Germany uses smart watches to monitor coronavirus epidemic

The Robert-Koch Institute, a German institution responsible for controlling and combating the Covid-19 epidemic, is launching an application to monitor the coronavirus epidemic in Germany. It is on a voluntary basis, and it works on most bracelets and connected watches.

In France, Italy or the United States, it plans to launch apps for smartphones to monitor the outbreak of coronavirus . As in Singapore, the idea is to allow anonymous tracking of infected, healed people, but also to alert people who have been in contact with infected people in order to isolate them. Many scientists and doctors believe it is key during and after confinement, and Germany launched its own app for iOS and Android on Tuesday .

Available on the Play Store and the App Store, Corona-Datenspende is validated by the German public health authority and launched by the Robert Koch institute which monitors and coordinates government actions against the coronavirus . The goal is to help monitor the spread of COVID-19 and analyze whether measures to contain the new coronavirus pandemic are working. For this, this application relies on data from connected watches and bracelets , by retrieving data such as heart rate , body temperature and sleep .

Heart rate as a number 1 indicator

It was on the basis of the effectiveness of a study carried out in the United States during an influenza epidemic on 100,000 users that the idea of ​​a smartphone application took shape. Taking into account essential data such as the resting pulse makes it possible to detect a possible infection. If the resting heart rate is higher than usual, a fever may be suspected, and this is just one of the symptoms of COVID-19. The cough also accelerates the heart rate, and it is visible in the data recorded by the connected bracelets. Without forgetting the body temperature that some models take into account.

Victim of its success, the application experienced some failures when it was launched, but it has already been downloaded 50,000 times since Tuesday, and this is promising since the initial objective is to have a sample of 100,000 users, ie 10% of owners of connected watches in Germany. ”  If the sample is large enough to capture enough symptomatic patients, this would help us draw conclusions about the spread of infections and the effectiveness of containment measures,  ” explains Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute. Institute.