Report by Paula Antolini, April 21, 2020, 3:09PM EDT
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is partnering with the developers of the How We Feel app in an effort to anonymously provide scientists with critical health information needed to understand the spread of COVID-19. Available to download for free in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, it is supported by a nonprofit organization and does not require logging in or the sharing of any personal details, such as name or email address. In addition to being available to download to mobile devices, users can also complete the survey through a web version available at howwefeel.app.
The How We Feel app was developed by leading health experts from several institutions, including Harvard University, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. It was created in response to the need for health officials and doctors to obtain more information on COVID-19 in the face of widespread testing shortages. It only takes users about 30 seconds each day to report any symptoms they may be experiencing, and the information shared has the potential to reveal outbreak hotspots and provide insight into the progression of COVID-19.
People in Connecticut – whether they are healthy or sick – can help this research by using the app and self-reporting their daily symptoms through a series of short prompts about how they’re feeling, and share that data with scientists in real time. Aggregate data is securely shared with leading medical institutions so scientists and public health professionals can better spot emerging outbreaks early, identify new populations who are at risks, and measure the efficacy of public health measures such as social distancing.
Getting this data to the medical community as quickly as possible enables them to make faster decisions to help slow or contain the virus. When they have a better idea of who is sick, how sick they are, and where they are, there’s the potential to increase testing, deploy additional resources, and ultimately save lives.
“We’re all looking for something we can do to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this app provides an opportunity for everyone – regardless of whether you are currently sick or if you are in healthy condition – to share how you’re feeling to leading health professionals, so they can track the spread of this virus and quickly determine where a new outbreak may be occurring,” Governor Lamont said. “Likewise, as people report healthier symptoms, the data could reveal which health measures are having the fastest impact and apply those learnings in other areas. It’s quick and easy to use, and completely anonymous. By encouraging everyone to use How We Feel, we all benefit.”
Dr. Albert Ko, co-chair of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, said, “We need to provide all residents of Connecticut with the best technology to identify whether they are feeling ill and need to get tested for COVID-19. We can all be assured that by partnering with most trusted and high-caliber doctors and scientists who created How We Feel, we can provide the best care the highest standards of data privacy.”
Indra Nooyi, co-chair of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, said, “As our taskforce works on our plan for fighting the virus and getting the state back to work, How We Feel will be a critical tool for us to get a better understanding of how the whole population is feeling, both healthy and sick. This will enable us to more quickly make the important decisions about opening the economy.”