HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thanks to the nonprofit How We Feel, scientists will be able to use an app to help track COVID-19.
“How We Feel” is a simple app you download onto your smartphone that asks you a couple of questions about your age, any health symptoms they may be experiencing and what zip code you’re in, but nothing more personal than that.
The app then collects the data and allows researchers to track any hot spots associated with the virus, where it’s growing, identify new outbreaks and determine populations that may be more at risk.
Scientists and doctors will then use all of that information to try and slow the spread of the virus.
“This data is crucial right now because there’s a widespread shortage of COVID-19 testing,” the nonprofit’s website states. “Self-reported data can be a powerful new tool in our fight against the pandemic.”
The app was developed by some top universities like Harvard and MIT. It starts with some setup questions about whether you’ve been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 or whether anyone in your house is positive for the virus.
Then it asks you how you’re feeling. First just with a smiley face or a frowny face. Then it gets a little more specific asking whether you have a cough, fever, stuffiness. All of the information recorded in anonymous; a name, number and email are not asked or required. State leaders said it’s important for residents to join the partnership and help track COVID-19.
“You self report on a voluntary basis symptoms everything from a cough, fever and the such,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “You get that posted. We have thousands of people here in the state of Connecticut using the HowWeFeel.org app right now. As people report healthier symptoms, the data could reveal which health measures are having the fastest impact and apply those learnings in other areas. It’s quick and easy to use, and completely anonymous. By encouraging everyone to use How We Feel, we all benefit.”
Check-ins take roughly 30 seconds and should be done every day to help keep information accurate and up-to-date.
“We need to provide all residents of Connecticut with the best technology to identify whether they are feeling ill and need to get tested for COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Ko, co-chair of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group. “We can all be assured that by partnering with most trusted and high-caliber doctors and scientists who created How We Feel, we can provide the best care the highest standards of data privacy.”
“As our task force works on our plan for fighting the virus and getting the state back to work, How We Feel will be a critical tool for us to get a better understanding of how the whole population is feeling, both healthy and sick,” added Indra Nooyi, co-chair of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group. “This will enable us to more quickly make the important decisions about opening the economy.”
For every entry, the nonprofit will donate a meal to those in need through Feeding America.