There are a few ways to see the number of coronavirus cases around the globe using real-time dashboards on the web, but now there's an app that will not only help track the spread of COVID-19 but also spot where the most-high risk areas are in the UK. We first wrote about the app in March 2020, but a month later, it's showing results, and is just as important as ever.
UK researchers - part of a collaboration between King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals - have launched an app. It's called COVID Symptom Tracker and is in an attempt to better understand the pandemic. The aim is to collect information about whether people in the UK feel sick, and with that data, identify hotspots of where the virus could be spreading, as well as other social factors.
If you use the app, you'll be asked to submit data about yourself, including your age, sex, and postcode. There are also questions about your medical conditions, like heart disease or asthma and diabetes, and it'll even ask if you take immunosuppressants. As a participant, you'll also need to spend a minute daily reporting if you're healthy or feeling symptoms such as coughs and fatigue.
"By using this app you're contributing to advance vital research on COVID-19. The app will be used to study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads," the app's website reads. "We take data security very seriously and will handle your data with huge respect. Your data is protected by [GDPR]. It will only be used for health research and will not be used for commercial purposes."
Updates to the app have seen the addition of a log-in system, as well as the option to report symptoms for someone else in your household. The team has also used the app to ask direct questions about other medications, in an attempt to gather data on correlations to other pre-existing conditions.
The app now has over 2.5 million daily users and that's resulting in a range of early findings for the research team, including a picture of how the virus is spreading through the UK, animated on their website. The team can corroborate findings that urban and lower income areas appear to be more badly affected, with findings reported through the research blog.
Although many will feel that the coronavirus has been around for a long time, it's still important to play a part in helping with the gathering of this sort of data, so if you're not already involved, then it's definitely worth doing your bit.