Using smart thermometers that collect data about where people have fevers, it’s possible to estimate how many of those fevers might be due to COVID-19—and predict hotspots before patients go to the doctor for coronavirus tests. A new analysis uses that data to map out where cases may soon spike.
Areas in five states may be particularly at risk in the next two to three weeks: Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, and Washington. The analysis combines fever data with data about how much people in those areas are moving around, potentially spreading the virus. It also looks at how vulnerable they are because of underlying factors such as lack of access to healthcare, unemployment and eviction risk.
UrbanFootprint, a company that makes urban planning software, partnered with Kinsa, the smart thermostat company, to create what they call the COVID-19 Watch List, building on work that UrbanFootprint had already been doing to help decision-makers such as state agencies prioritize where to send resources. “That’s really complex in this context because the situation is constantly changing,” said UrbanFootprint CEO Joe DiStefano. “What we’re finding is that everyone is constantly just a little bit underwater. Maybe after five months, people are just starting to tread water. So the idea of being able to look out ahead at where risk is likely to be spiking next, based on early indications from fever data—in this case from the Kinsa smart thermometer—data like that is really interesting, and I think really valuable.”
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