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Fitbit Predicts Coronavirus Infection

August 20, 2020 • 9:55 am CDT

A study published on August 16, 2020, concludes that 'Fitbit can detect almost 50% of COVID-19 disease cases 1 day before enrollees in the study reported the onset of symptoms, and they do so with 70% specificity.

Based on physiological signs, Fitbit obtained an AUC of 0.77 ± 0.03 for the prediction of illness on a specific day with 4 previous days of history. Respiration rate and heart rate are typically elevated by illness, while heart rate variability is decreased. Measuring these metrics can help in early diagnosis, and in monitoring the progress of the disease, concluded this research.

Conor Heneghan, Director of Research, Algorithms at Fitbit and senior author of the study, wrote in a blog post, “This is important because people can transmit the coronavirus before they realize they have symptoms or when they have no symptoms at all. If we can let people know they should get tested a day before symptoms begin, they can isolate and seek care sooner, helping to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

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