social distancing

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Fever map shows just how well social distancing is working

Shelter-in-place orders may very well be helping slow the spread of coronavirus.


Nahila Bonfiglio


Posted on Apr 1, 2020   Updated on Apr 1, 2020, 11:49 am CDT

Social distancing has been effective in reducing the number of cases of the coronavirus, the data suggests.

San Francisco medical technology company Kinsa Health recently uploaded data gathered from hundreds of thousands of smart thermometers around the United States. It indicates that some of the measures being taken, including shelter-in-place orders and strict social distancing, are helping slow the spread of the virus.

As noted by the Daily Mail, Kinsa Health’s approach only looks at “fevers tied to geographic data.”

That means the included map can’t specifically track COVID-19. Instead, it considers “influenza-like” illnesses that cause a spike in fever. The data was gathered through Kinsa’s “network of Smart Thermometers and accompanying mobile applications,” according to the site.

According to the Daily Mail, Kinsa has distributed more than 1 million thermometers. It uses the approximately 162,000 temperature readings it receives per day, which are uploaded to a database, to draw up its data maps. Along with temperature, users can use the app to keep track of other symptoms.

Coronavirus map
Kinsa Health

Kinsa Health recommended several uses for its data. For professionals working to stall the virus’ spread, Kinsa recommends using the data to “identify areas where illness levels are unusually high, and investigate.”

Areas on the map with higher-than-usual illness levels are likely “early indicators of community spread of COVID-19,” according to Kinsa.

Kinsa also recommends that professionals use the data, which is current as of March 31, to “gauge whether measures taken are working to slow the spread.”

The site points out that “if illness levels are dropping, the measures are working.”

Kinsa health data
Kinsa Health

As Kinsa Health notes on its site, however, the data does not necessarily mean COVID-19 cases are declining. In fact, experts expect to see reported cases continue to surge in the near term.

Typically, Kinsa’s data is used to track outbreaks of the seasonal flu. A new feature, which tracks “atypical illnesses,” has been added in hopes of tracking coronavirus cases.


H/T Daily Mail

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2020, 11:35 am CDT