As confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and deaths escalate globally, each the private and non-private sectors are working towards new options to trace — and curtail — the unfold. In the previous couple of days alone, no less than two collaborative tasks have emerged which might be designed to assist folks report their present well being standing, replace it if issues change, and generate extra knowledge for the scientific neighborhood.

However, a number of apps which might be principally getting down to obtain the identical factor may result in a duplication of effort, which raises questions over whether or not a extra coordinated strategy spearheaded by a centralized physique, corresponding to a authorities or NGO, could be a greater strategy — no less than at a regional stage.

Let’s Beat Covid-19

Let’s Beat Covid-19 is a not-for-profit enterprise that was assembled quickly by a volunteer workforce led by Dr. Asif Qasim, a London-based marketing consultant heart specialist and founding father of MedShr, a social platform that connects greater than 1 million medical doctors to debate scientific circumstances and share information. The Let’s Beat COVID-19 net app is principally a survey that’s getting down to perceive how many individuals in every of the U.Okay. areas it covers are prone to require medical care or hospitalization if they’re hit with COVID-19; have been involved with somebody with COVID-19 however don’t but have signs; have gentle signs; or have already had COVID-19.

The app guides the consumer by means of a collection of questions, corresponding to their present COVID-19 standing.

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Above: Let’s Beat COVID-19

It additionally delves into their stage of isolation, when it comes to whether or not they’re leaving the home in any respect or going out for necessities.

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Above: Let’s Beat COVID-19: Level of isolation

Additionally, the app asks customers about current circumstances, which can assist set up their danger issue.

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Above: Let’s Beat COVID-19: Existing circumstances

At the tip of the survey, customers are requested to notice down a code they’ll use to replace their standing sooner or later ought to they begin experiencing signs.

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Above: Let’s Beat COVID-19: Updating standing

For now, Let’s Beat COVID-19 is proscribed to the U.Okay., however it will likely be launching within the U.S. shortly. The thought is that by finishing this survey, and inspiring family and friends to take action too, medical our bodies will get the info they should forecast the demand they could have for his or her companies within the coming weeks and months.

The group notes:

Doctors and nurses around the globe are working very onerous to assist sufferers with COVID-19. We are listening to from them that they don’t have the data they should plan companies and avert a disaster.

Let’s Beat COVID-19 stated that it’s going to use the data to know how the scenario is evolving regionally and try to predict what’s going to occur subsequent. It added, “Knowing whether the number of COVID-19 cases is going up or down in each area will help the local hospitals and healthcare services prepare and save more lives.”

Covid Symptom Tracker

Meanwhile, a collaboration between two London hospitals and Boston-based personal well being knowledge science firm Zoe is getting down to obtain the same aim to that of Let’s Beat COVID-19. The Covid Symptom Tracker is a local cellular app out there for Android and iOS that encourages customers to self-report each day to “help slow the outbreak” and “identify those at risk sooner.”

The registration course of does require the consumer to submit private data corresponding to e mail handle, they usually do need to consent to sharing their knowledge with all of the events concerned — although it insists that knowledge gained’t be used for industrial functions.

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Above: COVID Symptom Tracker app registration course of

As with Let’s Beat COVID-19, the COVID Symptom Tracker app asks the consumer about their present well being standing and whether or not they’ve had — or been examined for — COVID-19.

The important distinction right here, although, is that customers are requested to replace their standing on daily basis to verify whether or not they’re nonetheless wholesome or are experiencing some signs. Crucially, that is about making certain that the info is up-to-date, which makes it extra precious to well being professionals when it comes to understanding the virus’ signs and monitoring the way it spreads.

Crowdsourced coronavirus tracking apps are great, but we need a more coordinated approach

Above: COVID Symptom Tracker app well being survey

The COVID Symptom Tracker app was in-built simply three days, and is presently on the right track to hit 1 million downloads in lower than 24 hours — it’s among the many most downloaded apps within the U.Okay. right now.

The analysis is being led by Dr. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and director of TwinsUK, which is a three-year-old science challenge that works with 15,000 an identical and non-identical twins. Indeed, the COVID Symptom Tracker started as a part of a coronavirus examine that concerned sending home-testing kits to the twins on its program, however it was later opened as much as everybody (minus the home-testing factor) as a option to collect knowledge.

Numerous different trackers have sprung up in over the previous month, together with from Johns Hopkins University, which launched an interactive online dashboard utilizing knowledge from WHO, CDC, and China CDC as an instance the present confirmed COVID-19 circumstances, deaths, and recoveries globally. However, Let’s Beat COVID-19 and the COVID Symptom Tracker apps are striving to get forward of the curve and see what could possibly be across the nook utilizing real-time knowledge from tens of millions of individuals.

In Singapore, officers developed an app referred to as TraceTogether, which permits the federal government to faucet residents’ smartphone location knowledge to see whether or not they have been close to anybody else that has been contaminated with COVID-19.

It’s clear that smartphones will be extremely helpful instruments for crowdsourcing massive knowledge units to assist counter the unfold of COVID-19. And whereas not all of the apps are striving to attain the identical aim, a couple of — together with Let’s Beat COVID-19 and the COVID Symptom Tracker — are just about an identical of their intentions. Too many apps doing the identical factor isn’t useful, because it confuses customers about which of them they need to be utilizing — and it’s unlikely that folks will replace or keep their well being profiles throughout two companies. Crowdsourcing knowledge could possibly be a helpful train in monitoring and planning across the COVID-19 outbreak, however a extra coordinated strategy is required.