Scientists, physicians and engineers across the Mount Sinai Health System have launched a new web-based application to track data on the novel coronavirus in New York City.
The app, STOP COVID NYC, is intended to better equip the healthcare system to respond to outbreaks and emerging clusters of infection in the five boroughs.
New Yorkers can enroll by texting COVID to 64722.
An initial survey poses questions about demographics, exposure and symptom history. Users are then asked to fill out short daily surveys about their symptoms via text messages sent to their phones.
Hospital officials tell NBC 4 New York that for the app to work, they need widespread cooperation from New Yorkers, whether they are currently sick or not.
"Everyone is included, and everyone can help," said Laura Huckins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic, Sciences, and Psychiatry, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "To do this well, we need our whole city to help, not just those in hospitals or with access to health care. Everyone is included, and everyone can help. Capturing citywide coronavirus data from residents before, during and after they become ill could help to reduce the pressure on medical resources and contribute to slowing the spread."
Huckins' team hopes the data could help officials better allocate resources around the city for rising numbers of patients. She notes that most data guiding decisions for COVID-19 has been gathered in China.
New York State has tested more people per capita than any other place in the world and New York City has the largest number of reported cases.
Results from exposure surveys could also assist long-term research about factors affecting spread of the novel coronavirus.
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