had 2.5 million users who reported their symptoms in four weeks.

A team of scientists in the U.S. and the U.K. says a crowdsourcing smartphone app may be the answer to the struggle to track the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in real time.

Credit: Zoe Global

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 U.S. and the U.K. 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.

The study, which tracked people in the U.S., the U.K., and Sweden, found that the loss of taste and smell was the No. 1 predictor of whether a person was going to get sick with Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, followed by extreme fatigue and acute muscle pain.

Using a mathematical model, the researchers were able to predict with nearly 80% accuracy whether a person was likely to have Covid-19 based on their age, sex and a combination of four symptoms: loss of taste or smell, persistent cough, fatigue and loss of appetite.

 

From The New York Times


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