Digital Wearables as Helpful Predictors for COVID-19

Jan 20, 2021


Recent development though several studies show that digital wearables such as smartwatches can predict the presence of COVID-19 in its wearer. And this is even before symptoms start to manifest or the test results come in. The development means that Fitbit, Apple Watch, or Oura smart ring can come in handy in detecting a COVID-19 infection.

Research by three research institutions, Stanford University, the University of California, and Scripps Translational Research Institute, shows that because these digital wearables can detect heart rate and temperature changes, it’ll be useful in deriving data for algorithms that indicate the presence of the virus. Since different body activities help detect deviations that indicate one illness or the other, this research will be a beneficial response to the pandemic and its spread.

For the reasons that these digital wearables don’t have virus detection features yet and aren’t easily accessible to average people, they can’t be outrightly benchmarked as COVID-19 detecting tools yet. Despite these, however, they’re still useful in early detection.

Oura smart rings indicate that the temperature data derived from the rings can suggest coronavirus infections. This can be as early as three days before symptoms begin to show.

Various researches carried out brought about an 80% success rate in predicting the presence of COVID-19. The result is considerably better when compared to detecting the virus through symptoms alone. Scripps, San Diego, currently investigates digital wearables detection, and the research will run until 2022. The intention is to have at least 10 million people tested.

What’s the impact of these digital wearables on COVID-19 rates?

Before we obtain the final results of the study next year, there’s enough indication from previous researches to show that these wearable devices impact the fight against the virus. If your smartwatch flags down potential infections, you can self-isolate and prevent the spread even before any symptoms begin to show.



Rick McLarson

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