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Could Apple Watch Data be used for tracking Pandemics?

rhonda

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Looking back, I might have gone through the Corona Virus over the holidays; see my account on TUG, posted 1/8. Highlights:
  1. Sick like I'd never felt before! terrible weakness, fever, fluid in both lungs, cough, gray skin color, etc.
  2. Hit soon after returning from a cruise. (Cruise terminated on 12/16; I fell sick on 12/24.)
  3. Cruise had a good number of Chinese on board; Countries visited: Italy, Greece, Jordan, Oman, UAE.
  4. Long flights home, Dubai to California.
I'm very well now, thank you. I stayed at home for three full weeks w/out leaving my property but did continue to wear my Apple Watch, close my rings (I had to really tough it out when I was feeling so weak!) and track my 'workouts' (daily horse care). Earlier this week I began connecting the dots ... and sorta wish I could take a serum test to determine if my body has antibodies reflecting the specific illness. (Was it COVID-19?)

So this morning I wonder, does my Watch know I was sick?
If so, could the mass data gathered by Apple show us rate of infection? geographical spread? point of origin? how well the individual is handling it? recovery time? etc?

To the first question, YES, I believe my Watch has sufficient data to calculate: Rhonda was sick.
  • Activity Monitoring. I closed my rings everyday .... but my stats were well below average. Move calories were just barely over my daily goal; my steps fell from 7 miles/day to 2.3 miles/day.
  • Standing Hours. During the illness window, the standing hours history differs from my general pattern of 14+ contiguous bars between 5a-dark. While sick, I struggled to meet 12 per day (the required minimum to close the ring) and there are gaps between the bars showing uncommon motion in the late night hours and no motion after 5P (early to bed!).
  • Geographically, I never left my property for 21-days. That is an odd break in normal behavior!
  • Apple has sufficient data to know where and when I'd travelled. I recall responding to email while riding a bumpy bus in Oman over wireless data (thank you, T-Mo!). The only port where I left my phone on the ship was Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Heart rate? The Watch has a ton of personal data. Historically, my heart rate recovery times, resting rate, and more tell a rather clear picture of my general, daily health!
So if the Watch knows this much about Rhonda ... what can it glean from the huge pool of data amassed from Apple Watch owners who tend to close their rings on a daily basis? I'd love to see an overlay of Apple's data compared to those from WHO or CDC when discussing the introduction and spread of a virus.

Thoughts?
 

Rolltydr

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Looking back, I might have gone through the Corona Virus over the holidays; see my account on TUG, posted 1/8. Highlights:
  1. Sick like I'd never felt before! terrible weakness, fever, fluid in both lungs, cough, gray skin color, etc.
  2. Hit soon after returning from a cruise. (Cruise terminated on 12/16; I fell sick on 12/24.)
  3. Cruise had a good number of Chinese on board; Countries visited: Italy, Greece, Jordan, Oman, UAE.
  4. Long flights home, Dubai to California.
I'm very well now, thank you. I stayed at home for three full weeks w/out leaving my property but did continue to wear my Apple Watch, close my rings (I had to really tough it out when I was feeling so weak!) and track my 'workouts' (daily horse care). Earlier this week I began connecting the dots ... and sorta wish I could take a serum test to determine if my body has antibodies reflecting the specific illness. (Was it COVID-19?)

So this morning I wonder, does my Watch know I was sick?
If so, could the mass data gathered by Apple show us rate of infection? geographical spread? point of origin? how well the individual is handling it? recovery time? etc?

To the first question, YES, I believe my Watch has sufficient data to calculate: Rhonda was sick.
  • Activity Monitoring. I closed my rings everyday .... but my stats were well below average. Move calories were just barely over my daily goal; my steps fell from 7 miles/day to 2.3 miles/day.
  • Standing Hours. During the illness window, the standing hours history differs from my general pattern of 14+ contiguous bars between 5a-dark. While sick, I struggled to meet 12 per day (the required minimum to close the ring) and there are gaps between the bars showing uncommon motion in the late night hours and no motion after 5P (early to bed!).
  • Geographically, I never left my property for 21-days. That is an odd break in normal behavior!
  • Apple has sufficient data to know where and when I'd travelled. I recall responding to email while riding a bumpy bus in Oman over wireless data (thank you, T-Mo!). The only port where I left my phone on the ship was Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Heart rate? The Watch has a ton of personal data. Historically, my heart rate recovery times, resting rate, and more tell a rather clear picture of my general, daily health!
So if the Watch knows this much about Rhonda ... what can it glean from the huge pool of data amassed from Apple Watch owners who tend to close their rings on a daily basis? I'd love to see an overlay of Apple's data compared to those from WHO or CDC when discussing the introduction and spread of a virus.

Thoughts?

I bet you’re correct and I would be surprised if Apple isn’t analyzing that data since the health capabilities of the Apple Watch is one of their top priorities at this time.


Harry
 

rhonda

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It appears this is already coming into play?
Some have opted for an even more aggressive response. Israel, where the number of confirmed cases has more than tripled to 344 in recent days, has authorized the use of phone-snooping technology long used against Palestinian militants to track coronavirus patients. Such practices will spark renewed debate over privacy issues as countries around the world confront the pandemic.
Source: https://apple.news/AWTGSWSHBQJi03S49QpmSgw
 

rhonda

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Yep, looks like this is happening.

Story Links:

Snippet: An unnamed OSTP official told The Washington Post that they were “encouraged by American technology companies looking to leverage, aggregate, anonymized data to glean key insights for COVID-19 modeling efforts.”
Source: https://thehill.com/policy/technolo...ith-tech-groups-to-use-phone-location-data-to

Snippet: Public-health experts are interested in the possibility that private-sector companies could compile the data in anonymous, aggregated form, which they could then use to map the spread of the infection, according to three people familiar with the effort, who requested anonymity because the project is in its early stages.
Source:
 

rhonda

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rhonda

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rhonda

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VegasBella

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I don't really think my Apple watch could tell if I were sick because I don't track symptoms and it doesn't measure my temperature. If something made my pulse rise dramatically, sure. And if I were at the hospital, well ok it would know where I was. But I don't think it really has enough to track COVID-19. And if it did, that would only track people who are wealthy enough to own Apple watches. Same with the 'smart thermometers.' There is a huge access bias. The data is only from people who have access to that tech. It's not representative of the entire population. Moreover, poor people get sick more often and suffer worse consequences from illness. It wouldn't be tracking them.
 

rhonda

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rhonda

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Another curious intersection between daily technology and health: How many cell phone accounts have been cancelled in China in recent months? And why were these cancelled?

A recent article from Hong Kong Economic Journal suggest there are many variables in the sharp decline in cell phone accounts:
  • Account Holder Death
  • Declining Economic Conditions (business closes; shut down the phone lines)
  • Changing policies on cell phone account requirements such as “Real ID” and limits on how many account each user may have
 

rhonda

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Expanding the original subject to aggregated "cell phone location data." In this story, cell phone location data is being used to determine which economic groups are staying home vs moving about.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/03/us/coronavirus-stay-home-rich-poor.html
Snippet:
Although people in all income groups are moving less than they did before the crisis, wealthier people are staying home the most, especially during the workweek. Not only that, but in nearly every state, they began doing so days before the poor, giving them a head start on social distancing as the virus spread, according to aggregated data from the location analysis company Cuebiq, which tracks about 15 million cellphone users nationwide daily.
 

rhonda

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Headline: Apple Watch, Fitbit data can spot if you are sick days before symptoms show up

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/apple...d-19-infections-days-before-symptoms-show-up/
Snippet:
The first phase of the study is designed to prove that wearables can pick up a coronavirus infection by detecting changes in heart rate and other physiological parameters. The results are promising, according to Snyder: the first case the lab investigated detected physiological changes indicative of an infection through their wearable over nine days before symptoms showed up.

"You can't miss the signal. It's very, very clear. That person is running around for nine and a half days ill, asymptomatic or infectious and not knowing it, therefore presumably infecting many others," he said.

On average, the system is detecting the signs of coronavirus through wearables four days before the symptoms appear in most cases.
 

rhonda

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Bumping an old thread with a recent article on same topic:
Link: https://www.idropnews.com/news/new-...-reveal-long-term-effects-of-covid-19/163020/

Story Title: New Research Suggests the Apple Watch May Reveal Long Term Effects of Covid-19
Story Date: July 9, 2021
Snippet:
"However, the DETECT group also found something that they didn’t expect — digging deeper into the data, it became apparent that the Apple Watch continued showing changes in heart rate, steps, and sleep long after the primary COVID-19 symptoms had passed."
 
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