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April 21, 2020

CT collects COVID-19 symptom data via app partnership

The state of Connecticut has partnered with a mobile app developer to collect anonymous data that will help scientists in real time better understand the spread of COVID-19. 

Gov. Ned Lamont in his daily coronavirus briefing Monday evening said the How We Feel app, available by web download and in the Apple and Google Play app stores, was developed by health experts to obtain additional information on COVID-19 symptoms amid widespread testing shortages.

App users will be asked to anonymously to report their age, zip code and any symptoms they may be experiencing. The data will then be used to reveal potential virus hotspots, identify new populations at risk and measure the efficiency of public health measures, such as social distancing, Lamont said Monday.

Aggregating the data for medical providers could increase testing and resources and potentially save lives, officials say.

Connecticut is the first state to partner with the nonprofit app project How We Feel for COVID-19 data collection, Lamont said, adding that the data is useful regardless of whether a resident using the app has symptoms.

“ people report healthier symptoms, the data could reveal which health measures are having the fastest impact and apply those learnings in other areas,” Lamont said.

Indra Nooyi, the former PepsiCo chief executive who is also the co-chair of Lamont’s advisory group on reopening the state’s economy, said the taskforce of more than 50 business and health professionals will use the app data in making decisions about opening commerce.

How We Feel says it will donate a meal for every entry it records through Feeding America, which supports more than 200 food banks nationwide.

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