Ever-changing news regarding the coronavirus is hard to keep up with. The best way to help your community get through this is to stay at home, maintain your distance from anyone around you, wash your hands regularly, and disinfect any surfaces you often use. Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital teamed up to create a way for you to keep up with the virus’s impact on your community, right from your phone in the safety of your own home. Here is a brief introduction to the new COVID-19 app, “COVID Near You.”
Learn More About the New COVID-19 App
Residents are anxious to know what is happening in their area, but limited testing is making that difficult. Access to updated numbers for our immediate community is often hard to come by, so the makers of this app set out to solve that problem. This new COVID-19 app allows people to log their symptoms in real-time, only identified by their zip code, not their personal identity. This will help experts track what areas are being greatly affected by the virus, areas that are not so highly impacted, and at what rate it is moving. Users are finally able to see the reality of the situation we are in; if people notice a high amount of COVID-positive people in their area, they are less likely to venture out in public when it’s not absolutely necessary. Ideally, people will also take more seriously the need to protect themselves: face masks, social distancing, etc.
About the Team
The app was developed by HMS and Boston Children’s Hospital’s HealthMap team. The group was formed in 2006 and “uses informal online sources to monitor disease outbreaks and track emerging public health threats in real-time.” They might be recognizable from their “Flu Near You” app, created during the time that influenza was making its rounds. The new COVID-19 app will utilize the same “crowdsourcing technology.” “COVID Near You” was made possible by data companies such as Datadog and donated time from engineers and web designers throughout the U.S.
The “COVID Near You” app is available to any U.S. resident age 13 and over. It is completely anonymous and requires very few steps to report your symptoms and receive feedback. The app offers a visual representation of all the cities in the U.S. being affected by the virus and how prevalent it is in that particular area. It is designed to not only help inhabitants of each city determine to what degree the virus is affecting their community but also to help health care workers determine a course of action best fitting their community. Even if you do not know anyone who has been infected by the virus, it is important to download the app so you are staying informed about this devastating epidemic.
Stop the Spread of the Coronavirus!
As always, stay in your home as much as possible. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces in your home and cars regularly. If you are still going to the office each day, sanitize your hands regularly throughout your shift and keep your workspace clean. If you feel sick, do NOT go to work, for your sake as well as those around you. Maintain a safe distance from people in public at all times, but most importantly: maintain your health! Reach out to your doctor by phone before going into a clinic or hospital.
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