Covid-19 Tools
July 19, 2020

Fortune logo

How Fitbit and other wearables can help detect the spread of COVID-19

Dr. Eric Topol has an plan for an early warning system that detects small COVID-19 outbreaks before they spread out of control.

Instead of requiring people to take frequent coronavirus tests, which have proven costly and slow in being processed, the Scripps Research professor’s system works by relying on anonymized data collected from thousands of volunteers who wear smartwatches and fitness trackers. During a trial that started in March, the system has been able to provide an early warning of small regional outbreaks by looking for a telltale symptom of infection that’s easy to spot in the health data collected by wearables: a rise in resting heart rates.