Science and technology are vital in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Antigen and antibody testing, ventilators and PPE all have a huge impact on how well we can cope with an influx of cases, as a nation. But another piece of technology has been made available to everyone, and fits tidily in our pockets for free: the COVID Symptom Tracker App.
What is it?
An app which is free to download after a quick Google search (covid.joinzoe.com). It is made available by a collaboration between King’s College London, twinsUK, ZOE, Wellcome and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
It allows the individual to ‘Self Report Daily’ symptoms they may or may not experience, in order to help slow the outbreak. The app makes it clear that it does not offer heath advice, but allows you to help others and yourself, by contributing towards data collection on symptoms.
How Does it Work?
Simply jump into the app and it will first ask you for your details: age, sex, height, weight etc.. After this short signup, the first question will be if you have been tested. Then there will be two options: feeling ‘normal’ or ‘not quite right’.
The second option will then open up a page of various symptoms you answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to, based on whether you are experiencing them. Some are very obviously linked to the coronavirus, such as persistent coughing or fever. Other symptoms are listed though too, such as ‘an unusually hoarse voice’, diarrhoea and more.
Following on from this, it will ask whether you are in hospital or at home. And that is it! A very quick questionnaire style app. No matter what combination of symptoms you may be experiencing, it will not urge you to call 111 or 999. It does, however, recommend you visit the NHS website for advice on the coronavirus, if you have registered symptoms.
The app is designed for data collection, and to better understand how the body reacts to COVID-19 infection. Therefore, it can be helpful for the wider community and researchers if truthful, registered responses are given. I believe what is particularly helpful is the longer list of symptoms displayed. Symptoms like loss of smell and taste, headache, shortness of breath and tightening of chest can all be mild, warning symptoms of the coronavirus. Indeed, they are asked about in other countries as a part their testing, while the NHS here only urges you to pay attention to fever and persistent cough.
it can be helpful for the wider community and researchers if truthful, registered responses are given
There is a lot of complexity behind this virus, which has claimed so many lives, and while science and technology will be key in understanding and combatting the virus, we are also key in helping to stop its spread.
Featured Image courtesy of the author, Rian Patel. No changes were made to this image.
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