Smartwatches can determine if someone has COVID-19 faster than a standard nose swab test
Studies show that smartwatches are better than standard tests in determining whether someone has coronavirus
Individuals with COVID-19 have lower heart rate variability which means that the time between their heart beats barely changes.Those without COVID-19 experience larger variations in the time between heart beats. Keep in mind that increased heart rate variability has nothing to do with an elevated heart rate. A high heart rate variability is a sign of an active nervous system belonging to a person who is more resilient to stress. So while a high heart rate is not good for a person’s health, a high heart rate variability could be a good sign.
While running a test, 300 Mt. Sinai workers wore an Apple Watch during the five months between April 29th and September 29th. As Mt. Sinai’s Hirten points out, “Right now, we rely on people saying they’re sick and not feeling well, but wearing an Apple Watch doesn’t require any active user input and can identify people who might be asymptomatic. It’s a way to better control infectious diseases.”
A different study run by Stanford was based on the theory that 81% of those who tested positive for coronavirus had changes in their resting heart rates up to nine and a half days before symptoms first appeared. An extremely high heart rate was a sign that symptoms of COVID-19 had just started. Researchers at Stanford used smartwatch data to identify 67% of COVID-19 cases four to seven days before symptoms first appeared. The team also created an alarm to let wearers know that their heart rates have been elevated for a sustained period of time.
Stanford University Professor Michael Snyder, who led the study, said, “We set the alarm with a certain sensitivity so it will go off every two months or so. Regular fluctuations won’t trigger the alarm — only significant, sustained changes will.” Snyder also stated that “It’s a big deal because it’s alerting people not to go out and meet people.” Snyder’s own alarm recently went off forcing him to cancel an in-person meeting in case he was infectious. The Stanford study examined 32 people who tested positive for the virus out of a total of 5,000 people who participated in the study.