What Fitness Trackers Can Tell You About Coronavirus


Courtesy of Reviewed.com

Karina Silva, Editor/Staff Writer

          There have been studies that have been established around May, 2020 by FitBit, Inc focusing on whether their smart watches could play a role in detecting Covid-19. In their studies, Fitbit, Inc announced that they would be partnering with research organizations such as Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes, Scripps Research, and Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab. The study itself consists of algorithms installed in the Fitbit app in which people who have contracted Covid-19 or the flu can answer the survey that consists of questions revolving around symptoms. In mid-August, FitBit released an article in which the writers state that the study makes way for people to detect early signs of Covid-19 and brings symptoms that are common to the majority of the United States and Canada into spotlight, which align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)

          There are still many variables to the FitBit study that have to be tweaked in order for the viability of this research to be relevant. Along with the survey, FitBit has been working on advancing their software and technology to ensure reliable Covid-19 detection as well as the privacy of survey participants and fitness tracker wearers. FitBit, Inc wants to make sure that their products do not interfere with people’s dependency on clinical medicine, thus warning on their article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine” (Early Findings from Fitbit COVID-19 Study Suggest Fitbit Devices Can Identify Signs of Disease at Its Earliest Stages by Conor Heneghan). 

          Here’s how FitBit and other fitness tracker industries are planning on being able to detect Covid-19. Fitbit plans on constructing an algorithm personally customized for users, which can be established through a survey revolving around their response to the coronavirus pandemic. The directions to Fitbit app survey are simple: Head onto the Assessments and Reports section of the Discover tab and there should be an assessment called Fitbit Covid-19 Study. The survey will ask you questions, such as how recently you have received a test or if you have at all during a certain time interval. Fitbit also plans on using test results from other assessments, such as the Fitbit Heart Study and Fitbit Sleep Score, that you have answered. This is only the case, however, if you demonstrate consent on Fitbit to share your data. 

          The Fitbit study demonstrates a clear passageway to the end of the pandemic and shows that human-kind has the right tools and technology to do so, despite any variables that have yet to be resolved. The only problem that we have in terms of this pandemic is the attitude of the majority. More people seem to be escaping rather than fighting, trying to find shortcuts to the consequences of this virus. With the use of fitness trackers, many cases can be foreseen and therefore steps we take as a society can be conducted with more caution. The Fitbit study does not mean an automatic cure to Covid-19, but a solution without dramatic revolution.