New COVID-19 symptom tracker app helps researchers better understand coronavirus

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A new app is giving UK researchers a better understanding of the coronavirus and how it spreads. It became so popular that app developers also helped create an American version.

The COVID Symptom Tracker app has two million downloads and counting. It was created by a team of British researchers, including Tim Spector.

“If we can spread the app faster than the virus, we can all defeat this thing,” he said.

Experts hope their crowdsourced data can slow the outbreak, as app users will help them learn how the virus is spreading, which areas are affected and who is most at risk.

The researchers track things like cough, fever and fatigue, but they want users to check in even if they don’t have coronavirus symptoms.

“So we can tell within a few hours each day what’s going on and how many people are reporting symptoms. So it’s really fast,” Spector said.

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Rachel Barker convinced her friends to participate.

“I’m going to share on all the platforms I have in hopes that we get enough people participating to make the data meaningful and useful,” she said.

Countries like China and South Korea have used security cameras and drone technology to help track and contain the virus.

Researchers hope the COVID app can do the same for the UK and US, which now lead the world in confirmed cases.

“It would be really important in the United States to see which areas are most affected, which are not, so that states and the federal government can move resources to those areas,” Spector said.

Spector said millions more people needed to sign up to generate enough data to give scientists a fighting chance. He believes slowing the spread of COVID-19 starts in the palm of your hand.

The app developers have stated that all data shared by users will be anonymous and not used for commercial purposes. Users can delete all of their recordings when the crisis is over.

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