With the new UK lockdown measures, we should all be doing our bit to try and help battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
The government has now instructed the nation to stay home as much as possible, only leaving the house for essential journeys (to get food or medicine or for exercise).
But then of course, there are the true heroes of the current health crisis – the front-line NHS workers, the scientists working on a way to control the virus, and the supermarket staff, carers, transport workers, teachers, and essential service providers working to keep the country going.
Those battling tirelessly everyday to save lives and defeat the coronavirus are without doubt the people who need and deserve our praise and help at the moment.
But alongside staying home as much as possible to help, there’s also another small way you may be able to contribute to tackling the pandemic.
A new COVID-19 app, called the Covid Symptom Tracker, has just been launched on various app stores.
Designed by doctors and scientists at King’s College London (KCL) and Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals, the app is there to track people’s health – whether they feel ill or not.
How does the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker work?
The public are being urged by the COVID-19 app creators to download the app, and record how they are feeling each day, even if they feel perfectly fine and healthy.
The idea is that scientists will then be able to work out how fast the virus might be spreading, and which areas might be particularly high risk, including who might be most at risk.
When you sign up the app, you are asked to create an account, and then a series of general questions about you – such as your height, weight and gender.
You’ll then need to answer a few more questions about your health – such as whether you suffer from heart disease, diabetes, or any other conditions, or whether you’ve had any COVID-19 symptoms so far. You also ask if you’ve been tested for COVID-19.
It will then ask how you feel right now – either as healthy as normal, or not quite right. And it’s as simple as that.
The app asks you to check in every day to report how you’re feeling, saying that “knowing people are healthy is extremely helpful.”
The data from the app is sent to researchers who can assess how the virus might be spreading in the UK, to try and protect those most vulnerable.
The app has also specifically got 5,000 twins and their families involved, as an extra step to try and help researchers establish the difference between genes, and changable environmental factors when it comes to the symptoms and recovery from coronavirus.
Where can you find the COVID-19 app?
Whether you’re on an Android, Apple or Google phone, you can find the app simply by typing in COVID symptom tracker into the search bar of your relevant app store.
The app is free to download.